Review: Carole and Tuesday Part 2

The following review contains spoilers for the first half of Carole an Tuesday.

This is a very late review but it’s for a great series and deserves to be seen.

A lot has happened since the first half of Carole and Tuesday — in the real world as well as in the world of Carole and Tuesday. Though they were disqualified from the finals in the Martian talent competition, they showed enough talent to be award a recording contract as well as the winner Angela. Through this dual journey, we go along with them through the world of fame and fortune.

Much of the episodes of the second half are the adventures the pair have in not only securing the aid of a producer but of putting out the album as well. Meanwhile, Angela is on the path to genuine stardom as her musical career is beginning to take. Yet all is not good for her as her relationship with her mother becomes strained. The pressures of fame also begin to weigh on her as well.

Things are not so easy for the rest of the cast as well. The situation on Mars is rocky as presidential elections are approaching. Tuesday’s mother is leading in the polls with a strict anti-earth immigration policy. As it turns out, this is a policy that she doesn’t really believe in. But she strongly adopts it since it is a path that can lead her to the presidency of the planet. In fact, she is being manipulated by a manager that was, unknown to her, behind a Martian version of the Reichstag fire. Compound that with the fact that she is also Tuesday’s mother. And she is not happy with the career choice her daughter has taken.

Along with the immigration story we also encounter a dark side to fame. Angela is being stalked by someone who seems to know her every secret. Carole and Tuesday meet an old friend and flame and friend of Gus, their manager. Flora was once a big star who he helped discover but she gave up their relationship in pursuit of fame. She is now just a shell, having lost all that fame after battles with drugs and stress. Ertigan, the pretentious DJ star, has lost all his fortunes to an unscrupulous AI manager. When news outlets discover that Carole is an orphan, people come out of the woodwork claiming to be her parents. They inevitably leave once they find out that despite fame, Carole is broke.

When Carole encounters an old friend she knew from the days of being in a refugee camp, she finds he’s changed from a fellow refugee to a musical star in his own right. When it is revealed that he is illegally on Mars and detained by the planet’s version of ICE (MICE) that the many different stories start to come together. I don’t know if it is coincidence or purposeful that the idea of rounding up illegals and putting them in detention centers is reflective of the politics of the time especially considering the time involved in anime production from script, to character design, and animation. Coincidence or not, it hit a little too on the mark politically in 2020 when this second half of the season aired.

It may seem like things could be excessively dark. Despite this all, there is hope and optimism expressed in the spirits and songs of Carole and Tuesday as their paths intersect with those touched by the ongoing turmoils of Mars.

This second half really explores the power of music and how it can change the world. Things come to a head for Angela, who has given into the stress of her fame and isolation by diving into pills and alcohol. She must also deal with separation from those closest to her, whether it’s her cold producer or her overbearing mother. Her unwarranted dislike of Carole and Tuesday is obviously unnecessary but probably stems from resentment that they don’t use AI and perhaps a little jealousy of their ability to see the good in people.

The anime maintains it’s quality animation and character design. But the music is still the main drawing point and it continues to entertain. The girls are still a hopeful beacon amidst the more serious atmosphere. Netflix has brought us quite a musical gem. There is much to still delight from this show and we are quite fortunate to be graced with Carol and Tuesday’s magic.

Final Score: 9/10

Carole & Tuesday is a Netflix Must Watch Anime

 

carole-tuesday-titlecardNetflix has been getting into the anime streaming game for some time now with some exclusive titles, some of which they genuinely produced as opposed to slapping their name on it as a Netflix original. Their binge model of dropping all episodes at once has largely been a success for the streaming company. In the case of anime that they have exclusive licenses to, the show may have been running for months before it shows up on Netflix. Carole & Tuesday is such a show.

Carole & Tuesday is a 24 episode series that is produced by Studio Bones with exclusive international streaming rights belonging to Netflix. Though the streaming giant was not involved in actual production, it is still labeled as a “Netflix Original.” Netflix has decided to cut that 24 episode season into two parts and deliver part one while second half is still being broadcast in Japan. They have also included an exceptional dub to go along with the show which I think fits it all the better as we shall see in a little bit.

I had been anticipating Carole & Tuesday since I’ve seen early preview clips on YouTube and even more excited after seeing musical clips from the performances. I’m anxiously awaiting the second half of the show. Hopefully it’s only a matter of a few months because this show is a delightfully entertaining with an infectious spirit that will have you falling in love and rooting for the title characters.

