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Princess Tutu is the story of a duck who wants to rescue a lonesome prince. It's also the story of a girl who attends Ballet school, although she's not very good. It's also the story of Princess Tutu, a ballerina magical girl whose mission is to find the shards of a prince's heart and return them to him.
Also, these are all the same person.
At first this anime is relatively lighthearted; the story takes place in the storybook-inspired Gold Crown Town. Ahiru (Duck in the English dub and official DVD subtitles, to preserve Theme Naming) idolizes prima ballerina Rue and the subdued but princely Mytho, while arguing with resident Tall, Dark and Snarky Fakir. Meanwhile, Princess Tutu fights monsters-of-the-day to return the emotions of Mytho, who turns out to be an actual storybook prince; "fights", in this context, means "uses the power of dance to help people realize their true feelings".
As the series progresses, the story turns much darker and more complicated than the beginning would have you think.
Created by illustrator and animator Ikuko Itoh and directed by Junichi Sato, the anime takes inspiration from a number of classic ballets; almost all of the music is taken from these, and the two princesses' costumes are inspired by Odile and Odette of Swan Lake. Also, guitar ninjas.
A markedly different manga was made after the anime.
Spoilers will be marked when possible, but some spoilers are unmarked
For tropes about the characters, please consult the Character Sheet.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Miss Goatette to Mr. Cat -- for one episode.
- Absolute Cleavage: Kraehe.
- Abusive Parents: The Raven is outright emotionally abusive toward Kraehe, repeatedly calling her "worthless", "ugly", and "useless", especially when she fails to get a heart for it to eat. Then it's revealed that she is not the Raven's daughter, but a kidnapped human child it has raised as a tool and catspaw -- and it cares nothing for her beyond her value as a tool.
- An Aesop: It's all right to be yourself, whether you are a duck, a prince with a messiah complex, a failed knight or the spawn of The Big Bad.
- And true love is not selfish.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The men who killed Drosselmeyer are still around, just in case his power crops up again.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Mr. Cat's Catch Phrase, often threatening his female students with it if they are to fail a class.
- Animal Motifs: Very common, particularly swans (Tutu, Mytho, sometimes even Rue) and crows (the villains in general).
- Anime Theme Song: Written for the show, both gently-paced pieces of music that are influenced by Classical music.
- Animorphism: Sort of. The main character changes back and forth between a duck and a human; she is unable to communicate in her duck form, but there are plenty of other anthropomorphized animals who go around acting more or less as humans with no problems.
- Arc Words: "Those who accept their fate find happiness; those who defy it, glory."
- An Arm and a Leg: An Ancient Conspiracy cuts off the hands of people who have the power of Rewriting Reality. Fortunately, Fakir escapes this fate. Unfortunately, undergoing it didn't stop Drosselmeyer.
- Author Existence Failure: In-series example with Drosselmeyer.
- Back for the Finale: The final episode features many of the minor, one-episode characters in some cameo or another.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: As seen in the series' several Out-of-Clothes Experiences and when Duck transforms into a girl.
- Because Destiny Says So
- Beehive Hairdo: Edel might sport a rare anime example of this trope (not counting what's on the sides of her head, of course).
- Beneath the Mask: Pretty much everyone. Your initial perception of every character will, without doubt, change.
- Fakir is initially portrayed as a Villain that is selfish and manipulative. However, he shows his Hidden Self when Duck is temporally stuck as a duck, and she is able to see Fakir´s soft side
- Kraehe is initially portrayed as doing things just For the Evulz. At the end, it is revealed that she only wanted to be loved.
- Big Bad: The Raven and Drosselmeyer.
- Bittersweet Ending: The fantasies are broken, the good guys win, Rue and Mytho show their true love and this lets them defeat the Raven with the help of Duck and Fakir...but not only do Rue and Mytho have to leave Gold Crown Town so he can reclaim his throne, but Duck/Tutu is stuck in her original duck form forever.
- Bishie Sparkle: Both used seriously (in daydreams) and lampshaded in the form of One-Scene Wonder Femio followed around by an aide with spotlights and rose petals.
- Blood Magic: Fakir uses blood in Akt 8 to revive the powers in Mytho's sword. The various applications of Raven's Blood apply here, as well.
