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MCM London Comic Con October 2019 – Shinichiro Watanabe & Motonobu Hori “Carole & Tuesday” Panel

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Shinichiro Watanabe and Motonobu Hori took the stage alongside Anime Limited’s reigning MC Jeremy Graves. Proceedings began with the pair being asked about their views on London, both offering praise for the famous city. Asked to describe Carole & Tuesday, Watanabe explained it covers the journey of two passionate young women into becoming musicians and is inspired by his own experiences in the music industry. This led into a video which highlighted some of the internationally scouted singers who appear in the series to sing the songs, including talent from the UK.

Concerning the show’s concept of AI, Watanabe pointed out that back when he worked on Macross Plus the concept of AI seemed far more far-fetched. In the world of Carole & Tuesday the advancement of AI has led to them having very human personalities, with some being more trustworthy than others. For the reality show the protagonists enter in the first half of the series, he revealed that the staff were directly influenced by the UK version of The X Factor and expected that the audience present had likely picked up that one of the judges was created as a pastiche of Simon Cowell.

Great care was placed in making sure the animation of characters playing instruments and dancing was true to life, with genuine musicians/performers being  filmed as reference material/motion capture to enhance the hand drawn animation. Although full 3D CG was an option, Watanabe decided against it in favour of 2D hand drawn as he feels the former results in characters who look unrealistic.

Asked for his thoughts on the live action Cowboy Bebop, Watanabe responded he had been so busy working on Carole & Tuesday that he’d had very little involvement and thus was hoping alongside the fans that it turned out well. Faced with the turbulent era in which we’re currently living, one audience member asked if the guests had any advice on how to enjoy life. Watanabe quipped that if you simply take it that there are no good things in life than what good things you do experience will feel even sweeter. For instance, both he and Hori were happy to be invited to the UK to do this panel. Regarding the concept of Space Dandy, Watanabe had decided that the concept of a multiverse of parallel worlds was a good justification in order to tell episodic stories where the ends and consequences of a specific episode would not carry over into the following. This narrative tool was thus employed in order to allow each episode more freedom to explore its concept. Asked also if Space Dandy and Cowboy Bebop shared a universe, Watanabe coyly replied that both series used the same woolong currency so yes. He further extended this, mostly in a jokey manner, to saying he likes to believe that all his series occur somehow in the same continuity.

Concerning advice for creators, Watanabe opined that he feels too many creators in any discipline lose sight of that initial spark that drove them to want to create in the first place. Thus he wanted creators to always keep the memory of that close to inspire and drive them.  Concerning the song Galactic Mermaid, an infamous English language song from Carole & Tuesday made up of swear words, Watanabe gently explained it was an encapsulation of being angry at the state of the modern world. Asked about opinions on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Hori unfortunately hadn’t seen it yet. Watanabe had and was full of praise for the animation techniques, quipping that if anyone in the audience had contact details for any of the movie’s crew he’d be very interested in scouting them and their knowledge.

As a fan of the original Blade Runner movie, Watanabe was very excited to work as director on the Black Our 2022 short film spinoff. He revealed he received several notes from opinionated producers whilst working on the project, thus probably wouldn’t be tempted to do such a project again however. He then joked that he had somehow earned a creative producer credit on the upcoming Blade Runner: Black Lotus animated series, revealing that his involvement didn’t amount to much beyond saying “Oh, that looks good” at ideas from a distance.

The final question concerned opinions on the anime streaming market. Hori felt that it allows Japanese creators to bring their work to a much wider audience, with Watanabe adding that although he’d aimed Space Dandy arguably more at Japanese audiences the lessons learned from the global release of that series had encouraged him to give Carole & Tuesday a more universal appeal.

Carole & Tuesday is available to stream on Netflix.

Click here to read our interview with Shinichiro Watanabe and Motonobu Hori.