Netflix Review – Carole and Tuesday: I Love This and I Don’t Know Why

Netflix brings us a new anime by the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Space Dandy about two young girls trying to become musicians. It’s so awesome you guys.

SUMMARY

It’s the future. We’ve colonized Mars and it mostly looks like Earth. Earth is now a craphole. Carole Stanley (Miyuri Shimabukuro/Jeannie Tirado/Nai.br XX (vocals)) is an orphan refugee from Earth who works part-time jobs to support her piano playing. Tuesday Simmons (Kana Ichinose/Celeina Ann/Brianna Knickerbocker) is a rich girl who runs away from her politician mother. While Carole is playing a song in public, Tuesday encounters her and innately understands her feelings coming through her music. The two quickly bond and realize that they each complement the other’s writing, quickly churning out a song. They break into a concert hall to record it, only to go viral when they get secretly recorded by Roddy (Miyu Irino/Zach Aguilar). This video is seen by Gus Goldman (Akio Otsuka/Jason Marnocha), a former musician and manager, who offers to help the girls get their careers going. 

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Yes, Tuesday plays a Gibson.

At the same time, they have a rival brewing from a former child star named Angela Carpenter (Sumire Uesaka/Alisa/Ryan Bartley), who is getting help from AI tech genius Tao (Hiroshi Kamiya/Kyle McCarley) to launch her own singing career. 

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So many insecurities masked by so much badass.

The three end up meeting when they enter the same music competition, with their possible futures on the line.

END SUMMARY

This show’s so good, it actually works well in either subs or dubs. You can watch it in English or Japanese and it’s actually pretty much the same. A big part of that is that the music is the same in both languages. There’s only one version of each song, with the same artist providing the vocals in both languages, and with two songs per episode, that’s a decent portion of the series. So, however you like your anime, it’s going to be awesome for you.

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This series was made by Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator of Cowboy Bebop, and, much like that show, this series is a blend of a number of different musical and fictional genres. Each of the episodes is named after a famous song, ranging from “Fire and Rain” to “Video Killed the Radio Star,” paying tribute to not just a kind of music, but music as a whole. There’s a gangster rapper who uses opera at one point, for example. This series is a love letter to the power of sound. 

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You feel the grandeur of the performance, but also the intimacy of their playing.

Carole and Tuesday are presented as the pure side of music, because in this future Artificial Intelligence generates most of the songs. One artist, DJ Ertegun (Mamoru Miyano/Ray Chase) considers himself a genius despite the fact that all of his songs and his musical performances are actually done by AIs that are written by Roddy. Machines have taken over so much of the industry that people consider it a novelty that Carole and Tuesday even write their own stuff. They’re two broke girls who constantly risk it all to survive based on their own talent, which is, admittedly, sizeable. They’re the underdogs that we want to cheer for and, dear God, do I cheer for them when they play. The music in this show is phenomenal, but they do save the best for our leads. Their struggles are human, their victories are hard-won, and their characters are surprisingly well fleshed-out despite the fact that they are essentially building off of simple archetypes, which was a strength of Cowboy Bebop

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Life isn’t fair, but that’s why we have fiction.

Even though she is their rival and a user of AI generated music, Angela is not presented as evil. She’s on a journey to overcome the bias against her as a former actress trying to become a musician, because she loves music. That’s why it’s so interesting when she finally goes up against Carole and Tuesday, because she’s not a villain, just a person who wants to sing that’s taking a different tactic. Admittedly, a much easier one, but since it’s an option for her it’s hard to blame her.

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She gets a 12 million dollar loan to start her career while the leads beg for gigs.

It’s interesting that this show actually explores the future where automation has started eliminating creative jobs, one of the things which are currently assumed to only be the domain of humans. We see AI directors, animators, writers, and, of course, musicians. Instead, in this version of the future, the only jobs left are pretty much the ones that are dependent upon human personality, like being a DJ or a professional mourner. Despite this, we don’t see anything like Universal Basic Income or communal resources, instead, we just have a proliferation of those kind of positions.

