Listen, I don’t choose for childhood friends to always be my favorites – it just always works out that way.
You could ascertain this from my Catholicism, but I don’t believe in fate as an actual force. The free will stuff is pretty deeply embedded into my worldview, and yet I still find myself drawn to shows that toy with the idea of fate – mostly because they usually actually end up affirming a universal order that is not superimposed on us from above and telling us that people can be good, brave, heroic, and wonderful simply because they choose to be.
Although Princess Tutu is as wondrous and graceful as always (note: Duck is not graceful, but that’s par for the course, too), Fakir is the one who winds up really owning this theme in these three episodes. My predictions of a few posts ago have blossomed in a way I never expected with regards to Fakir. Certainly, I was spot on in thinking his behavior towards Mythos was ultimately born out of a misplaced and misapplied sort of care, but I don’t think I ever thought he would grow so quickly into the role of the knight ascendant, spurred on by his desire to conquer his fears and, thus, his fate in the story. “I will change fate!” In terms of construction and uniqueness alone, this line is not all that much better than the beloved classic, “You’re you” (which I actually like a fair bit, despite its comparative overuse), but it’s neat for a couple of reasons generally and within Tutu.
Generally speaking, “I will change fate!” is one of those lines that resonates because it’s a battle cry for human agency. And since fate is usually portrayed as a bad thing, the chains of a dictated reality are thrown off in favor of allowing humanity to blossom, with all its ugliness and beauty. For Tutu specifically, it’s powerful because it’s tapping into the chafing feeling of Drosselmeyer’s obsession with an exciting story. A prince can’t have two princesses! Screw that! Let polygamy reign, I say! (That was a joke.)
Anyways, Princess Tutu is about to buckle under Kraehe’s pressure, but Fakir is the one who keeps her from making a fatal (and fatally unproductive) mistake. He’s thrown away his stubborn pride in his way of doing things, accepted Mythos’ wishes, and does everything he can to see his friend’s desire fulfilled. What love! What true devotion! In severing himself from his attachment to the consequences of the story thus far, Fakir opens himself up to changing fate. Freedom from himself brings him freedom to love more gently and generously than ever before. Yes, Fakir is the real star of this midseason finale. Tutu’s stage would never have existed without him striding across the water first. Tutu’s dance of love is passionate and true, but she is following the steps Fakir has already danced for Mythos.
That Fakir continues to be a knight in action as well as in name after this climax is even better – and not just for Mythos, but for Duck as well. As the one closest to Mythos, he is also most liable to be hurt as the crow’s blood infects his beloved friend’s heart. It’s like when the childhood friend finally gets her crush to look at her, but then he goes through some stupid amnesia trope and forgets everything. Princess Tutu is not so bad as that, though. An important distinction. Princess Tutu is not a crappy harem, is what I’m trying to say. Although if it became Fakir’s harem that would be o.k.
Meanwhile Rue really is no longer Rue, but simply a reflection of the Crow’s malvolence towards the Prince in the world. That this is framed within through the language of a paternalistic relationship – and the Crow’s haunting “I just want you to be happy” – whoo, it’s just creepy as heck. You want to talk about Bad Fate, Bad Ordinances of the Universe, here you go. Drosselmeyer’s almost as bad, because he doesn’t see the characters in his story really as characters, but as plot devices meant to bring about a specific end.
Which brings us to Miss Edel, who sacrifices herself to guide Mythos and Tutu out from the lake after saving Fakir. The puppet, having cut its string, burns. This is a haunting image, particularly with the fate-defying Fakir lying wounded in front of her.”May those who defy their fate be granted glory”? Hah! What kind of glory is that! But Fakir accepting his fate certainly wouldn’t have brought him happiness, so perhaps this whole phrase is suspect.
Or, it would be if unconditional, self-sacrificing love wasn’t the greatest glory of all.
By the way, Swan Lake is a hell of a good ballet.