Posted by Lenlo on 4 August 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dr.STONE

Welcome one and all to the ending of Dr.STONE’s first arc. This week we have some BS plot armor, some questionable morals and a vision of what could have been for the series. Lets jump in!

With this episode, we have completed Dr.STONE’s first arc. One widely considered, at least by those I talk to, to be the series weakest arcs. As a manga, Dr.STONE was never particularly good at setting up its premise. It just kind of throws you in there, and then ignores the greater mystery for an immediate threat. But then, that immediate threat disappears for a few dozen chapters, before finally returning for the conclusion. None of this is to mention that the actual conclusion to this introductory arc sort of ends on a rather annoying note. I will get into specifics after the break, but suffice to say, for this ending to occur everyone had to be stupid. It’s one of my biggest bugbears with the series, this section right here. And I think reveals the weakness of this adaptation. We will get to that though. For now, onto the episode!

Now, the opening segment. I always enjoyed this flashback, using the Senku’s history of the previous episode. Showing Tsukasa with them, having a support group and enjoying his time. It even gives us a hint as to his character in regards to the little girl with the seashell necklace. It’s the first of many “what could have beens” of the episode. And is probably the best part of this first half. On the other end of the quality spectrum, can I just say, Taiju is a terrible pacifist? I believed this when reading as well. However the man screams about not hurting someone, then proceeds to set off explosives in their face, under the belief it won’t hurt them? Yet he is unwilling to throw a punch? I have always found Taiju to be a very “authors convenience” sort of character. And the anime is showing that as well.

My biggest issue with this opening segment though is Senku’s survival, or rather, its mechanism thereof. This is where the collective bout of stupidity I mentioned comes in, and the anime just made it worse somehow. You see, we are expected to believe Tsukasa, Dr.STONE’s terrifyingly competent villain, didn’t notice the stone after days with Senku. That he couldn’t feel it when attacking, and that he conveniently chose to attack the one protected portion. Sure, you could argue Senku was baiting him into it with the neck cracking. But even then, the anime’s sound effects ruin it as well. As that squelch sounds more like a cut, rather than a breaking of the neck. With the weapon Tsukasa was wielding, it complete changes the expectations of the scene. Senku had to survive for the story, but the mechanism itself was very poorly done in my opinion.

Enough of my whining though, what parts did I enjoy? Well, the entire second half really. We focused on my favorite aspect of Dr.STONE, which is the science. The creation of new/old technologies in a stone world. How Senku creates them from scratch and the challenges he faces getting those resources. Showing that he lacks the physical ability of Taiju/Tsukasa and the crafts skill of Yuzuriha. How he progresses from brute force to rope and a stick for fire. Its small scale, but encompasses that entire aspect of the show. Dr.STONE also did a good job with the comedy of this section, in regards to the monkeys and the physical comedy. Joking about evolution and how they would never see a human. How alien Senku’s technology truly is in this world. So much so that it actually showed what I believe is the greatest misstep of the series.

That misstep being, it went to far down the Shounen aspect of the series. Dr.STONE is about to enter its strongest arc in my opinion, and there is almost no focus at all on Tsukasa. Just Senku and his science. To me, this signals that the real strength of the series lies in its fun use of science. Imagine if Dr.STONE was instead a much slower paced series about surviving in the wild. Senku was less genius level intellect and more realistically powered. Working through the tech tree like he is now. But instead of a few days to get to gunpowder, we saw him work up from scratch to civilization, the enemy being Nature? We are about to see that in the next arc, and it works so much better. Like an anime Man vs Wild. Yet it is never to be, and is Dr.STONE’s greatest misstep to me.

Finally I want to take the opportunity to talk about adaptations, and how to do them. Because you see, Dr.STONE is almost a 1 to 1 adaptation, taking scene composition and everything straight from the manga. This is fine, Dr.STONE is competently put together. But compare this to adaptations like Vinland or Yaiba. Having read up on some of Yaiba’s manga to prep for that final review, its shocking how much was added. Take Zenitsu’s most recent cut, which was 2 panels in the manga extended into one of the best scenes of this year. Or Vinland, who changed the order of entire chapters to try and better introduce viewers to the series as an animated feature. To me, these series are adding and removing as they need to make a better product. Meanwhile Dr.STONE is coasting almost entirely on a panel by panel remake. It’s a shame.

So all in all, how was this weeks Dr.STONE? Honestly, it was not my favorite. The first half was just as difficult as I expected it to be. while the 2nd half was still just as fun. I have been doing my best to be positive with these opening segments, because I know where the series goes from here. But I fear that my attempts to be positive might have misrepresented what this opening arc was like. Make no mistake, this opening is in my opinion the series weakest performance. I like Tsukasa as a character concept, and I think he could be worked into an interesting story. But Dr.STONE is at its strongest when the science is front and center, which it hasn’t been for the last 2 episodes. Hopefully that changes next week based on pacing. And for those that dropped, I’ll make sure to keep you posted.

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