Princess Tutu: Chapter of the Fledgling

April 13, 2008 on 8:19 pm | In Princess Tutu | 8 Comments

“Happiness is only a couple of lines at the end.”

It’s really difficult to imagine it being possible, but “Chapter of the Fledgling” was approximately one billion times better than “Chapter of the Egg”. Princess Tutu speaks volumes about the strength of 26 episode series made up of two thirteen episode series: they tell two stories while telling one, and they have a pace to match that. Naturally in a thirteen episode series you’ve got less time to waste, or to go on tangents, which is why a good thirteen episode series can be so rewarding. So, strangely enough, take that idea and double it and you’ve got something insanely tight, and the second half doesn’t need to bother going to the effort of set up and can just rock your face off right from the start.

Princess Tutu: Chapter of the Fledgling, ends up rocking faces around the world clean off. You won’t even miss your face when it’s gone, it’s just that good.

The second half of Princess Tutu begins where the first ends, which would make you think there would be no conflict, right? This is entirely the wrong tack to take: Mytho’s heart is not completely restored, and the Raven has had some bastardly schemes in hand.

The first half of the show had to spend time introducing its characters and shrouding them in vagaries so that it was difficult to tell whether they were villainous or helpful beings. Here the characters are well established and can continue their astoundingly well developed arcs (I’m not exactly talking about Mr. Cat here): the true stars of the series turn out to be Rue and Fakir, who caused such consternation at the start and ultimately prove to be the most interesting of them all. That’s not to cut Duck short shrift, but she’s mostly unwavering in her determination. Her own emotions evolve, but that’s only a reflection of the changes that manifest in Fakir, Rue and even Mytho. The only stumbling block for characters is Mytho, who is inexplicably loved by everyone – but he gets let off the hook on account of being the Prince of Legend. It really should not surprise me that a magical girl show can turn out to be an excellent character study, but periodically you need a series packed with vitality like this to remind you.

The whole thing becomes more and more meta as it progresses, and this becomes clearer with the introduction of half length episodes. I personally think that watching half an episode on a weeklong episode would not work but the only effect it has on the stitched together episodes is that you get double the amount of Drosselmeyer saying “Take that, Princess Chuchu!”. Even the previews for the B parts of the episode are simple matters of “will it be a happy story, or a sad story?” it’s not exactly helpful, but this is more of a curio than anything else.
It should probably be noted that Drosselmeyer and the Book Stoppers harbour different designs to everyone else in the show, probably because while they’re a part of the story they exist separately from it. They are the fourth wall breakers (and somehow before the end the show manages to break a fifth wall – the glass ceiling perhaps), and Drosselmeyer actually looks really good when they go to the effort of animating him doing anything more than standing around and laughing. Because the whole series is about story telling, one can examine the potentially sadistic behaviour of an author and why he would want to do that. In fact, so many clauses are invoked over the course of the series that the head spins.

The last episode is full of the sort of excitement that you normally get in more action packed series filled with turnabouts, sacrifices and high stakes. In a way, the stakes are incredibly high, but the lack of explosions accompanying them is a little offputting. This is not a bad thing, it’s just yet another example of narrative expectation being trumped by a morass of awesome.
The moments leading up to the grand finale are truly emotional that the inevitable epilogue can only feel strange by comparison. I’m not quite sure what I think of the ending, but it is more pragmatic than it is idyllic. I probably like it overall, but one can’t help but feel it’s a little bittersweet.

There’s an important moral to Princess Tutu: never think that you can’t do something. So never think that you can’t watch Princess Tutu and your world will be turned on its head.

Warning: Comments contain spoilers!


  1. I’ll probably drop some Chapter of the Fledgeling spoilers in here, so feel free to edit/delete is appropriate.

    After episode 13’s happily ever after ending, with Tutu and Mytho together, Mytho having chosen Tutu over Kraehe, with the loss of Edel, but the saving of Mytho’s knight, Fakir, it’s easy to forget that Mytho is still incomplete.

    Episode 13 marks the end of the fairytale. Things get serious from there, and a lot of the best moments have a chance to shine through. I always shiver to hear Chris Patton’s Fakir shout out, “I have to write!” when the book men come for him to chop off his hands. I mean, really, imagine talking to someone who’s never seen Princess Tutu, and saying, “Yeah, there was this really dramatic scene where this Fakir guy shouts, ‘I have to write!’ I had goose bumps all over my arms when he said that. Look, they’re back even just talking about it.” You’d probably get a stupified look, whether it’s a fellow anime watcher or simply a regular person you’re talking with =P

    The ending is one I had to dwell on a bit before I came to accept it. Duck being with Mytho would have been out of place, as she is (as Fakir said) really a duck. And it was Rue who loved Mytho for so long, as well as Mytho now knowing the pain she’s lived with. On top of that, Rue has no family (that she knows of, although I think the series does hint enough at an older brother), so if Mytho returns to a storybook, there should be no harm in Rue joining him.

