Posted on 25 June 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

Even with Carole & Tuesday standard, this episode is a letdown with many forced developments to move this predictable story forward. These include 1) Tuesday injures her hand but still manage to perform and win the bracket 2) just right at the moment Tuesday said no one in the family care for her, she gets “kidnapped” by her Mother 3) all the subplots about finding the letter bomber, like come on, we all know from day 1 it was Cybelle. Add to the disappointment, I was expecting Ertergun commenting on Carole & Tuesday performance, which I initially thought will be a decisive factor for the duo’s win. Turns out we just have a brief glance at his comment, not about the performance itself, but about the professional attitude. Alrightttt. Is it just me who isn’t sold about Catherine’s argument when she decides the winner? The song’s lyrics seems to be about Tuesday’s own situation, but hey it doesn’t really connect to the “nervousness” theme that Catherine was talking about; and if she meant by the nervousness from their performance, then I’d argue that they would just accept all the performers with stage-fright as “perfectly captures the nervousness” themselves.

I might sound harsh on this, but it’s also true that Carole & Tuesday has failed to give a proper resolve to many conflicts it raised. The worst aspect is that this injury seems to be one-off, given Tuesday can be able to perform in the upcoming week. One factor I do enjoy in the episode, is that Angela immediately suspects Mama and her manager as the ones behind the scene. Well, the latter feels a bit half-baked but I was enjoying the bit when she confronts her Mama and it turns out that they were referring to different things. It serves as a vessel for Angela to rethink about the people supporting her, especially about the hapless young manager. At the same time, there’s some neat point of representing Cybelle thread as it’s a waking call for Tuesday that she needs to voice her opinions more, and that relationships in general can take a dark turn at any time. But the manner Carole & Tuesday depicts is somewhat underwhelming. It’s too quickly for one thing that doesn’t seem to leave a lasting impact, and it’s clumsy for the other as the show gives some obvious red-herrings before that.

Finally, we have some moments where Carole & Tuesday alone to reflect these things together. The show would benefit much better if they can cut down all these unnecessary subplots in order for the duo’s tender moments like this. Tuesday gives some sad reflection about the place she called home, but again all these quiet moments are sabotaged by the obvious kidnap that is meant to raise the stakes again. Carole & Tuesday writing has always been generic and too accessible, but with this episode it goes a step lower by forcing the plot instead of properly developing it. As a result, it often feels like the titular characters get swept away by random events and they have no real personality at all.

Posted on 16 June 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

“Do the gravity bounce?”

Once again it’s GGK’s performance becomes my favorite of this week, and Angela’s style still is too mainstream for my taste. With the pacing of this episode I am more certain that this Brightest Mars competition is gonna take up the first half of the series. Things don’t look good for our duo, though, with a string of mishaps that go against their way period to their semi performance, some of them are good, some are cringe-worthy. On the positive side, Etergun becomes this round’s guest judge is an interesting move that I’m eager to see him facing up Carol & Tuesday again. Although I still find it strange that Ertegun still has no idea about the contestants at this point. On the opposite spectrum, Tuesday’s whatever-reason she’s still hang up on Cybelle is stupid, which makes it worse by the way the show intensifies that as the way the duo is “out of sync” (the bit where they’re just barely missed each other in the elevator is just dumb). Then we also have Carole failed give her birthday gift to Tuesday (why? You had all the time in the world since basically you’re living on the same roof now). Then as if the show doesn’t feel these are enough, they make sure to give Carole and Tuesday hell by having Tuesday injured by this bomb present box or whatever the hell it is. Sorry to be grumpy but all these developments are way too half-baked.

As for the performances themselves, Angela changes her song at last minutes (thanks to Tao’s godsend gut feeling) and shows the judge that she has range. I find the bickering between Gus and Angela’s Mama through Roddy is amusing. They sure get along well. At this moment I have no idea how the show handles Cybelle and Tuesday relationship. I hope I am in the wrong but it’s more likely that the one who sent the bomb gift was Cybelle, since she knows about Tuesday’s personal information. If that is the case, the show’s handling of Cybelle character is indeed very shaky. Well, not much else to say in this layer-thin episode beside that with Benito’s head over heels with Pyotr’s performance, I suppose Catherine will pick Carole & Tuesday and that would make Ertegun the one who holds the decisive gun regarding the duo’s fate. We all know the result but let’s see how the show handles all this.

