My thoughts on Carole & Tuesday were complicated by its second half. I went as far as to say it became kind of a mess while I was on a recently recorded AniTAY Podcast (which will probably online in a few weeks). I was clear that I still thought the show was really good, but that I found the music in the second half to be really disappointing. Despite my fellow podcasters thinking I was far off with this assessment, I will not back away from my belief that the music was noticeably worse in the second half compared to the first half. Again, I think it is entirely possible to be disappointed with how a show concludes and by the music it has while also respecting the work and thinking it was worthwhile overall. If anything, I think there is a spirit that Carole & Tuesday carries that kept me fascinated by the show throughout the biggest cons I had for it.
Even if the music did not hit for me in the second half, this spirit I mention is still there. You see, it was refreshing that the importance of music served as a key point of the series. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I want to see why characters are passionate about their interests or see a work deliver what drives its characters to their actions. Further, something as critical in our society as music deserves an anime that can capture its importance to many. On top of giving us amazing motivation for making music, the world of C&T soars by bringing out the impact music has on artists and listeners alike. Some are dark and obsessive, while others are given hope or the motivation to make a stand.
This dub is also something of a wonder. Consider how challenging it is to take a show with music already produced and then cast actors who have to sound vaguely like the singers. Also, these songs are in English, but the subtitled version did not have to worry about having the characters sound like their counterparts. This is an exclusive challenge to the dub, and I believe it is one that is handled well. The titular character Carole and Tuesday are well done by Jeannie Tirado (Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses) and Brianna Knickerbocker (Rem in Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World). Another challenging casting that was done well was the other main singing role of the show, Angela. Her voice actress, Ryan Bartley (who is, funny enough, Ram in Re:Zero), really delivers as this character takes different turns towards the finale. The rest of the cast is wonderful too, but rather than make this an entire Dubs w/Dil article, I wanted to highlight that main trio and the challenges around casting them.
So I know what you’re probably thinking at this point: “Dil, you sound like you really love this show. Why are you so critical of it then?” Without spoiling the show, a lot of what doesn’t feel all that well executed comes from the pacing. Its first half concludes on this massive high note that almost feels like a climax when stuck next to what happens in the entire second half. I almost feel like this show wouldn’t have this problem if everything was done in two separate seasons. It would be likely that the second season would tank in comparison, but I do pause when I consider the benefit of having some time between the high notes of the first half conclusion with that of the second half. For folks who were flying to Japan every week to watch this show weekly or the folks catching up on everything in one go, perhaps this pacing issue will feel nonexistent to them.
The other big hurdle I hit while watching the second half was that the music just did not hit with me the same way the first half did. The only songs I really liked were the opening and ending themes, and besides that, nothing really registered for me. Now, this is an important thing to bring up since this is a show about music. Sometimes, music can be good to one person and still not do much for another individual. It is a form of art and, as a result, is entirely subjective. Now, there is a tired response this can have from someone to the effect of “Yeah but at that rate, everything is subjective!” to which I offer this as a rebuttal: music in particular is a very tricky thing to implement into a work as a massive aspect of it. The first anime that comes to mind for me is Mekakucity Actors, which I simply loved the music for to the extent that I was willing to forego the lesser aspects of the show (almost the opposite of what happened with Carole & Tuesday). Now before everyone walks out the door because I said the forbidden words “I liked Mekakucity Actors”, my point here is that if someone does not like the music of a show that relies on its music, the experience will obviously be soured.
What I have identified to this point, however, is that I still adored plenty about this show. Unfortunately, the music did not really stand out to me as all that great and my experience with the entire thing was lowered as a result. What songs did I not like, you ask? Well for starters, I thought the rap music was some of the most horribly stale sounding rap music I have heard. Put bluntly, it felt like an AI was generating a song based on what it thought rap music needed to sound like. For someone who does not listen to hip-hop or rap music, this might be fine. I can respect that. I often draw a line at “rap music in anime” because most of the rap music sounds like this. I get the message that Angela’s music was supposed to start sounding more manufactured as she became the hit new artist, but the autotune in her songs was unbearable at moments. Carole and Tuesday’s music did not have the same soul to it that their first half music had, either. Obviously, the finale piece was lovely, but it was also the “all in” moment as well (seriously, you’d be a fool to deny that was a good piece).
At the end of the day, I really liked Carole & Tuesday. I wish I could write to you all saying that I loved it. I tried really hard to overlook the issues I had with it, but I really couldn’t. I can’t say that I love an anime that I had trouble watching for nearly half of its time. The good still manages to outweigh the bad here, however. I’m still plenty happy I watched the show, and I think that same happiness explains my disappointment I had from the cons. Ultimately, I can only hope others can either like the music or manage to tolerate it because I think there are deep messages about the importance of music in our lives here.