Carole & Tuesday is the 20th anniversary special project of acclaimed anime studio Bones, producers of some of the most beautiful anime known to mankind (humans not the WWE wrestler), and is directed by the man, the myth, the legend, THE ABSOLUTE MADMAN: SHINICHIRO WATANABE!
The series follows a pair of amateur singers trying to make it big in the industry: Carole, an orphan who lives on her own, does odd jobs to earn a modest living, and moonlights as a street musician (or a bridge musician, rather), and Ivanka Trump (Tuesday), the daughter of a politician who ran away from her suburban home to pursue her musical passion in the big city.
The anime is really REALLY beautiful, with detailed characters and colourful backgrounds. The colour palette was bright and cheerful most of the time and reflected the emotions of the scene very well. A bright blue sky when Carole and Tuesday are hopeful; red and oranges when they are fighting or uneasy; black and dark, cold colours when they are sad. It’s all done really well. The characters were well-drawn with distinct faces and detailed clothes.
The audio is different from other Watanabe-sensei’s productions. The background tracks are not as prevalent or dominant as the other anime we have reviewed this month, not that the scenes seem empty because of it. The highlight of the anime for me was the OST. Each song, beautiful and written originally for the series, comes together in one of the best albums to listen to even if you don’t watch anime. Even as I write this review I’m listening to "Mother" on loop. I watched in Japanese as usual, and the VA quality was good, again as usual. There is one thing that one must keep in mind, though, and that is that all the songs are in English. The sudden switch from Japanese to English can be a bit jarring for some, but from someone like me who grew up watching Bollywood where every song is sung in a different accent from the one the actors, it was fine. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary, though.
The cast is unexceptional: a rich maiden, a poor city girl, a passionate mentor, and a cute boy punching bag. The base story is not very unique either, but the situations, the setting and the arcs are pretty unique. The characters' growth does not focus on their personality but their music. Carole and Tuesday have minor character development arcs, where Tuesday learns to speak up and Carole meets her parent. Of the two, and maybe even the most in the series, Tuesday is the one who shows the most character development, from a shy rich town girl, to a bold and independent artist.
Some side characters are well written, like Angela, a teen model who starts off in music at the same time as Carole & Tuesday, and her manager. Her personality as a diva and how celebs have to put on the masks to save their popularity, and the loneliness of being famous are well depicted. Even her manager Katy is more humanized, than the norm. Gus and Roddy are the plot drivers, introducing new characters and also the comic relief; they are well written but could have used a bit more growth. Especially Gus: although the guy’s fun and we know the basic story, we could have seen a bit more of his past.
The story was really good, bordering on great, but not quite there yet. The early section of the series, including the pilot has many happy coincidences, from Tuesday finding Carole on her first day in the city, with nowhere to live for the night, to them breaking into the convention hall the same day Roddy is there, to Gus hearing their video in a bar by chance: a LOT of serendipitous situations. Even Carol opening up to Tuesday from the minute she met her is way too convenient.
Later on, however, the show comes into its own as it focuses on Carol and Tuesday trying to break into the industry. Through this, the show highlights the struggles budding artists face, getting scammed by ‘people’, not getting gigs, getting booed off the stage: the whole package. Then when Carole & Tuesday make their debut, the show also highlights the problems faced by celebs like obsessive fans, drug abuse, the fall from grace with record labels, etc. The story was well rounded with ups and downs (mostly ups, it has to be said).
Like Cowboy Bebop, Carole & Tuesday also presents a modest view of the future, people living on Mars, riding around in self-driving cars, using AI for everything; still use smartphones and Instagram.
The story also highlights how a tyrannical government with its sights set on a specific community will target the artists as they are the most vocal and influential part of any community. And how unity can always defeat tyranny.
I really enjoyed the show’s lighthearted nature with a light touch of serious moments. The scenarios feel very real. The politician feels very hateable (noice). But, the best part of the story was that Carole and Tuesday were special because of who they were, their passion for singing and their talent for writing songs without AI. Two girls who just wanna sing with each other, go on to spark a movement for change and equality. A powerful story indeed.
It’s BONES! Lovely colours, and detailed characters and backgrounds.
The most beautiful OST in any anime.
Good characters, but not outstanding.
A good story, true to life. And a good social message.
A point for OST
A point for "Mother"
Click here for happiness.