- Body to Jewel
- Brain Bleach: Duck, second episode when an anthrophomorphic anteater licks Mytho. Ewww.
- Break the Cutie: Arguably, everyone in the whole damn series. But mostly Rue.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In an interesting variation, Princess Kraehe breaks the internal fourth wall in Akt 12 by speaking directly to Drosselmeyer. He is very put off by this.
- More generally, you could say it's the very premise of the show, with Mytho literally coming from a story and Drosselmeyer's story breaking its own fourth wall to play out in 'reality.' Which is another story in and of itself in which the characters end up breaking the fourth wall repeatedly to essentially declare war on the author.
- Also Drosselmeyer talks to the camera near the end of the series and wonders, "Could I be a character in someone else's story as well?"
- A Boy and His X: If you view the series from Fakir's perspective, you could probably call it "a boy and his duck".
- Calling the Old Man Out: Rue, when she defies the Raven, then helps Mytho deliver the final blow to him.
- Calling Your Attacks: Exactly once in the entire series: the "Flower Waltz" in Akt 1, which wasn't even an attack. (Note that it was performed during a sequence set to "Waltz of the Flowers."
- Catapult Nightmare: Fakir has one in akt 18.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Autor. His presence in the episodes before he becomes important is either a brilliant Lampshade or crushingly obvious writing.
- The Chessmaster: Drosselmeyer.
- Closed Circle: Though it's not obvious at first, the town is completely cut off from the outside world. It's not obvious, because people occasionally spontaneously appear inside the (locked) town gates, and other, similar things are orchestrated to make it seem like the world is still connected; but as Duck realizes later on, you can't leave.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Shows up in a lot of areas, but particularly Lilie's treatment of Duck. In fact, in the second season Lilie pretty much becomes the patron saint of this trope.
- Contemptible Cover and Covers Always Lie: The cover to the first compilation of Princess Tutu, while appropriate for the theme and character pictured, doesn't even have the titular character on it. Later compilations fixed the problem, though they had packaging issues.
- Continuity Nod: A heart-shard-possessed lamp is taken home by Duck after she gives the shard back to Mytho, and it can be seen in her room in later episodes.
- Cooking Duel: Not all of the dancing in Tutu is duels, but nearly all of the duels in the series involve dancing. Played far more often for drama than laughs.
- The Corruption: The Raven's blood has this effect on people, eventually turning them into crows.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: Drosselmeyer wrote a story in his own blood after the Book Men cut off his hands. This is the story that is controlling the town.
- Crap Saccharine World: The cutesy character designs and peaceful-looking fairy tale town are deceiving. This is a surprisingly dark anime at times, particularly once the secrets of the town begin to be revealed.
- Crash Into Hello: Mytho is introduced in the first episode when Duck trips and is caught by him. Rue also met Mytho this way as a child.
- Dance Battler: Well, of course. Tutu herself doesn't actually fight, but Fakir, Kraehe and Mytho do, and their moves are often very clearly ballet or ballet-inspired.
- Dark Magical Girl: Rue's alter-ego, Princess Kraehe.
- Darkest Hour: Most of akt 25.
- The Dead Can Dance: The Wili Maiden, and the skeletons in the Depths of Despair. And you might count Drosselmeyer, as he does the occasional ballet step.
- Defied Trope: Most of the main characters in the second season actively defy the roles they've been given.
- Determinator: Drosselmeyer. Without his hands to keep writing, not to mention the fact that he's dead, he still keeps spinning his stories!
- Domestic Abuse: Fakir towards Mytho in season one, and Mytho towards Rue in season 2.
- Dramatic Shattering: Fakir's entrance in "Black Shoes".
- Dream Ballet: Duck evokes this at least two times.
- Dream Sequence: Several, often foreshadowing future events.
- Drosselmeyer Did It: Pretty much the perfect justification for any Fridge Logic in the entire show.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: A Japanese happy ending, mind, where Ahiru/Duck gets to go back to her old life once everything's settled -- but at least she's with Fakir.
- The End of the Beginning: The last scene of the anime has the narrator stating that Fakir is starting "a new story full of hope."
