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Princess Tutu – Manga vs Anime: Part One

Posted by dandycandy on May 19, 2006

Warning: Spoilers Abound, do not read if you do not want to know the spoils of Princess Tutu! 

As magical as the anime "Princess Tutu" is, I think I'm one of the few people in this world who enjoy the manga a little bit more.

Don't misunderstand me, I love the anime.  It's reminds me of the all the fairytales of old my mother told to me at bedtime, and those dreamy ballets I'd seen on PBS with those outrageously elaborate sets and Mikhail Borishnikov when he was a lot easier on the eyes.  In terms of a shoujo market filled with magical girls and angsty romances, it was refreshing to see something a bit different out there (that an Pretear, but I'll get into that later).  So after experiencing the "sad" finale of the series and reading the vastly different manga, I can't understand why the animators couldn't create an ending that stood by the manga, however open ended it is.

I'll tell you why I as much as I love the anime, I kinda have trouble with it, considering I've read the manga.  Though the manga doesn't have that fairy tale theme the anime has, the fact that everyone is learning ballet more than makes up for it in a way, as ballets have a dreamy quality of their own.  The anime is a mismash of ballet and fairy-tale qualities, as well as the concept of putting people together and making a memorable story out of it.  Drosselmeyer is the weaver of stories in the anime, and while we all love a good story, he takes pleasure out seeing all of his "players" deal with all of situations they come across, however painful it may be.  I admit, I like this element a bit (because it's absolutely non-existant in the manga), but it does bring a sinister edge to the anime, among other things, like a Brothers Grimm complex, especially with that Raven lurking about.  I'm not surprised, especially since Sailor Moon a little darkness and angst is expected in anime, and even fairy tales (Cinderella had her stepmother and stepsisters, Snow White had the witch, Hansel and Gretal has a witch, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, the list goes on), but I think if a story is really good, we would always wonder what would happen next without the dead man's chuckling in the background.

In the manga, without Drosselmeyer, you still get that sense of wondering what will happen and how everyone ties into each other and this quest for the pieces of Mytho's heart.  In their own way, Fakir and Rue/Princess Kraehe want to protect their prince from the pain that will come with regaining his heart.  Ahiru/Princess Tutu genuinely wants to help Mytho (who isn't a prince in the manga, by the way), and she reaches out to both Fakir and Rue because she knows how much Mytho means to them, and vice versa.  Can they all settle their differences and help him, or will his heart, once put together, be a sacrifice to the Raven again?  Isn't that a driving storyline in itself.

But the anime took it one step further, and I found myself constantly annoyed by some of the characters because of this.  While everyone knows Rue loves Mytho, the fact that she needed to bath a heart piece in raven's blood in order to get him to "love" her pissed me off.  And he's always putting her down, going around, trying to get all these other women to give him their heart "for the Raven".  Please.  I understand that she doesn't want the Prince to leave her, and I understand that she feels threatened.  But I think if I managed to snag my "Prince", even if it was pretty underhandedly, I wouldn't whore him out, even if my father was the Raven.  I know that it makes for a good story, and Drosselmeyer loves every minute of it, and it keeps the fans wanting more, but it still pisses me off.

In the anime, you really get that Rue/Kraehe wants Mytho all to herself.  In the manga, you can tell that she wants to protect him from the pain of regaining his heart, because she does love him, and she doesn't want to see him in pain.  You can understand where she is coming from, and you can relate to her, just as Princess Tutu does.  When she realizes that Ahiru/Tutu has a good heart, she steps aside, so to speak.  In the manga, during the Spring Festival (I think, I don't have the manga in front of me), she steps aside and gives Ahiru her part as Odette in "Swan Lake" so that she may dance with Mytho.  It's a very sweet scene, and you get that everyone is on the same side, as the finale of the manga draws near.  The two girls feel for Mytho and they both help him in anyway they can.  I think in the spirit of the series, where overcoming adversity and understand emotions is a big theme, this part really illustrates that.  The anime does that, too, but after a while, it's too much "Snap out of it, Prince Mytho", especially when he regains all of his heart.

