potentially vague and mild spoilers for a show I dont recommend Carole and Tuesday is an empty shell. Its fundamentally at odds with itself as well given the narrative of the show and the contemporary feel it oozes in every direction. You can smell the corporate in the air here which is probably the most bizarre thing to say given that this is a Shinichiro Watanabe anime. The man responsible for stylish classics such as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo is one of the main people who crafted something thats at the crossroads of trends from both the popular anime industry and the popular music industry. That sounds epic until you realize that both industries are formula and trend chasers meaning this show is the culmination of all that. It certainly hits home with the American crowd much like his works always do. This time it feels even more designed for them than before. This leads to the first major problem with the anime: its setting. There is no reason for it to be set in Mars. Theres not a single thing this anime does to really have a setting that couldnt have easily taken place on Earth without anything changing outside of where Carole comes from. The only thing they do with it outside of lame space politics is Mars radiation tampers with peoples hormones because they couldnt just let trans people and androgynes be in the show without some kind of crazy explanation that raises more questions than answers. The space politics are done in a way where you could just replace Mars with America and Earth with a third world country and it wouldnt have made a difference to Caroles backstory or the world. If they wanted this to be an allegory then it needs to justify why it makes its setting based on real world events instead of just setting it where its pulling from. The show doesnt tap into anything regarding the planet and what kind of climate youd expect a city on Mars to have. It doesnt really do anything regarding space travel. Its just a futuristic show that happens to take place on Mars while having a suspicious number of American talent and ideas from the 2010s. Frankly Im left wondering why they didnt just make this show take place in a futuristic America. The main characters have decidedly English names. One of our main characters is lightskinned. They have a plethora of both light and darkskinned people in this show compared to most anime anyway and even some lesbian and transgender characters. Theres more English than the recently finished ElMelloi anime which sprinkles in random English/Engrish words and phrases every chance it can get. The show has Denzel Curry and Thundercat on top of some other American artists. Hell the main music genre the show uses is pop music one of the most American genres out there theres hardly any Jpop in this show. Why didnt they set it in America? Would it have made too much sense? They ignore the most obvious idea for a setting and do nothing with what they actually chose Sure theres a fair amount of worldbuilding regarding the music industry and the technological advancements even if some of the AI concepts feel underutilized but this is still baffling beyond belief Then we get to one of the shows ideological conflicts: AI vs human music or rather the divide between humans and people. The conflict between AI and human music and how one just sounds artificial and corporate and lifeless and whatnot falls on its face when you realize that the shows just using generic melodramatic pop music for the human side. Just about everyone seems to love the typical pop music Carole and Tuesday put on as well as the dismal chorus Angela showcased in episode 5 and I just dont see it. I cant see it with these vocals let alone some of the lyrics. Im no Anthony Fantano but I cant help but roll my eyes at lyrics like Can you feel my can you feel my tear drops of the loneliest girl. I understand that pop music has a lot of repetitive lyrics and tackles contemporary/relatable subject matter in a relatively melodramatic fashion but this is just too much. Angelas aforementioned song in episode 4 just features the chorus which primarily is about her moving mountains and I cant bet behind the lyrics or the voice. Another case of bad voices is the song Carole and Tuesday perform in episode 6 which often sounds offpitch. Not all of the songs are terrible I find the song capping off episode 5 to be sorta decent and most of their songs are just mediocre but still. Theyre often cloying beyond comprehension. The characters treat the concept of AI music as artificial and lacking in warmth before we even get to hear it. It takes forever for us to hear proper AI music unless you want to count the terrible electronica that pompous fuck Ertegun pumps out almost every time he is introduced as well as episode 5s chorus to one of Angelas songs that are written by AI. We just have to take the shows word for it for more than of the shows runtime while putting up with corporate boilerplate pop music. In this regard the show is at odds with itself fundamentally speaking. There is a lot of commentary on the shadiness of the music industry with regards to how labels and producers often treat their artists like shit and try to control them as well as how several of these producers are terrible people with several recorded acts that will ruin them if exposed. Even some of the more harmless producers have a ton of shit other characters threaten to expose them for and theres a ton of blackmail from or between producers in this show regarding exactly that. If only that amounted to anything beyond there being a shady corporation man working with our main antagonists for profit in the final quarter. Another problem is with Tuesday specifically her fear of getting noticed and sent home. Its one of the main things about her and yet it barely even gets brought up during that time everyone tried making a music video or when she and Carole were backup performers at an event with over 10K people. Though the show treats this as some sort of looming threat until she develops past that after a single pep talk in episode 7 it doesnt feel like one. It doesnt even happen during an episode when one of her family members is in the city she is so he can look for her. Almost no one in the public or