- End of the World Special: Before he starts on the story mentioned above, he breaks Drosselmeyer's control of the story and writes his own ending.
- Everybody Do the Endless Loop
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted — everything is not better with the two princesses in the show.
- Exact Words: Princess Tutu cannot express words of love to her prince. When Kraehe puts her on the spot in the first season finale, Tutu conveys her feelings through dance instead.
- Expressive Hair: Duck occasionally demonstrates this.
- Eyecatch: Featuring Drosselmeyer and his leitmotif. One episode also has a gag eyecatch with Mr. Cat humming the Wedding March.
- Fairy Tale Motifs: All over the place.
- Fan Service: Although the Shirtless Scenes and Duck being nude when she transforms from a duck to a girl serve a purpose in the plot, it's hard to deny the fanservice-y component to the scenes.
- And then you have the manga's version of Edel. Dang girl.
- Fan Nickname: Fakir's often called Fail Knight by fans.
- Guitar Ninjas: anything which is unexpectedly and incredibly epic, though most often used in reference to the second season of the series itself.
- Mytho's tendency to have plot-relevant conversations with Fakir while wearing nothing but a nightshirt has resulted in him being christened the Pantsless Wonder.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Subverted in that Duck spends much of the show worrying about and trying to avoid Princess Tutu's destiny to "fade away" after saving the prince.
- Traditionally done: Rue almost gets this at the end of the anime, when the Raven swallows her and sends her to "Despair", a ghostly world where she's forced to dance until she wastes away. Mytho saves her.
- Faux Fluency: The show is implied to be set in Germany, and one scene has Fakir recite a long spell in German—but Chris Patton doesn't know German and had to memorize the lines off a recording. (Takahiro Sakurai likely had to do something similar.)
- Averted with any written German glimpsed during the show; what can be seen is correct in usage and grammar.
- Feathered Fiend: The Raven and the crows, not to mention Princess Kraehe and Mytho, when he's turned into a crow.
- First Girl Wins: Rue was the first girl Mytho met after coming out of the story/losing his heart, and is the girl he finally ends up with.
- Flower Motifs: A single rose in a vase in Fakir and Mytho's dorm serves as a simile for Mytho's current state when seen in the anime, Princess Tutu and Prince Siegfried have flower-themed powers, Femio hands out roses as declarations of "love"...flowers are all over the place in this anime.
- Episode 16 in its entirety.
- Fictional Document: The Prince and the Raven. And the other unnamed works by Drosselmeyer whose endings Fakir finds torn out.
- First Episode Spoiler: "Ahiru/Duck" isn't just a girl named "Duck". She really is a duck.
- Foreshadowing: All. Over. To the point where early episodes that seem like filler couldn't be removed from the show without removing a lot of build-up for what happens later in the series.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The. Whole. Damn. Town.
- "Friend or Idol?" Decision: Duck is given one of these at the end of the anime: Give Mytho his final heart shard (her pendant) and watch as he rides off into the sunset with Rue, or keep the pendant for herself and continue being a girl?
- Furry Confusion: Many of the town's residents are barely-anthropomorphized animals that act, dress, talk, and are treated like humans, but look more or less like real animals, bipedalism aside. Ordinary, inhuman animals are also seen. Then there's Duck, whose original form is an "ordinary duck" that doesn't wear clothes, can't speak German, can't go to school... and looks nothing like an actual duck, being more of a cartoonish, emotive Funny Animal duckling.
- Genre Shift: Princess Tutu starts off an an innocuous Gotta Catch Em All Magical Girl series. If it stayed that way, this series's nickname wouldn't be Guitar Ninjas
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: For a Magical Girl anime of its kind. Coupled with Curse Cut Short. Neko-sensei's "special lesson about love", in a way:
Neko-sensei: Love is a wonderful thing, but there are some things of which you must be careful. You must take particular care during mating season...
- Good Morning, Crono: The first episode of each season has Duck having a dream and waking up tumbling out of her bed.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Pieces of Mytho's heart. The final
fivesix are particularly challenging.
- Grand Finale
- Gratuitous German: The scene where Fakir retrieves Mytho's sword, plus nearly all of the text shown in the series. (Oddly, there's one shop in the town with a sign in French.) There are numerous hints that the show is set in Germany, or at least in the equivalent in the show's world.
