Okay. If you haven’t seen Princess Tutu, and you can tolerate anything animated at all, you need to see Princess Tutu.
What is Princess Tutu you ask? It’s a magical girl anime. About a rather clumsy ballerina in love with a handsome, empty boy. To protect him, to restore his shattered heart, she turns into a magical girl. Who doesn’t so much defeat her enemies as she soothes whatever is foreign and broken in them, setting them free from a burden they shouldn’t have to bear.
Except, as it turns out, she’s not a girl. She’s a duck. She’s a duck who becomes a girl, who becomes a magical girl. And a mysterious force, long dead and long simmering, is pulling the strings. Nothing is as it seems, and allies and enemies aren’t as stable as you would think.
The whole thing mirrors the tale of Swan Lake, with a prince and his love, a dark magician and his lovelorn daughter, and a knight who sees the truth, and every episode uses the music and the concept of a classical ballet.
Oh, and her instructor is a giant cat.
It. Is. Fantastic. Find it. Watch it. See the story that coined the phrase, “He seems legit. We should trust him!”
And if gorgeous ballet or classical music isn’t so much your thing, what about fairy tales and archetypes and the idea of characters set on certain paths by an author struggling with their places in a story? Mixed in with the Swan Lake are many other bits of tales with their own great characters, as well as fascinating (for me anyway) themes of the power of storytelling.
And it’s pretty and colorful and just really, really fun.