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Analysis / Princess Tutu

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The Growth of Fakir and Ahiru

Fakir and Ahiru had a rough start at the beginning, with Fakir calling the Ahiru an "eyesore" to her face and the latter shoving him into the wall. Not exactly romantic, is it?

But both of their hearts were in the right places. Both wanted to protect Mytho. The problem was that the two did not agree on how to do so. Ahiru's alter-ego was Princess Tutu. With every heart shard returned, Mytho regained more of his emotions and consequentially, the story progressed. Princess Tutu was meant to drive the story forward. Ahiru had been pulled into Drosselmeyer because it had stalled. Fakir was the knight reborn and destined to die. So it makes sense that he'd try to halt the story, which means stopping Princess Tutu. Right away they play contrasting characters.

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In Akt. 10, Ahiru in her duck form searched for her pendant. She sees that Fakir has taken her pendant and follows him; in the process of reclaiming it, she finds that there’s a lot more to him than she initially realized. In his dorm room is when she sees the birthmark across his chest—a reminder of the fate the story planned for him. It’s during this time that she learned more about him and is a significant turning point in their relationship. After the confrontation with Karon, Fakir ran out to the pond, where his stoic exterior breaks and he begins to cry. Ahiru realized that he was not as mean as he originally seemed and that he only wanted to protect Mytho. She gained a better understanding of his motivations and actions due to learning that he was the knight reborn. Instead of perceiving him to be a villain, she then saw him in a more compassionate light. She swam up to him, tears in her eyes. Fakir hugged the duck to his chest and when he feels better, gave the pendant to the duck. It’s in this moment that he completely trusts her—a duck. He saw her as her true self and she was the one who saw him at his lowest point. He’d run off to the lake to be alone, unwilling to let even his foster father see him cry. But Fakir was alright with letting the duck see him in a pathetic state. He revealed himself when he was at his weakest.

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Akt. 10 also opened with the story of Cinderella, with the girl becoming a princess and falling in love with the prince. But the story ended with "Did the prince really love the girl after all?" At one point in the anime, Ahiru explicitly stated that Mytho didn’t truly like her, but Princess Tutu. It turns out that Mytho was only infatuated with Princess Tutu since she represented the hope of him getting his heart back. He chose Rue as his princess in the end. Ahiru shared some striking similarities with Cinderella: both were originally overlooked girls that became more beautiful versions of themselves and danced with their princes. Additionally, for the duration of both the fairytale and anime, the princes only saw the girls as their beautiful alter-egos. Neither saw the girls as their true selves until the end of the story with Prince Charming seeing Cinderella as the servant girl and Mytho connecting duck!Ahiru with Princess Tutu. This implies that whatever feelings the two had for each other weren’t exactly substantial, hinting at the ending. Furthermore, when Cinderella lost her shoe, it was found by her Prince Charming, who kept it to search for the girl it belongs to. When Ahiru lost the pendant in Akt 10, Fakir found it and tried using it to discover Tutu’s true identity—just like the prince of the fairytale. However, Fakir was considered a knight, not a prince, so the anime presented a subversion from the tale.

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In contrast to Mytho, Fakir saw Ahiru in all three forms—duck, girl, ballerina princess. He still fell in love with her. Mytho was more fascinated by an idealized version—Princess Tutu—of Ahiru. Fakir promised to stay by her side forever, even when she would be stuck as a bird after giving up her pendant to save Mytho. They saw each other's strengths and weaknesses and fears. Fakir fought at Ahiru's side, danced with her, cried with her—they grew in ways together that Ahiru and Mytho hadn’t. They actually got to know and understand each other well. Ahiru's affection for Mytho is not unlike a crush on the cute guy you barely know. She explicitly stated to Fakir that "[she] didn't know why she liked Mytho. [She] just thought he was handsome and wanted to see him smile” (Akt. 12). Her love was moreso altruistic rather than romantic. She wanted to give him his heart back—it was a part of her generous, compassionate nature.

Moreover, after the pair were attacked by crows and fell off the ledge, Ahiru revealed herself as the duck to Fakir. Arguably the duck was her weakest form since she had no power. She trusted him with a secret that she told no one. No one else knew of the connection between the girl, the duck, and the princess. Already the two have come far from being at each other’s throats to Ahiru being more friendly to him.