- Heart Trauma: Mytho is a Prince who sacrificed his heart to seal away the Raven.
- Heroic BSOD: Duck has one after overhearing that Mytho (who had just gotten the heart shard of fear) is afraid of Tutu.
- Hidden Depths: At one point, Duck asks Mr. Cat if there's any way to repair a damaged love. Instead of delivering one of his outlandish marriage proposals like he does in every other scene, he freezes and turns away, telling her gently that sometimes lost love simply can't be repaired.
- Homage: The show is full of ballet and opera homages. The ADV release has bonus content that lists most of them.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episode titles are in German, and the subtitles name the classical piece used as a theme in the episode. Also, instead of using the word "episode", they use "Akt" (German for "act").
- Idiot Hair: Duck. Subverted with Kraehe and Tutu, who both have a single lock of hair standing vertically from their heads that looks suspiciously like a feather, in keeping with their avian motifs.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: This was the lamp's desire.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Fakir and Mytho's duel in Akt 20.
- Inner Monologue: Duck at different points, Rue in her backstory, Fakir in his backstory.
- Intangible Time Travel: Happens to Rue when the Story starts moving backwards.
- Intimate Healing: In a flashback, the young Rue takes water into her mouth and kisses an unconscious, dehydrated Mytho to revive him.
- Invisible Parents: Very few of the kids ever mention their parents, likely because they're all living in a boarding school.
- Furthermore, none of the main four seem to have parents over the course of the story. We never see any duck parents for Duck (who is more a duckling than a full-grown duck), Mytho is a storybook character and thus wouldn't have been born the same way as a genuine human being (note that he doesn't age because the story hasn't moved forward), Fakir's parents died to protect him when he was just a boy, and Rue was kidnapped as a child. Even if her parents were still alive at the end of the story, she would have no idea who they were or how to contact them. Given that it's been over a decade since her disappearance, Rue's parents likely stopped searching for her as well.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Kraehe's transformation; it is never clear whether Duck or Drosselmeyer controls the Princess Tutu transformation. However, Duck doesn't control when she switches back and forth between a girl and a duck—when she quacks, she turns into a duck, and when she gets wet she turns back into a girl, as long as she has her pendant on. However, she starts using it to her advantage pretty quickly.
- In Name Only: The manga version bears little resemblance to the anime, including removing nearly all of the fairy tale elements and turning Edel into a slutty, energetic shopkeeper that fills Drosselmeyer's role (including being the Big Bad).
- In the Name of the Moon: "Please, won't you dance with me...?"
- Jerkass: Autor, Drosselmeyer, Mytho once he's been corrupted.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fakir starts out as a Jerkass before shifting into this role for much of the series, before finally losing the "Jerk" part of the role.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Every episode has something important to the main plot, even if it seems like filler.
- Kiss of Death: Princess Kraehe kisses Mytho while she literally rips a piece of his heart from his chest.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Rue, the school's best dancer, wears a red leotard instead of the typical blue that everyone else wears. On the flip side, Duck indicates herself as the odd one out in her ballet class by wearing a white leotard.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Duck is Light, Rue is Dark, especially while in their Magical Girl alter egos.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans, Oh My!
- Locked Out of the Loop: Duck in season 2, which eventually causes the story to stop.
- Look Behind You!: To keep Duck from telling Mytho that she's Tutu at the start of the second season.
Duck: Um, I... Well, the truth is... The truth is...
- Lovable Marriage Maniac: Mr. Cat, with his strangely endearing tendency to propose/threaten marriage to his underage students.
- Love Dodecahedron: Relationships can be rather complicated in this show.
- Love Epiphany
- Love Letter Lunacy: Duck's friends write a fake love letter from her to Fakir.
- Love Triangle: Several.
- The main one in focus throughout the series is Duck -> Mytho <- Rue. This triangle is unusual in the sense that the main heroine doesn't win this one.
- Starting late in season 1, Fakir -> Duck -> Mytho. The fan guide confirmed that Fakir loves Duck, although her feelings for him are never truly explained one way or the other.