About that Prince…I love this anime, but after Kraehe taints him, he just plain pisses me off.  But more about that in part two.

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35 Responses to “Princess Tutu – Manga vs Anime: Part One”

  1. LK said

    Awww, I sort of wish that I can read the 2 vols of the manga. But shelling out $20-30 for 2 vols is a bit seep for me. ^^;

  2. K-rock said

    to be honest, i think the reason people like the anime more is because the manga is a pale facsmile of it. the anime was dynamic and tense and Ahiru not being a duck detracts from the manga. i mean, in the manga, if she confesses her love just Princess Tutu will disappear. in the anime, they lead you to believe that she will CEASE to exist (which is far worse).

    rather than Ahiru being infatuated with Mytho (which she clearly is, seeing as she just saw him and was like “Ooo, he looks lonely. I AM NOW IN LOVE FOREVARZ”), she actually grew closer to Fakir; the good and the bad sides of him. and while Mytho seems to like Princess Tutu in the first season, i feel as if he didn’t love her so much as associate his returning feelings with her. as in the scene at the fair when Mytho has just gotten the feeling of affection back, he looks at Rue with that emotion in his eyes.
    when Princess Tutu dances the pas de deux alone, she shows that her love is more pure, because, while Rue loves him, she doesn’t want him to get the pieces of his heart back for selfish reasons, thinking that if he has them back, he’ll further distance himself. so, technically Princess Tutu’s “love” is more pure, as she wants him to get his heart back so he can be happy and feel emotion as others do.
    besides, since the anime came first, i really don’t see why they have an excuse for not including Drosselmeyer and the complex feeling that everybody is caught up in a destiny, a story that they can’t control. my only harp at the ending of the anime was that it somewhat felt like he stiffed Princess Tutu because she had to turn back into a duck since i wanted her to be with Fakir as a human.
    and i feel like the ballet is much stronger in the anime, probably cuz they obviously can’t have tchaikovsky playing thru the manga. there seems to be more grace.
    i think the manga is quite simply boring by comparison. the anime forces you to realize that there is no such thing as a bad guy or a good guy in anything. it makes you hate to feel sympathy for Rue, but you can’t help it; it makes you hate mytho even though you KNOW he’s under control; it makes you realize that your initial aggression toward fakir was unfounded as he was just trying to protect mytho. and it makes you wonder how, when she initially had such a trivial part in the original story, so much rides on Princess Tutu/Ahiru.

    “There is happiness for those who accept their fate. There is glory for those who defy their fate.”

    in the first season (with the exception of Edel) the characters follow their fates while in the second, they defy it. and the end is glorious, if not happy.

    if you want a happy ending stick to the first season. but if you want a beautiful story, you’ll appreciate both.

  3. Ken Warren said

    This was a great series with a bad ending! I had picked this series for my ganddaughter and recommended it to friends with young daughters and granddaughters, and they all loved it – until the end. Duck’s reward for all of her courage and love is to remain a DUCK? Not just a duck but one who has to see the boy she loves (and who loves her) every day and never be with him? The young girls all hated the ending. The points that bothered them the most was that everyone, including her friends, forgot about Duck, and that the ending ran against the moral of the whole series: That one, through courage, and love, can change their fate even if they are chachters in a story.

    • Theroha said

      Not just young girls hated that ending. As a young man in college, I and my younger brothers were perturbed by the way that Drosselmeyer still got his tragedy. It’s like the ending just said, “And when it was all over and the Raven was defeated, it was like none of it ever happened and a local writer got a new pet duck.”

