“I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”…(Malachi 1:2)
When I was a child, it seemed silly to me that God would put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. If he knew Adam and Eve would disobey him, why did he give them the chance? I’ve eventually come to understand why: that God decided to give us the choice. He allowed us to stray from him. He didn’t have to give us free will, but he did.
I didn’t think that an anime called Princess Tutu would make me ponder that again. It was a long time before I decided to take a chance with what seemed like an average magic girl anime. Happily, I was wrong. Princess Tutu has a unique kind of storytelling that draws from many different fairy tales and ballets, searching deeper into the somewhat darker themes in them that it’s easy to miss. It tells the story of a town where reality and fantasy have been melded together. This happened when two enemies, a noble Prince and an evil Raven, leave the unfinished story they had fought in. The Prince manages to seal away the Raven, but shatters his heart into many pieces to accomplish this. The story comes to a stand-still, and the Prince becomes devoid of all emotion.
In the middle of this, a small Duck appears. She sees the Prince, and feels deeply sorry for him. She then becomes a character in the story, and by transforming into Princess Tutu, is able to return the pieces of the Prince’s heart to him. She grows to love the Prince (whose named Mytho), but according to the story, if she ever tells him this, she will disappear in a flash of light.
The thing is, even though getting his heart returned to him can be painful, Mytho still wants it back. His friends, on the other hand, don’t. Rue, his girlfriend, is an interesting case in particular. She desperately wants Mytho to love her. As his feelings are returned to him, she becomes terrified that he won’t love her anymore, and that he’ll love someone else. Out of this fear, she tries to prevent Mytho from getting his heart back by becoming Princess Kraehe.
Duck (or Ahiru if you’re watching the subs) has the same fear. In fact, as the series continues, it becomes less and less likely that Mytho will return her love. It doesn’t help that if she can’t tell him her feelings for fear of disappearing. Even still, she keeps returning Mytho’s heart to him, because she understands that without feelings and the will to choose, whatever “love” Mytho can give her is useless. Even when his heart is poisoned by the evil Raven and he no longer acts like the Prince she loved, she continues to give him his heart back in the hopes that he can be saved.
Kraehe/Rue, on the other hand, tries to take his heart away, and is bitterly disappointed. She finds herself completely unsatisfied, because Mytho’s words of love mean nothing. She soaks his heart in Raven’s blood, so that he will be manipulated by the raven and love her, but he becomes cruel and selfish, and she only wants someone to love her even more.
Many people, for whatever reason, choose not to love God. Many also hate him, or deny his existence. God could have chose to force us to love him- He definitely had the power to- But like Princess Tutu, he knew that love isn’t real love if it is forced, and that forcing someone to love you isn’t being loving. Even though each of us, like Mytho, who chose to follow the Raven, make choices that hurt ourselves, others, and God, he still allows us choose for ourselves. He wanted us to be real people, not emotionless dolls, like Mytho was. God doesn’t want us to be forced to love him, he wants us to choose to love him, because only then does our love mean anything.
Just one more thing…
In episode 18, I noticed something interesting that the Cruel raven says to Kraehe:
You will not be loved by anyone but me and the Prince in the story. Do you understand me, daughter? And there is no way that you will ever be loved so much that someone would forfeit his own life for you. Remember that well…And if you stand in the Prince’s way again, you will lose even my love.
I always thought that the Raven would have great similarities to Satan, and I still believe that I was right. He would have us believe that God doesn’t love us at all.
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11 thoughts on “Princess Tutu: God’s Love and the Gift of Free Will”
I’ve heard enough about this show to know that it’s good, or at least food for thought, but the first episode kind of scared me off and I find myself putting it off and off without end…
What scared you off? Because I can say up front that this is a really awesome and deep show. I did take a very long break halfway, I can’t really remember why, but I regret doing so and wish I’d watched it all at once.
I will openly admit this- I didn’t like Princess Tutu until the fourth episode.
But I think maybe my reasons for not liking it are different from yours? Like Lynna says, it’s an amazing show, that really does make you think, and is a terrific romance besides. I highly recommend setting a date for watching it again (like tomorrow) and doing it.
(as an aside, ironic that I post my review for it on my own site the day this gets posted. Love it!)
Good post! I’ll have to try watching Princess Tutu again sometimes. Though the name itself kind of scares me away…
The fact that God gives us a choice to love Him is one I’ve chewed on many times. It’s the choice that makes love that much more precious.
I’m glad you liked it! God’s Love is indeed a wonderful thing. And The name scared me too. I actually understand why they called the show Princess Tutu- She becomes a very important figure in the story. However, What I cannot understand why they had to have “Tutu” in her name. Still, don’t let it scare you! It’s actually one of the least frilly/girly magic girl anime I’ve ever seen. It’s really deep and unpredictable! Give it a chance! 🙂
90% of the people who watch Princess Tutu are initially put off by the name. Brilliant anime, though.
I like the comparisons between the Raven and Satan. I hadn’t considered looking at the story from that particular point of view, since the Raven is mostly a background character- relegated to brief cameos and sinister warnings. Of course, my thoughts are on whether Drosselmeyer could be considered the same way… or his ability to manipulate more like God, and choosing to defy the fate he writes about to be looked down on?
In many ways, Drosselmeyer is like a god. He’s omnipresent, and definitely controls the story to a certain point. However, he bears little resemblance to God as viewed by Christianity. Although God does allow bad things to happen, Drosselmeyer WANTS them to happen, and not for the good of the characters, but because he…likes tragedies? XD I did consider comparing him to Satan,but somehow the comparison doesn’t really work. Although he’s twisted, he does seem to have a sort of fondness toward the characters, and other than forcing a tragedy on them, he doesn’t seem to be totally cruel.
The way he Raven was treated was interesting, because initially I thought he would be the main antagonist. But although he is doubtlessly evil to the core, he doesn’t really do much, except pose a threat.
This show has helped me be a better writer and I’m grateful to have watched it.
That’s good to hear. Would you care to share how? I always recommend this show to my friends who enjoy writing, but I’ve never actually had is improve my own writing.
Well for one the storytelling element was something I never thought about in having the main character be a non main character in Drosselmeyer’s story. Princess Tutu was overall a unneeded character who’s worth was considered insignificant to “the” overarching plot of characters yet Duck is the character who changes everything and invokes change in “every” single character in the show. When I write my characters and how their going to fit into the plot now I actually try not to focus on having characters that are main characters but secondary characters. Before watching Princess Tutu I never thought much of the secondary characters and now I take care to have them be just as developed as the so called main characters.
Character development was awe inspiring with the characters personalities in the happier moments of the story being entirely believable and when the story became darker the personalities were still entirely believable. After watching the show I take extreme care in having the characters in whatever story I write be as organic and believable as possible. I mean Fakir and Rue were so incredible, they weren’t characters, they were like real people. Characters like Charon and Raetsel also had my jaw dropping in awe at the characterization. When a character is seen only once and they leave an impression that’s when you know you’ve done a great job.
This is just a fantastic series in it’s characters, story, and it’s emotional depth. I even showed it to my college professor who is now using this and other anime I recommended for their english literature course.
Another show I recommend for all my christian friends are Trigun and Haibane Renmei. Trigun especially, our college media library had a anime section with the entire series and I watched it a total of ten times throughout the semester. I’m even going to recommend it to our youth minister at my church, for the teens though. Oh Honey and Clover is one of my top three anime and if you haven’t watched it go watch asap.