Carol & Tuesday has hit North America via Netflix and omgggggggg am I happy I stumbled upon it! I was over a friend’s house and a YouTube video discussing the anime was in his recommend section. We randomly decided to check it out and it was then that my ENTIRE MIND got fucked. Carole & Tuesday is directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, the mastermind director behind cult classics like Cowboy Bebop (my favorite), Samurai Champloo (my second favorite) and so many others. But wait, there’s more! Not only is Watanabe on board but Yoko Kanno is behind it too, you know, the composer who scored Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and tons of other anime you most likely know and love. It’s safe to say that when I learned that this dynamic duo was behind Carole & Tuesday I was immediately sold. It didn’t matter what the plot was, what the animation looked like, I had all of my faith in Watanabe and Kanno’s vision and trusted whatever I was about to delve into completely.
Carole & Tuesday follow, well, Carole and Tuesday as they come together thanks to destiny to fulfill their musical dreams. It’s a chance encounter that snowballs into other chance encounters, the two growing closer and becoming the missing piece in each other’s lives. What I love about this anime, other than watching the adorable dynamic between Carole and Tuesday, is how it blends this futuristic world with many of the social situations we currently experience today. For instance, Carole & Tuesday takes place on Mars (like Cowboy Bebop, and they also use the same Oolong currency which I thought was such a cool Easter egg) in a world surrounded by AI. These AI come in multiple forms and are literally responsible for everything, even music production, so even the art in this world is mass produced and inauthentic (think Perfume or any Kpop group, it pains me to say that though). It’s these crossovers that make Carole & Tuesday so relatable, that even in their glittery, technologically advanced world where hover boards are a thing and drones that deliver your mail are common place, we the viewer are still able to sympathize and empathize. In fact, Carole & Tuesday do a good job at not just depicting real life situations but lifestyles, making the future seem brighter and unplagued by the bullshit we deal with in 2019. Topics like LGBT relationships, gender identity, and the like are completely normalized. OH, and I should mention that Carole is a Black woman and the series features other multicultural/ethnic characters at the forefront, which is SO progressive for anime and Japan in general!
Given this anime is heavily focused on music, you can expect a KILLER OST (which is available on Apple Music!). Carole & Tuesday have this cute, indie vibe while other featured acts tackle R&B, Pop, and heavy metal to name a few genres. All of the tracks, besides the purposely comedic ones, are so well produced that they can stand on their own as legitimate songs, not limited to only existing within the anime world. I’ve already downloaded the entire OST of the first season and have been listening to it on repeat. I fucks with the songs THAT much. Another cool Watanabe touch is how he goes about his signature episodic breaks, those panels that flash the episode title and a cute graphic. He’s done it in Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo and the way he goes about it with Carole & Tuesday is super unique. Each episode is titled after a popular song from decades past (a nod to the good ol’ days of music that weren’t littered with autotune and computer programming) and gives credit to the artist that created it. Artists like Ike & Tina Turner, The Police, ABBA and U2 are featured. If you’re a music fan, it’ll bring a definite smile to your face.
Now, with all of this praise it’s time to point out the shortcomings. One is the depth of the story, or lack thereof. When you hear a name like Shinichirō Watanabe you come to expect a degree of intensity and emotion in the storylines he directs. Perhaps Carole & Tuesday was an intentional departure from this expected format, but it’s his ability to direct stories of a heavy type that have made him the legend he is today (in my opinion). Carole & Tuesday leaves a lot to be desired in terms of character development. For instance, watching the nuances of Carole and Tuesday’s relationship, seeing them share more bonding/intimate moments, would have been nice. A heavier focus on Angela’s backstory would have been greatly appreciated just to learn why she thinks and operates the way she does. Sure we got a glimpse, but with a story as interesting as hers something a bit more telling would have been helpful.
I also feel that the season progressed a bit too quickly, particularly with Carole & Tuesday’s career progression. I think it would have helped me and a bunch of others more deeply connect with them if we saw how much they struggled to succeed. The luck they stumbled across was too good to be true even from anime standards. Perhaps the developers weren’t sure how well the series would be received so they wanted to give a complete story within the first season in case that’s all that it would get, but with jamming everything into the beginning it leaves less to develop and anticipate going forward.
Overall, Carole & Tuesday is a solid 7.5 out of 10. I’m absolutely in LOVE with this anime, watching it twice back to back and binging it both times. The uniqueness of the plot, the super sentimental and unique relationship that Carole and Tuesday share, the incredible soundtrack, the crisp and vivid animation, it all just creates something so enticing. If there was more character development and a slower pace to the story where things had the opportunity to build, Carole & Tuesday would be flawless. It has my recommendation for sure! Official soundtrack is below!