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Carole & Tuesday

Anime Studio Bones Shinichiro Watanabe music sci-fi Mars

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#1 Cybersnark


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Posted 20 April 2019 - 04:35 PM

I have too much on my plate right now to do a full recap every week, but I need to talk about this show. Carole & Tuesday is Studio Bones' 20th Anniversary celebration, with anime icon Shinichiro Watanabe (Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy) as supervising director.

The series is available with subtitles on Netflix Japan, but there's no word on an English dub yet (there inevitably will be, since the onscreen text is all English and the characters have English singing voices).

Studio Bones (RahXephon, Mars Daybreak, Eureka Seven, Heroman, Star Driver, Space Dandy, Captain Earth, Hisone & Masotan, and others) is never disappointing, and Carole & Tuesday in particular highlights one of the things I love about sci-fi in anime versus sci-fi in the west; western sci-fi posits that the future will be cast in shades of chrome and pastel, and populated by people who wear uniforms, use the same standard-issue equipment, and produce utilitarian-yet-self-aware robots that range from Data to C-3P0. Sci-fi anime often focuses on the civilians; the people who wear bright colours, eat fast food, buy their tech at a mall, and where robots are more likely to be semi-autonomous Furbies with smart phone functionality.

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This show is lush, vibrant and beautiful both visually and emotionally. Anime has always had a connection to music, with the voice-acting and music industries so interconnected that the distinction is basically meaningless, and Carole & Tuesday is a celebration of the passion and love and longing that drives all artists, whether packaged Idols or struggling Youtube creators.

Episode 1: True Colors
(Specifically, according to the eyecatch, from the Portrait album, by Cyndi Lauper. On vinyl, of course.)

The opening voiceover tells us about a miracle carved into the history of Mars; the Seven Minute Miracle, and promises the tale of the two girls who became the start of a movement.

At a palatial estate, a blonde girl in a frilly dress opens a window one night, and climbs out onto a ledge. Then she looks down, climbs back into her bedroom, and decides to leave through the front door like a sane person. :D She's carrying a guitar case and followed by a self-propelled suitcase (that sprouts robot legs to navigate the house steps). The gate recognizes her face ("Tuesday.Simmons") and obligingly opens for her. As she leaves, she wonders how one runs away from home, musing that she has no one to ask such a thing. She looked it up, but it was pretty easy when she actually did it.

A short time later, she's out of the subdivision, and passing a neon sign advertizing doughnuts and coffee. The guitar is heavier than it used to be, but her self-propelled luggage is fine. A minute later, she's had the brainstorm to sit on said Luggage, and has a few seconds of smug satisfaction before the Luggage's iphone-like screen tells her that its out of power. She now has to push the Luggage and the guitar (uphill), and  barly manages to catch the last train heading to Alba City from Hershell(sic) Station. This is her first time taking a train --and she's gotten it a bit wrong, finding herself in a transport container carrying goats.

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She writes by hand in a journal (dated April 11, 0049), reflecting on the words of the great philosopher, Cyndi Lauper, who ran away from home at 17 to pursue music. The goats are not music fans, as one of them grabs the journal page and eats it. Tuesday continues that she's 17 herself, and would be lying if she said she wasn't worried about leaving Hershell City, but she's already plenty old enough to set out to become a musician.

The next morning, Tuesday awakens (her luggage is charging from a convenient outlet in the car), opens a roof hatch, and gets her first look at Alba City, from the statue of Ares in the harbour to the soaring skyscrapers of the capital.

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On the other side of the capital, Alba is a tenement, where a robotic owl-arm clock pecks another girl --Carole-- awake at 6:50. Carole races through her morning routine and sets off on a collapsible unicycle-board. She's carrying a black and red case on her back, past commuters and grafitti-tagged walls. People from all over Mars gather in Alba, nobodies looking to become somebody. She sideswipes a young shoplifter at a fruit stand, telling him to go earn some money to pay for those. Everyone's competing to get ahead, and she knows you'll never make it if you don't keep up.

At the train station, Tuesday takes a moment to look around at the crowds.

By now, Carole is wearing a silly hat at Big Jump Burger, where a customer uses a table-mounted touch screen to call her over and berate her about the coffee being bitter (which it's supposed to be) and to call her a b*tch. She responds to another call from a particularly slimy-looking customer who tries to proposition her. When she rejects him, he calls her an ugly b*tch.

Tuesday has swapped the intercity train for a local monorail, and is sandwiched against a window by her first taste of just how crowded a city can be.

Carole loads down a pair of burgers with a dangerous amount of wasabi, then serves them to her two problem customers.

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Tuesday has reached the neon and LCD-filled heart of the city, and takes a moment to turn 360 degrees --which is all the time it takes for the Luggage to get grabbed and carried away.

Elsewhere, a young actress is wearing a stupid costume and squeaking baby-talk at a robo-camera to advertise Durian Splash. The take is good, and Angela celebrates by hurling the costume as far from her as it deserves. Her manager follows her off set, where she chews him out, having told him not to take sh*tt* jobs like this. He points out that there's a third shoot after this, and she fires him on the spot.

Meanwhile, Carole's little stunt got her fired from her own part-time job. Again. This world ain't an easy one to live in, but she refuses to let every little thing bring her down. After all, there's something she wants to accomplish. She skates out onto a bridge, and unfolds her red-and-black case into a collapsible keyboard.

Tuesday has wandered onto the same bridge, with nothing left other than her guitar and an empty belly. She collapses, wondering if she should just give up and go home. We get a glimpse of the disapproving faces that await her, and she realizes that she can't. She hauls herself to her feet, ordering herself to hang in there.

