You know that weird feeling you get when a serious drama television show suddenly throws in a musical episode? Or for whatever reason the comedy story suddenly decides to be serious? Tesla Note kind of gave me that feeling this week as we veered from spy caper into girl trying to defend other girl from bullies at school, and she just happens to be a spy.
Episode 3 of Tesla Note leaves me puzzling as to what sort of anime this really wants to be.
This episode begins with the team unpacking the failure of the mission in episode 2. There’s a brief spiel by Botan’s grandfather and then they more or less declare that the shard must have been stolen by One Small house (or A Small House or something like that), an organisation once mentioned to Botan’s grandfather by the dying Tesla himself, but they know nothing about the organisation at all including whether it exists.
All of this of course leaves me wondering just what proof they have that this group was responsible, other than they have no other leads. I mean it is convenient. I have no idea who stole this thing so I’m going to blame the super secret group that may not even exist. Then I don’t have to look for any further evidence.
It’s a little weird.
Equally, Tesla Note seems to realise that here’s a major issue with their basic premise here and so we quickly skate over that and straight into the team living together where we suddenly learn that Kuruma and Ryuunosuke can’t stand each other and don’t talk outside of missions. It seems like a weird time to learnt this. Even weirder when you get to the end of the episode and realise the cause of this silliness that serves no practical purpose.
I mean, I guess it links Botan’s school drama to the relationship dynamic of the spy team through the shared confusion over different dialects and expressions but still…
Speaking of Botan’s school drama…
What every spy saving the world needs to do is finish high school. I mean priorities. The Tesla Shards could throw the world into chaos and Botan already has a profession before her but why let that get in the way of Japanese school uniforms and bullying tropes.
At least Botan herself wasn’t the one bullied but she quickly notices that a girl with an accent is getting extorted by others at her school and while she doesn’t speak up about it or draw attention to herself at school, our spy decides she needs to change things and so works on recruiting Kuruma and Ryuunosuke to assist in brining down the bully.
Which she does by taking incriminating photos of both the girl and her college aged boyfriend after breaking into their hotel room? I feel Botan is losing some of the moral high ground here.
It doesn’t help that Botan is so flustered after the boy’s towel slips that she almost gets beaten down by the civilian until Kuruma comes to her rescue. Tesla Note is struggling with Botan’s character wanting her to be strong and capable in some scenes but much like her freezing last week, she really does falter at odd moments and it just makes her character feel a little wishy-washy.
Anyway, it isn’t until after the resolution of the bullying, and the rift between the team members, and all the other bits and pieces that we actually get any thing to do with the shards. We see shard number five being used for nefarious purposes so I hope that means next episode we’re back to actual spy stuff.
Visually, it isn’t getting any easier to watch Tesla Note but at least it isn’t getting worse. But as always I’d love to know your thoughts on the episode so if you are still watching this anime be sure to let me know what you thought of the bullying case.
Images from: Tesla Note. Dir. M Fukuda. Gambit. 2021
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