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Anime: Princess Tutu
The main cast of Princess Tutu.

Once upon a time there was a man who died. The man's work was the writing and telling of stories. But he could not defy death. The last story the man was working on was about a brave and handsome prince who vanquishes a crafty raven. But now it seems their battle will go on for eternity. "I'm sick and tired of this!" Cried the Raven. "I'm sick and tired of this!" Cried the prince as well. The raven escaped from the pages of the story and the prince pursued the foul creature. In the end, the prince took out his own heart and sealed the raven away by using a forbidden power. Just then, a murmur came from somewhere: "This is great!" Said the old man who was supposed to have died.

And so the heartless prince is found and enrolled in a ballet school, whilst the story remains static for years. One cold, foggy day the old man (Drosselmeyer) sees a wistful duck watching the Prince. And so he brings her into the story in the hopes that she'll move it forward, bestowing her a mystical pendant that transforms her into Princess Tutu: a princess with the power to restore the Prince's heart to him, while soothing the hearts of those corrupted by the shards.

But great changes are foreshadowed as these actions catch the attention of Fakir, a cold-eyed boy who dictates everything Mytho does, and Rue, the prince's enigmatic girlfriend. Unhappy with the Prince's restoration, both take active roles in the story, hoping to halt its progress, while the story twists down a dark, complex path, revealing Drosselmeyer's story to have a life of its own. As Ahiru (Duck in the English dub and official DVD subtitles, to preserve Theme Naming) struggles with the decisions she makes and the impact they will have on others, her priorities shift and she fights Tutu's fate.

The anime takes inspiration from a number of classic ballets; Most of the music is taken from these, and the two princesses' costumes are inspired by Odile and Odette of Swan Lake. Also, guitar ninjas.

A markedly different manga was made after the anime. Spoilers will be marked when possible, but some spoilers are unmarked.

The anime can be watched dubbed on Hulu.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: On the occasion that Mr. Cat has a girl interested in him, it's usually someone undesirable like a goat or a sloth.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Kraehe.
  • Advice Backfire: Drosselmeyer's advice to Duck in episode 6 makes her even more determined to quit being Princess Tutu.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Fakir and Rue could definitely use some therapy considering their issues, but they'd have to find a therapist who would be able to swallow the idea that part of their problems stem from being characters in a fairytale.
  • An Aesop: It's ALL RIGHT to be yourself, whether you are a duck, a prince with a messiah complex, a failed knight or the spawn of The Big Bad. Also, true love is not selfish.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The men who killed Drosselmeyer are still around, just in case his power crops up again.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Mr. Cat's Catch Phrase, often threatening his female students with it if they are to fail a class.
  • Angrish: What Mr. Cat devolves into when Duck is being klutzier than usual. Naturally, his screams are... cat yowls.
  • Animal Motifs: Very common, particularly swans (Tutu, Mytho, sometimes even Rue) and crows (the villains in general).
  • Anime Theme Song: Written for the show, both gently-paced pieces of music that are influenced by Classical music.
  • Animorphism: Sort of. The main character changes back and forth between a duck and a human; she is unable to communicate in her duck form, but there are plenty of other anthropomorphized animals who go around acting more or less as humans with no problems.
  • Arc Words: "Those who accept their fate find happiness; those who defy it, glory."
  • An Arm and a Leg: An Ancient Conspiracy cuts off the hands of people who have the power of Rewriting Reality. Fortunately, Fakir escapes this fate. Unfortunately, undergoing it didn't stop Drosselmeyer.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At one point, Edel has a tray full of jewels and offers one to Duck. She says its name is "Dream." Duck starts asking what some of the others are... "Hope." "Adventure." "Mystery." "Artistic License." ("Author's Bypass," in the English dub.)
  • Author Existence Failure: In-universe example with Drosselmeyer.
  • Babies Ever After: At the very end you can see a normal cat that looks like Mr. Cat with a mate and a litter of kittens.
  • Back for the Finale: The final episode features many of the minor, one-episode characters in some cameo or another.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: As seen in the series' several Out Of Clothes Experiences and when Duck transforms into a girl.
  • Be Yourself: This is what enables Duck to give up the pendant—her true self is a duck, and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Played with and defied throughout the series.
  • Beehive Hairdo:
    • Edel might sport a rare anime example of this trope (not counting what's on the sides of her head, of course).
    • Also the woman who runs the restaurant sports a purple one of these.
  • Betty and Veronica: Mytho is the Betty, Fakir is the Veronica, and Duck is the Archie.
  • Beneath the Mask: Pretty much everyone. Your initial perception of every character will, without doubt, change.