  4. I love the anime of Princess Tutu!! Does anyone know if there is a box set?

  5. Tasneem said

    deos ahiru and fakir end up together in the manga?????? PLease someone tell me i really nees to !! i love them together!! they the best

  6. Tasneem said

    deos ahiru and fakir end up together in the manga?????? PLease someone tell me i really nees to !! i love them together!! they the best!! so i need to no please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Nova said

    I saw both anime seasons. I highly enjoyed season one, it had that Disney Fairy Tale quality to it. It was also quite different. I totally loved the Fairy tale ending. However, season two was a disappointment. I mean Fakir and Kraehe/Rue were hardly in the anime. I also felt that the pairing of Fakir/Ahiru and Rue/Mytho…just didn’t fit. Yes there is some development there, but over all it was really not worth my time. If you ask me Princess TuTu should have just stayed as one Season.

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  12. Nellie said

    I loved watching Princess tutu ( I haven’t read the manga though)
    But I didn’t like the ending…
    I would have liked it a lot if she ended up with Fakir– as a human.
    *sigh* =(

  13. Happii Ending! said

    I have to disagree on your thoughts on Rue. I mean, they explain it in the anime why she did those things.

    At first I didn’t liked Rue (Who tells an emotionless he loves you), but, after a few episodes I understood her feelings. Rue loved Mytho so much, she was willing to kill. So Rue hates Tutu because she’s a potential threat to her love, but Tutu keeps returning Mytho’s shards. So, a seemingly threatened Rue bathes his love shard in The Raven’s, whom she is controlled by and lied to, blood. In the end, after she tells her feelings of true love (Which was my favorite part. When she was crying, then taken away by The Raven), he goes with her. Not out of sympathy, but out of love. Happily, Ahiru goes with Fakir (Uh… Sort of…)as a Duck.

    😀

    I hope there is a third season…

  14. Anya said

    i didnt like the ending of the anime, i mean, Ahiru should stay as a girl, she was happy that way, so she could stay with Fakir…and the prince mutho, for god sake, he loved tutu then suddenly realizes he loves rue? i didnt like that either…:(

  15. Cana said

    I don’t like the ending either..
    Ahiru/PrincessTutu have done a alot of thing for the prince but in the end he choose rue than her..
    but even if the prince end up with rue they could have made ahiru to remain a human to be with fakir..

    My favorite pair in this anime is still the prince and tutu..
    Bad ending tho..But good anime.

  16. keearaxunloved said

    i read somewhere that the creator of the anime wanted to continue on with a third season (obviously involving ahiru and fakir) but not enough people bought the DVDs so they didn’t have enough money to continue with the series 😦

  17. Shiba said

    Everyone was expecting Ahiru to remain human, so maybe it’s more original this way. However, I’d rather see Ahiru human too… ^^;

  18. Hello Rose said

    OMG YES! I am so happy to read other comments and find others sharing my feelings on this anime. While I found myself liking Rue and Fakir, I just couldn’t ever put aside my feelings for Princess Tutu and Mytho. I thought, although impossible, the perfect ending would be for Rue to end up with Altor (I really like that character and he was in love with Rue so…), Fakir with Duck, and Mytho with Princess Tutu. So then EVERYONE could be happy. It would be better that way, although, impossible. My heart was happiest when Tutu and Mytho danced at the closing of the 1st season, but then Mytho turned into an annoying little bas****, which, yes, was acceptable because Rue decided to soak his heart in Raven’s blood. But after Tutu does EVERYTHING for him, he exorts her and pretty much makes her kill herself so that he could go off into fairytale land and live with Rue who he suddenly loves. Now that’s lame. Even if the manga is not particularly canin and even if it is cheap, if it offers a way for Princess Tutu and Mytho to be together, I want to read it. I wouldn’t even mind it if Duck had gone with Fakir if she had become human again. But no, the script writer would have had to be particulary clever about that one. I almost wish Mytho HAD sealed his heart away again so that Rue would die and Tutu would be loved again. Not that I don;t like Rue, but at least then Tutu might have a chance for soem appreciation.