    I also enjoyed how the story didn’t dwell on things it could hint at and be done with, such as the origin of Edel, and the fate of the missing tree Fakir had to commune with.

    It was end of year 2006 when I watched Princess Tutu, and it remains as my favorite series yet. I still seek another series with such depth and growth of plot and characters.

    Comment by Christopher Fritz — April 14, 2008 #

  2. By the way, that’s the perfect quote you have at the start of the post. How true Drosselmeyer’s words are. No one wants to watch a happily ever after, as that would be boring. Even slice-of-life comedies work by putting the characters in troublesome situations from time to time.

    Comment by Christopher Fritz — April 14, 2008 #

  3. My God even after all of this time TuTu can still stir up comments. It is a great story well told with great music.

    I stumbled on TuTu while looking for some good anime that I could recommend for my grandaughter. I knew it was so different and wonderful I recommended it to friends who had daughters/grandaughers in the 7 – 12 range, and for the most part they loved it. They were taken by it’s, well it’s fairy taleness – a strange place where strange thing could and did happen. They loved it was tale in a tale escaping a tale. Then came the ending!

    It broke young girls hearts. They felt Duck was betrayed – after all of her courage and giving for others she remained a duck and could never be with the one she loved!

    Another thing that bothered them is, well to a young girl to disappear is bad enough, but for you friends to forget you ever existed! Well that strikes to the greatest fear a young girl can have, your friends are everything.

    My friends were not happy with me. They agreed that it must be a great story to stike the girls so deeply, but they still had crying children on their hands.

    I still recommend it to anyone who wants to see what can be done with anime, or any medium when creativity is allowed to flow, but, well even a grandfather can cry at the fate of chacter that never really existed.

    It broke young girls hearts!

    Comment by Ken Warren — April 24, 2008 #

  4. The ending really is one the be thought over. Duck’s friendship with Pique and Lilie was never a “true” friendship in that it was scripted by Drossylmeyer. They never met and became friends, they one day simply had known one another before.

    Returning to being a duck is rather unavoidable, as Mr. Cat, the alligator girl, etc. all have their own returnings. Likewise, Mr. Cat surely was also no longer remembered.

    It’s at least a year and a half since you showed the series to your grand daughter and friends’ daughters and grand daughters, so anything anyone says about the ending would be too late to apply, but for anyone else who’s seen the series and is considering recommending it to someone younger, you can be prepared with some of the following:

    Duck had a crush on Mytho, a childish feeling for someone she watched dance on the lake. Rue had spent perhaps a good ten years by Mytho’s side, and her feelings for him developed, never leaving. If Duck had her prince in the end, Rue’s story would have been a sad one.

    The big part is Duck returning to being a duck, but she was only a human for a short time. She returns to her true self, and she is able to be with the person she truly became close to, and the person who grew close to her. It’s because of Duck that Fakir was able to lighten up. It’s because of Duck that Fakir was able to face his destiny, to let go of his insecurities, and to write his own path in life.

    I think any other ending would have been either too sad (Rue not being with Mytho) or unfair (Duck remaining “human” while Mr. Cat and others change back).

    Still, Fakir has the power to transform Duck back into a human one day, should he wish to do so. And this time it would be done on his power, not Drossylmeyer’s.

    Comment by Christopher Fritz — April 24, 2008 #

  5. I freaking LOVE this show. It’s an anime that’s really a fairy tale that’s really a ballet that’s really a moral lesson of “writer’s block is evil!”

    What I loved about both seasons was that not only was ballet the primary way the characters interacted, but the structure of the series reflects the structure of a ballet. And the music! The narrative use of music in this series is phenomenal.

    I also loved it because very few anime have a truly feminist heroine, and Duck/Ahiru is one of the finest examples I’ve seen.

    While I disagree with you in that I think Duck develops as much as the others do (she and Fakir develop the most, I think), I did like your comment about her developments partially reflecting the others around her. That was a big thing with Mytho too– he is such a flat character, and his development so seemingly limited, because we don’t *really* meet his character until the final episode. It takes the whole series for him to _become_. To become, in essence, a character that can be developed.

    “narrative expectation being trumped by a morass of awesome”

    One of the best comments about PT I’ve heard!

    Comment by Rashaka — June 5, 2008 #

  6. i do not care wat all u ppl say i love princess tutu its so good all of the chapters are good so watev!

    Comment by stephanie — July 17, 2008 #

  7. I’m pretty sure that everyone has been positive.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2008 #

  8. I love Princess Tutu, too. Princess Tutu is a “duck” very pretty, nice. I love Tutu, always…always…

    Comment by kikyou — August 22, 2008 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^