  • Big Bad: The Raven and Drosselmeyer.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The fantasies are broken, the good guys win, Rue and Mytho show their true love and this lets them defeat the Raven with the help of Duck and Fakir...but not only do Rue and Mytho have to leave Gold Crown Town so he can reclaim his throne, but Duck/Tutu is stuck in her original duck form forever.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Both used seriously (in daydreams) and lampshaded in the form of One-Scene Wonder Femio followed around by an aide with spotlights and rose petals.
  • Blood Magic: Fakir uses blood in Akt 8 to revive the powers in Mytho's sword. The various applications of Raven's Blood apply here, as well.
  • Body to Jewel: The pieces of Mytho's heart are represented by jewel shards. Not only does it provide an opportunity to avert Squick, it could also be justified by the fact that Mytho is not truly human, but a character from Drosselmeyer's story who escaped into reality.
  • Break the Cutie: Arguably, everyone in the whole damn series. But mostly Rue.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It's the very premise of the show, with Mytho literally coming from a story and Drosselmeyer's story breaking its own fourth wall to play out in 'reality.' Which is another story in and of itself in which the characters end up breaking the fourth wall repeatedly to essentially declare war on the author.
    • In an interesting variation, Princess Kraehe breaks the internal fourth wall in Akt 12 by speaking directly to Drosselmeyer. He is very put off by this.
    • Also Drosselmeyer talks to the camera and at some point wonders "Could I be in someone else's story as well?"
  • A Boy and His X: If you view the series from Fakir's perspective, you could probably call it "a boy and his duck".
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Rue, when she defies the Raven, then helps Mytho deliver the final blow to him.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Exactly once in the entire series: the "Flower Waltz" in Akt 1, which wasn't even an attack. (Note that it was performed during a sequence set to "Waltz of the Flowers."
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Enforced. If the main character confesses her love to Mytho, she turns into a speck of light and vanishes.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Fakir has one in akt 18.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Autor. His presence in the episodes before he becomes important is either a brilliant Lampshade or crushingly obvious writing.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Drosselmeyer is always sporting one with an deep cackle.
  • The Chessmaster: Drosselmeyer.
  • Closed Circle: Though it's not obvious at first, the town is completely cut off from the outside world. It's not obvious, because people occasionally spontaneously appear at the town gate, and other, similar things are orchestrated to make it seem like the world is still connected; but as Duck realizes later on, you can't leave.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Pike has purple hair, Duck has orange, and Lilie has yellow.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Shows up in a lot of areas, but particularly Lilie's treatment of Duck. In fact, in the second season Lilie pretty much becomes the patron saint of this trope.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mr. Cat in "The Maiden's Prayer" states that the runner up will marrying him, to which every girl has then vanished out of fear. Mr. Cat seems to assume that means every girl is focused towards winning the Runner Up prize and have all run off to start practicing.
  • Contemptible Cover and Covers Always Lie: The cover to the first compilation of Princess Tutu, while appropriate for the theme and character pictured, doesn't even have the titular character on it. Later compilations fixed the problem, though they had packaging issues.
  • Continuity Nod: A heart shard possessed lamp is taken home by Duck after she gives the shard back to Mytho, and it can be seen in her room in later episodes.
  • Cooking Duel: Not all of the dancing in Tutu are duels, but nearly all of the duels in the series involve dancing. Played more often for drama than laughs.
  • The Corruption: The Raven's blood has this effect on people, eventually turning them into crows.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Drosselmeyer wrote a story in his own blood after the Book Men cut off his hands. This is the story that is controlling the town.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The cutesy character designs and peaceful-looking fairytale town are deceiving. This is a surprisingly dark anime at times, particularly once the secrets of the town begin to be revealed.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Mytho is introduced in the first episode when Duck trips and is caught by him. Rue also met Mytho this way as a child.
  • Creepy Crows: If you see crows or ravens flying around, it's not a good sign. If they start flocking together and swarming, it's safest to shut yourself in your house until they're gone. If their leader shows up, you're screwed. This motif is also very prominent with Princess Kraehe and evil!Mytho.
  • Dance Battler: Well, of course. Tutu herself doesn't actually fight, but Fakir, Kraehe and Mytho do.
    • Dance Therapist/Talking the Monster to Death: Tutu's "combat" revolves more around talking to her opponent/dance partner about why they feel a particular emotion so strongly in order to release the heart shards of the prince, and to counteract the Evil!Mytho's attempts to steal hearts.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Despite Kraehe fully believing there was no way she could lose to Tutu in Episode 13, she still has the Love Shard soaked with Raven's blood, which still kept him to her if the shard was returned to him.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Rue's alter-ego, Princess Kraehe.