    The only hope fans can cling onto is the fact that the very last words of the anime expressed the fact that Fakir was trying to write a story for the only one he can write for; Duck, and that one day he will be able to turn her human again.
    Reading that the creators wanted to puch another season but couldn’t because of a low DVD sale makes me extremely mad. Even my 14 year old male as male can be cousin ended loving this series after I sat him down to watch it because it’s so great. Dramatic, real, loveable characters, memorable and complex themes and storyline; it’s fantastic.
    I wonder what secrets the creators kept from us. -_-

  19. Om mi said

    Absolutely hated the ending. What kinda fairytale ends up with the girl as a duck?

  20. Teme said

    Honestly I loved the entire tale, and was a little saddened at how it ended, but the promise of more ahead was in those final scenes where Fakir is sitting at the pond with Ahiru swimming happily as he writes with the pretense of fishing…. It leaves it open for your imagination to wonder what he’s writing especially since it’s a story filled with hope…… I think it’s open to interpretation but what’s not to say he isn’t working and hoping towards giving Ahiru back her humanity.

  21. Eternal said

    I’m not too sure if I’d like the manga very much, from the sounds of it, although I wanted to find it and read it nonetheless.

    I have to be completely blunt here, as much as the story centered around Ahiru/Tutu’s feelings for Mytho, I thought that those two as a pair were incredibly … dull. I predicted almost from around the beginning that Ahiru and Fakir would end up being close, and I’m glad it happened that way because I thought Fakir was a much better character overall then Mythos, who in my opinion was a bit drab. It’s not that it was his fault, since he spent half the series devoid almost entirely of emotion, and being confused the rest, but… It’s not even that, just his character TYPE wasn’t very interesting, if you understand what I mean.

    As much we are made to hate Rue, I still found her an intriguing character, just because we actually felt something for her. Hatred that later turned to pity, then happiness (at least for me) when she got to have a happy ending. I mean, it’s true she did horrible things, but was it not the Raven’s blood that drove her and corrupted her, so that her love for Mythos became twisted and possessive?

    I’m with the others when I say I’m a little disappointed that Ahiru stayed as a duck, but the story was left very open-ended so that there’s a possibility that she may return as a human one day. I have a feeling that even if she was a duck forever, Fakir would love her anyways, just because he’d know the beautiful soul that lay underneath the exterior of a duck.

    The progressing relationship between Ahiru and Fakir were by a smidgeon my favourite part of the series. As I stated before, I didn’t like Ahiru/Tutu and Mythos together due to how shallow the relationship was. Ahiru didn’t even have any real reason for liking Mythos; she barely even knew him, even by the end of the series. Rue on the other hand, had spent time with and loved Mythos since her childhood. Doesn’t it make more sense for them to be in love after all that, despite what her desperation drove her to do? Ahiru and Falkir had actually known each other on a deep emotional level, that’s what makes them better together.

    All this in my opinion, of course.

    Regardless, Princess Tutu was a wonderful anime, and I hope that despite how different the manga is, when I find it I hope I will like it also.

  22. Rin Kagamine said

    I loved the anime(still haven’t read the manga yet). Usually when I watch an anime, the only reason is because of a certain pairing I love, but with Princess Tutu I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t really care who she’d end up with(though I’m glad it was Fakir).

    I thought the ending was good, I agree with Teme. It was left open for your imagination, and I’m glad it was.

  23. Angry Alice said

    Omg, I REALLY disagree with you people that say Rue and the Prince staying together is awsome… Because it isn’t.

    Just take this in account, who exactly did EVERYTHING that helped the Prince? Ovbiously the answer here is Ahiru/Tutu. I mean, she was willing to change her true form and become human for the prince, leaving her own very nature behind to gather all of the Prince’s heart shards to end FORGOTTEN by almost everyone in the whole series?!

    And now, which character can we remove from the whole series, which wouldn’t afect at all the story in an annoying way and make it end for the better?