the media seems to make a big deal about it or look into it further anyway which is utter nonsense given the shows attempts to look into the industry and the connections of people inside it. Its not like her storyline amounts to much more than a worse version of Pokemon Sun and Moons even Ultra Sun Ultra Moons storyline anyway. That and the issues with the setting are the main problems with the first of the show since honestly the actual writing for that portion of the show isnt all that bad. Outside of a detail that dismantles the 4th episode because they couldnt figure out how to do dramatic irony in a way that doesnt make the characters come off as utter morons thats basically all I got. Unfortunately sometime during the Mars Brightest competition the show decides to create contrivances for our main duo to be separate for an episode and for Angela to have a temporary conflict with her latest manager who was introduced several episodes ago. This is all by the halfway mark. The rest of the show is where the main conflict regarding human music VS AI issues with the music industry and issues with politics and capitalism take center stage. Theyre so basic onedimensional and on the nose about all of this to the point of absurdity. To think the selfdefeating conflicts about human VS AI music and the warmth of one vs the artificiality of the other wasnt enough for this show. On top of that while criticizing the music industry they have our main characters train under someone that continually forces them to do upwards of over 52 takes until he is satisfied. He is overworking them to dangerous levels and thats a combination of comic relief and an uplifting montage. That and the fact that the AI vs human music disappears completely by episode 21 should tell you everything about how this show handles these ideas and commentaries. Here I was thinking that the AI and people divide in general was supposed to be relevant with how much they brought it up. Admittedly there is this nice plot point that pops up in this latter half regarding Caroles parents which the show had been building up to. Its delicately handled and it provides another genuinely good character who sadly wont get much screen time in this anime since that whole plot point concludes by the end of episode 14. Theres also episode 16 which has a decent bittersweet tale with some pretty nice songs by our main duo. That and a sorta decent episode knocking down and building that egotist Ertegun back up caught me by surprise. The second half of the show seems more characterfocused despite also doubling down on the points that damage the show. When it focuses on the elements that are promising and true to its characters it somewhat works and when it doesnt it really doesnt. It really goes to show you that the shows writing isnt all that terrible on paper and that with some tweaks as well as a change in destination this could have probably been a compelling anime. Its just those critical logic setting and idea/commentary blunders among other issues that kill the script. The characters arent great either even with a few cute moments here and there. Its never a good sign when the two main leads in your show tend to feel virtually identical outside of their pasts and how they react to a deranged superfan/musician who goes mental around Tuesday. Carole is more of the tomboy type while Tuesday is more of the girly girl type and thats basically the main thing differentiating them...when its noticeable. Simply put Carole and Tuesday dont have much chemistry or anything interesting in their personalities or interactions. Their manager is ok. He has some interesting bits regarding former friends and his former lover and another former partner but thats about it aside from being a bumbling tough guy looking manager. The last member of the main quad squad is Roddy who is just a shy guy with connections and nothing else. I suppose hes better than the myriad of stereotypes we meet in the Mars Brightest show such as the rapper stereotype. The worst has to be the insufferable Instagram boy always saying shit like pow in the most obnoxious way possible because clearly making a character out of zoomer stereotypes was a great idea. Honestly the most engaging character was that one guy named Skip from episode 6 who gave CT some wise words of encouragement before talking with a former love and then playing the song Unrequited love. The latter conversation in particular is one of the few times where the show just uses strong implication and actually good dialogue to convey whats going on. This is a character who feels more tangible and engaging than the actual characters in this show and he doesnt reappear until episode 14. He doesnt even play a major role in episode 6 and I was excited to see him return Sadly the show abandons him and his guys shortly thereafter when they could have easily filled the roles some nonentity characters fill in during the final of the show. This anime does seem to abandon a few characters like Angelas female manager at the end of the first half. Shes absent for an incredibly long time and all because of contrived surprisingly vague circumstances. The anime does try to have some of the stereotype characters flesh out their views and whatnot so the show can feel more lived in but none of them are particularly engaging. Even then that only goes for the Mars Brightest stereotypes not the political stereotypes. Tuesdays mom is especially lame as shes just a typical amoral politician created by fusing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together with the spell card Polymerization. She even drops a line about deporting illegal immigrants cuz this show likes to be very on the nose about its commentary and conflicts. Shes also influenced by a typical scheming advisor because of course she is. The show needs a main antagonist even if he has nothing to do with our main leads beyond a few actions that indirectly impact them. They do get into some conflict by the end because the mother has to be redeemed at all costs but thats not enough to make this worthwhile. It all devolves into a bout of sugary exceptionally rushed nonsense bin the last two episodes anyway. I also get the feeling that were supposed to like Angela. Despite the show