Posted on 11 June 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

Episode 09 of Carole & Tuesday is essentially Brightest Mars part 2, as we spend an entire episode to the bottom half of the bracket. This is where I wish the staff spends that much attention to details to its writing, rather than music writing, because all the songs played in this episode are featured in full performances, and good ones on top of that. Angela’s performance, unfortunately, is amongst my least favorite one. It screams “Top 40” material for me. At many turns, I could see the show set itself up for some surprise payoff: like it could go the opposite way to make Cybelle the winner, for instance; or how Cybelle’s obsession can affect Tuesday in a more significant way, but they’re not the case at all. Instead, the whole thing plays out rather predictably, with Angela proves herself to be more “serious” in her music than the judges initially thought. But the issue with that is that, as we the audiences follow Angela right where she switches career, there’s little development from here to indicate that she’s actually serious about music at all. On a similar note, I was expecting the AI judge to comment about her music (as her music is monitored by the AI freak composer), but turned out he didn’t leave any comment at all. I believe he’ll be more critical later on but for now he works as comedic relief at best.

Otherwise, we have a rather fun episode of the remaining contestants showing their fangs. Hilarious and misguided in similar measure, the Mermaid plays a song consists entirely of swear words. Imagine what would have been to listen to this song with censored version: all we hear will be an uninterrupted beep. They say that this song says who they are, a gender-ambiguous state, but for me it’s more like their attitude towards the rest. But the tune is charming nonetheless. At the risk of taking these characters lightly (I do think the show is guilty of that), there’s still a fine craft to the songwriting there. The same can be said for GGK (I believe she’s based from real life FKA Twigs) and Cybelle’s songs, which have mysterious air, dreamy and exactly my kind of songs. In a perfect world, Cybelle’s performance would beat Angela’s at any time.

There are some hints towards other development Carole & Tuesday might tackle in the future. Earlier when we hear about Carole’s mother press, she mentioned the fact that the Earth has cast a shadow upon Mars (or so my sub implies). I don’t even know what she means but if it were a life-changing event, this thread might be tangled with Carole & Tuesday in the future (remember the “8 miniutes that changed Mars” bit). It’s also worth noting that Tao is noticing our girls’ talents, more as he notices the non-AI sound from our duo, which will add as a fuel for more rivalry between them and Angela. Gut and Angela’s Mama has some nice bounce off as managers from each side, but they again play more for laugh. Lastly, I like the way Cybelle controls over Tuesday, which makes a nice point that Tuesday has to voice up her own opinion, even if that’s a rejection. The factor that left me unsatisfied, however, is that this conflict is resolved way too quickly and slightly that it feels underwritten and awkward.

Posted on 1 June 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

A rather straightforward episode that details on the duo’s journey to American Idol Mars Brightest, this week feels like those competitive singing shows we normally watch on TV with a colorful set of oddballs. As such, this episode’s main appeal lies less in narrative strengths but more about music and the fun when these music redefy its singers’ traits. But let’s focus first on the (little) narrative this episode has. It’s obvious from day 1 that Carole & Tuesday will eventually face Angela in the final, a sort of showdown between fame vs rookie, artificial music vs genuine one. This episode makes one significant step into that direction, as Angela “acknowledges” the duo’s talent by flat-out says she dislikes their music. It’s fun to see Angela acts like a total jerk towards her new manager (subtlety about her bitchiness is out of the window but hey, it’s fun to watch) and I suppose she will have to go through a phase where she accepts this new hapless manager and deals with her “Mama” issue (who we find out in one of her pic was a man years ago). But that is for future development. For now, Angela will show her true power in the next episode.

I’m still a bit split on the way this Mars Brightest functions, as a nit-picking note. Choosing 8 talents out of thousands just based on single short performance isn’t credible, at all (there’s no way an actual musical contest work like that to begin with). What’s fun is that these 8 contestants do bring out their unique personality just based on their appearances alone. Add to that we have these songs and styles that constantly bring out different side of them, and well-composed music on top of it. Take the three performances this week, for example. Fire Brothers are old deaf twins but still manage to bring fire, quite literally, with their meTAL GROAning. The social network sensational Pyotr’s performance makes it clear that he’s serious about this contest, even if he normally brush it off. And finally, and most interestingly, OG Bulldog, appeared as ex-gangster, does a hybrid opera-rap that takes everyone, real listeners included, by surprise. The show smartly uses a typical hip-hop beat and lets it run wild before OG Bulldog sings the first verse. The weird hybrid makes it my favorite performance out of the four.

