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The six swans

The Six Swans ["Roku wa no hakuchou" (Japanese: 六羽の白鳥)] is the 34th episode of Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics. It tells the story of Princess Elise and her older brothers, who are targeted by their cruel stepmother: after their father sends them away for safety, she finds them and then turns the boys into the titular swans, so Elise is the only one able to undo the curse. . .

The tropes used in this episode include:

  • Adaptation Expansion: In the original, the Stepmother never meets or attacks her stepchildren before turning the boys into swans. In this one there's a whole scene where she fails to endear herself to them, then another has her summon a huge snake against them at night.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Wicked Stepmother is still a Wicked Witch, but she possesses MANY powers that she didn't have in the original: she can summon snakes, cast illusions, use wind attacks, etc.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Witch isn't only more powerful than in the original tale, but she's also even crueler if that's even possible.
    • Elise's husband is a borderline example. In the original he tries three times to save her from being executed as a supposed witch and baby-killer, until he cannot do it anymore and she's set to be executed; in the anime these scenes are written out, save for one where he goes into denial and desperately tries to get Elise to tell him the truth. As such many viewers mistakenly think that he ALSO wants her to die, when in reality he's caught between his love for his wife and his royal position. (As the King he must set an example to his citizens, so letting an apparent "witch" and "baby-killing traitor" would destroy his authority. Especially when another sovereign, aka the Wicked Stepmother, is present.)
  • Ascended Extra: The Wicked Stepmother is FAR more important in the episode than in the tale itself.
    • Elise and the Swan Princes' father also has a bigger role, even getting a Papa Wolf moment for his children as he attacks the gigantic snake that threatens them.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Genderflipped example: Elise is the one who gets these when the Prince sees her for the first time.
  • Blush Sticker: Elise has these as a little girl, losing them in the Time Skip.
  • Bowdlerize: In this version, Elise manages to fully finish the shirts so her youngest brother isn't stuck with a swan wing for an arm.
    • In the original, the Princess met the Young King's huntsmen when she was knitting and, trying to shoo them away, she thew her necklace and then her clothes at them until she was only in her shift / chemise, back then equivalent to be in her underwear. The anime averts it via having Elise simply and quietly stare at the Young King and his group from her 'seat' and leaving them stunned with her good looks.
    • Since the Wicked Witch replaces the cruel mother-in-law AND brings her Undignified Death onto herself, the King doesn't have to go the Self-Made Orphan way.
  • But Now I Must Go: In the original, it's implied that the Princes stayed with the protagonist and her family rather than returning home. Here, the six leave Elise and her baby in the capable hands of the Young King and go back to their realm, intending to claim it as theirs and rebuild it now that the false Queen is dead.
  • Composite Character: The Big Bad of the anime is a mix of the Wicked Stepmother from the first part and the Rich Bitch mother-in-law from the second.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Elise is tied up to a cross when she's about to be burned at the stake.
  • Death by Adaptation: The King simply disappears from the original story after the boys are bewitched and Elise escapes. Here the Witch killed him and later gloated about it in front of a devastated Elise.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Elise is a Girly Girl and, during her and her brothers' days at the hidden manse, she's seen using a cauldron to make what seems to be a thick stew.
  • God Save Us From the Queen!: The Wicked Stepmother returns to the story as the (usurper) Queen of the land that Elise's brothers should reign over. At the end, the released Princes say that they will reclaim and rebuild it.
  • Hot Dad: Elise's husband and the father of her baby is a cute-looking redhead youth.
  • Hot Mom: When Elise has a kid, she looks as cute as when she was a kid - only older, of curse.
  • Hello, Nurse!: The Young King and his courtiers react like this when they see Elise for the first time.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Both Elise AND her husband have reddish hair, albeit in different tones of red.
  • Karmic Death: The Wicked Stepmother tries to get Elise burned alive, but fails. Then she tries to attack everyone with her wind powers... while standing next to Elise's would-be pyre, which reignites and sets her ablaze. For further humiliation, the huge-ass cross that Elise was briefly bound to falls on the still-burning witch.
  • Meet Cute: The Young King first sees Elise when she's knitting the capes while sitting on a huge branch of a tree. He first tells her to get off the tree so she won't fall off and hurt herself, then she looks at him...
  • Named by the Adaptation: As said above, this particular rendition uses the name Elise for the originally unnamed princess.
  • Parent with New Paramour: In the original, the trope is more or less averted since the King sends his kids away for safety before marrying the Hot Witch. In the anime, however, there's a scene where the King introduces the Wicked Stepmother to Elise and her brothers: the kids are so uncomfortable with the new Queen's presence that they awkwardly refuse to acknowledge her as their new mother figure, prompting her to harshly scold them in front of the court... and to attack them that same night.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Elise and her hubby have only one child, rather than three.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Elise's wardrobe almost always includes at least one pink piece.
  • Red Headed Heroine: Elise is depicted as a redhead, as seen in the pictures.
  • Red Right Hand: The Wicked Stepmother has blue marks on her cheeks.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Elise goes from an adorable little girl to a gorgeous older teenager whose beauty stuns a king and his courtiers.
    • Elise's brothers are cute-looking boys, and when they're released from the spell over them after six years, their older teen/young adult adult selves are VERY handsome.
  • Spanner in the Works: A dropped cauldron allows Elise to become this and derail the plans of her Wicked Stepmother. At some point she's making stew in the kitchen of the hidden manse and hears that the King is coming, and in her excitement she drops said cauldron and is stuck cleaning up the mess... but in the meantime, her brothers go greet their father and are instead greeted by the Stepmother, who enchants them into swans. Had Elise not stayed behind, she would've been either killed or enchanted by the Witch...
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Physically speaking, the King is pretty plain-looking. His seven children, however, are very cute in their own ways, and as seen later they all grow up to be stunners. Especially Elise.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Elise changes clothes many times in the story. She is first shown as a well-dressed little girl (which includes a pink dress and a gold tiara), but later has to wear a simple peasant dress with a pink head-scarf as a Fallen Princess. When she marries she's again seen in regal clothes (now including a golden crown and a veil), then in a simple pink and red dress when she's about to be unfairly executed, and at the very end she's back to her regal outfit.
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