Ahiru loves ballet but is rather clumsy at it. She has a crush on Mytho, but he seems detached and emotionless. A magical pendant from the proprietress of a new shop in town transforms her into Princess Tutu, a graceful ballerina who dances “to guide your heart.” She realizes that Mytho’s heart has been shattered and that only she can help him find the pieces.
I’m labelling this as shoujo, because the anime was, but this ran in Champion RED Comics, which I know little about. It certainly isn’t one of the major shoujo magazines that I’m familiar with. The two volumes that make up the Princess Tutu manga were also written after the anime, with the series director (Jun-ichi Satoh) sharing credit for the story.
I have seen all of the Princess Tutu anime, and liked it very much. (The opening song is gorgeous and the first half of the series is truly excellent. Second half is still better than loads of other shows.) Therefore, I probably won’t be able to keep some of the impressions from the anime from influencing my perception of the manga.
The anime was definitely something special, a pure fairy tale, which the voice actress for Ahiru described as “a moving picture book.” I’m not entirely sure that someone just picking up the manga would get that same impression, as it reads like a fairly standard magical girl story. There are some pretty substantial differences from the anime, ones which make the story a little less distinctive, at least at the beginning. Towards the end, thankfully, more fairy tale elements are introduced, and I’m hopeful there’ll be more of that in volume 2.
Overall, I prefer the anime at this point, and would advise anyone interested in the story to simply watch it instead. The manga is short, however, with just one more volume, which I already have, so I’m definitely going to keep reading. Plus, I’m curious to see whether it will end the same as the anime, or have any additional information about the fates of the characters.
Random note about the cover image: Ouch, that looks uncomfortable.