Carole & Tuesday: A Music Anime for the World

Aided by an astonishing roster of international artists, Shinichiro Watanabe’s Carole & Tuesday is the most ambitious music anime to date.

Nestled in my “Your Top Songs 2019” playlist on Spotify lies Hold Me Now by Carole & Tuesday, Move Mountains by Angela, and Unbreakable by Crystal—if Vocal Collection Vol.2 came out earlier than the end of October, I have no doubt that Beautiful Breakdown and Army of Two by Carole & Tuesday, Breathe Again by Angela, and Give You The World by Flora would’ve been up there as well.

2019, in a number of ways, fundamentally changed the way I interacted with music in anime. I began curating personal playlists of anime music on Spotify with 600 anisongs and counting; Given blew me away with the impassioned journey of a young musician struggling with his inner demons, where music helped him come to terms with his pain; after the explosive reaction to the show’s fifth season, I checked out cult-favourite Senki Zesshou Symphogear, where alien threats are defeated with the power of music. But before all that, there was Carole & Tuesday.

It’s no secret that Shinichiro Watanabe creates anime with music in mind, from the hip-hop backdrop of Samurai Champloo to the jazz-infused Sakamichi no Apollon. But for his latest major directorial work, Watanabe sought to depict “the moment music is born” and make it accessible for a global audience. Netflix licensing simulcasts, thereby placing them in the aptly named “Netflix Jail”, is a topical point of contention in the anime community. However, their investment during pre-production and unparalleled reach in over 190 countries were instrumental (pun unintended) in achieving Watanabe’s ultimate goal for Carole & Tuesday.

The basis of this work is that “Music is sacred and sublime, even the popular sort with a wide appeal, and has the power to heal people’s hearts.”

Needless to say, his ambitions were grand.

Behind Carole & Tuesday‘s packed soundtrack is an astonishing roster of composers from all over the world, including artists from Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines, and Australia. Watanabe passed the baton and a great amount of creative freedom to them. Pop, rock, techno, screamo, ballads, opera rap, barbershop quartet—the soundtrack is bursting with diversity and new genres to discover. As a result, Carole & Tuesday was molded around the music as much as the music was molded around it. For example, the first demo of Lay It All On Me from episode 21 (composed by UK musician Isaac Gracie) included a subtle organ. Because he liked its spiritual tune, Watanabe placed the scene in a church and asked for the organ to be more prominent in the final song.

To create a globally accessible music anime, almost every song in Carole & Tuesday is in English. I remember watching the English dub of K-On! years ago, amused by the awkward switch between English and Japanese. Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot, and I can personally attest to its success. I usually have to turn down being handed the aux cord in car rides because I only listen to anime music and nightcore, but with Carole & Tuesday‘s diverse English soundtrack, I felt brave enough to put it on. Lo and behold, my mother greatly enjoyed it (especially Galactic mermaid by Mermaid Sisters).

Much like Carole, Tuesday, Angela, and the rest of the cast, the extraordinary music behind Shinichiro Watanabe’s Carole & Tuesday embodies themes of diversity, musical expression, and personal connection—it’s a music anime for the world, by the world. I could go on about how the soundtrack is woven into the show’s deeply human message, but I’ll let the music speak for itself there.


Whether you’re an existing fan of the series or I’ve managed to pique your interest, you can experience the incredible soundtrack and the people behind it first-hand in a FREE worldwide stream of the third Carole & Tuesday live concert on Sunday, January 19th at 9:00 JST (click the header above for more info).

Six of the show’s main artists will be participating, alongside the voices of Carole (Miyuri Shimabukuro), Tuesday (Kana Ichinose), Angela (Sumire Uesaka), and Gus (Akio Ootsuka). If you’re still not convinced, here are just some of their incredible songs for you to try out:


Or check out the full song collection on Spotify (including episode title inspirations) here!

I’ll definitely be watching it, so I hope to see you there as well!

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