  • Darkest Hour: Most of akt 25, as well as the first half of akt 26.
  • The Dead Can Dance: The Wili Maiden, and the skeletons in the Depths of Despair. And you might count Drosselmeyer, as he does the occasional ballet step.
  • Defied Trope: Most of the main characters in the second season actively defy the roles they've been given.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Duck and Rue cross this in episode 25.
  • Determinator: Drosselmeyer. Hands cut off? No problem, just keep writing your stories in your own blood. Executed? Extend your reach from beyond the grave. It all just adds to the drama of your epic tragedy.
  • Disappears into Light: If Princess Tutu ever confesses her love for the prince she will become a speck of light.
  • Domestic Abuse: Fakir towards Mytho in season one, and Mytho towards Rue in season 2.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Fakir's entrance in "Black Shoes"
  • Dramatic Unmask: Fakir in episode 8, when his mask gets cracked and falls apart after a confrontation with Kraehe. Overlaps with the trope immediately above.
    • And a more subtle one much later on in the second season. As Kraehe finds out the truth - that she's a normal human that had been kidnapped by the Raven as an infant, her Dark Magical Girl transformation gradually reverses itself back into Rue's school uniform. After this, Kraehe never again makes an appearance in the series aside from flashbacks.
  • Dream Ballet: Duck evokes this at least twice.
  • Dream Sequence: Several, often foreshadowing future events.
  • Drosselmeyer Did It: Pretty much the perfect justification for any Fridge Logic in the entire show.
  • DVD Commentary: Included in the North American and Australian releases of the show. Some are of the voice actors (and are usually goofy), but others include the staff that wrote the dub explaining some of the references in the show and choices they made during translation. One even explains how the packaging was designed!
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Very minor, but the fairytale book is called The Prince and the Crow in the first few episodes before settling on The Prince and the Raven.
    • Relatively minor, but in the first episode at one point Drosselmeyer views Duck from the gear world through what appears to be a mirror. Every other time, he watches others through gears.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • The End of the Beginning: The last scene of the anime has the narrator stating that Fakir is starting "a new story full of hope."
  • "End of the World" Special: Before he starts on the story mentioned above, he breaks Drosselmeyer's control of the story and writes his own ending.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted — everything is not better with the two princesses in the show.
  • Exact Words: Princess Tutu cannot express words of love to her prince. When Kraehe puts her on the spot in the first season finale, Tutu conveys her feelings through dance instead.
  • Evil Wears Black: As fitting for this storybook world.
  • Expressive Hair: Occasionally, most often with Duck.
  • Eye Catch: Featuring Drosselmeyer and his leitmotif. One episode also has a gag eyecatch with Mr. Cat humming the Wedding March.
  • Failure Hero: In-universe. Duck sees herself as this as Season 2 goes on.
  • Failure Knight: Fakir, so much so that Kraehe mocks him for it.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: All over the place.
  • Fandom Specific Plot: If you write Princess Tutu fanfic, there's a good chance you've written a story in which Fakir writes a story to turn Duck back into a girl.
  • Fanservice: Although the Shirtless Scenes and Duck being nude when she transforms from a duck to a girl serve a purpose in the plot, it's hard to deny the fanservice-y component to the scenes.
    • And then you have the manga's version of Edel. Dang girl.
  • Fate Worse Than Death:
    • Subverted in that Duck spends much of the show worrying about and trying to avoid Princess Tutu's destiny to 'fade away' after saving the prince.
    • Traditionally done: Rue almost gets this at the end of the anime, when the Raven swallows her and sends her to "Despair", a ghostly world where she's forced to dance until she wastes away. Mytho saves her.
  • Faux Fluency: The show is implied to be set in Germany, and one scene has Fakir recite a long spell in German—but Chris Patton doesn't know German and had to memorize the lines off a recording. (Takahiro Sakurai likely had to do something similar.)
  • Feathered Fiend: The Raven and the crows, not to mention Princess Kraehe and Mytho, when he's turned into a crow.
  • Fictional Document: The Prince and the Raven
  • First Episode Spoiler: "Ahiru/Duck" isn't just a girl named "Duck". She really is a duck.
  • First Girl Wins: Rue was the first girl Mytho met after coming out of the story/losing his heart, and is the girl he finally ends up with.
  • Flower Motifs:
    • A single rose in a vase in Fakir and Mytho's dorm serves as a simile for Mytho's current state when seen in the anime, Princess Tutu and Prince Siegfried have flower-themed powers, Femio hands out roses as declarations of "love" are all over the place in this anime.
    • Episode 16 in its entirety, since it centers around a girl who absolutely adores flowers.