- Episode 20 centers around a love triangle between Fakir's foster father Karon, his childhood friend Raetsel, and Raetsel's fiance Hans, like so: Karon <- Raetsel <-> Hans
- Toward the end of the series, Autor -> Rue -><- Mytho.
- Luminescent Blush: A large chunk of the characters do this at some point, but it's when Fakir does it that you know the scene's going to be funny.
- Magical Girl
- Magic Pants: Averted when Duck turns from a girl to a duck, but played straight when she turns into Princess Tutu.
- Male Gaze: In one scene, Autor is following behind Rue, and the camera focuses on Rue's back and slowly...pans down to examine her rear end and legs. The camera then switches to show Autor looking downwards and blushing, implying that the view we were seeing was from Autor's point of view.
- Meaningful Name: Pretty much everyone.
- Mind Control Eyes: Mytho, at various points in the series. The girls he goes after in Season 2 get this, too.
- Mini-Dress of Power: Well a tutu is a mini dress anyway.
- Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Mytho when he mimes the sign of love in an attempt to ward off The Corruption in the direction of another boy. Most of the girls in class are shocked and/or disappointed—not because he's gay (half of them were probably shipping him with Fakir already), but because the boy in question was Femio.
- Ms. Exposition: Edel is an in-universe one: she is a puppet made for just this purpose by Drosselmeyer. The second season also adds a more traditional Mr. Exposition in the form of Autor.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Duck at the end of episode 6, after giving Mytho the heart shard of fear.
- Later Rue, after she learns just how much crows' blood can corrupt a person.
Rue: My love has made you into this. I have no right to love you.
- Narrator: Every episode begins with a narrator telling a story that relates to the plot of the episode in some way (some more than others). Drosselmeyer also serves as a sort of narrator in some scenes.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It turns out that five of the remaining pieces of the prince's heart are actually the seal that protects the town from the Monster Raven. Guess what happens when they're taken away.
- Fakir does this around the midway point of the anime, as well. Kraehe tries to make Mytho destroy his feeling of love with the enchanted sword, and Fakir breaks Mytho's sword with his own to stop it from happening. Unfortunately, aside from The Power of Love, the only way to save Mytho's heart from raven blood is to remove it with the enchanted sword... As Fakir finds out one episode later. Oops.
- No Communities Were Harmed: The town in the series is based on Nordlingen, a German town.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Duck tries to distract Rue from seeing Mytho with another girl in her duck form, but Rue just brushes her off. She tries again in her girl form, but doesn't make it in time for Rue to see—but Rue knows it's just because Mytho's heartless.
- Offing the Offspring: The Raven tries to eat the heart of his daughter, Kraehe, when she fails to deliver him a sacrifice. Later, he eats her as punishment for saving the Prince (but she gets better). Of course, it turns out she isn't his real daughter, and he kidnapped her as a baby.
- "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: "All children who love stories, come, gather 'round..."
- Only Smart People May Pass: Subverted in Akt 5 -- Duck isn't being asked the riddles to test her, the voice is simply trying to communicate with her in a very fairy tale-esque way.
- Or Was It a Dream?: the most notable example being in the first episode, when Duck has dreams of being a duck. Turns out, she wasn't far off.
- Out-of-Clothes Experience: Fakir and Mytho's nightmares/flashbacks, plus Fakir's conversation with the Oak Tree.
- Panty Shot: Quite a few in the anime during the girls' ballet sequences. There are more perverted instances in the manga, though.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Both Princess Kraehe and Princess Tutu look exactly like Rue and Duck, respectively, except wearing elaborate ballet outfits and with different hairstyles, and yet very few people are able to figure out who they really are, and those who do take quite a long time to accomplish it. It turns out that anyone outside the main cast simply sees Tutu as a huge, white swan; something similar may apply to Kraehe, but she never makes a public appearance like Tutu. (To the audience, though, Tutu is noticeably taller than Duck -- and has a figure while Duck is basically a stick; the difference can be clearly seen in a moment late in the series when Tutu turns back into Duck while silhouetted.)
- People Puppets: Dancing on Drosselmeyer's strings, both figuratively and literally.
