Anime Monday - Carole and Tuesday

Okay so I'm semi breaking my own rule here. When I started this series last year I said that I would stick to one rule. The anime series I would discuss each week would be completely chosen at random, and they would be series I had seen and remembered. I wouldn't bring up shows I had watched years ago with little to no memory of them, nor would I pick something new and quickly rush through it just to write an article. Heck I even choose the series Sunday night giving me basically no time what so ever to even attempt to watch it! So yeah I've faithfully stuck to this rule the entire time. Until now that is.

About a few weeks ago when I was scrolling through my scrambled list looking for the first series I had actually watched, something popped up. Carole & Tuesday. Now I had heard of the series before and it had been at the top of my queue on Netflix for quite awhile. For whatever reason I never got around to watching it though. It seemed interesting, but I guess a part of me just wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. It wasn't something that appealed to me right just by watching the trailer, but I've learned over the years that you can't always go with your first impression. Sometimes you'll skip something and end up regretting it later, and I didn't want that to happen with this one. So I added it to my list thinking there might be a chance I'd actually love it. Well jump back to a few weeks ago, and there it was once again -- staring me in the face. "Eh, why not?" So with that being said I went out to finally check it out and... Didn't. Yep put it aside once again. That is until last week.

If you've been following this blog lately then you'd know that I finally went out and bought an Oculus Quest. While being able to use it as a PC VR headset was a major part of why I purchased the thing, the main reason was actually because of it's video capabilities.  I love watching movies on my PSVR, but it's really not all that convenient for me. It can only get so far away from my TV, and it's not even set up in my living room. So that's where the Oculus Quest comes in. The thing is completely wire free, and because of that you can take it anywhere. So once I got things up and running and downloaded all of the apps I wanted, I jumped into Netflix to test it out. And that's when I saw it once again. Waiting for me with a notice saying "part two now available." So I loaded it up, and next thing I know the hours are flying by. Now here we are today! And yeah, I'm not regretting watching it at all.

What is Carole & Tuesday:

Before I get into the actual show, some background is needed. Carole & Tuesday is a special anime series which was created for studio Bones' 20th anniversary, and the 10th anniversary of the music label FlyingDog. As for the show's director? Well, it's none other than Shinichiro Watanabe. Sound familiar? Well if not let me refresh your memory. Bang.

Shinichiro Watanabe is the man behind the cult classic Cowboy Bebop, as well as other series like Samurai Champloo, and Space Dandy. Although each of these shows are pretty different, they all have their own unique style and cross themes in interesting ways. Cowboy Bebop was a western set in space, Samurai Champloo was the Edo Period with a pop hip hop style, and Space Dandy was... Insane. As for Carole & Tuesday? It's a classic tale of two girls trying to make it in the world of music, but with them living on Mars and going up against AI and their generated songs. It's different, but also pretty close to reality. The technology in this world is advance, but it's not so advanced that it's unbelievable. Mix in the fact that elements from Cowboy Bebop and that even a character from Space Dandy enters the mix, and you'll find yourself in a world that's both new yet familiar for long time fans of Shinichiro Watanabe's work. As for those of you who have never seen the other series he's been involved with? Well, Carole & Tuesday is a perfect start.

The Story of Two (Three):

The story of Carole & Tuesday isn't as straight forward as you might seem. It opens up with a young Tuesday running away from her rich family and attempting to follow her dreams of becoming a musician on Mars. She has no real experience with the outside world, and she doesn't even know where to start her so called music career. She's pretty hopeless, and it doesn't take her too long to realize this. After her baggage is stolen and all she's left with is her guitar, she actually considers going back home and giving up. And so then we jump over to Carole.

Carole is the opposite of Tuesday. While Tuesday was sheltered her entire life, Carole has never really had anything of her own. She's an orphan who had a hard life on Earth, and eventually moved to Mars with nothing to her name. She doesn't let this get her down though, it's just how things are and she accepts it. She managed to find an "apartment' to live in, and she works part time jobs to pay her bills and continue living. Not everything always goes smoothly, and she's not the best worker, but at least she tries. So what if she gets fired? All she has to do is move on to the next one! Needless to say, this isn't how she wants to spend the rest of her life, so on the side she makes time to play her keyboard on the street in hopes of someone actually liking what they hear. That's when Tuesday shows up.

After being awestruck by the melody of Carole's song, Tuesday stops on a bridge to watch her play when suddenly the cops show up. Apparently it's illegal for street performers to be there, so the two girls find themselves running for their lives until they finally make their escape. Afterwords they get to talking, and Carole invites Tuesday to stay the night at her place. Being basically from the streets herself, it's not hard for Carole to realize what kind of situation Tuesday is currently in. She's a run away, but a run away from what? Carole doesn't know, nor does she care. She realizes Tuesday needs a place to stay, and that's a good enough reason for her to help her out.

Back at Carole's place, her and Tuesday slowly start to open up to each other. They talk about their dreams and their love for music, and they even decide to play together. Carole feels as if her song has always been missing "something," and Tuesday agrees to help her finish it. So they to get to work playing, and before they know it the song is completed and the group "Carole & Tuesday" is formed. There's just one problem. Where do they go from here? That's where the main story comes into play.

Early on in the series the two girls force their way into a concert hall of sorts, and preform their first song on "stage." They have to escape from security on their way out, but not before capturing the attention of a man by the name of Roddy. Roddy is an AI programmer and system engineer working in the music business, but despite loving AI hearing Carole and Tuesday sing captures his attention unlike anything else. Their song touches him in a way he has never experienced before, so he quickly pulls put his phone and records it for the world to see. Afterwords he contacts his friend Gus, who used to be a big time manage for multiple music groups, and the two set out to find the young girls to hopefully start their career. Eventually they do find the girls, and together the four of them enter the music business with dreams of taking the world by storm. But it's still not that easy.