The animation is top-notch, the supporting characters are all phenomenal, the writing is amazing in both languages, and the end of the series, which is really just the set-up for the second half, is amazing. Also, this is one of the first anime series I remember to have an openly bisexual character where that is not the focus of their character, if that’s something you appreciate. 

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They animate this woman’s clothing separate from the scene and it’s amazing.

The thing that surprises me is that this show is not something that I would normally think of as being my kind of show. I have no knowledge of music, nor do I really listen to it. The show is extremely formulaic, with most of the things happening exactly as you would expect, something that usually drives me nuts. Despite that, the show has so much damned heart that I couldn’t help but feel my eyes watering during some scenes. Really, its absolutely flawless use of tropes reminds me why these things became tropes in the first place. I recommend it for everyone. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – The Godzilla Trilogy (Planet of the Monsters, City on the Edge of Battle, The Planet Eater)

The largest Godzilla on film appears in these three movies that take place on a kaiju-ravaged Earth.

SUMMARY

It’s the future and giant monsters (Kaiju) have begun appearing all over Earth. Humanity tries to deal with them, but then a new threat arises, a giant monster capable of destroying human and beast alike: Godzilla. Earth is visited by two different species of aliens who promise to help them with the threat in exchange for some boon from humanity. The Exif, the first of the aliens, seek to take humanity to the stars and convert them to their religion. The second, the Bilusaludo, planned on moving to Earth and defeating Godzilla and the Kaiju with their mighty war-machine MechaGodzilla. Unfortunately, an attack prevents them from activating MechaGodzilla and humanity flees with the aliens to the stars, seeking a new home.

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The art style is very distinct, but it works for the monsters.

20 years later, Captain Haruo Sakaki (Mamoru Miyano/Chris Niosi) together with an Exif priest named Metphies (Takahiro Sakurai/Lucien Dodge) figures out a way to kill Godzilla, which convinces the crew of the starship, who have failed to find a habitable planet, to return to Earth. What they find is that, due to time dilation from sub-lightspeed travel, 20,000 years have passed on the planet. In that time, Earth has become home to monsters. The crew must deal with this threat, the much bigger and badder Godzilla, the now-sentient remains of MechaGodzilla, and finally the planet-eater Ghidorah.

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He’s like a giant mountain of lizard flesh and rage.

END SUMMARY

While there have been at least two different Godzilla animated series, I believe these are the first animated films in the franchise. They take advantage of this by filling the films with monsters ranging from the classics like Rodan and Mothra to the more mundane like the Servums, essentially flying creatures infected by Godzilla’s biology. Additionally, the Godzilla featured in this movie is the biggest by far on film. It starts off the film at approximately 50 meters tall, roughly the same height as the original 1954 Godzilla, but when it reappears it is a towering 300 meters, almost three times the 2014 Godzilla’s height, and that was, at the time, the largest on film. For perspective, it’s basically the height of the Chrysler building.

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The original Godzilla is basically a snack to this one.

Despite this, most of the focus of the film is on Haruo and his immense hatred towards Godzilla, the creature that killed his mother when he was a child. While we’ve often seen protagonists in Godzilla movies who are concerned about the threat that the monster presents to their country or their loved ones, I don’t think we’ve ever had this kind of relationship with the monster. In most of the movies it wouldn’t even be possible, because the kaiju typically are only out for a few days, whereas this film posits what would happen if they were out for millennia. Using relativity to give Godzilla time to evolve while also keeping someone around who remembers the original destruction was a great plot device.

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Watching him swear to kill a creature that views him as an ant is fun.

I’m trying to avoid spoiling the second and third movies more than you might get from just seeing the Netflix summary, so I’ll just say that the way that they handle MechaGodzilla and Ghidorah are both great. They don’t feel like they’re just rehashing stuff that the old franchise did, particularly with MechaGodzilla, but they also still seem like they’re justified as being added to the canon.

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Three heads of doooooooooooooooom.

The entire series has a weird number of themes, ranging from science versus faith to humanity versus nature, and while they aren’t fully fleshed out as much as I like, it’s still more than they had to do.

Overall, it’s a little rough to watch all three of them if you’re not a Godzilla fan, but maybe someone will recut them into a single, shorter movie online. If you’re a Godzilla fan, though, you should really try it.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.