After running away from home, aspiring musician Tuesday has a chance encounter with the independent musician Carole. The two form an immediate bond over music, and soon decide to dedicate their lives to creating music together. On the planet of Mars, where the girls live, music has been delegated to A.I. studying algorithms to create hit songs. With the two acting as performers and composers, they slowly begin to garner a following which leads them to compete on a reality TV show in search of Mars’s next big star. With a contract on the line, and fierce competition, the pair must overcome the societal bias towards music created by humans.
The score within the production is bound to be a determining factor in audience enjoyment. The music draws from many influences, including Synthpop, Citypop, Funk, and Rock (to name a few). However, within the eclectic mix of genres, the production of each track does render them somewhat mainstream and lifeless. Within the concept of the titular characters trying to capture the hearts of the public, the songs showcased do work well with the series’ narrative. Overall, the music exists in a higher caliber than most anime productions, and the soundtrack that accompanies the production is choked with some great tracks. Although Carole and Tuesday were not my favorite performers in Part 1, their lyrics are really well tailored to match the narrative, adding a lot of needed depth to the plot.
Director Shinichiro Watanabe has garnered a reputation for creating stand out visuals with series such as “Cowboy Bebop” and “Terror in Resonance“. His most recent work adds to his impressive repertoire, by utilizing his talents in the realm of music driven series. Although the series boasts consistent strong visuals, the live performances are the most prominent in defining its aesthetics. The performances, in particular towards the end of part 1, are a joy to watch as the music and visuals meld together to successfully channel the animated performers.
The plot behind “Carole and Tuesday” comes across as cliche, with a rather predictable and familiar plot. However, every character is imbued with a lot of personality, and the bond between the two titular characters remains a persistent and optimistic force to help drive the story. Any of the dramatic elements are downplayed to a degree as the series feels more focused on creating a visual aesthetic. Overall, the script is serviceable, and the characters feel fully realized.
With both English and Japanese options available for the series, I did find myself favoring the English dub. This choice came more out of realizing the music was presented in English language (An aspect of the production which may deter some). Having both the voice acting and music in the same language did create a natural flow.
The animation and visual style of director Shinchiro Watanabe has evolved into music in an intriguing style here in the west, with his previous series “Cowboy Bebop” becoming influential on various Lo-fi creators, with countless playlists sampling and paying homage to the series. Off of this, “Carole and Tuesday” feels like a natural progression that is bound to find a dedicated audience. Outside of Lo-fi creators, the series does also mimic a certain trend in niche music, with the rediscovery of “City Pop”. In creating a highly commercialized and pristine environment as a backdrop to a soundscape dominated by well produced pop music, “Carole and Tuesday” acts as a love letter to the era that defined the “City Pop” sound. For myself, the anime series was the perfect amalgamation of music, character design, and environment, resulting in certain performances becoming stuck in my head, as the visuals and music melded together in a deliriously enjoyable manner.
“Carole and Tuesday” seems like an anime bound for cult status. With part two on the horizon, I would implore people to give the series a shot. Although it won’t be a hit with all fans, it will be a deeply rewarding experience for those who can vibe with the music and aesthetic.