A world without music. A world without art. A world without — insert Shoji Kawamori voice here — culture.
This is the setting of Carole and Tuesday. Fifty years after Mars was colonized by humanity, everything culture-related is designed by algorithms. It’s not a society without culture per se, but it’s one where art is completely removed from human hands — a much more realistic outcome of what is currently happening across every artistic discipline.
Carole and Tuesday isn’t the first series to take on a world without music or art, but it could end up being one of the most prescient.
When Cross Game initially aired, the small handful of western Mitsuru Adachi went to work, attempting to spread the word of a bestselling Japanese artist who was an unknown in the west. Touch, a domestic phenomenon in Japan, was cited in tandem with Cross Game as his most influential and greatest work. Although Cross Game is more accessible — especially for western anime viewers — and modern, Touch is Adachi’s magnum opus. Mix: Meisei Story is Adachi’s latest, set in the same universe as Touch, decades later.
It’s impossible to talk about Mix without mentioning Touch, but not for the reasons you may think.
One of Macross creator Shoji Kawamori’s properties between Macross Frontier and Delta was AKB0048 — for all intents and purposes, a Macross series without variable fighters, solely focused on idol competition and wielding music as a weapon.
If one follows Shoji Kawamori’s somewhat dodgy, albeit interesting, excuse for an overall Macross timeline, his answer is this: much like history that is studied in classrooms and recreated in period dramas, Macross is the retelling of a historical event. The characters themselves may change, but every iteration will have the Macross staples of fighter pilots in transforming Valkyrie robots, idol singers, and a love triangle.
The first episode of Macross Delta breezes through this checklist with obvious ease. Plucky stowaway Freyja Wion, disillusioned grunt worker Hayate Immelman, and hapless Delta Platoon Lieutenant Mirage Farina Jenius – whose last name should immediately ring a bell with the seasoned Macross fan. Presumably, these three will compose the expected love triangle that will develop against the backdrop of a virus that is both spawned from song and quelled by song. Other checkmarks include the alien race Zentradi, a fighter pilot squadron, and an established group of idol singers that said squadron protects: Walkure.
“Matsuda, do you remember what I told you at the audition? About idols being a story? They’ve written tons of stories this past year, and today will become a new story. I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but these girls are idols.”
-Green Leaves President Junko Tange, Wake Up Girls!, episode 12
Where The Idolm@ster plays with traditional harem elements to captivate its audience, AKB0048 is the next evolution of Macross, and Love Live! is a high school musical, Wake Up, Girls! makes a compelling case for itself as more of a classic sports narrative. President Tange tells Matsuda – and by extension, frames the series for viewers – that idols are “a story.”