I’ve known about Princess Tutu since around 2004, but have only just decided to watch it due to Josh W’s influence. One does not expect a fantasy show revolving around ballet to be this good, and part of the entertainment lies in how little of the plot is straightforward. In the city where the tale takes place, storybook characters can enter the real world. Prince Mytho stands as one such person and so is his antagonist, the Raven. According to the book, written by an eccentric named Drosselmeyer, the Prince sealed the Raven’s power through shattering his own heart. Though Mytho succeeded in his object, he has become the shell of a human being. The heroine, Duck, is approached by Drosselmeyer and given the power to transform into Princess Tutu so that she might restore Mytho’s heart to its proper condition. However, restoring Mytho’s heart brings him pain and sorrow which he would never experience without a heart. Also, the advent of the Raven’s release from his imprisonment is simultaneously advanced by the restoration of Mytho’s heart.
What surprised me most about these heart shards is how many smack of fallen human nature. Princess Tutu appears to be doing ill to Mytho rather than good in bringing him Loneliness, Sorrow, and Pride. (Though, Mytho’s pride has elements of dignity and self-knowledge–surely good things.) Duck begins to have doubts about restoring the integrity of Mytho’s heart, which are not helped by Drosselmeyer’s reason she should do it: “Because it’s fun!” Indeed, Duck mostly sees Mytho suffering as a result of her actions. In the end, however, she concludes that the good of having a heart outweighs any suffering produced by having one. Eventually, Mytho and even Duck’s first great antagonist, Fakir, come to see things in that light.
On one hand, we have the idea that things which are whole are better than incomplete things–hence, the good connotation of integrity. In Mytho’s case, some of these fragments are clearly flawed and undesirable. Yet, we know from good old St. Augustine that that evil is a parasite: it cannot exist without an essentially good thing to feed on. (God only creates good creatures, though some of these creatures become evil through their own fault.) These parts of Mytho’s heart appear undesirable because we see them in their damaged form: loneliness instead of peace, sorrow instead of joy, and pride instead of humility. Our hearts lie in a fragmented state like Mytho’s. The reason for it lies in Original Sin, through which pride distorts our vision of reality and tainted loves lead us far from our True Love.
The Sacred Heart of Christ reveals how the human heart was created to be: “Christ…fully reveals man to man himself” (Gaudium et Spes). While pride and false loves have fragmented our hearts, Christ’s heart is complete by His humility, love of God, and love of neighbor. While we imagine ourselves greater than we are and often advance our selfish interests at others’ expense, Christ knows Who He is and serves the interests of His Father and His brothers and sisters. Instead of a laundry list of flaws, Christ’s complete and holy heart contains all the treasures of wisdom, virtue, and grace: humility, temperance, courage, prudence, justice, faith, hope, charity, fear/awe of God, piety, knowledge, fortitude, right counsel, understanding, wisdom, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity, i.e. the root of all virtue, the seven virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how Christ’s heart is, how the hearts of the saints were formed, and how our hearts must become.
How does this great and incredible transformation happen? By remaining in Christ’s presence. Some initial actions must be done when we first receive the grace of conversion, but Christian life boils down to not fleeing the presence of God: pray, go to Church, receive the sacraments, do good to the least of your brothers as if to Christ, and walk in faith and mercy. By such a way of living, one never leaves the presence of God because the object of one’s actions is union with God. In Princess Tutu, Mytho receives no advancement in integrity apart from Princess Tutu’s work. How much more is it the case that a Christian bears no fruit apart from Christ the Vine!