This second half of the first season is a more finely-tuned follow-up, with the show’s individual elements coming together better down the stretch.
After concluding its Japanese broadcast, the second half of Motonobu Hori and Shinichiro Watanabe’s original anime series Carole & Tuesday (that would be episodes 13 to 24 if you’re keeping count) has debuted today on Netflix as an early Christmas present for those who were more enamored by the musical feel-good series than I was. Good news, though, for those like me who thought it didn’t quite cohere into a product befitting its hype and all-star creative team — this back half finds the show’s individual elements coming together much better.
The setup still revolves around runaway rich girl Tuesday (Ichinose Kana) and orphan Carole (Shimabukuro Miyuri) and their improvisational earworm pop tunes on a terraformed near-future Mars. It’s still gorgeous-looking, with idiosyncratic backdrops capturing both contemporary urbanity and hostile alien dunes. It’s still inclusive, and still, with its English songs and various other feints in the direction of global accessibility, feels tailored for Western sensibilities. All of this was true of the first part and is truer here in the second.
What’s also improved here is a setting that feels more bedded-in, stakes that feel more present and recognizable, and a lessened sense of the whimsy that defined the first half. Carole & Tuesday Part 2 is still lighthearted for the most part, but has a better sense of escalation and development as the second half of a story should; the problem with releasing single seasons in two halves is often that the freshman outing lacks the typical dramatic arc we expect, feeling a bit deflated and frictionless. While I’m still not sure this Netflix anime fares well when held up against Watanabe’s Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, it’s now, in its full form, a much more complete and respectable offering.