In Akt. 18, Fakir fought a ghost knight, an opponent that he knew he probably couldn't defeat. He told Ahiru beforehand to not intervene; they would die at each other's blades. But she refused to listen. When the ghost knight attacked Fakir, Ahiru as Princess Tutu leapt in front of the knight's weapon to save him without hesitation. She had no armor—only a white tutu. Had Fakir not pulled her out of the way, she would have been killed. In that moment, Ahiru was only focused on keeping him from harm. She wasn’t thinking of the consequences to her wellbeing. Ahiru was willing to die so that Fakir remained safe from harm, but wasn’t willing to turn into a speck of light for Mytho at the end of the anime. This revealed that Ahiru had moved from an infatuation with the prince to developing a strong bond with Fakir. The two faced trials together and were there for each other. They formed a solid partnership that was more substantial.

In Akt. 24, when the Raven was revived, Rue sacrificed herself to save the prince by confessing that she loved him. The Raven imprisoned her in Despair, where she would dance until she wasted away. It was presented as a fate worse than death—much like turning into a speck of light. Ahiru wasn't able to sacrifice herself for Mytho. She wasn't willing to be so selfless as to let herself fade away like she was in Akt. 13. At this point, the characters developed more autonomy from the story, and Ahiru had grown more since that point. She developed her own selfish desires and wanted something for herself rather than freely giving away everything to everyone. She confessed to Fakir that she could not do what Rue had. Ahiru wasn’t willing to sacrifice for Mytho the way she was earlier. At this point she was no longer infatuated with him. Rue continued to love Mytho even as he became more poisoned by the Raven’s blood while Ahiru became more distant from him.

After taking Rue, the Raven imprisoned Mytho and told Princess Tutu to return the last piece of prince's heart. The last shard was her pendent but she was unable to take it off. Ahiru realized that it would only come off if she died. She jumped in the Lake of Despair to drown herself and Fakir dove in after her. In one of the endings to Swan Lake, the princess drowned herself in the lake with her prince going in after her—just like Fakir followed Ahiru. The prince and princess died in Swan Lake, however, Fakir wasn’t a prince and Ahiru wasn’t a princess and neither died. For some reason, they could breathe in the lake. This further showed how both of them defied their fates, subverting Drosselmeyer’s intended tragedy together.

The two shared an intimate pas de deux, which happened to be from Romeo and Juliet's The Last Farewell, which was the last time the lovers saw each other before they died. Likewise, this episode was the last time Fakir and Ahiru saw each other in person with Ahiru as a human. She admitted that she didn’t want to give up being a girl and dancing with her friends. That was why the pendent wouldn’t come off. She didn’t want to give up everything for Mytho’s sake out of fear of being alone. Because of this, Ahiru felt ashamed, but Fakir explained that it was normal and no one except Mytho wanted the story to end. It was then that Fakir promised to stay by her side forever. Now comforted that she won't be alone, Ahiru was willing to become a duck once more. She mentioned that Fakir always made her feel stronger. What this shows is that the two encourage and comfort the other, withstanding the trials of Drosselmeyer together. The pendent came off because Fakir helped to Ahiru accept permanently staying as a duck.

After the two climb out the lake, Ahiru told Fakir to write a story about her. He was still inexperienced with the story-spinning powers and rewriting reality, however, Ahiru trusted him enough. This demonstrated how much their relationship had grown over the course of the anime. They went from clashing characters to a compatible partnership with a lot of trust between them. Moreover, Ahiru is the only one Fakir could write a successful story about. He mentioned being unable to write about Mytho. Part of writing is being able to understand your characters. Think about it: Fakir knew Ahiru that well.

The final episode ended with Fakir sitting at the docks and Ahiru swimming in the pond next to him, revealing that he intended on keeping his promise. The ending was left open for fans to interpret how they wish. Maybe the two would have a better ending, and maybe they won't. It was a relationship that had no hope in the beginning, but was filled with hope in the end. The two have distinctly different personalities, but both complemented the other and challenged the other to become a stronger person.

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