Carole stands over her keyboard, already knowing no one's gonna be listening to her. Nonetheless, she starts to play. Nobody's gonna be interested in someone like her, but she wants to sing, so that those feelings have somewhere to go. Eyes closed, she starts singing a wordless melody. Loneliness and longing, a heart beaten down but unbroken and still, defiantly, beating.

And someone hears her.

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Tuesday thanks her, knowing that it makes zero sense. The other girl is lonely, but wants to say that she's not. She's alone, but wants to say that she's not. That's what Tuesday thought, anyway, and Carole is stunned that somebody gets it.

They're interrupted by a cop out to shut down unauthorized street performances. The girls flee as they  introduce themselves; Tuesday ("Born on a Tuesday?" "I don't know!") and Carole ("Born on Christmas?" "Probably yeah!").

Elsewhere, Angela is making a scene simply by riding in a cab with her mother. Angela defends her firing of her manager, but her mother warns her that if it happens again, her managers will be AIs from then on. Angela pleads; AIs are no fun to mess with. Mother darkly insists that everything she's doing is for Angie's sake.

Back at the Simmons estate, a private VTOL jet delivers someone who must be Tuesday's mother. Or at least, the woman who birthed her. A young blonde man (Spencer) reads out Tuesday's goodbye note; She will live on her own from now on. There is no need to worry or search for her. After things settle down, she will get in touch. Regards. Tuesday at least had the foresight to cut off her GPS, but her IC card usage suggests she went to Alba. Mother scoffs at the troublesome girl, who had every convenience at her disposal and gets whatever she asks for; what more could she possibly want? Spencer points out that her guitar's gone. Mother seems confused, but brother seems to know that that's important. Mother is going back to work, and will leave the matter of "that girl" to Spencer.

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In a high tower, Angela and her mother arrive at Artience Laboratory, where they are greeted by a slick and unsmiling man in a dark suit. Mama Dahlia greets him as Mr. Tao and fawns over him, introducing herself as Angela's agent. He brushes off her flattery, identifying himself as a person of logic. Dahlia seems nonplussed, bu Tao already knows all about Angela, including her status as a model and how she's trying to shift her career into music --and how most attempts by child stars to debut as musicians end up in failure. He points out that all of Artience's hits have been from AI singers; he's never worked with a human, and hopes to obtain plenty of data from this experiment. This will be an exchange: they can provide the greatest song and project, and in return, Angela will become a marionette on strings.

Angela's fine with that; she's been in the industry since she was 3, and she's gotten so tired of it she's ready to die of boredom. If it'll turn the world upside-down, she'll be the best damned marionette he'll ever see.

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Elsewhere, Carole introduces Tuesday to her landlord (an elderly Chinese man who hasn't moved since this morning). Tuesday gives him a polite greeting, but Carole is already inside, telling Tuesday to make herself at home. Tuesday carefully sets her shoes on the steps while Carole kicks off her boots. Carole's apartment is impressively huge, but apparently it was the landlord's storage space before Carole moved in. One thing Mars obviously doesn't lack for is unused space. Tuesday asks about Carole's parents, and is surprised when Carol says she doesn't have any; it's always been just her. Her only companion is Jiggie, her pet and alarm clock.

Carole asks why Tuesday ran away from home, having read that much just from looking at her. When Tuesday doesn't want to answer, Carole easily switches to asking about the guitar. It's a (lovingly rendered) Gibson acoustic, which Carole recognizes as the real thing (though cheerfully admits she can't play a thing). She asks Tuesday to play, and Tuesday admits she's never played in front of others before --which Carole astutely realizes answers her question about running away from home.

Elsewhere, a robot bartender is pouring a glass of Jack, and a drooling tough scrolls through a menu to call for a living waiter. The barkeep greets him as Gas (apparently supposed to be Gus), and Gas grumbles for him to stop that sh*tt* music they're playing. The barkeep points out that Gas used to be in the music industry, and that that kind of reaction is called "getting old." Gas stands up to pick a fight. . . and keels over unconscious.

Night falls, and Tuesday tells her story; she wasn't fitting in at school, and stayed shut up in her house all the time, miserable. Then she heard a really old song playing on the radio; Your true colors / True colors are beautiful / Like a rainbow. . . And then her tears just started flowing. She wants to make music, but there was nobody around that understood. Carole sympathizes. Back when she was in a refugee camp, the singer Flora came to comfort them. She was just so cool, and Carole decided she wanted to sing too.

Tuesday points out that the song Carole sang on the bridge didn't have lyrics, and Carole says it wasn't a song, it was just a melody. A series of sounds. If it's just that, Carole can make as much as she wants, but there's just something missing. Tuesday digs out her red notebook, and Carole is blown away by the pages full of tightly scrawled words. Seventeen years worth of something to say with no music to carry it.

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They both grab their instruments, and start searching for what's been missing.

Still riding high, they climb to the roof, and Tuesday sees Alba City in all its rainbow-lit nightime glory. They've finished their first song, and Carole makes them Instagram-official. Tuesday wants to keep making music together, and Carol was thinking the exact same thing. The Alliance is made, and the declaration of rebellion with it; to release hit after hit and surprise the entire world, credited to Carole & Tuesday!

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"Hilarity ensues." --Seamus Harper

#2 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 03:44 PM

I just have to say that this is a great review/recap.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Anime, Studio Bones, Shinichiro Watanabe, music, sci-fi, Mars

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