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Mytho asks Tutu for the final heart shard: A1
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: A1
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Added 7/23/2018
Updated 9/2/2018
Akt 25 - Kapitel des Junges: The Dying Swan ~ Romeo und Julia. Prince Mytho, in his final battle costume, turns to his protector, Princess Tutu, and asks her to return the last of the pieces of his shattered heart, a request that has plot-changing consequences for both of them.


The final battle now looms: Rue/Kraehe, now aware that she is not the Raven’s daughter but a human abducted as a child, has renounced her quest and declared her love for Mytho. In response, the Raven has snatched her away again, into a dark world inside his body. Now he dares the Prince to try to free her. Set back but resolute, Mytho now turns to Tutu and asks her to return the last one of his heart shards, which is contained in her magical shape-shifting pendant.

“I need to save Rue,” he says, then corrects himself. “No, I want to save her.”

It’s a crucial turn in the tangled plot, for much of what has come before has assumed that Mytho and Tutu are the fairytale’s central lovers, searching together for a happy ending. (Though Drosselmeyer has warned Tutu that if she ever speaks her love to him in any way, she will at once disappear into a sparkle of light.) Rue/Kraehe has been the evil spoiler, the “Black Swan” who has tried to part the lovers and captivate the Prince in order to serve his heart up to her Raven father.

Now the plot has taken a dramatic twist, one that has the potential to move the tale to resolution, but it involves a sad acknowledgment on the part of both (apparent) lovers. Mytho understands that Rue/Kraehe is, indeed, the one he genuinely loves and wants to save, and his request for Tutu’s pendant means a tragic but necessary renunciation of his feelings for her. As for Tutu -- what now happens to her? Will she disappear in a sparkle, as Drosselmeyer foresaw? In any case, if she hands over the pendant, she will no longer have the power to transform into her ballet-goddess form. And if she can no longer be Princess Tutu, then who is she, really?

Caution! Fussy Notes

The featured image, drawn on light yellow paper, is from a sketch set that was broken up and sold piecemeal without the accompanying documents (such as the timing sheet) that would give it provenance. It came with another sketch, this one on light salmon paper, which shows a quite different conception of the keyframe (more on this in the next item). The cut, however, was not difficult for a Tutuphile to locate, and as the sketch above is identical to the screen cap, it must be a post-genga shuusei, executed by one of the animation directors, which determined the final form of the douga and hence the broadcast image.

Who is the artist, though? That was tricky, for two experienced artists were credited for animation direction of Ep. 25, Akemi Kobayashi and Yuji Ushijima. Kobayashi is best known as Character Designer and Chief Animation Director for Pretear, one of several anime riffs on the “Snow White” theme, while Ushijima contributed to many series, including Cardcaptor Sakura (Animation Director, Ep. 45). Sadly, I don’t own any sketchwork for Kobayashi or Ushijima that I could use to compare with this sketch.

Chief Animation Director for Princess Tutu was of course Ikuko Itō, also the original creator of the series. And I knew that this artist took a strong part in supervising her next project, Asatte no Hōkō, regularly correcting the work of the episode animation directors and at times replacing their work with complete genga shuuseis of extraordinary power and quality.

This sketch is certainly a powerful image of Prince Mytho at a major series turning point. And any Tutu sketch from Itō-sama’s own hands has long been a “Holy Grail” wishlist for me. But how could I check to be sure?

To begin with, I was struck by the distinctive way in which the artist of the sketch labeled the sequence number:

Seems pretty ordinary, but animators wrote this label in many different ways. Some circled the letter and number, others left them uncircled, some added a dash between the letter and number. And the circle could be drawn in lots of ways: some artists (like this one) continued the stroke of “1” into the circle, while others made the circle in a separate stroke after finishing the “1.” Sometimes it was tight around the number, but some artists expanded it into flamboyant bubbles with tails. Also some animators drew the circle clockwise (as here) while others drew it in the opposite direction. The “A” also could be made in many different ways, some artists making it in one continuous stroke, others in two strokes (a narrow up-and-down angle with a separate crosspiece), and others (as here) in three distinct pencil strokes.

And since these practices were habitual, even automatic, I found that they could be used to sort out sketches and link them to their respective artists. So in this case, the “A” is in three distinct strokes, and the top stroke of the “A” ends with a sharp downward stroke, making a distinctive little “dog-house” gable. And the “1” alone is circled, in one stroke continuous with the “1” and moving in a tight circuit clockwise. Looking through several folders of sketchwork scans, I located one artist who displayed all of these habits in the exact same way.

(From a shuusei rough in my Asatte no Hōkō collection.) “A” in three strokes with a “dog-house gable,” the “1” tightly circled clockwise in one continuous stroke.

Artist: Ikuko Itō.

If the sketch had included Itō-sama’s even more distinctive “T⅔” way of writing “shuusei,” that would have closed the case at once. But without this detail and lacking attested examples of the other two animation directors’ work, the case still seemed iffy. Luckily, a little additional research decisively confirmed the attribution. As noted, this sketch set was broken up at its original sale, and a second pair of sketches from it show up in SAZEN’s gallery. That set consists of a genga, initially labeled “A1” but corrected to “A2” on the sheet (more on this in the next item), along with its matching shuusei genga, also on light yellow paper.

That sketch (see the thumbnail on the page in SAZEN’s gallery) contains an “A2” sequence number (with a “dog-house gable” on the “A”) and this time it is accompanied by Ito’s unmistakable “T⅔” label. Viewing the two sketches side by side makes it absolutely clear that they are by the same artist.

SAZEN’s extraordinary collection contains several other genga shuusei sketches with the same characteristics, demonstrating that Ikuko Itō did indeed take an active role in supervising and correcting the animation of Princess Tutu. It is a privilege now to include one of her important complete genga shuuseis in this more modest gallery.

Next: Mytho asks Tutu for the final heart shard: A2    

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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