The first half of “Carole & Tuesday” was released on Netflix on Aug. 30. The second half of the show will be released on Dec. 24.
Once it was announced that Shinichirō Watanabe was making a new show called “Carole & Tuesday,” I was excited because he has been a hero of mine ever since I discovered his work in high school.
My first exposure to him was the cult hit that became my favorite anime of all time, “Cowboy Bebop.”
The show revolves around its titular characters, Carole, an orphaned keyboardist who’s constantly fired from jobs, and Tuesday, a rich guitar player who is on the run from her politician mother. The two have high hopes of becoming musicians and form the band “Carole & Tuesday.” While the two friends slowly work towards their goal, a model and former child star named Angela tries to become a singer herself, in order to prove herself to her fans and mother. She eventually becomes a rival to Carole & Tuesday.
What makes this series unique to Watanabe’s other work, is that it shares various elements of past shows, yet it has a completely different genre and tone. While “Carole & Tuesday” is a music anime, the show’s setting is a future where humans have moved to Mars and artificial intelligence is the driving force in the society.
Because of this sci-fi setting, the show depicts various futuristic elements such as, robots, holographic touch-screens and suitcases that can move on their own and recognize their owners.
However, the show is also a down-to-earth music anime with the familiar plot of two ordinary girls trying to make music. Watanabe’s past forays into sci-fi include a violent and dramatic Neo-noir, space western “Cowboy Bebop” and a goofy slapstick space opera, “Space Dandy”, yet “Carole & Tuesday” lacks the violent edge of “Cowboy Bebop” or the silliness of “Space Dandy,” even though it takes place in the exact same city from the “Cowboy Bebop” movie and shares the same currency from the other two shows.
The animation and setting looks amazing as well. The show was animated by Bones Inc. The company is responsible for other hit shows like “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “My Hero Academia,” and the aforementioned “Space Dandy.” Although the studio is known for animating fight scenes, the show’s animation shines best during the musical sequences.
Before animating the scene, the team would videotape the singers performing in a room and then use the footage as reference for the animators. These recording sessions are shot as if they are the final cut of the scene, so the animators must draw every important detail that happens with the musician, such as subtle gestures and movements that occur when performing. They capture the accurate placement and movements of the musician’s hands and fingers to coordinate with each note of the song. What follows, are beautifully smooth sequences that showcase the performance of both the musicians and the animators.
Speaking of musicians, the show’s driving force, is the music performed by the characters. Watanabe is well known for adding a unique style of music to every show he makes, which in turn adds more to the world than being just a simple soundtrack. What makes makes “Carole & Tuesday’s” music interesting is that unlike Watanabe’s other shows, there are various types of music, plus there are occasions where the music is diegetic.
Carole and Tuesday’s vocals are done by actual singers, Nai Br.XX and Celenia Ann respectively. Most title character’s songs are acoustic and R&B, while other genres of music show up as well, such as A Cappella, different forms of pop and rap opera.
One final factor that makes “Carole & Tuesday” stand out from other anime, is its positive amount of diversity. Most anime tend to have a primarily Japanese cast with the occasional white foreign exchange student. Watanabe’s work is known for having diverse characters, such as portraying people of various ethnicities, races, sexes and genders that inhabit the show’s universe, and this show is no exception. Carole herself is black woman, and the presence of LGBTQ+ characters seem to be commonplace in the series.
Overall, I highly recommend “Carole & Tuesday.” It’s a unique anime with great array of characters, animation, representation and music.
If you want a show with a down-to-earth vibe and calm atmosphere, then give the show a watch. Now if you excuse me, I gotta listen to the show’s official soundtrack on Spotify.
The soundtrack “the world of CAROLE & TUESDAY” is also available to stream on Spotify.