In the eleventh episode of the first season of Princess Tutu, I actually took time today thinking about how maybe 10% of this show is what I thought it was going to be. I thought it would be about ballet. And my god, I have never been so far from the truth on this goddamn site, and I’m going to go eat my feelings away. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Princess Tutu.
Once upon a time, there was a maiden with wings of freedom. A man in love with this maiden thought, “If I could just bind those wings, we would never have to be apart even for a moment.” But when the man wrapped the maiden’s wings in a magical shawl, her wings immediately fell to the ground, and the maiden died. The man did not know that the maiden’s wings were the source of her life.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the meta implications of “La Sylphide.” Thankfully, despite having never seen La Sylphide, I think I understood where this episode was going. I’ve enjoyed how referential Princess Tutu has been in the past, but it’s also nice that the show doesn’t make you feel like a fool if you don’t get a reference. The story that I got here was fantastic, and I’m sure if I’d seen La Sylphide, it would just be a bonus.
More than ever before, Drosselmeyer matters to this story. Does he just exist to cackle? For real, he is all of you, only slightly more evil. Slightly. But he appeared in “La Sylphide” far more than usual. The episode opens with his glee: All the characters have assembled in this tale, and now he’s just waiting to see what will happen. Except he knows what’s going to happen, right? He knows the true role of each character, and he knows why the end of this episode is so tragic.
I’ll get to that in a second. Before that happens, we do get a love story of sorts. This is about how Mytho and Ahiru are basically the biggest sweethearts on the face of the planet. Both of them do selfless, kind things for one another, accepting that the other person has no obligation to return any affection. For me, that is a powerful love story, one bereft of all the shitty implications that Kraehe’s “love” has. (And we’ll talk about Rue’s heartbreaking story in a bit as well.) Even though Mytho might have the most basic understanding of human interaction, his actions suggest something far more significant. When he overhears Ahiru, Pike, and Lilie talking about gifts, he immediately thinks about making Princess Tutu happy. Honestly, I think that’s why the heart shard appears at the end of the episode! Ahiru and Mytho actually love one another, and you can see that in their determination. Plus, it’s a touching dedication when you think about it, and I think it’s deliberately paralleled with Fakir’s storyline as well as Ahiru’s. All three of these characters are devoted to someone in some way. In Fakir’s case, he has given up any reservations about Tutu returning Mytho’s heart shards. Instead, he’s going to protect Mytho at all costs, just like Ahiru is going to. Granted, Fakir wants to do this alone, which causes Ahiru to reminisce about how she might be the only person to see the real Fakir.
Which brings us to Rue. My god, her story just makes me so sad. She didn’t ask to be Kraehe or the Raven. Her identity is so confusing to her that she just resigns to be Kraehe. She can’t escape the memories of what she’s done. How is it at all fair to her? She wanted to love Mytho, and now look what she’s gotten. So she accepts her role in this story, and she taints the love jewel that Mytho plans to give Princess Tutu. I don’t feel like Rue would do something like this! I don’t want to go out of my way to excuse her actions, since she clearly chose to deceive Mytho and Ahiru. But I also recognize that this situation is terribly complicated, that Rue was thrust into this story against her will. She never wanted to become Kraehe. She just wanted to be loved.
Of course, my opinions all rely on the totally bewildering ending sequence, one that is both horribly shocking and confusing. As I said in the video for this episode, I couldn’t enjoy the cuteness of it because I knew something was going to go wrong. I guessed that the jewel was a trap for Princess Tutu, but I did not expect to see such violence from Kraehe. She literally ripped that shard out of Mytho’s chest, y’all! She triggered some rather intense fears in Fakir, too, after she flung crow feathers at him. As she says, she will get what she wants by force, and that’s what we witness.
But I was most bewildered by the constant interjections from Drosselmeyer. As he stated in the opening scene, all the characters were assembled to play their roles. But then he introduces a twist: THESE PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEIR ROLES ARE. Are they really the princess? The prince? The fearless knight? IS RUE EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE THE VILLAIN? Oh god, have they all acted prematurely? Jesus, WHAT IS THIS SHOW DOING TO ME?
I think the ending to “La Sylphide” is probably the most bleak one we’ve seen yet. Kraehe stole the heart shard representing love and disappeared with Mytho, leaving behind a traumatized Fakir and Ahiru. My god, where did Kraehe go? What are these characters going to do??? HELP ME, THIS IS NOT THE SHOW I THOUGHT IT WAS!
Mark Links Stuff
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