Unlike the audition stage in which the judges are too plain (Wooper pointed that out in his post), these three judges nail their assigned “roles”: a strict Catherine, a fashionable Benito and an AI judge Shakti (an interesting twist). I’m actually agree with the judge regarding Carole & Tuesday performance, that they are the plainest. And this is one of the many issues I have with the show so far. Not only the titular characters are the least development ones, they are given too much “special treatment” from the show, that their singing can win people over (it doesn’t with me. Too plain). There’s also Cybelle, one of the contestant, who has a yuri affection to Tuesday. I suppose she’s going to be some sort of the duo’s sidekick in the future. At this point, I’m pretty much loose hope that Carole & Tuesday as a ambitious show. It doesn’t have the aspiration that Shinichiro Watanabe usually brings, but taken as a popular mainstream show it’s still enjoyable week after week.

Posted on 26 May 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

Sorry for the delay in covering these episodes, folks. Mario has been overseas for a few weeks now, but he’ll be returning home soon to pick up the pen once more. In the meantime, I’m planning to blog these episodes of Carole (plus Fruits Basket 6-8 tomorrow) to lighten his workload a bit. Shinichiro Watanabe is one of my favorite anime directors, so I’m glad to have this opportunity – his Road Show Trilogy is comprised of three of my favorite TV series, and even his lesser works are packed with visual style and mood-enhancing music. Can the same be said of Carole & Tuesday in Wooper’s opinion? Read on to find out.

My biggest issue with the show so far lies with its two lead characters. We have a bit of interesting information about them: Carole was an orphan raised in a refugee camp who changes jobs as though they were clothes, and Tuesday is the runaway daughter of a politician. They became fast friends based on their love of music, and now they’re trying to make it in the big city. And… that’s about it. We’ve got a decently-realized Martian future on our hands here, but the show is content to place them on the outskirts of it, instead of right there in the thick of things. Think back to the major beats of these three episodes. The girls play a gig for 10 people, then play a festival for tens of thousands, and then try out for an American Idol knockoff called Mars Brightest.

(more…)

Posted on 3 May 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

With the episode title as telling as “Video Killed the Radio Star”, it’s “appropriate” that Carole & Tuesday this week is entirely about the duo making their DIY music video. While many of my previous issues remain the same, this is one of the joyous week we have with the team so far. Episode 4 is also the first time where I feel it brings the aesthetic of the titular song to life, and we have some more insights to Gus’s former life. In fact, it’s the supporting characters who pretty much steal the spotlight this week, particularly the scam AI robot IDEA, Gus and his ex-wife, Marie. If there’s one thing that I appreciate this episode attempting to address, it’s that the queer baiting going rather strong this week. Not only Carole & Tuesday doesn’t shy from confirming Marie’s current lesbian relationship (thumb up!), the bartender where Gus frequents seem to have a hot for him as well. That not to mention about Ertergun’s affection to Roddy. I believe this factor works for the show’s benefits as it adds some layers to the world culture (which, in case you haven’t catched up, is in the same universe as Space Dandy as well).

So after the failed plan last week, the group has another idea: making a music video, to a disastrous result. The moral of this story: read the goddamn reviews before buying a product. It got only 1 star out of 2058 reviews. The star here is of course the self-proclaimed robot director who drinking beer, taking a shower while drinking beer and bullying other robot while taking a shower because yes, why the hell not. The trick here is to give character a personality, and it’s all the funnier when it’s a robot. All the scenes revolving around the shootings are fun, especially the gags aim at Roddy. Poor Roddy has to dance more than 120 times by himself, has his mint-edition figures destroyed, and the luxury car that he borrowed is ruined in a flash. I have a good laugh watching the intentionally-bad CG models music video that robot creates at the end. It would’ve been fine if they upload the video just based on how unashamedly dreadful it looks.

Meanwhile, in order to fulfill the unreasonable request from our director, Gus seeks out help from his ex-wife, Marie. They share a good, albeit conventional, chemistry together, but I suspect that now that she has her “happy ending”, she might not appear that often anymore. We see how she still has high regard for Gus, that he used to be a big shot in the industry, and that he still has an eye for talents. Despite the supporting cast that are fun to watch, it’s the titular characters who actually are too plain and need more development. It feels like they are blending into the background right now. As the last note,It’s neat to catch real life inspiration on the way these characters prefer their music video to bel: Carole wants Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Roddy (being a nerd) prefers something along the line with A-ha, Gus likes a Marvel’s copycat and a romantic Tuesday wants something too generic that to even tell the real inspiration, maybe this one?

