I had been aware of Princess Tutu for many years, thanks to trailers on ADV Films discs in the mid-2000’s as well as praise for it among Twitter users I follow, but I didn’t actually watch it until this year through a Skype groupwatch over a number of weeks.
I enjoyed the anime’s blending of fairy tale elements, drama involving characters’ pasts, and its musical score. Its main characters are Ahiru, a duck princess; Mytho, a kind amnesiac; Fakir, Mytho’s knight-like protector; Rue, Ahiru’s raven-haired rival for Mytho’s heart; and Drosselmeyer, a writer who gave Ahiru her transformation pendant. The series’ symphonic musical score features segments from ballets & operas like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Georges Bizet’s Carmen and its episode titles include names of many 19th-century dramatic stage works.
Comedic moments were a good counterweight to dramatic scenes so the series was not heavily serious all the time. Ahiru’s friends (Pike and Lilie) constantly try to cheer her up while also embarrassing her, similar to Sora’s friends Mia and Anna in Kaleido Star. Various talking animals appearing as students and teachers is a recurring, fantastical source of humor.
Villages, forests, architecture, German writing, and the appearance of a romantic prince from France/Spain all suggested to me that Tutu is set in central Europe. Thinking about folk tales from that region such as those collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (the Brothers Grimm) further strengthened my assumption about the anime’s setting.
P.S. There was an ANNCast episode in December 2015 about Princess Tutu that I have not heard yet but I may try listen to it during the winter holidays.
Amazon affiliate link: Princess Tutu DVD box set