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Also, there was a love dance!!! I should find this cheesy, but it’s been surprisingly long since this show has had a solid high-stakes dance off, so I’m good. It’s also incredibly clever that Duck’s final dance is a pas de deux. Duck treats Mytho as if he is by her side regardless, showing that in her mind, they are never apart.
In the end, this is not The End, but an ending. Kraehe is battered and broken, Drosselmeyer is still ominously interfering (though I call bull on his planning this. D’s plan got beat, he’s just playing it off). But a page has been turned. For now, that’s enough.
(puts on Oprah voice) Rue revelaed as Kraehe! Duck revealed as a duck! Everyone gets a reveal!
In all seriousness, a lot is explained or brought into focus here. If I understand the characters correctly, Rue was always the Raven/crow brought to human form by the town. It remains unclear why exactly she felt so in love with Mytho but what is apparent is that she blames Princess Tutu for reawakening her memories. For Rue, ignorance was bliss, and she now sets a trap to stop Tutu once and for all.
Drosselmeyer also continues on his slide towards outright villainy by assisting Rue. However, I’m surprised at how quickly cracks are appearing in his façade on control. Edel begins to show signs of emotion and Rue is shockingly fully aware of his meddling. I predict his self-regarded omniscience to be challenged very soon.
Given all that happens to build to the impending confrontation though, I’m impressed at how much the episode devotes itself to Duck and Fakir’s reflecting on why they are fighting. Duck’s discussion about how her feelings towards Mytho, while always there, have evolved is a sweet and honest gesture, as is her willingness to revert to a duck in front of Fakir. Fakir, for his part, seems to be warming to Duck’s presence and is starting to become likeable again.
Of course this only leads me to believe he may bite in next episode. I feel someone will be killed or changed forever, and Fakir stands as the likeliest target. Drat.
~So Kraehe took Mytho back to the church. Not to nitpick with her evil plan, but wouldn’t that be the first place Duck and Fakir should look?
~“Back when I was still a brat”? Look Fakir, you may be improving but let’s not oversell yourself just yet.
Apart from the interesting reveal that Mytho doesn’t age (so why does no one notice this? It’s not like he moves around), I felt the flashbacks weakened the characterization of Fakir that had previously been hinted at. So in the end, he’s not a royal knight but a boy dreaming of being one, whose devotion to protecting Mytho is borne out of a childhood bedtime story and an acknowledgement of Mytho’s terrible survival skills. I dislike this reveal for two reasons. First of all, I find the extent to which Fakir has devoted his life to a fable rather unrealistic (I say, full well knowing this is a show in which a duck has magic dance-offs). I can understand how the nature of the Town could amplify the influence a story has on a young mind, but since we still only vaguely understand the contents of ‘The Prince and the Raven’ it’s hard to connect and comprehend Fakir’s decision, much less understand why his adopted father is so accepting of it.
Worse though, is how Fakir and the knight’s death are explained. When Edel showed Fakir that part of the story last episode, it jumped out to me as a nice bit of foreshadowing that spoke to Fakir’s gruff attitude. If he understood he would die, I thought, it makes sense how direct and ends-justify-the-means his actions have been. But now we find out that it is precisely his fear of death that has made Fakir act like a jerk. He wants to re-break Mytho’s heart not out of necessity or for the better good, but in a cowardly act to halt the story and forestall his death. I was never the biggest Fakir fan, but he seemed to have the most interesting motives. Not anymore, now he’s just kind of a jerk.
~I wasn’t all down on this episode. Kraehe’s cathedral of ravens was beautifully moody and theatrical, and the scope of it definitely establishes her as a bigger threat than I previously had thought.
~I also liked Duck’s forced sojurn in duck form.
~As for the SotW, regret, I understand why it imprinted on Charon. A man made to raise a child without warning would have plenty of moments of second-guessing himself. What baffles me is why Regret’s actions appeared to push Charon towards violence and confrontation instead of wallowing. Maybe it’s just me; so far I think only about half of the shards have had their influencing powers fully thought out by the writers.
Rue’s story here is a truly tragic one. She loves Mytho, or at the very least needs his love (though why exactly is still a mystery for now), and as such is terrified by the changes now coming hard and fast. But at the same time, she’s resisting the influence of Kraehe. Her pep talk to herself at the fountain hurts because it is a plea from her to remain sane (And reminds me of my absolute favorite BSG moment: jura Fnhy Gvtu, nsgre qvfpbirevat ur’f n Plyba, qrpynerf fvzcyl: “Zl anzr vf Fnhy Gvtu. V'z na bssvpre va gur Pbybavny Syrrg. Jungrire ryfr V nz, jungrire ryfr vg zrnaf, gung'f gur zna V jnag gb or. Naq vs V qvr gbqnl, gung'f gur zna V'yy or.")
