The Wind-Up: Princess Tutu Episode 19

The end of the story draws near.

Princess Tutu

{episodes 15-18}

I almost made the previous post just a reflection on Princess Tutu‘s thoughts about love, but it didn’t quite come together so I trashed that idea and reworked the post into the one linked above. This turned out to mostly be for the best, as Tutu really buckled down on love as a major explicit theme this episode. I still think Femio’s episode winds up being a more poignant reflection on the idea of love in spite of (or perhaps because of) the exaggerated nature of Femio’s character, but the interesting thing about Tutu making love a vocalized theme via the characters (particularly Mythos) is that it now has placed “love” as a theme of equal importance to “fate.”

The proper way to do things, I suppose, would be to link these two now-equal themes together here in the final quarter of the show for one massively emotional finale (spoilers: this is totally where things are going, and I haven’t even seen the show). Love and fate intertwine together – which makes sense when you consider how love is the tool through which adherence to fate (or the reverse, in Fakir’s case) has been carried out. Consider that it’s duck-form Duck’s love for the distant, sad prince which makes her eligible to become Princess Tutu. Consider the way the Crow leverages love to control Rue’s heart.

Princess Tutu

The episode opens with duck-form Duck recovering in Fakir’s house, followed immediately by Drosselmeyer’s appearance. Drosselmeyer’s scenes have easily been the most consistently compelling visual moments, with the almost black-and-white lighting and his face appearing creepily throughout the screen. While there are obvious in-show reasons for it (Drosselmeyer’s fading ability to perpetuate his presence in the “real world”), I think credit is also due to the creators for not overusing these moments. If I’m remembering correctly, this is only the third time Drosselmeyer has appeared to Duck. It’s also his shortest, recalling Edel’s visits (although he is certainly far less cryptic than our beloved doll). A plot-driver.

Fakir continues to struggle with feeling out of place in this story. He doesn’t technically have a “role” anymore (no wonder all the ends of stories are tore out for him, he was never supposed to get this far), and yet here he still is. Pressing onwards and providing support for Duck that she’d not otherwise have. Even as he hurts over not being able to protect the princess with his sword, he’s become more of a rock for her than I think he realizes. Perhaps soon Fakir will throw away the books entirely, quit seeking his answer in a role that’s already been defined for him, and truly step out of his own will with his sword. He’s already done it once; I believe he’ll do it again. Glory! Just as the prince’s pride galvanizes him to fight the Crow, perhaps Fakir’s desire to live up to being a night will compel him to move forward.

Princess Tutu

The conceit of the love letters is a clever one. Juvenile, particularly when relying on a donkey character (the name Bottom is certainly a reference to the character that originated in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream), a buffoon who finds himself the beloved of the Queen of Fairies. The genders a reversed here, but it turns out both Hermia and Lysander are buffoons of a sort, in the way only the young people they are can be.

Uzuru carrying the purported love letter from Duck to Fakir, and the ensuing exchange is entertaining. Neither Duck nor Fakir seem to take it seriously, and while Fakir echoing Duck’s prediction of his response verbatim is plainly constructed, it’s very funny. The two of them have great chemistry together beyond their mutual goal of helping Mythos. I hope to see more of this.

And with that, I head out to watch the final seven episodes tonight. The wind-up is over.

Princess Tutu

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