Towards the latter half of 2019, anime fans were treated to two series that use music as a theme/gimmick. One is Shiro Watanabe’s Carole & Tuesday—which tells the tale of Tuesday, a rich and yet neglected daughter of an up and coming Martian politician who runs away to the city and befriends Carole, an orphan who is trying to make ends meet. The other series is Given, based on the manga by Natsuki Kizu—which takes place in modern Japan—is about how four young men (two of them in high school and two of them in college) form a local band, and how the two younger members form a romance. While the group initially starts as Seasons, they eventually change their name to Given. So for this article, if Given and Carole & Tuesday were to have a battle of the bands, who would win? The songs we’ll use as a basis for comparison are Fuyu no Hanashi from Given, and The Loneliest Girl from Carole & Tuesday, the songs that established them as up and coming performers.
With four members, Given has two guitar players (Mafuyu and Ritsuka), a drummer (Akihiko), and a bassist (Haruki). Ritsuka is an experienced guitar player and does his best to teach Mafuyu how to play the guitar. While Mafuyu lacks experience on the guitar, he makes up for it as he assumes the role of lead singer (which we’ll get to soon). For Carole & Tuesday, Carole plays the acoustic guitar while Tuesday plays the keyboard/piano.
We’re not trying to say one set of players is better than the other, but no one can deny that the numbers and dynamics offer their own unique flavors and emotion. With a bigger band like Given with bassists and drummers, it allows for something more in-your-face. With Carole & Tuesday, their style offers something not in your face, but in your heart. Both styles work in their own ways. If you want something more powerful and loud you can scream to while attending a live concert, go with Given. If you want something soft to listen to on a lonely walk, go with Carole & Tuesday.
Given’s lead singer is Mafuyu. Up until the climactic concert, not once do the audience or his fellow bandmates hear him sing. The closest we get up until that point is when he hums the melody to Fuyu no Hanashi. Until Mafuyu joined, the band mostly performed without a singer. Carole & Tuesday sing as a duo. Despite Mafuyu’s quiet nature, he sings so powerfully, that it knocks the socks off not just the viewer, but his bandmates and classmates as well, whereas Carole & Tuesday sing with softer voices in conjunction with the softer instruments they use.
The content of both Fuyu no Hanashi and The Loneliest Girl are both reflections of the feelings/journeys of the singers. With Fuyu no Hanashi, it’s about Mafuyu’s relationship with Yuki, his former boyfriend and how his death affected him. With Carole & Tuesday, The Loneliest Girl is a reflection of where the titular duo is when they first meet, and what their friendship means.
What’s unique about Carole & Tuesday is that even when you watch it in Japanese, all of their songs are performed in English, but of course, the songs are performed by different actresses. This even applies in the dub. In Given, Shogo Yano, the voice of Mafuyu, also sings the song. This is where the true debate may start for some people. As many of you know, there is a history of anime where the voice cast in the Japanese versions also performs songs for the soundtrack, but that’s a different topic for another time.
Through The Loneliest Girl, the performers do an excellent job of portraying the emotion of the two leads. Through their soft voices, you can feel that Carole & Tuesday are in a dark place when they first meet and they only have each other. Despite just barely meeting when they first perform the song, the lyrics do an excellent job of showing that they need each other to overcome their hurdles. Through The Loneliest Girl, the audience can authentically feel the titular duo’s present emotional state, and yet have hope.
As we stated earlier, Mafuyu’s powerful performance provided by Shogo Yano largely contradicts his shy and childish nature. Through Fuyu no Hanashi, we get a side of Mafuyu that the audience and the cast of Given hardly ever get to see. In addition to his stronger voice, through the lyrics, he can pour out every ounce of emotion and regret he has regarding the loss of Yuki. The lyrics more or less directly share what he’s truly feeling. Mafuyu is pretty blunt with how Yuki’s loss has affected him and when you watch this scene in Given, viewers can see how Mafuyu’s former and present classmates react to his true feelings.
At the end of the day, both Fuyu no Hanashi and The Loneliest Girl bring audiences on the emotional journeys of both Mafuyu and Carole and Tuesday. With how far they go to achieve success, of course, things turn out differently. Given is still a local band playing at small venues (yes, we know there’s a manga, but we’re using the anime as a basis). Carole & Tuesday become Mars’ brightest stars by the time their series ends. Thanks to a random boy filming them while they snuck into a concert hall, they became an overnight sensation. Considering how far Carole & Tuesday goes with how their music addresses modern issues, we give the nod to them. What do you say? Do you prefer Given, or Carole & Tuesday? If so, please leave a comment!