We are first introduced to Tuesday as she runs away from her wealthy home with a robotic rolling suitcase and a guitar (a Gibson acoustic, of course) on her back. In an opening montage it becomes clear that the setting is not only the future but that it also takes place on a terraformed and colonized Mars. Carole is a girl that seems to have trouble keeping a part time job. While performing on the street with her keyboard, Tuesday is captivated by Carols’s music, and the magic of the show is born.

It is the most simplest of stories, two girls meet, form a bond, discover their love of music and decide to make their musical dreams come true together. Carole writes great melodies and Tuesday has a knack for lyrics, all they need is work. Unfortunately in this futuristic world, songwriting and music composing have been replaced by AI and efforts are seen at best quaint, and at worst unwanted.

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In contrast to their lofty dreams is Angela, an already successful model who is being steered towards singing by a controlling mother who also acts as her manager. She is coached by an unemotional vocal “coach” that is training her voice to conform to his Artificial Intelligence created songs.

Tuesday and Carole end up getting the attention of Gus, a down on his luck music manager, who has seen better days who usually spends his days drinking his sorrows away lamenting better days. After seeing a viral video of the pair singing, he leverages his way out of the bottle and into their lives as manager. Dragged along for the ride is Roddy, the nerdy sound technician(and source of the viral video) who has an awkward crush on either Tuesday or Carole. It is possible he’s crushing on both. It’s not really clear, and that is somewhat charming.

Things go a bit rough at first for the pair in the beginning, especially after they get conned by a little beer-guzzling robot video director. But all the pieces will gather together for Mars’ Brightest, the biggest singing competition on the planet that is similar to modern singing competition shows like American Idol that are popular now.

Underlying the story is a few commentaries about the nature of stardom and also of social media. One of the featured singers is best known as a social media star, basically posting Instagram or YouTube videos of himself just being in front of things calling attention himself. Yes, it’s very similar to our present day “influencers.” Stalking is personified in Cybelle who has an unhealthy obsession with Tuesday. And of course, the main crux of the story is that Carole and Tuesday write their own music as opposed to ling an AI do it for them.

Overall, the show is just plain fun and will make you feel good on a dreary day. The characters are all interesting and the acting in both Japanese and English are exceptional. In fact, I lean more towards the English dub as all the songs, except for one in French, are sung in English as they were in the Japanese broadcast version.

The show’s lead director is Shinichiro Watanabe, who is best known for the classic anime Cowboy Bebop. In fact, I have a sneaking feeling that somehow the two shows are connected, not just because of the Mars setting. And if you are familiar with Cowboy Bebop, then you should be prepared for top notch quality in not only animation but music as well. In fact, every episode title is named after a famous song such as True Colors, Every Breath You Take, Born to Run, Dancing Queen, etc. Each episode also features the corresponding 45 RPM that the title refers too as eyecatches (title cards that appear in what would be the beginning and end of a commercial break in Japan). Details like this really show that the producers love their classic pop music.

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It must also be pointed out that even though this is an anime with some exaggeration of characters, the character design of our main stars is not only beautifully done but done in a manner that does not overly sexualize them — in other words they look like normal young women. And I must also add that this particular anime has done an exceptional job in not making persons of color look like the racial caricatures they have looked like in the past.

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I found myself, like Roddy, just crushing on the pair of rising stars and found their spirit of not giving up while climbing uphill and keeping their spirits positive to be infectious. It’s as easy to root for these girls as it is to love them. The first twelve episodes complete a major story arc. But it does not close out the show as the second half promises to continue the next phase in their story. Even the show’s rival and antagonist, Angela, is a fascinating character who may have a bad attitude, but is still sympathetic.

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Carole & Tuesday is an absolutely binge-worthy series and will be a delight for everyone. It is appealing for most ages except for some light swearing and one song in particular which is filled with f-words. It’s played for laughs but it is extremely catchy. For reference, it’s Episode 9’s performance by the Mermaid Sisters. Below is the video.

I highly recommend this show not only as an anime but as television series. Like Cowboy Bebop, this is one of those titles that anime fans can recommend to non anime viewers. It is extremely accessible and filled with great tunes that blend naturally into a animated series filled with delightful characters of heart and charm. And for days when you are feeling maybe a little down, tune in to Carole & Tuesday for a show to make you feel a little better about the world. Oh, and you too will want a robotic AI owl alarm clock. Although I’d go for a penguin one.

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Final Score: 9/10

The first volume of the vocal collection is available on iTunes digitally. Amazon Music sells individual songs as opposed to the album.

If you are interested in artists behind the singers in the show follow this link. http://caroleandtuesday.com/music/artists/