making her out to be a complete bitch at every turn were supposed to feel joy whenever she wins something and sympathy for her just because of a scene that implies that she was abused by one of her parents if only the shows dialogue was more consistently clever. Yet she talks about actively abusing her managers for fun as the reason why she doesnt want an AI manager. This isnt an Asuka from Evangelion situation where were supposed to understand the character as she gets peeled back regardless of whether or not we like her. Were supposed to like Angela especially when she determines that she wants a fair match against CT instead of her winning cuz of them getting sabotaged. Were supposed to like her when she tells her cold AIloving manager Tao a bit about her past thanks to circumstances regarding his AI programs knowing everything about her. Were supposed to fear for her when she gets targeted by a stalker and feel for her when we know that shes doing everything for her mothers dream at the cost of herself. Seeing what becomes of her in the final act is interesting so the show does have me on her side by the end in terms of character writing. I just wish the presentation was better. For an anime prominently featuring and referencing music the shows songs are unfortunately hit or miss. I am somewhat ambivalent on the first opening and I absolutely hate the second. However both CT and Angela have a song that I actually kind of like that being their respective ending themes: Hold Me Now and Not Afraid. Otherwise Ive gone over enough of their tracks for one lifetime. The other pop artists/characters such as Lauren Dysons performance as Crystal or J. R. Price as Pyotr the Instagram boy dont do much for me either. The fact that they make up a majority of the songs in this show hurts because not only does an actually nice OST by Mocky get pushed practically out of existence by the 8th episode but I do like a majority of the other songs. Maika Loubtes Cybelle La Ballade Thundercats Unrequited Love Madison McFerrins GGK Milky Way and Gravity Bounce make up some of the many nice songs the nonpop singers perform for this show. The production for these songs is a lot more interesting and varied and while not all of them have necessarily interesting lyrics either theyre a lot more engaging and memorable than Angelas or CTs songs. Even the latters songs get better over time anyway so there ends up being a few tracks from them I actually find decent to listen to. If nothing else this anime does provide a gateway to a variety of interesting artists so I can appreciate that fundamental aspect of the show. I just wish that Mockys OST wasnt mixed so low after a while cuz I actually want to hear more than just the eyecatches track and the piece that plays during the 30 seconds of recap at the start of every episode. Carole and Tuesdays contemporary unadventurous feel even extends to the visual presentation. This doesnt feel like a Shinichirou Watanabe anime. I dont know what goes into being chief director which is his role in the show outside of original creator but Id assume that there would be some real ambition or flare in the camera work of this show. Instead it feels like just about anyone even remotely competent at anime direction and cinematography could have made it. Thats probably because Motonobu Hori was the regular director credit for this show. He does do a fairly decent job but there arent many moments that feel particularly enticing in terms of cinematography and presentation. The visuals by studio Bones are about as solid. The anime sports a vivid varied set of character designs often with different types of heads and faces that still mostly feel like they all come from the same world. There are some dazzling light show sequences as well like with GGK a contestant in the Mars Brightest talent show who has her outfit synch with the moving galaxy patterns in the background. I cant deny that outside of some dodgy CGI sequences and instruments the show looks rather good especially when theyre able to pull off that aforementioned sequence on top of having overhead crowd shots that dont contain CGI. Still even with generally solid sometimes exceptional visual presentation I cant help but feel jaded in context. It doesnt help that the production does go downhill for part of the shows third quarter thanks to less overall polish and further reliance on bad CGI instruments and objects. Even in the early episodes we see our main duos awkward CGI hands and instruments so its not like the production was ever that great. Where did it all go wrong? Youd expect an original anime especially one with Watanabe as one of the credits to showcase a ton of ambition and creative freedom. This feels the exact opposite with only the vibrant city and character designs having any sort of flair. Unlike previous works like Macross Plus or Bebop there isnt that same creative drive here. Its more about mass appeal which Watanabe had already excelled at without even trying to. As a result Carole Tuesday feels empty and artificial requiring dismal writing and uneven music to fill the void that ambition once filled. How fitting then that it embodies the sugary overly melodramatic trendy pop music it employs so often. That said even pop music tends to have a clear goal it wants to commit to. Carole and Tuesday has a bunch of ideas and concepts it merely pays lipservice to before barely going through with any of them. If nothing else I hope Shinichiro Watanabe and his wife are satisfied with this product. I wish I could be. By the way since were getting political I have to ask: where are my hispanics at? Youve been tackling the deportation of illegal immigrants via a Trump x Hillary character an issue that affects my people yet we get no representation in the show outside of arguably the guy Denzel Curry performed as. What the fuck? I say arguably cuz we dont even know. At most he dropped a line about speaking Spanish. Thats it You got all sorts of white and black people as well as a bunch of LGBTQ+ characters and people of other ethnicities and whatnot but not us while youre tackling our issue? Piece o shiet Written and Edited by: CodeBlazeFate Proofread by: Peregrine
41 /100
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