And thus it takes Drosselmeyer’s intervention to push her over the edge. I adore the fact that part of his pitch to Rue is the concept that who is to say Kraehe cannot be the protagonist of the story. Not only does this tie in to the series’ fable themes, but it provides an interesting contrast between Kraehe and many other villains. For the most part, heroes in stories tend to fight to preserve the normalcy of their homes, at least at first, from the active machinations of the villain. In contrast, Rue is the reactive one compared to Tutu, battling to preserve her status quo. Yet even after Rue embraces Kraehe and confronts Tutu and the Prince, there is enough left of the old girl that lets Tutu’s mercy break through to her. Such a shame then, that at this critical moment Fakir’s attack seems to snap her last thread of compassion. Rue is, for now I fear, lost to the Raven...
SotW: Devotion, whose attachment to a girl at the school’s art program (how big is this school anyway?) is pushing her towards stalkerish behavior towards Rue. Not much else to say here; I didn’t find her story that compelling.
~So Drosselmeyer’s clearly playing both sides here. He seems to be amplifying to conflict in this story-world. This backs up my theory that he’s steering his final tale towards his own tragic conclusion. I wonder how much longer it will take for our cast, especially Rue and Duck, to understand that they are being manipulated? (my guess, not fully until episode 18 or so).
~Did Edel just show Fakir he’s going to die!?!
~Also, Edel’s a puppet. Not sure if I knew that. She seems to be controlled by Drosselmeyer, but then why does he use her sometimes and intervene himself at other points? Or am I vastly overthinking this show?
~Ms. Goatette rolled down a hallway. That happened, and it was weird.
~Did Mr. Cat actually give useful advice to a student (inadvertently, but still)
~I had a lot more thoughts, but I lost my original write-up. Hopefully this isn’t too rambly and unfocused.
“Ooh, talking about a warrior. I smell a Fakir episode...”
~I was right, Fakir backstory-ish! So he was one of the Prince’s warrior followers, and think that the Mytho’s heart must be shattered for his own good.
~But why? What caused Fakir to choose such a drastic action?
~Drosselmeyer was ominously commenting on Fakir. Has he done this to anyone else but Duck before? I get the feeling this is important.
~Rue doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening to her. The Raven seems to be using her, but what’s their connection and how did Rue know about Mytho’s heart before this?
~The curiosity shard asks Rue “Who are you really?” Good fucking question...
Best line of anything ever. “It was like a reverse Romeo and Juliet. But horribly different in that it was so one-sided. Duck’s friends are the best/worst.
~Okay, look. I get that invisible transformations are a genre trope, just like how superheroes can put on a pair of glasses and be unrecognizable. But seriously, DUCK TRANSFORMED A YARD AWAY FROM MYTHO AND KRAEHE IN AN OPEN CLEARING, AND NONE OF THEM NOTICED! I’m beginning to think the eye insurance in storybook towns must be abysmal.
The big complication this week is the appearance of Princess Kraehe a dark, Raven-aligned mirror to Princess Tutu. She gives the show its first clear antagonist, but there are still a lot of questions. The Raven seems to have empowered Rue to keep the heart shards away from Mytho, keeping him in his current state. But the story goes that he shattered his heart in order to bind the Raven. If it is bound, why is the Raven trying to uphold the status quo? I predict there’s a lot about “The Prince and the Raven” tale that being held from us.
Rue is clearly connected with the Raven now, but how much of that is conscious on her part? When the bird appeared at her window she seemed surprised, and the way her transformation/appearance as Kraehe played out reminded me of how the townsfolk have been shown to be possessed/prodded by the heart shards. Rue’s conversation with Duck at the bridge was odd too; she professed her love for Mytho, but in a matter-of-fact way, as if it were simply a fact that must occur. I’m beginning to think she’s trapped in the story as much as anyone is, and in her case is coming out the worse for the wear by the fable’s interactions with the fluid, spontaneous real world.