Most of the show does focus on the group Carole & Tuesday trying to make it big, but it also has a huge focus on Roddy, Gus, and the other musicians they meet along the way. Because the girls are seen as amateurs however, their life is not easy. Just because they released a catchy, it doesn't mean they are professional singers worth other people's time of day. Angela however is a different story.

The "third" main character of the series is another young woman by the name of Angela. She's a childhood star who is known across the world, but she decides to give up this life to follow her childhood dream of becoming a singer as well. She already has a huge start on this dream due to her past work, but she too has challenges she must overcome. She has had issues with her mother in the past, and despite being popular she is pretty much always alone. She teams up with an ace AI programmer named Tao who plans to compose "perfect" AI generated songs for her to sing, but the problem is... Humans aren't perfect. Rather than making songs that fit Angela and her vocal range and abilities, Tao expects Angela herself to become as "perfect" as his AI. So to say the least, it's not going to be easy for her.

While Angela serves the role as a rival for Carole and Tuesday, she's not the typical rival character. She comes off as a brat who is easy to dislike simply because of her attitude, but there's a lot more to the character than meets the eye. It takes awhile before she comes face to face with the girls (mainly due to them being nobodies), but once she does things are a bit different than you'd expect. While the characters don't hate each other, Angela does whatever she can to edge Carole and Tuesday on. She pushes them to be better, simply so she herself can "win" fair and square. It's clear she has at least some respect for them, but it's not something she'll ever admit. Overall her character fits nicely into the story, and helps show different sides to how things will play out.

The Music:

What's a musical show without music? Being a collaboration with FlyingDog, this series is filled with music. The group Carole & Tuesday is front and center for most of this, but Angela is there as well. Her style of singing is completely different from the two girls, and helps change things up quite a bit. These three aren't all however, as there are multiple other side characters as well, and each one of them usually has a song or two to sing for the audience. Every single character in the show has their own unique style, and because of that you never really know what to expect. One song in in particular was just... Yeah... You'll know it when you hear it. As for the others however, they are all pretty well done, and are enjoyable to listen to. Even when it's not typically the genre of music you're into (my favorite genre isn't in the series at all), you can't help but like most of what the show has to offer. There's no denying the real singers' talents, and the show does a great job drawing and animating the characters while the songs are playing. There's a bit more detail put in to these moments, and it really helps the songs stand out more. However there is one thing that's slightly odd.

If you watch the show in Japanese then the first weird thing you will notice is how it's a "Western" styled show, yet everyone is speaking in Japanese. Sure this happens a lot in anime (look at things like Attack on Titan), but in this case it feels a little off. Why? Because all of the music is actually in English! Not a single song is sung in Japanese, with the musical score being exactly the same between both sub and dubbed versions. Characters will switch between English and Japanese on the fly, and the voices don't really match up. With the English Dub however, we have a different problem. The voice acting is really good, and it's nice to hear everything remain in English; however here too not all of the voices will match up. Carole and Tuesday themselves are pretty close to their singing voices, but it's fine if they aren't spot on. A lot of singers sound different when they sing compared to when they speak, so this is to be expected. It's some of the other side characters that can be off putting at times. Sure you do come across those who can greatly change their voice and surprise us all (just look at the contestants on those "Got Talent" shows), but when every single character in the series does it? That's when you notice it's not exactly normal. Putting that aside however, it's not really that big of a deal, and doesn't change the quality of the songs themselves.

Should You Watch It:

First of all Carole & Tuesday is not going to be a series for everyone. While you don't have to be a fan of music to enjoy it, it's strongly recommended that you are a fan. Throughout the series multiple bands and singers from the past are referenced, and even each episode is named after a popular song from the past. Missing these references isn't the end of the world or anything, but it is better if you know who the characters are talking about. Then you have the music itself. Each episode typically has a new song for you to hear, and if you don't like the songs in general, then you're going to miss out on a huge chunk of what makes the series so great. Putting that aside however, it is an underdog story with all of the main characters trying to climb the ladder in their own way, and you can't help but want to see them succeed. That being said, if you do enjoy music, AND you like this type of story, then you'll most likely enjoy this one from start to finish.

Like Shinichiro Watanabe's previous works, the series is filled with style. Everything from the character design, to the animation, to the music is something that stands out. While not all of the songs will stand out for everyone, there's still a lot to like here despite your taste in music. The characters are likable, and you want to see them succeed. While the opening of each episode teases that Carole and Tuesday will go on to do something great, it's never actually specified what this is until the very end of the series. Because of this, what happens next to these girls is unpredictable, and each episode presents a new challenge for them to overcome (or not). As for the sci-fi themes, these are actually kept to a minimum. This world is more advance that what we saw in Cowboy Bebop, but it's also not too far away from our own. People depend on their cell phones and use Instagram (obvious product placement), and video bloggers and live streamers seem to rule the internet. Sure the AI and robots seen throughout the series are a step above anything we have, but putting that aside it's nothing too crazy. In other words even non sci-fi fans could possibly enjoy this show... They just have to accept we're living on Mars now, and space ships are a thing.

Anyway Carole & Tuesday is a unique show that I really recommend everyone at least try out. Don't blow it off or drop it too soon. Give it a chance and see if you like the direction the show is taking, and then decide if you want to keep going or not. It's worth it.

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