Science Fiction is about imagining the impossible. It’s taking the near infinite number of What if? questions about what the future holds and using that thread to weave a story. Perhaps it says something about how we view the unknown that those threads often turn into a dystopian future or coping with the annihilation of the human race. The genre is littered with those stories and many of them are among the most memorable in our collective pop-culture memory

The fact that Carole & Tuesday is so different, yet every bit the science fiction tale as the grand space operas or horror stories about what lurks in the hold of a decrepit space ship, is what makes it beloved and a show to be treasured. It’s a show that makes the unfamiliar and unknown a warm and welcoming presence by making the grand nature of space and living on mars an experience as relatable as a pop song.

Perhaps this is to be expected from director Shinichiro Watanabe whose space opera Cowboy Bebop is beloved inside and outside of anime circles. That show too was a Science Fiction show about people, a team of beloved characters crammed on a dingy spaceship called Bebop.

Much like its sibling-show, Carole & Tuesday is best summed up by its two main leads and the colorful cast around them. In Alba City, one of Mars’ most metropolitan destinations, Carole and Tuesday form one of the most unlikely music groups. Carole is a refugee from earth, a planet that is ever increasingly beset by strife, and Tuesday who is born of a wealthy family and runs away with just a rare Gibson guitar in hand. They meet on a whim, two young women trying to make it — one with an eye for lyrics and an electric pink keyboard and the other with a guitar in hand. Both make a connection and start making music together, tied together by the loneliness they both seem to feel.

Carole & Tuesday is about making music in the future. It explores the technicalities, as well as the industry as a whole, in a way that can seem oh so familiar to today, and it’s also a realistic peek into the future. It starts with what sets Carole and Tuesday apart from all the others — they write their own songs instead of letting an Artificial Intelligence do it for them. It’s not so far flung to think that even music that captures attention and resonates with people emotionally can be boiled down to a calculated science that even artists themselves have come to accept.

Nobody embodies this more than Angela, a former child star who has visions of becoming a world-famous singer one day. She would be the foil to both Carole and Tuesday as a tailor-made star. She is reliant on the mysterious Tao, a genius programmer who designs an AI that is near guaranteed to make Angela a star. Her path to the top seems clear as day, but the troubles of stardom inevitably come to the surface for her too.

All the side characters also earn their memorable places in the show. There is the beloved manager Gus, who remembers the good old days of making music when you had to work gigs in dingy clubs and grow your stardom organically. There’s also their first fanboy Roddy, who witnessed Carole & Tuesday’s first impromptu performance first hand when they snuck into the Mars equivalent of Radio City Music hall to perform their first song.

There are many others worth mentioning like Skip, who bears a slight resemblance to Jimi Hendrix with a performance at the Coachella-like atmosphere of the outdoor music event known as the Cydonia festival, and the Beyoncé-like super star known as Crystal. There are far too many to bring up here, but all have their moments in the show and touch on some familiar aspect of music culture

Music has always been a reflection of society and the music of Mars looks and sounds oh so familiar. The backdrop of politics that surrounds entertainment also echoes our own. Like a Martian culture that is wary of allowing refugees of Earth pollute their society and a political election that seems to be a referendum on tolerance. Carole & Tuesday does well to mix all of those things together in a way that is eerily true to life.

Carole & Tuesday is science fiction at its best, using the thread of music to give us a snapshot of the future. It’s so artfully done with music that sounds like it could play on any modern radio station coupled with characters that are nigh impossible not to root for. This is a show I’d tell anybody to pick up, anime or not. I can guarantee you’ll want the soundtrack after you are finished watching.

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