  • Foreshadowing: All. Over. To the point where early episodes that seem like filler couldn't be removed from the show without removing a lot of build up for what happens later in the series.
    • Every episode has something that becomes important later on, even Episode 17.
    • In the very first episode, Duck comments that Rue makes a better match for Mytho than she does.
    • More and more crows start to appear around town the further the story goes in, foreshadowing the story becoming darker.
    • The first gem that Ahiru/Duck asks for the name of from Edel? Hope!
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The. Whole. Damn. Town.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Duck is given one of these at the end of the anime: Give Mytho his final heart shard (her pendant) and watch as he rides off into the sunset with Rue, or keep the pendant for herself and continue being a girl?
  • Funny Background Event: Played for Drama, as Mr. Cat explaining to Miss Goatette why they can't be married is overheard by other characters and helps them understand themselves more.
  • Furry Confusion: Many of the town's residents are barely-anthropomorphized animals that act, dress, talk, and are treated like humans, but look more or less like real animals, bipedalism aside. Ordinary, inhuman animals are also seen. Then there's Duck, whose original form is an "ordinary duck" that doesn't wear clothes, can't speak German, can't go to school... and looks nothing like an actual duck, being more of a cartoonish, emotive Funny Animal duckling.
  • Genre Shift: Princess Tutu starts off an an innocuous Gotta Catch 'Em All Magical Girl series. If it stayed that way, this series's nickname wouldn't be Guitar Ninjas
  • Good Morning, Crono: The first episode of each season has Duck having a dream and waking up tumbling out of her bed.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Pieces of Mytho's heart. The final six are particularly challenging.
  • Grand Finale
  • Gratuitous German: The scene where Fakir retrieves Mytho's sword, plus nearly all of the text shown in the series. There's some hints that the show is set in Germany, or at least in the equivalent in the show's world.
  • Heart Trauma: Mytho is a Prince who sacrificed his heart to seal away the Raven.
  • Heroic BSOD: Duck has one after overhearing that Mytho (who had just gotten the heart shard of fear) is afraid of Tutu. It has such a profound effect on her that she actually tries to throw the pendant away.
  • Hidden Depths: Mr. Cat shows this sometimes when he escapes his usual Plucky Comic Relief status to give actual advice.
    • At one point, Duck asks Mr. Cat if there's any way to repair a damaged love. Instead of delivering one of his outlandish marriage proposals like he does in every other scene, he freezes and turns away, telling her gently that sometimes lost love simply can't be repaired.
    • Another time, when asked what to do about an impure love, he asks Fakir if Odile's love was impure.
    • Actually pretty much anytime one needs advice, Mr. Cat is always there to give very deep advice that usually helps the character. Though he will more often than not lead said conversation back to marriage.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The first two volumes of the anime in the US feature an extra of the dub actors cracking jokes and flubbing their lines.
  • Homage: The show is full of ballet and opera homages.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episode titles are in German, and the subtitles name the classical piece used as a theme in the episode. Also, instead of using the word "episode", they use "Akt" (German for "act").
  • Idiot Hair: Duck.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: This was the desire of the lamp spirit from akt 5.
  • I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Fakir and Mytho's duel in akt 20.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kraehe uses feathers as weapons.
  • Inner Monologue: Duck at different points, Rue in her backstory, Fakir in his backstory.
  • Intangible Time Travel: Happens to Rue when the story starts moving backwards.
  • Intimate Healing: In a flashback, Rue takes water into her mouth and kisses an unconscious, dehydrated Mytho to revive him.
  • Invisible Parents: Very few of the kids ever mention their parents, likely because they're all living in a boarding school. None of the main four seem to have parents over the course of the story. We never see any duck parents for Duck, Mytho is a storybook character and thus wouldn't have been born the same way as a genuine human being (note that he doesn't age because the story hasn't moved forward), Fakir's parents died to protect him when he was just a boy, and Rue was kidnapped as a child. Even if her parents were still alive at the end of the story, she would have no idea who they were or how to contact them. Given that it's been over a decade since her disappearance, Rue's parents likely stopped searching for her as well.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Kraehe's transformation at first; it is never clear whether Duck/Ahiru or Drosselmeyer controls the Princess Tutu transformation - in the first season, it appears he does, while in the second it seems more like Duck/Ahiru is in control. However, Duck/Ahiru doesn't control when she switches back and forth from a girl and a duck—when she quacks, she turns into a duck, and when she gets wet she turns back into a girl, as long as she has her pendant on. However, she starts using it to her advantage pretty quickly.
  • In Name Only: The manga version bears little resemblance to the anime, including removing nearly all of the fairytale elements and turning Edel into a human shopkeeper who fills Drosselmeyer's role (including being the Big Bad).
