Carole & Tuesday Vol. 2 largely sticks with the earlier episodes of the anime. The first volume of the manga introduced readers to the colonized Mars setting and the titular characters. The follow-up spends time developing the other cast of characters who are integral to the storyline.
Interestingly, the development of these characters occurred almost simultaneously with the main protagonists within the first five or so episodes of the anime. Still, the manga instead chooses to split the characters between two volumes. This approach actually works out nicely for the most part, although there are sudden jumps in continuity where it feels like the manga is getting a little ahead of itself.
In Carole & Tuesday Vol. 2, the spotlight is on Angela, a character who is pretty much addicted to the limelight. Unlike Carole and Tuesday, who are aspiring and struggling musicians trying to get noticed, Angela is already established. She has reached a point in her fast-moving career where she is simply shilling merchandise and other ridiculous products. Not content with her fame and fortune, she and her overbearing parental figure are willing to do whatever it takes to gain more.
Carole and Tuesday personify artistic innocence and purity. Angela’s story explores the dark underbelly of music as a cut-throat business where complete sell-outs, rather than artists, succeed. If shilling for products and merchandise wasn’t bad enough, Volume 2 explores the lengths Angela and her parent/manager are willing to go to maintain and guarantee mainstream success.
Everything from dubious contracts to an extreme form of auto-tuning songs that are subliminally manufactured. These things are rampant in the music business in our own world, but Volume 2 has these practices presented with a sinister sci-fi twist, which drives home the sentiment effectively.
Although the main characters, Carole and Tuesday, don’t quite face these challenges that come as the ultimate price of fame, they face other parts of the music industry that are just as ugly. There are different paths to getting noticed as an aspiring artist, which sadly involves a lot of harassment.
Although presented with a clever comedic tone, the portrayal of sexual harassment in the music business by those who take advantage of their position of success to justify abuse is as real as it gets. Even with the slight comedic angle, the manga still does a good job shooting down these practices and how Carole and Tuesday are better off identifying and overcoming these experiences early.
Volume 1 focused on the power of creativity that comes with pursuing music. Volume 2 is all about the ugliness of music as a business and industry and the challenges faced by those who wish to chase a dream of being musicians. The pacing of the story is done really well, and once again, the character designs shine through with panels capturing the essence of the anime quite effectively.
Carole & Tuesday Vol. 2 does a nice job of picking up momentum after a slightly shaky start in Volume 1. There is far more character development here. It does a great job of presenting compelling scenarios to move the narrative along. It does get a little ahead of itself in some places, but with Volume 2, the manga seems to have round its rhythm and flow.
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