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The manga of Princess Tutu is markedly different from the anime that inspired it, though the series share common plot points.
Rather than being a duck who turns into a girl as in the show, Ahiru Arima is a clumsy human ballet student who dreams of dancing with a prince. One day she sees a beautiful tutu in a shop, and the storekeeper, Edel, gives her a magical pendant. Wearing it, Ahiru is able to transform into Princess Tutu to restore Prince Mytho's heart pieces to him. But cold, cruel Princess Kraehe is also after the pieces, and Edel may not be as friendly as she appears...
Besides cosmetic differences, many characters were excised or altered for the manga. Pique and Lilie are replaced by Mai and Yuma, who fulfill the same basic roles. Most notably, Drosselmeyer is absent, as are many of the fairy tale motifs, though Mr. Cat remains a humanoid cat.
This manga contains examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy: Edel.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: The giant fish, bird, and teddy bear.
- Big Bad: Edel, though the Raven gets mentioned but is never shown.
- The Chosen One: Ahiru and Rue.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Yuma, though not as much as Lilie from the anime.
- Compressed Adaptation: 26 episodes, 2 books.
- Exact Words: Edel says Tutu is the only one who can restore Mytho's heart, and is his one and only princess. She didn't say Tutu was the only princess.
- Expy: Mai and Yuma to Pique and Lilie from the anime.
- In the Name of the Moon: "I am Princess Tutu! I dance to guide your heart."
- Ms. Fanservice: Edel and Kraehe.
- Not as You Know Them: Edel, who was a friendly, expositional puppet in the anime, is here a sultry human shopkeeper who advises Tutu and Kraehe.
- Only One Name: Played straight in the anime, but here Ahiru's last name is Arima and Rue's is Kuroha.
- Save the Villain: Tutu saves Kraehe in the latter's first appearance.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mai and Yuma, respectively.
- Transformation Name Announcement: Tutu's; this didn't happen in the anime.
- Treacherous Advisor: Edel.
- The Vamp: Kraehe and Edel.