In the ninth episode of the second season of Princess Tutu, I am continually impressed with how this show can ruin me over and over again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Princess Tutu.
Once upon a time, there was a princess raised by loving parents. One day, the princess snuck past the guard at the gate and slipped out of the castle for the very first time. No matter how far she went, however, outside the castle there was only an endless forest as black as pitch. Before she knew it, the princess ended up unable to either escape the forest or return to the castle. In that kingdom, the inside of the castle was the entire world.
NO! NO OH GOD. The prologue started teasing me. THE PROLOGUE IS MESSING ME UP. In the first thirty seconds of “Crown of Stone,” I am forced to realize that I am not watching the show that I thought I was watching. Princess Tutu has evolved to the point where the heroes aren’t even really the heroes anymore, and no one is who I thought they were. THE WORLD ITSELF IS NOT WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS.
But before all of this is spelled out in horrifying ways, I’m still impressed with how this show approaches the relationships of its characters. I’m glad that “Crown of Stone” re-introduces the idea of a redemption on the part of Rue. After Ahiru is late to class, she finds Rue on top of the school building. She appeared to be crying, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that this seemed like a deliberate parallel to when Ahiru (as Duck) came upon Fakir crying. Both characters were confused about their roles in the world at the time, and both expressed these emotions in private. It’s because of this that I hold out the hope that Rue can break the hold that her father has on her. I’d like to think that Fakir was, in part, inspired by Ahiru’s empathy and kindness to finally find the motivation to become an active part of this story. CAN RUE FIND THE SAME INSPIRATION?
Oh my god, I also cannot even deal with how incredible Cat-sensei has become. Like, I know the whole marriage thing is weird and absurd, but now I’m starting to genuinely enjoy him and wish he was my friend? These past few episodes, he’s been dropping some knowledge bombs, y’all, and he does so out of this shockingly pure care for his students, particularly Ahiru. Like, he really wants Ahiru to succeed and believe in herself! And while “Crown of Stone” essentially tells us that these people are puppets of Drosselmeyer, I also believe they do have free will to act as they please within this world of fiction and reality. There’s no reason I can see that Cat-sensei would need to push Ahiru in this direction. (And I’m speaking of the possibility that Drosselmeyer was controlling Cat-sensei in this scene.) I think he’s doing this of his own volition.
Of course, I don’t know any of this, and I can only speculate at this point. The themes of free will and destiny are not new in Princess Tutu, but “Crown of Stone” explicitly reveals much of the machinations of what this world is. These remaining episodes will have to address agency within this universe specifically because of what we now know.
- There are a group of men called the Book Men who protect the world from being controlled by anyone who can make stories come to life, and they do this by CHOPPING OFF HANDS. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! The Book Men also have ripped out the endings of all those books Fakir found and buried them, thus preventing those stories from coming true. (Which leads me to ask: Who wrote those books????)
- The rest of the heart shards are outside of the town, as Ahiru learns, but then she finds out that their city is encased in a giant stone wall with no way to get out. So, as far as I can tell, the town here doesn’t exist in our world at all, but perhaps in another dimension? Even when Ahiru (as Tutu) tries to go through the wall, she simply comes back into the town a few feet away.
- Drosselmeyer is controlling the story, and he’s doing so from within some sort of device that allows him to keep writing even though he is dead??? Also, he’s in a parallel dimension???
- AUTOR FALLS IN LOVE WITH RUE, BUT NOT BECAUSE HE IS HYPNOTIZED. This is the first indication that Rue’s fate is not tied to her father, that there still exists an option outside of the confines of the story. Rue’s father insists that only Mytho and himself can “love” Rue (though I’d argue that what these two express for Rue is hardly love), but it seems that Autor fell for Rue independent of the story. Rue, who is all kinds of messed up from the emotional abuse she’s suffered, rejects Autor and collapses. It’s fucking sad as hell, y’all. I don’t want to ignore the awful things Rue has done as Kraehe, but is it too much to ask that she gets some sort of happy ending? THESE ARE THINGS I WANT.
- Did Rue recognize Uzura??? That wouldn’t be surprising, since Uzura resembles Edel, but could this be another clue as to how Rue will snap out of her Kraehe identity?
- AND OH MY GOD, THIS WORLD TURNS PEOPLE INTO ANIMALS! I cannot fucking BELIEVE that that line Edel uttered about stories starting by accident becomes relevant here because IT TOTALLY WENT OVER MY HEAD AT THE TIME. I didn’t catch it at all!!! And now we see how people come to this town: They simply appear at the gates, and the animal conversions are random. We are literally watching characters become CREATED. Holy shit.
- But lord, I cannotÂ deal with the final scene of this episode.Â PRINCESS TUTU HAS BEEN TRANSPORTED TO DROSSELMEYER’S UNIVERSE, AND HE LITERALLY JUST GRABBED HER OUT OF THE STORY IN FRONT OF FAKIR. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! No, fuck this, this show is ruiningÂ everything, and I love it so much, and I don’t care if those are contradictory statements. Jesus, how is Fakir going to get Tutu backÂ without manipulating the story??? Even worse, the only person who can fight DrosselmeyerÂ is a blood relative. This is so messed up. MESSED UP.
To say I’m excited to see the rest of this show is an understatement. I feel like I just started watching Princess Tutu, and now there are only four episodes left. WHAT WILL MY LIFE BE AFTER I’M FINISHED?
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