    I’m sorry but Rue’s existence didn’t really help at all but to annoy, make things worse and harder to do. She didn’t really help AT ALL in THE WHOLE SERIES. What did she do?
    Oh, that’s right, I’m sorry.. How could I forget? She bathed the Prince’s love shard in the raven’s blood… That helped a lot.
    And what’s with the Prince’s decision changing so suddenly. So sorry to say but from ovbiously having a love affection towards Tutu, who was not only beautiful, but kind, worked hard for the prince and gave soo much of her to save him, and to loving Rue, who annoyed him for like 10 years, trying to make him love her and even went into the extremes of madness to soak his heart in raven’s blood, ITS STUPID.

    For me, the series in the last like 4 episodes didn’t progress fluidly, but was RUINED and FORCED by the authors.

    Tutu gave it ALL for the prince, she loved him because of his beauty and the kindness she knew he had. The Prince that loved all and everything alone, Tutu fell for his charm, and doesn’t it make sense that true love is the one of Mytos for Tutu and vise versa? This goes for “Eternal”, two comments above this:

    It makes more sense that Mythos love for tutu and tutu’s love for Mythos is true love, because even if they knew little about each other, BOTH of them showed affection towards one another, while Mytho’s love for Rue, even though he knew her for like 28967564353759.. years, when the Prince got some of his feelings back, he showed affection to Tutu and not to Rue, which he had known waaaay more than tutu. SO DOESNT IT MAKE SENSE THAT THEIRS IS TRUE LOVE?!!?

    I don’t know, but if there was a season 3 for the anime, I say its THE PRINCES TURN TO SAVE THE PRINCESS(AHIRU). What if Ahiru was not ALWAYS a duck? What if someone turned her into a duck to protect her..? Like Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, she was hidden for 16 years so the evil witch would not kill her…

  24. Lola said

    I hated the ending, I honestly would like Tutu and Mytho staying together, i mean, Tutu did so much for him to only end forgotten? The ending ruined the series, maybe thats why people really didn’t want to buy the Dvds… If they would have ended together, I know a lot of people (incuding myself) that would have bought the Dvds and other kinds of merchandise. I used to be obssesed with this series, but i went over it after i saw the ending. SUCKED. I h8 Rue, she is pointless in the story. It would have been better without her. I liked the idea of Ahiru not always being a duck. What if she suddenly became human again not knowing why and it was really because the seal was broken and then she got kidnapped and Mythos would have to save her and realize that he really loved Ahiru and not Rue. >.> aww soo pretty

  25. RodentOfUnusualSize said

    The reason that the animators couldn’t create an ending that stood by the manga was because the anime was created first. The manga wasn’t being true to the anime, not the other way around. I thought the ending to the anime was too, but if you think about the last line (“A story full of hope had just begun” or something along those lines) it opens it up for some interpretation, and I for one, like to think that they would eventually have their happy ending.

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  27. bookperson said

    What is up with the Rue bashing?

    Seriously people, what part of her being abused since she was a child don’t you get?

    Yes, she did horrible things. She recognizes this. But she was under the influence of the Raven the entire time. He told her to taint the heartshard.

    If she’d gotten off scott-free for her manipulation, it would be an entirely different issue. But Rue spent the entire series suffering for her situation and her own decisions.

    Put yourself in her shoes, watch the man you love turn into a monster because of what you did, and still love him and care for him, then come back and say Rue is selfish and evil.

    In case you guys have forgotten, it was Rue who sacrificed her life for Mytho. She was willing to die to save him. Princess Tutu, by the way, was not.

    So: what is pure love? Is it total devotion to only one part of a person, idealization and hero-worship because someone is pretty and noble? Or is it understanding every side of someone, watching them change, and still standing by them and loving them for every part of their being?

    Rue is selfish. She also does something completely selfless that no other character could do.

    Princess Tutu is selfless. She decided to give the pendant to Mytho, to let him be with Rue. She recognized that she retreated from and was terrified of anything slightly un-princelike in him. And she wanted Rue to be happy.

