Princess Tutu is a show that’s pretty low-profile. Or rather, its somewhat childish name forces it into obscurity. It’s also not normally a show people turn to when looking for biblical parallels, but hidden behind its shallow initial impression is a story that explores concepts such as free-will and sacrifice in depth.
Ultimately (spoilers), the greatest sacrifice comes from Ahiru, the main character. Originally a lowly duck who felt pity for a prince without a heart named Mytho, Ahiru was given a pendant that would turn her into a girl and also give her the power to transform into Princess Tutu, a magical girl filled with the grace and power Ahiru lacks. As she tries to return the prince’s heart shards to him, she shows a great amount of compassion and kindness towards the other characters, even the ones who oppose her, mirroring the love of Jesus. She also becomes very attached to her life as a human girl.
In the finale, the prince must fight his enemy, the Raven, who is holding the girl Mytho really loves hostage and has turned most of the townsfolk into ravens, in a battle that could potentially bring tragedy upon everyone. He can’t do this without his last heart shard, which happens to be the pendant that turns Ahiru into a girl. Now that Mytho has decided to be with someone else, her life as a human is all she has, and without it, she’s just a duck.
Ahiru experiences deeply conflicted feelings, but eventually resolves to sacrifice her own happiness, not just for Mytho, but for everyone. After she hands Mytho the final piece of his heart, Princess Tutu vanishes and is replaced with a duck. Though she doesn’t exactly die on a cross for the sins of all as Christ did, she gives up a huge part of her identity and the part of life she loved so that the monster Raven can be defeated and everyone she cares for can be saved, and is subsequently battered by ravens as she tries to continue to help the prince.
Ahiru defies the expectations of her helpless state, however, and harnesses the power of the final heart shard, Hope, to help defeat the power and despair of the Raven. In a similar way, Christ’s death served not only as the payment for our sins but also to free us from the power of Satan over our lives.
You can read some other reasons why I think Ahiru is an excellent example of a Christ figure here:
How Princess Tutu falls short as a Christ Figure:
Even though Ahiru ends up saving everyone, ultimately there is no resurrection for her, if her state as a duck is to be likened to death (there are quite a few fans who believe that there could have been a way to change Ahiru back, had the story been continued, but sadly it was not). In fact, it is not likened to death in the story. Ahiru initially feels that way, but another character reminds her that she was a duck to begin with, and therefore she’s returning to her true identity. This is in contrast to Jesus, who never lost his identity as God, even when he gave himself up to death.
She also felt some serious hesitation and doubt over giving up her pendant, though I suppose some might liken this to the feelings Jesus felt in the garden of Gethsemane. I personally don’t feel this is a fair comparison. Ahir, in the end, is imperfect, and although she loved the prince, to give up everything was a sacrifice she needed encouragement from someone else to make. Though Jesus was human, and therefore didn’t relish the thought of pain and suffering and being forsaken by the Father, it was a sacrifice he was already aware of and was more than willing to make because of his great and incomparable love for us.
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