In the third episode of the second season of Princess Tutu, Mytho moves on from Pike to another young woman in his quest to fulfill Kraehe’s plan for her father. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Princess Tutu.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved flowers more than anyone. She prayed every day for the whole town to be filled with beautiful flowers. To make that happen, she pulled up all the town’s ugly weeds. Eventually the girl’s prayers were answered and the town was blanketed in flowers. But they say the town that was filled with innumerable blossoms of every color imaginable somehow looked gray.
I struggled to come up with a theme that unified “The Maiden’s Prayer” until I realized how much this episode dealt with perception. The prologue speaks of a town blanketed in flowers that somehow looked gray, and it got me thinking about certain elements of this episode looked different to various characters. There are a few crucial reveals here, but I felt like “The Maiden’s Prayer” was more of a set-up for the future than anything else. After the events in “Coppelia,” the writers give the characters a chance to think about what it is they’re supposed to do. This isn’t an uncommon thing for this show, as the roles these people play constantly shift given the context. Still, I noticed that the very first thing that Ahiru does is seek out Rue. She refuses to call her Kraehe because, like me, she doesn’t really believe that Rue is Kraehe only. That doesn’t mean she’s avoided the confusion surrounding Kraehe. By appearances, Rue really has given herself over to the Kraehe persona, but Ahiru isn’t all that sure of that. It doesn’t help that Rue isn’t anywhere to be seen, so Ahiru is left confused about the whole thing until she sees Rue in Mytho’s arm the next morning. Things are further complicated, of course, once Ahiru finds out that Rue was lying about her injury. This is all just another attempt to get Kraehe’s father a sacrifice.
I was definitely wrong about who the prologue was speaking about. “The Maiden’s Prayer” introduces Freya to us. The opening monologue quite literally describes her, too. In this case, her appearance matches our expectation for her. Like many young women in this series (and Fakir and I REFUSE TO BELIEVE OTHERWISE), she is drawn instantly to Mytho. I’m beginning to think that there’s something at work here that hasn’t been revealed to me yet concerning Mytho’s appeal because there is not one person who interacts with Mytho and doesn’t enjoy him or have a crush on him. In fact, he is the very center of this universe in that sense, and it’s so utterly absurd that I suspect that there’s a reason for this. I think that speaks to the nature of this fictional universe more than anything else. I still haven’t figured out the master narrative that frames Princess Tutu. Are they all in a story book? Do these people have any agency at all? Or all these women simply destined to fall for Mytho because that’s the story that Drosselmeyer wants? If that’s the case, then that means both Fakir and Ahiru are actively resisting their destiny.
Anyway, it’s at this point in the episode where shit gets both shocking and weird as hell. The introduction of Uzura is mind-melting. A miniature, baby-style version of Edel? WHY? HOW? WHAT? WHY IS SHE LOOKING IN AHIRU’S UNDERWEAR, Y’ALL? Oh my god, I THINK THIS IS THE MOST CONFUSING THING I’VE SEEN YET. Except I was wrong because HOW DOES THIS GIRL KNOW FAKIR? How can this show keep throwing things at me that hurt my brain? Because it can, and it does. I was touched at the explanation for Uzura. She is Edel in a way, since she was made of the embers that remained of Edel after Drosselmeyer burned her up. (Wait, did Karon make Edel, too? When did Edel come into the picture?) For the moment, she isn’t playing that active of a role in the story, but I’m okay with that.
So, not only was Uzura mind-blowing, but “The Maiden’s Prayer” featured Ahiru’s transformation to Princess Tutu before the halfway point. I’m so used to this happening in the final act that I was immediately engaged by the story. It was so unlike the show, you know? But that also conveys how necessary Ahiru felt it was to stop Freya’s unknowing sacrifice. Again, I’m consistently blown away by how many “fight” scenes in Princess Tutu have no fighting whatsoever, and both of Tutu’s confrontations are no exception. Here, Tutu tries to appeal to Freya’s sense of reason and her love for the world. She’s interrupted the first time, but she’s able to convince Freya to stay. For her flowers. Ugh, I have so many feelings about the way these conflicts are resolved, y’all! Like, what show have you ever seen do something like this? Ballet fight scenes full of positive moral messages of happiness and self-worth. I mean, Ahiru is basically telling Freya not to give her entire heart to Mytho because she can make the world (and herself!) happier if she does what she loves. That is so beautiful to me.
It’s great, then, that despite Kraehe’s attempts at making Ahiru feel misery, Ahiru refuses to let herself feel down. In a way, I understood Fakir’s reluctance to tell Ahiru why Mytho was behaving so strangely, but that is a very small part of me. He really did need to tell Ahiru because she needed to know how to fight back against the effect of the raven’s blood. I imagine that Kraehe expected that this would tear the budding friendship between Ahiru and Fakir apart, but Kraehe severely underestimates how tolerant Ahiru is. Sure, she admits she’s a bit peeved by Fakir’s behavior, but she is mostly happy she knows what’s happening. If you’ve been reading my Tortall reviews on Mark Reads, you know how I feel about friendship. Lord, Fakir and Ahiru are becoming so close and, I am all for it.
The only other thing I want to bring up is that damn black blob with the shiny golden eyes. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING? Did it just turn a student into a sloth? (For the record, I love sloths.) What is it doing? Why did we see it multiple times in this episode? I could have sworn this was the first episode it appeared in, right? UGH, I’M SO LOST!
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