    Remember, at the end, Rue and Ahiru, as a duck, hug and Rue tells Ahiru she loves her. Oh, and then Siegfried says he wants to make her his princess and she says, “Me? But I’m tainted with the raven’s blood…” immediately, in disbelief that he’d ever want her. What a vicious harpy, right?

    Princess Tutu starts out as a moral model, a beautiful, graceful, white-wearing angel archetype. Rue goes on a journey. Does that make her any less deserving of happiness?

    Remember, MYTHO DID NOT LOVE TUTU. He loved that she was changing his life, bringing him new emotions. He associated these emotions with her. It had nothing to do with her as a person.

    Let’s harken back: the heartshard of Obsession led a girl to become inexplicably obsessed with Rue. When Mytho gets affection back, he smiles at Rue. They share the knowledge of the corruption of the Raven’s blood, something literally no one else has ever felt.

    Also, the ending of the series was very satisfying for me. Remember, every other magical girl series tells the heroines:

    “You can be special, see? You can have this magic power, transform into someone different, and kick butt. Then the love interest will fall for your other form and you’ll have to waffle over whether he loves you for you, because you are obviously SO MUCH BETTER as a magical princess/warrior/magician/what have you. You need this artifact and power to be a better person.”

    Princess Tutu says, “You know what? You’re you. And that’s okay. Because people are beautiful inside. No matter how they may seem, or what situations force them to do, there is always a hope of redemption.”

    The people of the town forgot Ahiru, but Mytho didn’t, Rue didn’t, and Fakir didn’t. Yes, it’s open ended. No, it isn’t a tragic ending. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  28. antilogic said

    I don’t know if anyone else has pointed this out, but the manga was actually based on the anime. Unusual, I know, but the anime was actually the original in this case.

    That being said, I haven’t read the manga, but from what I’ve heard, I wouldn’t like the changes. I personally love Fakir and Ahiru’s relationship, and even though the ending really made me sad, it was awfully bittersweet. They chose to be in their “true forms,” and in doing so defied the story. It sort of fit, as much as I was loathe to admit it at first.

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  30. Tutufan:) said

    I agree with most of what you said, but didn’t the manga come out AFTER the anime?

  31. Maya said

    I actually question the reasons why you called this particular posting, “Princess Tutu – Manga
    vs Anime: Part One dandy candy”. Either way I admired it!
    Thanks for the post-Andre

  32. silverkyuubi said

    As a person, I really believe that Rue was the most realistic character in Princess Tutu. It’s easy just to jump to her bad decisions, like her tainting the feeling of love in Mytho and letting her jealousy dictate a lot of poor decisions. However, she believed that no one could ever truly love her because her father told her so, and in her complete desperation to be loved by someone she fell in love with, she was willing to do horrible things to keep it with her because she never believed she could have it if she were just herself. This is selfish behavior, but it’s true to human form. We don’t want to give up the things we love, even if we know it would be better for everyone. Plus, if you recall, she did in the end give up on her selfishness to do the right thing, which redeemed her.

    As for Ahiru, I didn’t really like that she remained a duck in the end either, but her last dance with Fakir explained it pretty well. He said, “We should be our true selves.” In this anime, it meant Ahiru should accept that in her reality, she is a duck, but even as a duck, she was capable of surpassing her role that was set out for her. I believe the message was more meant for the audience. As humans, we should be true to ourselves no matter what we think of our physical sense of “self.”

  33. Amistaria said

    I’m sorry but i have a problem here, and you should too for having said this “I can’t understand why the animators couldn’t create an ending that stood by the manga, however open ended it is.” This is all wrong. The anime first aired August 16, 2002 and written by Michiko Yokote and this is the exact problem, the anime came first. Mizuo Shinonome made the manga adaptation of Princess Tutu which was published in 2003. It was created in response to the anime, so the anime sticking closer to the manga? That would be impossible.

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