Originally planned to be my 400th G-View I would have reviewed this anime sooner but upon hearing rumors of a second season I wanted to wait for the confirmation and do it then. As of the date of this post there has bee no official confirmation so I figured “Let’s review it now before I forget what I wanted to say”. The simplest description of this show is a “Western idol” anime. Of course there is more to it than that. Find out what I mean as we take a look at Carole and Tuesday.
A few notes before proceeding. The show features the following things. If either of them upset you then I suggest not proceeding further.
- The show covers most of the LGBT+ spectrum, meaning ALMOST EVERY LETTER gets representation.
- It has a Western motif in every sense of the word.
- For viewers who checked out the show but could not get into it initially for whatever reason, chances are extremely high that your minds will not be swayed if you continue further. Basically if you did not like it three episodes in I highly doubt you will like it 4 and beyond. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you“.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Science-Fiction (more so the futuristic technology and not extraterrestrials.)
Themes: Ethnicity, Culture, Melting Pot, Race, LGBT
Number of Episodes: 24
Plot Summary: Set in the future on a partially terraformed Mars, teenager Tuesday Simmons runs away from her affluent lifestyle as the daughter of a politician and makes her way to Alba City to pursue her dream of being a musician with just a suitcase and her Gibson acoustic guitar. On her first day in the city, she crosses paths with Carole Stanley, another aspiring musician who plays the piano, and the two decide to team up as a singer-songwriter duo under the name Carole & Tuesday.
To elaborate on the description in the introduction C & T is a “Western idol anime for people who dislike idol anime”. Think about it. Girls with musical talents teaming up, facing many interpersonal and intrapersonal obstacles in hopes of becoming a musical sensation. That is the story on a surface level. Going deeper it is a tale that explores culture, society, ethnicity, race, sexuality, politics, norms, values and several other social topics. Throughout their journey C & T meet numerous people, the most important being their soon to be manager Gus, technician Roddy and their biggest rival Angela (More on her later). Other characters include a wide arrange of unique (very unique indeed) and talented musicians. Not all are friendly to our heroines but all of them help further their growth in some way.
The show is split into two halves: The first one being about Carole and Tuesday’s journey from the bottom to “relevance” in the Martian music industry. The second is the more dramatic of the two, as is tradition with most of Shinichiro Watanabe’s work.
Of all the themes mentioned the two most important are music and family. Many of the characters are motivated by family bonds in some way. Whether it is to make your family proud, stand apart from your family or prove a point to your family they play a very important in the lives of several characters. As for music..
Music plays an extremely important role. Each episode is named after a legendary or famous Western song such as Episode 9 being titled “Dancing Queen” after the iconic song by ABBA. This is not only to recommend great classic Western songs and artists (provided the viewer is into said music) to viewers but each song (lyrics and meaning) plays a role in giving viewers hints on what the theme of the titular episode will be. Episode 1 for example is titled “True Colors” (By Cyndi Lauper), which, put simply, is a song about “looking below the surface to see what a person is really like”. The episode being primarily about Carole and Tuesday’s first meeting it sets up the kind of relationship they will have going forward. Something like that anyway. I am not good at writing editorials. Besides episode titles the show is chock full of fantastic (or at least memorable for various reasons. “Thinking about dem ‘Mermaids’.” songs each having great significance. Whether the lyrics are on point or cryptic every single song in the show has a message or story to tell (which will play an important role when we get to the main event of the review). The songs cover a wide variety of Western genres. Too many to count honestly. Chances are one well known Western music genre is represented on the show (Mainly of North American or European origin to be exact). The show also shows or reminds viewers how powerful and sometimes influential music can be in people’s lives.
On to the presentation. Viewers familiar with Studio Bones’ work, especially that of Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy and Kids on a Slope to name a few of his projects) know what kind of art style to expect from this show. Think of it as kind of what inspired what I like to call “Americanime”, aka Western anime style. It is the kind of animation that blends Western and Japanese styles of animation together. The simplest modern example for Western fans would be the Avatar series. It is difficult to describe but “when you see it, you will get it”. As I mentioned the soundtrack is fantastic. There are so many great songs with my personal favorites being Loneliest Girl (along with the buildup to it), KISS ME (The 1st OP), Light a Fire and “that rap”. There is one particular joke song that is only for the bravest of souls to listen to in its entirety. It is something…
Before we get to the main event there is one important part of the review that readers need to know about. I mentioned politics as one of the themes of the show. It is brought up at some points in the first half but becomes a tertiary subplot in the second half. I wondered how long I would keep the discussion on this part of the review and decided to do my best to keep it brief. As the summary said Tuesday’s mother is a politician running for President of Mars. Her electoral campaign is brought up several times during the second half. Now it is a fact that politics are almost inescapable in the real world, hence why people consume fictional media as a form of escape from the harshness of reality. It is also a fact that in some stories politics inevitably plays an important role. In C & T’s case the campaign itself is definitely the least interesting part about it. How many times do we need to hear about old farts in suits being corrupt and manipulative? We hear about it every single day. Having said that, as bland as the election subplot is it serves a purpose. That being how it affects the people, regardless of ethnicity or race. Depending on how much media the viewer has consumed with social commentary what they see is nothing new but even so it is presented in an interesting/captivating way. Point being the politics are lame but how it affects the people is interesting enough.
Another important theme on the show I did not mention is “equality”. This is tied to the LGBT+ representation. Like I said almost every letter gets representation in one episode or another. Whether it was good representation I cannot say. What I can say is everyone was treated fairly. Let me put it this way. If you behaved well you were rewarded but if you were naughty you got punished. There were no exceptions and I appreciated that. It may require some viewers to pay attention in case of accusations of unfair treatment. No. Most of it was fair.
I brought up Angela not just because of her mom but her being the surprised third protagonist of the story. She does not get as much screen time as C & T but has an equally important character route, being their #1 rival and all. Without giving too much away Angela’s story is that of a celebrity who worked hard to get to the top and in her latest musical endeavor had every tool at her disposal to succeed in comparison to our heroines who had to start from the bottom. However, being on top can be just as, at times more difficult than starting from scratch. Angela’s road to stardom is full of many, many potholes celebrities like her must face. Very compelling and hard hitting stuff. Trust me. As a character Angela is super talented and proud but can be mischievous and cocky at times. Not devoid of feelings but she strives to be the best and respects effort, especially of those who provide a good challenge.
Last but not least we have our lead duo. Carole is the spunky experienced lead who knows her way around the block. Tuesday is her “fish out of water” ojou-sama who learns the ropes from Carole and others. They start off at the bottom and slowly grow as performers through successes, failures and non-singing related experiences. As for ‘you know what”, I give it an “optimistic future” ranking, which is good. As mentioned in the music part of the review the lyrics and main message are very important. Look no further for a better example than the songs composed by C & T. Several of them are clearly directed toward each other. Then there is how they react toward one another when the other is not looking, their reactions to potential competition and their devotion to one another. To the uneducated masses it may not mean much but it is clear enough their feelings for each other go beyond “besties”.
Overall Carole & Tuesday is a story about following your dreams and if you follow the right path then maybe they will come true. Political subplot aside everything else presented is enjoyable and intriguing. A cast of cool people who are cool and lame people who are lame, meaning everyone gets the desired reaction. The presentation, especially the soundtrack, is excellent, the themes well handled, the representation fair and the three leads fun and engaging. Having said that this is a show that viewers will either get into or not at all.
PS: This G-View is dedicated to my dear friend Doctor T. Thank you dear.