- Pimped-Out Dress: For the festival in Akt 5, Mytho and Rue dress like nobility from renaissance times.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: A running gag throughout the series, thanks to Duck's clothes not transforming with her.
- Post-Victory Collapse: Happens to Fakir after he shatters Mytho's sword at the end of the first season. Also happens to Duck in "Wandering Knight ~ Egmont Ouvertüre" (after a battle with the titular ghost) and in the beginning of "The Prince and the Raven ~ Danse Macabre". Oh, and then there's Autor after he tackles the Book Man... Okay, the series likes this trope a lot.
- Post Modernism
- The Power of Blood
- The Power of Love
- The Power of
RockBallet: Arguably, since the transformations, battles, and most storylines are based around ballet.
- The Promise: Fakir's promise to Duck in the lake before the finale.
- Puni Plush
- Ravens and Crows: If you see crows or ravens flying around, it's not a good sign. If they start flocking together and swarming, it's safest to shut yourself in your house until they're gone. If their leader shows up, even taking shelter won't help; you're screwed.
- Also prominent with Princess Kraehe and evil!Mytho.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: It doesn't seem like Rue's eye color is this... at first.
- Rage Against the Reflection: A variation involving Kraehe.
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: Several of the settings that Drosselmeyer created just for his story.
- Reflective Eyes
- Rescue Romance: Tutu saves Mytho the first time they meet, and does so in several other episodes. There's several other pairings that have a rescue involved, as well.
- Rewriting Reality: Drosselmeyer. Certain of his descendants also have this power in varying degrees.
- Running Gag: Several—most of the Catch Phrases are running gags, for example. The most beloved among fans is probably Fakir seeing Duck naked and freaking out.
- Say My Name: Tutu and Fakir paralleled: when she rescues him from the Knowledge Tree and when he rescues her from Drosselmeyer. Also Rue proclaiming her true love, and Mytho when he rescues Rue.
- Schmuck Banquet: In the third act, as a reference to "Hansel and Gretel".
- Screw Destiny: The entire second half of the anime (see the quote above).
- Shapeshifting Lover: Every now and then, this old folktale is referenced in the way Tutu appears to people.
- Ship Tease: The show's promo heavily implies Fakir kisses Duck. Nothing like that happens in the show, so it was probably there to up the demographic by drawing in shippers.
- Shirtless Scene: Several, normally to show off Fakir's birthmark.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Drosselmeyer gets his kicks out of these sorts of endings, and is hopping to give the series itself one.
- Shown Their Work: The dances are all actual ballet pieces.
- Show Within a Show: Four-fold, with 1) a ballet-structured story, about kids attending a ballet school, whose battles are ballet dances. 2) the school puts on both a ballet and a dramatic play. 3) the story of the Prince & The Raven. 4) Gold Crown Town itself is a story written by Drosselmeyer, and the characters from the Prince & the Raven story are reincarnated as actual people into the town's living story.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Princess Tutu is more on the idealistic scale, particularly considering that in the end, the emotion of Hope is what is the key to the final victory--and what Princess Tutu has represented all along, and Fakir changes dramatically from Cynicism to Idealism over the course.
- Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: The relationship fate-free will varies a lot. Fate can be fought but some things can't be changed like Duck being stuck as a duck. Ultimately this show's Arc Words explain it better: "Those who accept their fate find happiness; those who defy it, glory."
- Slow Clap: In Akt 2, after Duck and Rue's pas de deux, the entire class remains speechless, until the silence is broken by Fakir clapping. Then Mytho starts clapping as well, and everyone else does the same.
- Already with the teasing?
- Small Reference Pools: The show notably doesn't have one. You can impress college professors with the knowledge of classical music you get from this show!
- Snicket Warning Label: The first season's ending is a perfectly normal happy ending, and except for a small reminder that there's still some loose strings to tie up, it feels like an actual ending. Then the second season rolls around...
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In the final episode, the uplifting "Waltz of the Flowers" theme plays during a hopeful scene of Duck dancing and continues playing as the crows peck her and beat her up.
- Spiritual Successor: To Revolutionary Girl Utena and to Junichi Sato's earlier fairy tale Magical Girl show, Prétear.
