Mark Watches ‘Princess Tutu’: S01E09 – Black Shoes

In the ninth episode of the first season of Princess Tutu, each character contemplates their role in Mytho’s life, and one comes to an upsetting conclusion. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Princess Tutu.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to dance very much. That girl made the mistake of putting on a pair of red shoes that, once put on, would force her to dance for eternity. The girl continued to dance day and night. Oops! This is a different story. Although, perhaps it is not so completely different, after all.

I can’t claim to understand Princess Tutu. The show is deliberately hiding things from me, there are countless surreal images/sequences, and “Black Shoes” in particular is the most dense episode of the show so far. I AM ENJOYING THIS SO MUCH, Y’ALL. In order to try to cover everything “Black Shoes” just threw at me, I’m going to split this up by character. This episode was a bit more contemplative than I expected, and it really made it stand out. Ahiru’s search for another heart shard took a back seat, and even when she found one, it wasn’t the focal point of the story. This about perspective. How do each of the main characters perceive themselves after the events in “The Warrior’s Fountain”?

Ahiru

Ahiru’s main concern here is how Mytho sees here. She’s accepted her triplet identity, but which one of those is Mytho drawn to? How related are they? Ahiru worries that the only thing that Mytho wants is from Princess Tutu. It’s so heartbreaking to watch this because I truly believe all her personas are just a different part of her. They’re all still Ahiru, but in a different form. (I really hope I’m not wrong about this.)

And if there’s any evidence that Ahiru should believe in herself, its in her growing friendship with Rue. I AM SO HAPPY THAT THIS SHOW IS PUTTING RUE AND AHIRU TOGETHER. I swear, can Ahiru repair Mytho’s heart and then go off and live a life of luxury with Rue instead? Seriously! Look at how great they are together. Ahiru is the first person to get Rue to open up about her feelings, and it plays a significant part in her own journey of identity. (More on her in a second.) Ahiru really is a good friend, and she doesn’t need Princess Tutu’s power to prove this. Again, I’d like to offer up the evidence that despite being attracted to Mytho and being in unrequited love with him, she still thinks Rue and Mytho should be together. She doesn’t have a mean or vindictive cell in her whole body, y’all!

It’s why she is so good at being Princess Tutu and why I refuse to believe that the two identities are separate. When Ahiru finally comes upon Malen, a strange blue-haired girl who kept appearing at various points throughout the episode, it’s Ahiru’s empathy that helps Malen let go of the heart shard within her. (PS: SO MUCH QUEER SUBTEXT OH MY GOD, THIS SHOW IS SO FUCKING PLEASING IN THAT REGARD.)

Oh, Ahiru, my heart is going to explode one of these days from your cuteness, I swear.

Rue

Holy shit, SHE STEALS THE SHOW. I am glad that “Black Shoes” spends so much more time on her character, though I also admit I’m distressed by the developments at the end of the episode. NOOOOOOOO!

I’ll get there in a bit. Rue struggles with her own identity throughout “Black Shoes” because she doesn’t know who she really is after her transformation in “Crow Princess.” Her memory isn’t entirely intact, but she does realize a lot more than she did the first time she became Princess Kraehe. She’s on a parallel journey with Ahiru, and SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT, oh god. Could that be a reason why she reaches out to Ahiru briefly?

Even if that was just a coincidence, her interaction with Ahiru in the dance room caused her to reflect on all the things Ahiru has done for her or said to her. There’s never any confirmation about this from the show itself, but I’d like to think she was contemplating if she really was friends with Ahiru. I mean, Rue doesn’t really have any friends that we’ve seen. She’s often distanced herself from others, and yet Ahiru returns time and time again and is friendly to her.

This is why I’m worried about what she ultimately chooses to do in this episode. She knows that in a way, she’s manipulated Mytho. But she also wants him, too, and it’s her desire for (and, ironically, her devotion to) Mytho that leads her to put on those black shoes. Oh, god, what do they represent??? WHAT DID SHE JUST BECOME? When she showed up to confront Ahiru and Mytho, I was so worried she was going to do something terrible as Princess Kraehe. SHE ENCASED HIM IN THAT WEIRD STATUE. Is she going to crush him to death or something?

But it’s Fakir’s insult at the very end that hits too close to home for Rue. She takes it to heart: She is the “crow monster.” Goddamn it, I don’t want her to be the villain! Drosselmeyer, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU. Why did you intervene? You are ruining this!

Fakir

Fakir comes to accept that he cannot change Mytho, and it sort of undoes his world. He’s been the one trying to protect Mytho, but now Mytho is actively disobeying him. It’s something Fakir has never had to contend with. How can he do this if Mytho truly desires his heart back?

As you’ll see in my video, I was shocked as all hell when, during Fakir’s search for more information on Mytho, EDEL-SAN SHOWS UP. What the fuck? Who is she??? Why is she interacting with Fakir??? And why is she doing this to point out that in story of the Prince, FAKIR’S CHARACTER GETS CUT IN HALF? No, NO! I don’t even like Fakir all that much, and this FUCKS ME UP. There is some serious Mercutio vibes going on here. Is Mytho’s quest for his own heart going to get Fakir killed? I DON’T LIKE THIS.

Cat-Sensei

I AM SO FUCKING CONFUSED!!! I still don’t understand why he threatens marriage to everyone, and OH MY GOD WHO THE FUCK IS GOATETTE-SENSAI AND WERE SHE AND CAT ONCE MARRIED AND WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING IN THIS GODDAMN SHOW, Y’ALL.

I will state something here that I said during the video just because it’s awesome: I love that Goat and Cat’s conversation answers questions that both Fakir and Rue have about their own dilemmas. That was a really clever sequence.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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