  • In the Name of the Moon: "Please, won't you dance with me...?"
  • Jerk Ass: Autor (at first, anyway), Drosselmeyer, Mytho once he's been corrupted
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fakir starts out as a straight-up Jerk Ass before shifting into this role for much of the series. By the end he's a much better person.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Every episode has something important to the main plot, even if it seems like filler.
  • Journey To The Center Ofthe Mind: In the first season, many of Tutu's "battles" take place on a mental plane as she encourages acknowledgement of one's true feelings.
  • Kiss of Death: Princess Kraehe kisses Mytho while she literally rips a piece of his heart from his chest.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Rue, the school's best dancer, wears a red leotard instead of the typical blue that everyone else wears. On the flip side, Duck indicates herself as the odd one out in her ballet class by wearing a white leotard.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Duck and many other characters (usually those whom just entered the town) seem to notice something suspicious early in the show (mostly animals as people). However they quickly forget about this shortly after noticing.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Duck is Light, Rue is Dark, especially while in their Magical Girl alter egos.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Duck in season 2, which eventually causes the story to stop.
  • Look Behind You: To keep Duck from telling Mytho that she's Tutu at the start of the second season, Fakir uses this. While his excuses seem very outlandish to viewers, it actually could have happened in the story.
    Duck: Um, I... Well, the truth is... The truth is...
    Duck: QUACK!
    (Fakir yanks Mytho and faces him away from Duck just in time for him to miss her turning into a duck.)
    Fakir: ...Is flying right over there. ...No, maybe it's a crocodile?
    Mytho: There's nothing there. And Princess Tutu and a crocodile are totally different anyway, Fakir. ...Fakir?
    Fakir: Oh? Right. Maybe I was just imagining things. I really thought I saw a flying cow, but...
  • Loop Hole Abuse: Duck can't tell Mytho she loves him or else she'll turn into a speck of light. It didn't say anything about dancing.
  • Loss of Identity: Duck grapples over who Tutu is in relation to herself and whether she's just a part in a story or not.
  • The Lost Lenore: Akt 3 gives us a male example with the restaurant owner's husband. She finds herself completely unable to move on without him, to the point she no longer finds joy in her cooking and spends more time trying to persuade her customers to stay as long as possible. Of course, being possessed by the Prince's heart shard of loneliness doesn't help either.
  • Lovable Marriage Maniac: Mr. Cat, with his strangely endearing tendency to propose/threaten marriage to his underage students
  • Love Dodecahedron: Relationships can be rather complicated in this show.
  • Love Epiphany
  • Love Letter Lunacy: In one episode, Duck's friends write a fake love letter from her to Fakir.
  • Love Triangle: Several.
    • The main one in focus throughout the series is Duck -> Mytho <- Rue. This triangle is unusual in the sense that the main heroine doesn't win this one.
    • Starting late in season 1, Fakir -> Duck -> Mytho. The fan guide confirmed that Fakir loves Duck, although her feelings for him are never truly explained one way or the other.
    • Episode 20 centers around a love triangle between Fakir's foster father Karon, his childhood friend Raetsel, and Raetsel's fiance Hans, like so: Karon <- Raetsel <-> Hans
    • Toward the end of the series, Autor -> Rue <-> Mytho.
  • Luminescent Blush: A large chunk of the characters do this at some point, but it's when Fakir does it that you know the scene's going to be funny.
  • Magical Girl
  • Magic Pants: Averted when Duck turns from a girl to a duck, but played straight when she turns into Princess Tutu.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted for Princess Tutu (they aren't afraid to show the bottom of her leotard for the sake of accurately animating her dances, but then that's Truth in Television for lots of ballerinas). Played straight almost every other time a character dances in a skirt, though. Mytho also jumps out of a window twice! wearing nothing but an unbuttoned shirt that barely hits the tops of his thighs and manages to not flash the camera.
  • Male Gaze: In one scene, Autor is following behind Rue, and the camera focuses on Rue's back and slowly...pans down to examine her rear end and legs. The camera then switches to show Autor looking downwards and blushing, implying that the view we were seeing was from Autor's point of view.
  • Marionette Motion: When Princess Tutu is made to dance in Drosselmeyer's world.
    • And early in Season 2, Pique does a bit of this when Mytho is trying to take her heart. Justified in that she's dancing the Waltz Of The Dolls from the ballet Coppelia.
  • Meaningful Name: Pretty much everyone.