Duck’s spiral of self-doubt didn’t do that much for me. I felt sad for her of course, but the fact we’re only on episode 7 meant it was clear she’d take up the mantle of Tutu again. Far more interesting to me was Drosselmeyer’s reaction to Duck’s resignation. He panicked at the idea this ‘story’ might not get a clear ending. Yet he’s fine with a painful and tragic conclusion. This, coupled with the revelation he is truly dead, existing as some sort of weakened revenant, makes me think that ultimately a confrontation between him and the other characters is coming. Drosselmeyer seems to have a specific ending in mind, one in that I’m guessing Duck and Mytho will want to replace with their own.
~Duck’s friends are awesome.
~I’m starting to feel really bad for Mr. Cat
~Oh, a cameo by the Taco Bell chiuaua.
~The opening song and credits are so great but I hate the way they end. The first song is beautiful, but when they shift to the famous ballet piece the music trails off abruptly to end the credits instead of reaching a natural conclusion. Bug me every time.
Still, with affection now restored, Mytho finally has a positive emotion inside him. Good job Duck!
I’m also giving up predicting what’s up with Fakir and Rue for a few episodes. Fakir certainly seems more Raven-like this time, but pretty much every ten minutes one of does something or reacts somehow that makes me want to re-think everything.
Case in point: Rue, you’re supposed to run TOWARDS people with affection, not from them.
Duck should really take more advantage of her duck form.
Her depressed tromping down the hallway was adorable though.
No Piano Penguin this time :(
This time around, I find myself simply in awe. Ballad of Fallen Angels is certainly one of those episodes that raises far more questions than it answers. In fact, (rkpyhqvat gur URNIL vzcyvpngvba gung Fcvxr hfrq gb jbex sbe gur Gevnqf) very little is really revealed about Spike’s past beyond two things: He has a past, and mentioning it is one of the few things we’ve seen that will shake him out of his laid-back attitude.
Neither do we learn much about Vicious, except that he shares a past connection with Spike and is either badass or crazy enough to bring a katana to a gunfight. And yet the character design and composure of this new villain immediately signify him as a very real threat. Er-jngpuvat gur frevrf, Ivpvbhf’ genqvgvbanyvfg ivrj bs gur Gevnqf naq uvf qvnybthr jvgu Fcvxr qb n fhcreo wbo bs frggvat uvz hc nf Fcvxr’f qnex zveebe. Jurer bhe ureb vf qbvat nyy ur pna gb sbetrg gur cnfg, Ivpvbhf pyvatf gb byq zrgubqf naq tehqtrf. “Gura ubj ner lbh fgvyy nyvir?” vf gur bayl erny zbzrag jurer Ivpvbhf’ pnyz snçnqr penpxf. Vg tnyyf uvz gung Fcvxr guvaxf ur pna zbir ba. Gb Ivpvbhf, gur cnve bs gurz ner ornfgf. Gb cergraq bgurejvfr vf gb or abguvat.
It’s the minimalism of Ballad that makes it one of the most striking episodes of the series for me. The final shootout and confrontation in the church is, of course, beautiful, and the music as Spike falls is one of the shows many superb pairings of sound to screen. But it’s also the scene at the opera, where it slowly dawns on Faye she’s entered a trap. Or on the Bebop, where Spike and Jet continually talk around the things that matter.
Shit’s gotten real.
So, the Town’s rift between fiction and reality can bleed over into other stories. The inclusion of the Giselle tale was a nice twist (even if the only thing I know about Giselle was that it was in Waiting in the Wings. Again, not a ballet expert), and it makes me want to see more story crossovers like this. An anger-shard enhanced Hulk dance-off? I can only hope!
Fakir and Rue are both starting to be disturbed by Mytho’s reemergence of feelings, but their tactics speak volumes. Rue downplays the necessity of emotions and attempts to convince Mytho that his hollow status quo is perfectly fine. Fakir in contrast, threatens Mytho about the issue. He has a sense of urgency on the topic, as if Mytho’s heart becoming whole again might also trigger something else, and worse, to balance the scales. Interesting.
To this end, I enjoy how Duck’s interventions are being portrayed as not entirely positive. Mytho is getting the emotions freed by Princess Tutu...which have so far been loneliness, sorrow and bitter disappointment. That’s not exactly healthy. Duck makes the point that humans need even negative emotions, but as these are the only feelings Myhto has to draw on, I’d love to see him start to break down over this. In this episode alone we saw how these new emotions can lead to trouble.
The Probationary class plotline petered out quickly.
Pengy Pete, the too cool for school piano teacher is awesome.