Plot: Ahiru (or Duck) is, well, an actual duck who wished to be a human girl when she fell in love with the lonely and handsome Mytho who danced by her lake. She was granted her wish by the mysterious Drosselymeyer, and given the power to transform into Princess Tutu, a magical girl who saves the day through dance. It turns out Mytho was an actual prince who had escaped from within his story when the author died, and sacrificed his heart to seal away his enemy. It is up to Princess Tutu to save Mytho by gathering the shards of his heart and restoring it. Her obstacles include Mytho’s controlling friend Fakir and closed-off girlfriend Rue, neither of whom think it is right for Mytho to regain his emotions.
Princess Tutu should be noted for it’s massive character development and dark deconstruction of fairy tales. It heavily incorportates both literary themes and themes of classic ballet into its storyline and the characters often act out their conflicts through ballet dancing. It deconstructs the nature of storytelling itself.
Women and Gender: Princess Tutu features a female hero and protagonist, as well as following the character arc of other female characters and focusing on their relationships with each other. Fairy Tale/Classic Ballet Gender roles tend to be subverted, the most obvious one being the princess as the protector and savior of the Distressed Dude prince. A big theme of Princess Tutu is agency and reclaiming it, and since a lot of the characters struggling to reclaim their agency happen to be female, there’s obviously a bit of a feminist component to that metaphor.
I added pictures to this!
I love that Rue is deconconstructs evil woman tropes. I’ve talked about this many times before because it’s so amazing to me. But when rewatching Princess Tutu, it’s clear that Rue subverts negative roles women are often relegated to, even in the early episodes. When Rue’s introduced, her character type seems easily identifiable. We’ve seen it many times before, a beautiful, talented girl who’s admired by her peers. A girl who’s arrogant and does everything she can to make the leading female character’s life hell. She’s pretty much defined by her cruelty and pettiness.
Except, Rue is not a bully. She never goes out of her way to hurt anyone. Yes, Rue might have been blunt towards Anteaterina, but she wasn’t being intentionally mean. Rue’s always acts puzzled when she’s approached on a friendly basis. While Ahiru and Rue are talking while searching for Mytho, Rue is surprised by Ahiru’s open and informal attitude. Rue points how forward Ahiru is and insists that she refer to her as “Rue-sama,” or “Lady Rue” instead. And she confesses to Ahiru that she’s never actually talked to another girl on a friendly basis before. Her rudeness comes from a complete lack of social skills, rather than maliciousness.
It seems I will never have enough to say about Rue. She’s just so amazing.
This is good meta and I approve.