2019’s Carole & Tuesday is the manga adaptation of a science fiction anime of the same name (authors: Morito Yamataka, BONES, and Shinichiro Watanabe). I have not seen the anime. Volume 1 covers the first four episodes1.
Wealthy Tuesday Simmons flees her isolated family mansion, hoping to find her destiny in Mars’ Alba City. Armed with the streetwise worldliness of a day-old chick, she loses her luggage almost immediately.
Also in Alba: orphan Carole Stanley is an illegally busker. Although Alba’s police seem peculiarly diligent where illegal busking is concerned, Carole manages to evade the law long enough for Tuesday to hear Carole sing. Fleeing the anti-busking police together, the pair become immediate besties.
Tuesday has no domicile and fewer life skills with which to find one. Carole invites Tuesday to stay in her surprisingly lavish apartment, which she manages to keep despite never holding a job longer than a few days.
This leaves only the small matter of the two teens’ shared ambition: turning their shared love of music into a career. This could be difficult, even impossible. In this future, the charts are dominated by AIs (Artificial Intelligences) tweaked to generate soulless pablum for the masses. Two human girls are very unlikely to prosper, no matter how many guerilla performances they give.
Gus Goldman attends the girls’ first guerilla performance. Smitten with the sincerity of their music, he appoints himself their new manager. With his know-how and their talent, success is surely out of reach. Gus is an untalented, self-deluding one-hit-wonder, while the girls, while passionate about music, are but untrained amateurs. Disappointment is guaranteed.
Except, as it turns out, fate favours the protagonists, and everything in their lives lines up perfectly, even when at first it seems that it hasn’t.
I wonder what happened in Alba’s past that compels the cops to ignore rampant luggage theft and focus on unsanctioned keyboard performances?
Well, this was a pretty terrible manga on any number of fronts. For example, despite being supposedly set on another world, in the future, there isn’t much in volume one to indicate that this was an SF setting. Technology and fashions are circa 2019 and 2020, when the anime first aired and the manga was first published. We hear about AIs but they don’t figure largely in the action; perhaps they will have a more prominent role in future volumes. As far as Volume 1 goes, however, this could be set on Earth (but prior to the Covid 19 pandemic).
I also said goodbye to SOD (suspension of disbelief) when the two protagonists’ quest for fame proceeds on well-greased rail. Every impediment turns out to be made of cotton-candy; every setback is revealed to be a step on the path to unearned victory.
Presumably something gets in the way of superstardom, or else how else would the authors have managed to produce three volumes? But I won’t be sticking around to find out what that something is2.
1: Episode 1 is a two-parter so this is a four-chapter manga with five chapters.
2: Why did I read this? Because it was on a list of notable manga I have since misplaced.