Yeah, I know I said I was going to stop discussing Tesla Note’s appearance because it was pretty clear from episode one that this was CGI and ugly CGI at that.
And I would hold true to that except that episode 8 isn’t just ugly but at times the animation is notably janky. The scene early in the episode where Botan gets up and walks to pray at her mother’s shrine is actually fairly nauseating to watch as the animation chops and jumps and the swinging camera angles don’t help in the slightest. This is perhaps Tesla Note at its ugliest yet and I’m hoping it isn’t a sign of production issues behind the scenes as this anime cannot afford to drop its quality any lower.
Tesla Note: I’ll only be a spy if that means no one ever dying.
There’s something inherently flawed about Tesla Note anyway. As much as the concept of spies charging around the world looking for technology left behind by the genius Tesla could be kind of fun, they are going out of their way to make it really quite lame.
Botan is a character they sold us on having been raised to be a spy and yet so far she’s proven to be overly emotional and sentimental at best even if she does have some pretty cool skills. This could all be justified through her age and lack of experience but this week she actually quits the team because last week the guy who had brainwashed her and stolen the shards died.
It’s all just a bit hard to swallow given her upbringing. Naturally the story tries to justify it by giving her the motive of becoming a spy to save people but the reality should have been clear from the beginning. Sometimes people are going to get hurt and or killed in this game.
They then compound the silliness by having Botan return to her home in the mountains to think about it for a bit and proceed to spend the entire episode on her issues with a mother who died in childbirth (and probably didn’t love her) and a father she assumes hates her even though she’s never met him.
Tragic childhoods, disinterested parents, lack of love, all of these things are pretty standard for main characters in stories and frequently stand in for any actual real characterisation. Its a quick and easy ‘oh they have depth’ short-cut that’s been overused and unless it is done particularly well is no longer very interesting. Let’s be real, Tesla Note never had the narrative chops to do it well and this ham-fisted effort is almost a mockery of the trope.
Actually, when we get to the near end of the episode and Ryuunosuke admits his childhood tragedy and then Kuruma gets all mad because his biggest tragedy is his father giving him a name that is easily mocked, it really does just mock the trope and make most of the episode feel pretty pointless. Tesla Note is a little too good at making its own drama feel trite.
Also, what’s with the puzzle box hidden inside a house with instructions to open it that can only be decoded by using a particular pot-holder? I mean, who does that?
And what if the house had burned down in the meantime?
Anyway, with the discovery of a puzzle box and a second diary, Botan’s mummy issues are all happily resolved and she’s back to being the motivated spy however we do have to drop one more bombshell. The missing father is… Well, pretty sure you can figure it out and it isn’t as though it will actually matter given very little in this series does.
Actually the one thing that actually got my attention this week was a side plot regarding how the evil group infiltrated the CIA ship in the first place and the potential that Oliver is actually a double-agent. I suspect that they’ll find out that’s a red-herring though it would be kind of interesting if he was actually a double-agent. Let’s hope they pursue that plot line because that actually was interesting.
Images from: Tesla Note. Dir. M Fukuda. Gambit. 2021
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