Now that I’m getting so close to the end of my to-watch-list, and really to the series that I’ve been looking forward to the most, this really does give a different kind of expectation compared to usual. This goes in particular for Princess Tutu: aside from one particular series, it has been the series that you have recommended to me the most often (that other series is Monster, by the way). With such a critically acclaimed series, I went into this series with a completely different mindset than others and it generally leads you to expect things in a different way from usual.
What I mean by this is the following: after completely finishing this series, I’d have to say that Princess Tutu isn’t the best shoujo series I’ve seen. Normally for an average show, this really wouldn’t mean much, because you can say this for 99.9% of all of the series out there, but this statement does gain a different meaning for something with the caliber of Princess Tutu. That doesn’t however mean that this show isn’t awesome and if you even remotely like shoujo and haven’t seen this one yet, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
First of all, Princess Tutu is about ballet. That alone gives this show an air of elegance unlike any other, and the creators make full use of this with some excellent choreography. This show doesn’t have fancy graphics, but it still looks gorgeous due to the time that went into portraying all of the different dances that are incredibly prevalent throughout the entire series. A good dancer is able to entice an audience, just by performing, and the creators of this series did just that.
What really caught my attention about this series however, was how well this show develops its characters. In particular the most important characters change tremendously throughout the storyline, and this change ends up being a very important theme throughout the entire series. These characters are round and dynamic, they change naturally, yet you can’t see them coming. Even the side-characters evolve subtly throughout the series. Everyone is well acted, and the cast is immensely fun to watch, both during the light hearted moments and the serious ones.
This series is also able to tell a great story, with a beginning and an actual ending, where it makes great use of its build-up. Where it left things to be desired for me was at some points while building up, where it tended to get a bit too formulaic. This series also depends a lot on brainwashing and using love as a plot device. It actually gets away with it quite decently, but there are times when in particular the side characters suffer losing their free will too much, so that they can’t really show what kind of character they actually are. Brainwashing in general is very tricky to do right and Princess Tutu remains one of the better examples to do it because it’s a major theme of the entire series, but it does lead to a lack of freedom that holds the show back at times.
Still, with the current state that shoujo anime is in today, it’s great to look back at how grand it was in the past. This show combines innocence with dark and deep characters really well and with the ballet, it turns turns into a wonderful emotional ride. Oh, and the soundtrack cannot go unmentioned here. The use of classical music in this show is just a perfect match.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Great use of build-up, original and clever plot twists, but a tad too formulaic at times, and makes a bit too often use of brainwashing and love as a plot device.|
|Characters:||9/10 – Wonderful development, especially on the main cast.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – The animation may not be big, but the characters are wonderfully animated to life, and the soundtrack makes this show still a feast for the senses.|
|Setting:||9/10 – Very creative premise with a deep setting and unique atmosphere.|