Posted on 29 April 2019 with categories: Carole & Tuesday, Currently Watching:

Just like any auteur, the moments you step into Shinichiro Watanabe’s world you’d immediately know it. The man has a distinctive visual flair, one that relies on fluid animation, expressive characters’ “mannerism”, and a great ear for music that ride the whole narrative. We can see all these aspects in Carole & Tuesday. In fact, with Netflix streaming, this might become one of his most mainstream hit, and that might and that is both a blessing and a curse. I’m talking about “accessible” here. More than any shows he has directed before, this one appeals to the widest range of audiences: the story is an underdog story at heart, and everyone loves a few-good story when our mains start from zero to hero; the music are catchy and appealing; the duo is likable and the visual is a feast to the eyes. But my (mild) issues for Carole & Tuesday lies in the fact that there isn’t many layers underneath the surface. Take the titular leads, Carole & Tuesday, for example. They’re wholy distinctive in designs and how they talk and move, but their encounter always feel a bit easy. The same can be said for their journey together so far, to the point in the third episode it feels as if they function as one entity. I’d love to see more conflicts between them, not a whole arc (I know this will come eventually) but more about small details that we can pick out and tell them apart.

The life-changing event for our main duo happens in the second episode when they decide to do a guerilla performance in the concert hall, in which it catches an attention of the sound technician Roddy, who then upload their performance online. That’s where Gus (the drunken narrator) storm in and self-declares himself as their manager. Unlike the lead duo so far (which mostly a matter of expectation – I expect so much more from them), I quite enjoy the roles both Gus and Roddy are playing so far. They serve as comedic relieves (especially Gus when we see all of his plans are either outdated or simply not working at all), but for now they’re the ones who move the plot forward. Another little details that I really enjoy surrounding their worldbuilding is that the universe they live in isn’t that far off from our current world. They still use wikipedia, for example, or they use many real-name bands/singers that it brings a smile on my face when they mention them. But come on, I would never have expected Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars are mentioned in the same breath as Motorhead. They are as world apart as it comes.

Speaking of song references, I feel the need to mention the titles of the episodes, which Carole & Tuesday paying tribute to all these classic timeless songs, and that bring up to one of my earlier concerns. These titles are dropped not based on their tune or meaning, but merely a literal adaptation so far. In episode 2, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run quickly translates into the girls constantly running away from the guards. In episode 3, the sad song “Fire & Rain” is indeed involves the moment where Tuesday loses it and burns her music sheet which triggers the waterflow. While there is meaning of why these songs are placed there, considering the fact that I know these songs by heart, and these songs bring the spirits and attitude like no others, it’s a bit of a letdown that Carole & Tuesday just borrows the surface and not the essence of the songs. I have no complains, however, about both the OP and ED, one brings one of the most gorgeous visually looking in recent years, the other is just an earworm. They are easily my favorites so far of this season, which saying a lot in a season where Mix’s OP and Sarazanmai’s OP are also airing.

At the same time with Carole & Tuesday journey, we follow Angela who going through her vocal training, which feels more like workplace abuse than actual training. Tao is a douchebag and he isn’t afraid to admit it. At the moment, Angela’s path and the girls’ haven’t crossed so far, but I expect it to happen soon in the future. Looking at it more closely, Angela emerges to be the exact opposite with Carole & Tuesday’s path. Tao, her so called “vocal trainer”, is more interested to create an AI song, the one where the song tune in which people’s heart so that the listeners will respond positively to the song, doesn’t matter who sing it. Whereas with our duo it’s all authentic here. They sing from their heart, they bust out into songs because they feel like doing it. Whereas Angela’s already successful when we met her, Carole & Tuesday have to work from the bottom ground. Speaking of Tuesday, we learn that her Mom running politics, which could be an interesting thread to follow. While I feel that the story beats so far are… straightforward, the visual direction still pretty much excellent. The earlier bit where Carole doing the fake moaning (well, this is real in Chinese culture), the visual bits of the Priest and the butterfly is very well-crafted, the timing in particular is exceptional. I don’t know if it’s a right comparison, but Carole & Tuesday reminds me a fair bit of Violet Evergarden last year, not necessary because they’re both Netflix-funded, but more about they are the most accessible works from acclaimed director/studio and it could work as a gateway for newcomers to get into their more distinctive, and more significant, works.

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