The Princess Tutu anime recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and held a fan event called the spring festival, aka Frühlingsfest! I believe this was the first Princess Tutu event available to be streamed overseas, so I excitedly jumped on the opportunity to watch the recording via Mahocast. Though the landing page had the event description in multiple languages, since the actual stream didn’t have English subtitles, I thought someone might be interested in hearing about what happened in the event. If that’s you, read on for a full recap of all the proceedings!
First, if you haven’t seen/heard of Princess Tutu and you enjoy shojo anime, I recommend you rectify that ASAP! In a nutshell, Princess Tutu is a magical girl series themed around fairytales and ballet that was created by Ikuto Itoh, known for her work on the Sailor Moon anime. Other staff for the 20th anniversary event included director Junichi Sato (also famous for Sailor Moon, Pretear, and more), and Fakir voice actor Takahiro Sakurai (via recording), one of my top voice actors due to his amazing characters such as Reigen, Shirokuma, and, of course, Fakir.
Tickets for the livestream and recording cost 3,000 yen, and the recording could be viewed from May 22, the day of the event, until May 28. If you ever are interested in using the service it was hosted on for international viewers, Mahocast was extremely easy to sign up for, and it also takes international credit cards! It was fun to watch the recording and see the live chat log; I bet it would’ve been extra fun to tune in live and chat with fans from around the world.
The event clocked in at about 2.5 hours, plus an intermission. It took place at Blues Alley Japan, a jazz club that looked rather small and intimate from the view on the livestream. The event began with Ahiru’s voice actor, Nanae Kato, and Uzura’s voice actor, Erino Hazuki, talking about the spring festival in character, after which they, Junichi Sato, and Ikuto Itoh took the stage.
Special Princess Tutu-themed drinks were available, and the cast on stage all had the themed drinks to do a toast with the attendees (both in-person and online!). Erino Hazuki even took the time to take a photo of her drink along with Nanae Kato’s on stage, which was pretty hilarious (see photo 2 below for the picture taken while they were on stage). I wish I could’ve tried the drinks and Princess Tutu special dessert!
Following this, the whole first half of the event was the four cast members chatting about their experiences and memories of Princess Tutu, with Junichi Sato MCing. Some interesting comments I noted from this segment were: Uzuru’s VA Erino Hazuki said she only watched the series in full for the first time a few years ago, which was surprising to pretty much everyone! Previously, she’d only seen the parts that her character had appeared in. Meanwhile, Ahiru’s VA Nanae Kato noted that this anime was her first lead role, so she was nervous, but also learned a lot.
A discussion about the intermingling of humans and animals in the show revealed some fun insights from Ikuto Itoh. She mentioned that she didn’t want all of the animals to be standard “cute” fare, and purposefully picked animals to populate the world that would surprise viewers.
At this point, there was a music change, which indicated that it was time for part one of Takahiro Sakurai’s pre-recorded interview. This was apparently his first time participating in a Princess Tutu anniversary event, even though he wasn’t there live. The video featured Junichi Sato asking Takahiro Sakurai a number of questions, such as whether he got an impression of how popular it was with fans, to which he said he still gets letters from fans, even people who are now fans that weren’t born when the series first came out! (this was a comment that came up in the intro discussion too) When discussing his memories of the audition process, Sakurai mentions that he wasn’t the first choice of the male staff, but all the female staff wanted him for Fakir!
Sakurai’s interview was so long, they split it into two parts, with the second part to run during the second half of the stream. The cast took a 30-minute break, and the stream resumed with pianist and singer Maya Tsutsumi performing the Princess Tutu opening theme, “Morning Gace.” (I admit, I got teary!) She then introduced herself as a friend of the original composer, Ritsuko Okazaki, who sadly passed away in 2004. Maya Tsutsumi also performed the ending theme, “Although My Love is Small.”
This led naturally into a discussion of Princess Tutu‘s music and live concert with Kaoru Wada and Yasuno Sato (Junichi Sato’s wife). They talked about the process of selecting and adapting classical pieces for the show, as well as the 15th anniversary concert where they ran Princess Tutu footage as the orchestra performed. Unfortunately, the video froze on Fakir! (they shared this footage during the stream, which was pretty funny, but probably mortifying at the time)
The staff expressed a desire to do an international concert tour someday, but currently preparations are underway for the 20th anniversary concert, which I’m assuming is Japan-only at this point in time. After this, the second half of the Sakuai interview was played. In it, he discusses Yasunori Matsumoto (Neko-sensei voice actor)’s commanding presence and skill, and Junichi Sato jokes about how international fans said that Fakir’s German pronunciation wasn’t very good. Plus, did Sakurai know Mythos wasn’t wearing pants in the first episode? Apparently not…
As the event was nearing its end, there was one announcement – they’re making a 20th anniversary music box featuring new art from Ikuto Itoh! She joked about how she had to draw the characters smaller and smaller when she went from the VCD release to DVD, and now the music box is an even smaller space to work with… She conducted an informal poll on whether fans would prefer more characters on the box, or fewer, that would appear larger. It seems like people generally preferred fewer characters (myself included!). The music box will be available for preorder from August for a December release.
At the end, there was a giveaway for some special shikishi boards drawn and signed by different members of the staff, and the cast of the event gave their final comments. Ikuto Itoh got very emotional during her closing words, and said that she had no idea her little duck would make it this far. There was some hinting at/desire for future events, so I hope at the very least that they do another for the 25th anniversary! And more merch, please!
If one good thing has come from COVID, it’s the prevalence of livestreams for events like these. I’m really happy I was able to watch the recording and take part in the 20th anniversary of Princess Tutu!