Some anime are quickly forgotten after they first aired and become just a footnote in the history of anime. Other series become legends and maintain a devoted fan base even if no new content is released. These fans encourage others to watch the show, leading to greater success despite the franchise being officially inactive – and one of those anime is Princess Tutu. Despite the show only running for 26 episodes in 2002, the show remains much loved today.
Princess Tutu is so loved that it will be honored on September 25 at a special 20th anniversary event in Tokyo. During the event, the staff and voice actors will talk about their experiences working on the show, and they’ll even read letters from fans. Interestingly, there will be two sessions of this event – one during the day and one in the evening – both of which will be streamed live. This suggests that the company behind it expects a lot of people to want to watch and share their memories of the show, which is impressive for such a short series.
Why Princess Tutu remains a classic 20 years later
That said, it’s easy to see why Princess Tutu remains so loved. One reason is that the show had an all-star team behind it; Ikuko Itoh, who had previously worked on sailor moon, came up with the concept while Sailor Moon alum Junichi Sato directed alongside Shogo Koumoto. The screenplay was done by the prolific screenwriter Michiko Yokote (Call of the Night, Red Data Girl and Fun High Earth Defense Club Love! ).
Princess Tutu begins with a writer named Drosselmeyer who can bring his stories to life, but when he dies before he can finish his final story, his protagonists – the Raven and Prince Siegfried – find themselves locked in an eternal war. Desperate to defeat his enemy, Prince Siegfried shatters his own heart and locks the Raven away. However, this removes Siegfried’s memories and emotions.
When a little duck falls in love with the prince’s conch, Drosselmeyer sees an opportunity to end the story. He gives the little duck a magical pendant that turns her into a human girl and transforms her into the magical ballerina, Princess Tutu. The duck must collect the parts of Prince Siegfried’s heart so that he can be restored and the story can end. However, some forces want to prevent this.
A reason Princess Tutu still holds today is the great atmosphere. The story is based on fairy tales and ballet and perfectly captures the feelings of both, giving the whole series an almost dreamlike atmosphere. The anime is also visually stunning, combining different visual styles. While some elements resemble other anime from the period, Tutu also includes landscapes rendered in a soft watercolor-like style that looks as if they were taken straight from a vintage picture book. The setting also delves into more metaphorical and surreal locations, especially as the story progresses. This unique combination of visuals helps to convey Princess Tutucomplex themes and story while creating them look distinctive.
Princess Tutu makes original use of classic fairytale and magical girl elements
However, Princess TutuThe most stunning images come from the ballet sequences. These are beautifully animated and make use of many classic ballet moves and positions, with the animators taking advantage of the nature of anime to make the dancers perform in ways not possible in real life. This leads to beautiful dance sequences that reflect the ballet from the real world, while never feeling limited by this accuracy. These ballet acts are some of the most memorable and moving moments of the show, they convey a lot of emotion and allow viewers to really immerse themselves in the inner lives of the characters.
Another strong point is the stunning originality of the anime. While it clearly shares some stylistic elements with other magical girl shows, it uses these elements in a unique way. While Princess Tutu looks and transforms like a magical girl, she doesn’t do the usual magical girl stuff. While the story is based on fairy tales, it approaches the genre from a more metatextual angle, explaining what it means to be a character trapped in fate. All these elements fuse together perfectly, making Princess Tutu a unique feel and tone that no other anime has been able to capture.
It’s easy to see why Princess Tutu remains one of the most beloved anime series in history. Though it didn’t last long, it told a unique and moving story that took full advantage of the anime medium. Among all the clever flourishes and subversions, Princess Tutu was a series with heart; this spoke to people, bringing them into intense contact with the characters and their struggles. That’s why the series’ 20th anniversary is the best time to dive back in — or for newcomers to enjoy it for the first time.
Princess Tutu is now streaming on HIDIVE.