  • Mental World: Mindscapes created by the heart shards; they allow even normal people to have powers when Tutu tries to take the shards.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Mytho, at various points in the series. The girls he goes after in Season 2 get this, too.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Well a tutu is a mini dress anyway.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Mytho when he mimes the sign of love in an attempt to ward off The Corruption in the direction of another boy. Most of the girls in class are shocked and/or disappointed — not because he's gay (half of them were probably shipping him with Fakir already), but because the boy in question was Femio.
  • Morality Pet: Duck seems to be this for people when she's in her original duck form. The characters will often just break down and confess their problems to her if they come across her.
  • Ms. Exposition: Edel is an in-universe one: she is a puppet made for just this purpose by Drosselmeyer. The second season also adds a more traditional Mr. in the form of Autor.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Duck at the end of episode 6, after giving Mytho the heart shard of fear.
    • Later Rue, after she learns just how much crows blood can corrupt a person.
      Rue: My love has made you into this. I have no right to love you.
  • Narrator: Every episode begins with a narrator telling a story that relates to the plot of the episode in some way (some more than others). Drosselmeyer also serves as a sort of narrator in some scenes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • It turns out that five of the remaining pieces of the prince's heart are actually the seal that protects the town from the Monster Raven. Guess what happens when they're taken away.
    • Fakir does this around the midway point of the anime, as well. Kraehe tries to make Mytho destroy his feeling of love with the enchanted sword, and Fakir breaks Mytho's sword with his own to stop it from happening. Unfortunately, aside from The Power of Love, the only way to save Mytho's heart from raven blood is to remove it with the enchanted sword... As Fakir finds out one episode later. Oops.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the second season, Drosselmeyer taking Tutu captive, telling her about the fact that she's a story character and trying to force her into a Sadistic Choice made her realize she didn't want to follow his commands anymore.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The town in the series is based on Nordlingen, a German town.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Duck tries to distract Rue from seeing Mytho with another girl, but Rue just smiles and brushes off the silly duck flailing about her feet. Duck tries again in her human form, but doesn't make it in time to stop Rue from seeing Mytho. It turns out that Rue's not bothered by it, since she knows that Mytho's heartless and not truly interested in the other girl. She does thank Duck for her concern, though.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Raven tries to eat the heart of his daughter, Kraehe, when she fails to deliver him a sacrifice. Later, he eats her as punishment for saving the Prince (but she gets better). Of course, it turns out she isn't his real daughter, and he kidnapped her as a baby.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch Phrase: "All children who love stories, come, gather round..."
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Subverted in episode 5 — Duck isn't being asked the riddles to test her, the voice is simply trying to communicate with her in a very fairytale-esque way.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: the most notable example being in the first episode, when Duck has dreams of being a duck. Turns out, she wasn't far off.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Fakir and Mytho's nightmares/flashbacks, plus Fakir's conversation with the Oak Tree.
  • Panty Shot: Quite a few in the anime during the girls' ballet sequences. There are more perverted instances in the manga, though.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Both Princess Kraehe and Princess Tutu look exactly like Rue and Duck, respectively, except wearing elaborate ballet outfits and with different hairstyles, and yet very few people are able to figure out who they really are, and those who do take quite a long time to accomplish it. It turns out that anyone outside the main cast simply sees Tutu as a huge, white swan; something similar may apply to Kraehe, but she never makes a public appearance like Tutu.
    • Everyone except Femio, who going off his dialogue when faced down with both Tutu and Kraehe, sees human girls, and not two swans.
  • People Puppets
  • Pet The Duck: When Fakir finds Duck (in duck form) in his locker, he sneaks her out and feeds her. This is the first indication that there's more to him than just being a Jerkass.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • For the festival in Akt 5, Mytho and Rue dress like nobility from renaissance times.
    • And Rue gets a nice white one at the end of the final episode, as Mytho/Siegfried's princess.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: A running gag throughout the series, thanks to Duck's clothes not transforming with her.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: The Fan-Preferred Couple of Fakir/Ahiru(Duck) is usually called Fakiru. The Mark Does Stuff commentators coined Team Fuck for the dub version.
  • Post Modernism
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Happens to Fakir after he shatters Mytho's sword at the end of the first season. Also happens to Duck in "Wandering Knight ~ Egmont Ouvertüre" (after a battle with the titular ghost) and in the beginning of "The Prince and the Raven ~ Danse Macabre". Oh, and then there's Autor after he tackles the Book Man... okay, the series likes this trope a lot.
  • The Power of Blood
  • The Power of Love
  • The Power Of Rock Ballet: Arguably, since the transformations, battles, and most storylines are based around ballet.
  • The Promise: Fakir's promise to Duck in the lake before the finale.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Many of the show's songs are classical ballet pieces.
