Once there lived an eccentric author called Drosselmeyer who wrote grand tragedies - one of them was the tale of a prince who sealed away an evil raven by breaking his own heart into tiny pieces. However, before the story could be completed, the author died and the tale took on a life of its own. Now, in a town where fiction and reality meet, the story continues on its tragic course with Ahiru, a duck who transforms into the beautiful Princess Tutu in order to restore the prince's heart. But will Ahiru's act of love be enough to defy the story's terrible destiny and lead to a happy ending?
Legends tell of a floating island in the sky known as Laputa, upon which is rumoured to be treasure beyond a person’s wildest dreams. Sheeta is an orphan girl who is being hunted down because of her necklace, a rare Levistone, which legend says will lead the way to Laputa. One day she is saved by Pazu, a miner apprentice and also an orphan, and together they set out to escape from her would-be captors. Unfortunately, their friendship must go through endless trials in their quest to hide Laputa's location. What is Sheeta’s mysterious legacy, and what hidden motives do Sheeta’s enemies have in regards to finding Laputa?
Tutu is a "metafairytale", while Castle in the Sky is a more standard adventure story, but the two do have similar feels. Both use literature as inspiration for their plots, have magical jewels with secrets, and feature strong female leads.
Satoshi and Arumi have been friends since early childhood, but now Arumi's family is moving to Hokkaido, deeply upsetting her long-time friend. However, when Arumi's grandfather accidentally breaks the pelican statue atop his restaurant, the duo find their world turned upside down and not quite as they left it. From a fairy tale kingdom, to kung fu China, to the prehistoric age and everything in between, Arumi and Satoshi can't quite seem to figure out where they are, or better yet, how they can manage to get home to their own Abenobashi Shoutengai!
Alice is a preteen girl who believes in magic, much to the dismay of her parents and peers. But when she finds herself transported into a dreamlike world filled with magic, forest sprites, and witches, she finds out that magic is sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be. The witches of this world must capture forest sprites for use in casting their spells, and magical hierarchy dictates that those at the bottom must compete to get to the top. Dream or not, Alice must use her positive attitude to show these witches that magic should be used to spread happiness, first and foremost!
Examples of the magical girl genre that are fun and visually inventive, with quite complicated yet satisfactory plotting in the case of Tutu. Rather then giving the audience the stereotypical image of a kid in a generic magical girl outfit, these shows kit out their pre-pubescent protagonists in ballerina outfits (Princess Tutu) or witch costumes (Tweeny Witches).
Tutu is the more tightly plotted and satisfying watch overall, but Tweeny Witches has a boundless enthusiasm and a generally strong central narrative.
Both Princess Tutu and Mawaru Penguin Drum are beautiful works of fantasy in which your own imagination plays a part. It's not just about the objective plot of the story, but how you interpret it and the emotional experience you gain from the process. While Penguin Drum takes plenty of short cuts with the animation, I found both shows had equally lovely character designs, stunning atmosphere (owing a lot to the direction), and a quirky approach that charms over and over again. Furthemore, in both, the characters rarely turn out to be as straightforward as they first appeared. If you liked the approach in one show, you'll love the other.
In Norse mythology, the end of the world was foretold as the final war between the gods, and its name was Ragnarok. In a twist on the lore, the god Loki finds himself exiled to the world of humans. Mayura, a girl obsessed with mysteries, ends up entangled in Loki's struggle to return to the world of the gods without realizing it, and meanwhile, the gods divide into factions. Some are willing to help Loki find his way home, while others are after his life -- the end of the world, the final war: Ragnarok. And in the center of it all is Mayura...