- Stealth Pun: In episode 6, when Mr. Cat meets the lead ballerina of the dance troupe, he starts dancing a pas de chat. Geddit? Because he's a cat.
- Story Arc: Every episode fits into the story of the series, but there's definitely a clear differentiation between the two seasons. They seem like two different arcs that form together to create a whole.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: A Cloudcuckoolander in the second season claims, completely out of the blue, Duck's "inner world" is a duck.
- Super Window Jump: Fakir in "Black Shoes"
- Surprise Creepy
- Surreal Humor: The anthropomorphic characters are funny in a strange way.
- Sword Limbo: Fakir in Akt 13.
- Take My Hand
- The Teaser: All of the episodes open with a fairy tale told by a female narrator and illustrated by charcoal drawings.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Mytho's prone to saying what he feels; Justified as he's used to not feeling anything and has no idea what the emotions are.
- Theme Naming/Species Surname: Several people in this town, including the main character herself, have names that are either animal names outright (Ahiru/Duck, Neko-sensei/Mr. Cat) or are animal names with a name-suffix attached to it (Anteaterina, Miss Goatette).
- There Are No Therapists: Turns out living in a dark fairy tale world could really screw a person up. Too bad there aren't any therapists around...
- There Was a Door: Fakir's dramatic window-crashing scene in Akt 9.
- They Fight Crime: The premise of the show is really a little silly sounding. It's how the thing is pulled off that makes the series truly shine.
- Those Two Guys: Pique and Lilie.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pique and Lilie, respectively.
- Transformation Sequence: Obviously, since it's a magical girl show — although it's rather short for most in its genre.
- Translation Convention: It's implied all of the characters are really speaking German, not Japanese or English.
- Threshold Guardians: The heart shard of Fear, and Fakir's struggle to overcome his fears of the story-spinning powers.
- To Become Human
- Transformation Trauma: Princess Kraehe's transformation, and Mytho's transformation into a crow.
- Two-Act Structure: Of the "Parallel" variety.
- Uncanny Village: Duck is quite possibly the first to notice that something is wrong. For starters, she is the only one that realizes the weirdness of having a talking cat as a teacher, and animal classmates.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Duck and Fakir. There's hints of it throughout the series, but it only became blatant during and after Akt 12.
- There sure are a lot of shots of Duck's legs spread out whenever she's being intimidated by Fakir early on...
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Duck can sometimes control when she turns into a duck or a girl... although she can also accidentally trigger the transformations.
- Walking on Water: The dance-off at the end of the first season between Kraehe and Tutu takes place on top of a lake.
- In the first episode Mytho dances, apparently naked, on top of a lake, while Duck watches hidden in the rushes.
- [[We All Do It Together]: Rue and Mytho wielding his sword together to slay the Raven.
- Weirdness Censor: Most of the people in Gold Crown are literally unable to realize there's anything odd about the town, thanks to Drosselmeyer's story controlling the town.
- Duck seems to be the only one who thinks it's weird having a cat for a teacher.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: There was one included at the end of the last episode while the credits rolled, but the future lives of the characters were so vague and quickly shown that many fans are left unsatisfied. On the other hand, it seems the purpose of the epilogue was to give a glimpse into the characters' lives afterward without revealing too much so as the viewer could widely interpret what would happen next.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield??: Kinkan/Gold Crown/Goldekrone isn't given a specific location, although Fanon assumes it's set in Germany (since nearly all of the text shown in-series is German, including a map of the town where the "Goldekrone" name is taken from).
- Wingding Eyes
- World Tree: The Oak Tree.
- Xanatos Gambit: Early episodes of Season 2 reveal that Princess Kraehe had no intention of destroying the Mytho's heart shard of love. While the results of episode 13 didn't go quite the way she had planned (her intention was to get Tutu out of the way via Heroic Sacrifice), they nonetheless went in her (and the Raven's) favor.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Anybody not directly part of the story sees Princess Tutu as a giant glowing swan wearing a crown.
- You Have Failed Me...: The Raven tries to eat Kraehe's heart after she fails to bring him a sacrifice one time too many.
- The opening and ending themes are original, and one background piece is from Pictures at an Exhibition - everything else is from various ballets.