  • Puni Plush
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Subverted with Rue, but played straight as an arrow with the monster raven.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: A variation involving Kraehe.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: Several of the settings that Drosselmeyer created just for his story.
  • Reflective Eyes
  • Reincarnation: Fakir is one of the Knight from the story.
  • Rescue Romance: Tutu saves Mytho the first time they meet, and does so in several other episodes. There's several other pairings that have a rescue involved, as well.
  • Rewriting Reality: Those of Drosselmeyer's bloodline can do this.
  • Running Gag: Several—most of the Catch Phrases are running gags, for example. The most beloved is probably Fakir seeing Duck naked and freaking out.
  • Say My Name: Tutu and Fakir paralleled: when she rescues him from the Knowledge Tree and when he rescues her from Drosselmeyer. Also Rue proclaiming her true love, and Mytho when he rescues Rue.
  • Schmuck Banquet: In the third act, as a reference to "Hansel and Gretel".
  • Screw Destiny: The entire second half of the anime (see the quote above).
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Duck, because she is a duck, turns back into a duck whenever she acts like a duck, thus leaving an empty pile of clothing behind.
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Every now and then, this old folktale is referenced in the way Tutu appears to people.
  • Ship Tease: The show's promo heavily implies Fakir kisses Duck. Nothing like that happens in the show, so it was probably there to up the demographic by drawing in shippers.
  • Shirtless Scene: Several, normally to show off Fakir's birthmark.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Drosselmeyer gets his kicks out of these sorts of endings, and is hopping to give the series itself one.
  • Shout-Out: Neko-sensei/Mr. Cat's mentor Nyajinsky/Meowjinsky is a reference to the performer Nijinsky and the series is full of other ballet-related references.
  • Shown Their Work: The dances are all actual ballet pieces.
  • Show Within a Show: Four-fold, with 1) a ballet-structured story, about kids attending a ballet school, whose battles are ballet dances. 2) the school puts on both a ballet and a dramatic play. 3) the story of the Prince & The Raven. 4) Gold Crown Town itself is a story written by Drosselmeyer, and the characters from the Prince & the Raven story are reincarnated as actual people into the town's living story.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Tutu's more on the idealistic scale, particularly considering that in the end, the emotion of Hope is what is the key to the final victory—and what Princess Tutu has represented all along, and Fakir changes dramatically from Cynicism to Idealism over the course.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: The relationship fate-free will varies a lot. Fate can be fought but some things can't be changed like Duck being stuck as a duck. Ultimately this show's Arc Words explain it better: "Those who accept their fate find happiness; those who defy it, glory."
  • Slow Clap: In Akt 2, after Duck and Rue's pas de deux, the entire class remains speechless, until the silence is broken by Fakir clapping. Then Mytho starts clapping as well, and everyone else does the same.
  • Small Reference Pools: The show notably doesn't have one. You can impress college professors with the knowledge of classical music you get from this show!
  • Snicket Warning Label: The first season's ending is a perfectly normal happy ending, and except for a small reminder that there's still some loose strings to tie up, it feels like an actual ending. Then the second season rolls around...
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the final episode, the uplifting Waltz of the Flowers theme plays during a hopeful scene of Duck dancing and continues playing as the crows peck her and beat her up.
  • Spanner in the Works: Uzura, and to a lesser extent Edel.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Revolutionary Girl Utena and to Junichi Sato's earlier fairytale Magical Girl show, Prétear.
  • Stealth Pun: In episode 6, when Mr. Cat meets the lead ballerina of the dance troupe, he starts dancing a pas de chat. GEDDIT? BECAUSE HE'S A CAT.
    • Near the end of the series Fakir decides to rewrite the story instead of staying a Knight. The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • Story Arc: Every episode fits into the story of the series, but there's definitely a clear differentiation between the two seasons. They seem like two different arcs that form together to create a whole.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: A Cloudcuckoolander in the second season claims, completely out of the blue, Duck's "inner world" is a duck.
  • Super Window Jump: Fakir in akt 9.
  • Surprise Creepy
  • Surreal Humor: The anthropomorphic characters are funny in a strange way.
  • Swan Boats: The Prince uses a flying chariot pulled by swans to return to his story with his Princess.
  • Sword Limbo: Fakir in akt 13.
  • Take My Hand:
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Duck's Heroic BSOD at the end of akt 6 eventually drives her to renounce Tutu and drop her pendant into a stream in akt 7. However, Mytho, who's come to realize he wants all of his heart back, is able to talk her into continuing to search for the heart shards.
  • The Teaser: All of the episodes open with a fairytale told by a female narrator and illustrated by charcoal drawings.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Mytho's prone to saying what he feels; justified as he's used to not feeling anything and has no idea what the emotions are.
