The February Fandom Fest put on by selenic76
is all about expressing your love for any fandom however you see fit (one of the hopes being that others will find a new show to love). I’ve already seen some really cool entries! (Go here
to see them all, and if you’re interested in participating, sign up!)
I already do a lot of this. I gushed about Captain America: Winter Soldier here
(with some incidental love for Thelma and Louise that found its way into that post), MCR here
, Men Without Hats here
, and I’ve expressed my great love for Princess Tutu countless times, including writing an SPN crossover
. I love those shows/band so much, I had to make myself some usericons for them, as:
Indeed, Princess Tutu is the source of my default usericon (see this post)! But I guess I’ve never really gone into what makes the anime so great.
First, yeah, I know, worst name for a show ever. I couldn’t help but tease my (quite macho) anime-lovin’ buddy when I saw it on his shelf. He laughed sheepishly, but said, “It’s actually a good show.” He has excellent taste, so I suggested we watch it, and the rest is history.
At first, you’ll think you know where it’s going. Well ... kinda, because this is an anime that makes perfect sense upon viewing but is hard to describe without sounding like you’re dropping acid. So, here’s the acid-drenched version: A duck falls in love with a prince who practices ballet at her lake. The storyteller from whose story the prince escaped offers the duck the chance to play a tragic but important part in the story, and of course she jumps at the chance to be near her prince, and to be human ... but if she ever confesses her love, she’ll turn into a speck of light and vanish, so there’s all the delicious angst of her getting to be close and yet so far.
The whole town has come to revolve around the story the storyteller (his name is Drosselmeyer--it takes place in Germany) is manifesting in the real world, which he can do because his authorial power was so great in life that it continues beyond the grave. (I see a lot of metaphors for God and the human condition in that aspect of the show, as Drosselmeyer literally uses people as puppets, manipulates events and calls it “fate,” rages when anyone revolts and exercises free will, and lives “behind the curtain” where the gears of reality are at his command.) Countless moments of genius are sprinkled throughout the show regarding authorial power and choice, which I think writers might appreciate, so if you write fanfic, this might be just your cup of tea.
It sounds like a fairy tale, but it’s more of a ballet, using famous ballets and classical pieces to tell the story, from Swan Lake to the Nutcracker and everything in between. (One of the joys of the show is hearing the EXCELLENT orchestral performances of all these classical pieces. I’m picky about this kind of thing, and truly, I can’t imagine better versions of any of these beloved classics.) One of many strokes of genius in this show is that it’s “staged” like a ballet. Crows figure heavily into the story, but usually they’re human male and female figures performing ballet with giant crow’s-head masks. Spotlights appear on the performers, like so:( cut for gif )
Meanwhile, Duck, the prince, and the other main characters study ballet at an old, venerable school, so it has all the fun and drama and romantic intrigue of a high-school anime, too.
It DOES also have a strong fairy-tale quality--the prince’s name is Mytho, and there are numerous animal characters--as if the creator tapped into something deep and archetypal that lives deep in our collective unconscious. Strange and unpredictable and modern, it at the same time nevertheless feels classic
. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the layers, metaphors, and meanings in this thing.
Finally, I love this anime because I feel like it tells a story I lived, with parallel characters and events transpiring obviously very differently from in the show, but on a fundamental level, it resonates for me profoundly ... yet nothing about this anime suggests it’s a common story, so I doubt anyone else in the world (except the amazing woman who created it) feels the same. As you can imagine, I’m grateful to have a show to reflect that experience for me and help me understand and analyze it.
Princess Tutu seems to have been strongly influenced by another great anime, Revolutionary Girl Utena, which is a good deal more popular than Princess Tutu, so if you saw and liked that one, you’re likely to like Princess Tutu, as well.
I often suggest watching an anime in Japanese, but in this case, the English dub is so carefully done and so energetic and inspired, I recommend the English. Besides, if you don’t watch it in English, then you’ll never see TJP’s performance of Mr. Cat, and I pity anyone who doesn’t get to experience that in their lifetime. ;-)Here
is an amazing fanvid I found while looking for clips to gif (good Tutu gifs are hard to come by, I’m finding). For your reference, Duck/Princess Tutu is the redhead, and the prince has white hair. (The show most enjoyably ships all pairings, including the other two main characters, both dark-haired.) I’m not sure if any measure of the show’s true glory will come across to anyone not already familiar with it, but many of the themes and visuals I’ve described are present in this vid, and it’s a fantastic song, as well. SPN covered “The Red Shoes”; well, so did Princess Tutu, and you get a sense for that theme in the vid, too.