Princess Tutu: The Eastern Animation with Western Themes, Part two

Let’s talk visual style.


Attention to detail

One thing that is interesting about Princess Tutu is the attention to detail. I mentioned this before in Part One: the dances in Tutu are choreographed and can actually be danced (Aside from the Flower Waltz powers). The characters are very lean and cartoon-like, but they still move in a believable fashion. In addition, dancers themselves often are more lean and long-legged, and the animation style seems to have embraced that. An advantage this creates is the lines of the characters mimic the lines of a real dancer. And since Ballet has a strong emphasis on line, power, and grace, it fits perfectly.


Ballet themes

Unique to Princess Tutu is the use of Western fairytale themes. Ballets are generally based upon fairytales or legends. Although originating in Italy during the Renaissance, Ballet developed into what we know today thanks to Russia and France. Because of this very Western origin, classical Ballets have their roots in European legends and folktales. A wonderful example of this, and one of the primary themes in Princess Tutu, is Swan Lake.


Swan Lake, Princess Tutu, And Princess Kraehe: The White Swan and The Black Swan

Although the origins of Swan Lake are still disputed, it became a Ballet with help of composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in the mid 1870s. Nowadays, it is the quintessential Ballet and one of the two most well-known, alongside The Nutcracker, which is also composed by Tchaikovsky.

In Swan Lake, There is a Swan Princess named Odette. The prince, Siegfried, meets her in the first act and they fall madly in love. She is cursed to be a swan, except during moonlight hours, and the only way to break this curse is through the love and devotion of marriage.

This is the inspiration for the heroine princess, Princess Tutu.


Siegfried, pledged to marry Odette, attends a feast. A beautiful woman, clad in black, arrives. She has a striking resemblance to his beloved Odette, but she is another woman named Odile (in productions of Swan Lake, Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina) He dances with her and announces that he will marry this woman. Arrangements are made, and only after does he realize the mistake he has made.

Odile is the inspiration for the tragic princess, Princess Kraehe.


Both their costumes and their personalities are (loosely) modeled after Odette and Odile. The most obvious being that Princess Tutu is clad in white and Princess Kraehe is clad in black. Their stories share threads with their Swan Lake counterparts, but take unique twists and turns that help develop these two into unique and special characters.


What was your impression with the style of Princess Tutu?

How do you feel about the inspiration for Kraehe and Tutu?

For more information about Swan Lake:

Swan Lake Origins or Lack Thereof

Wikipedia: Swan Lake

Swan Lake Synopsis

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