  • Theme Naming: Several people in this town, including the main character herself, have names that are either animal names outright (Ahiru/Duck, Neko-sensei/Mr. Cat) or are animal names with a name-suffix attached to it (Anteaterina, Miss Goatette).
  • There Was a Door: Fakir's dramatic window-crashing scene in Akt 9.
  • They Fight Crime: The premise of the show is really a little silly sounding. It's how the thing is pulled off that makes the series truly shine.
  • Those Two Girls: Pique and Lilie.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pique and Lilie, respectively.
  • Transformation Name Announcement: The manga version has Tutu say "I am Princess Tutu! I dance to guide your heart!" after every transformation.
  • Transformation Sequence: Obviously, since it's a magical girl show — although it's rather short for most in its genre.
  • Translation Convention: It's implied all of the characters are really speaking German, not Japanese or English.
  • Threshold Guardians: The heart shard of Fear, and Fakir's struggle to overcome his fears of the story-spinning powers.
  • To Become Human
  • Transformation Trauma: Princess Kraehe's transformation, and Mytho's transformation into a crow.
  • Tutu Fancy: Let's face it, you have an anime about magical ballet princesses, you want to give your two most important characters a little something to their designs.
    • Main character Duck's ballet persona Princess Tutu wears a very sensible costume... with three tendrils well long enough to get caught in her legs.
    • Deuteragonist Rue's costume as evil seductive Princess Kraehe is black with a bodice that has barely enough cloth for an Absolute Cleavage and nothing, nothing else yet it somehow stays in place as if glued to the skin. Now you can achieve the same look on an RL ballet stage but it'll need one, an experienced costumer to work a small miracle with skin-coloured ("invisible") fabric and two, a very, eh, "modern" production to be allowed in the first place.
  • Two Act Structure: Of the "Parallel" variety.
  • Un Duet: Princess Tutu dances a pas de deux by herself.
  • Uncanny Village : Duck is quite possibly the first to notice that something is wrong. For starters, she is the only one that realizes the weirdness of having a talking cat as a teacher, and animal classmates. When Duck tries to get outside of the town, she is unable to. She also realizes that people spontaneously materialize, as if they had always existed, at the town's entrances. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue reveals that the town was actually a real town trapped in Drosselmeyer's story.
  • Unrequited Tragic Maiden: Interesting in how both The Heroine and the Anti Villainess vie for this position. Considering that Drosselmeyer was trying to write a tragedy, it's not that surprising. And considering the theme of the show, it's not surprising that they both subvert this role.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Duck and Fakir. There's hints of it throughout the series, but it only became blatant during and after Akt 12.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Duck can sometimes control when she turns into a duck or a girl... although she can also accidentally trigger the transformations.
  • Walk on Water:
    • The danceoff at the end of the first season between Kraehe and Tutu takes place on top of a lake.
    • In the first episode Mytho dances, apparently naked, on top of a lake, while Duck watches hidden in the rushes.
  • WAFF: Due to the Bittersweet Ending and there being even more female fanfic writers in this fandom than normal, WAFFy fanfics pop up quite often, particularly ones where Fakir either turns Duck back into a girl, or turns himself into a duck.
  • Weirdness Censor: Most of the people in Gold Crown are literally unable to realize there's anything odd about the town, thanks to Drosselmeyer's story controlling the town.Duck seems to be the only one who thinks it's weird having a cat for a teacher.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: There was one included at the end of the last episode while the credits rolled, but the future lives of the characters were so vague and quickly shown that many fans are left unsatisfied. On the other hand, it seems the purpose of the epilogue was to give a glimpse into the characters' lives afterward without revealing too much so as the viewer could widely interpret what would happen next.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Kinkan/Gold Crown/Goldekrone isn't given a specific location, although fanon assumes it's set in Germany (since nearly all of the text shown in-series is German, including a map of the town where the "Goldekrone" name is taken from, and the town itself is heavily based on Nordlingen, Bavaria).
  • Wingding Eyes: Lilie gets these a lot.
  • World Tree: The Oak Tree from akt 21.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Early episodes of Season 2 reveal that Princess Kraehe had no intention of destroying Mytho's heart shard of love. While the results of episode 13 didn't go quite the way she had planned (her intention was to get Tutu out of the way via Heroic Sacrifice), they nonetheless went in her (and the Raven's) favor.
  • X Meets Y: Neil Gaiman meets Fantasia.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Anybody not directly part of the story sees Princess Tutu as a giant glowing swan wearing a crown.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Raven tries to eat Kraehe's heart after she fails to bring him a sacrifice one time too many.

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alternative title(s): Princess Tutu
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