Posted by Lenlo on 7 September 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dr.STONE

This is a tough week for Dr.STONE, as it has to follow up the brilliant “lightbulb” of last week. However, for as much as it serves as cool-down episode, I think this week succeeds. As Dr.STONE temporarily closes the book on Tsukasa, introduces a new antagonist for the Village, and a great alliance is formed. Let’s dive in!

Now as I said, this week was for the most part slower than last week. As it spends its time establishing new threats and having Gen make a decision. Yet, enough happened outside/around that, to make it feel like a lot happened in a short amount of time. The big one though that really broke up the episode was Magma’s reappearance. Oof, how was that for a surprise? It effectively broke the episode in two. Ending the jovial nature carried over from last week, for a more focused one with the upcoming Grand Bout. It also had some of Dr.STONE’s most brutal animation. Really selling Gen’s assault and setting Magma up as a villain. Even as a manga reader, I had forgotten what had happened between the Lightbulb and the Grand Bout. A pleasant surprise for me. Now though, onto the details.

The first big thing this episode does is set the time frame. Time is a difficult thing in anime, often making events feel like they happened right after each other. When in actuality there has been a lot of travel time and such in between. In some instances this can bleed believability from things. As it makes you wonder why everything is going to shit right here, right now. Dr.STONE did a good job this week of reminding us how much time has passed. Almost a year and a half since Senku first woke up, really helping show that none of this was easy. It also helps explain Tsukasa’s army growing over this time. Dr.STONE also gets around this time problem by having Senku proactively do things instead of just reacting. It makes explaining why so many big events happen so close to each other. Because Senku causes them.

Getting back to Tsukasa for a moment, it has grown a lot since we last saw it. Gen may have been one of the first Tsukasa revived, but he definitely wasn’t the last. From what it looks like, many didn’t even know who Gen was. As he was almost attacked upon his return to Tsukasa’s little empire. The big thing about Gen’s return though was his lie. My question to you as the audience is, do you think Tsukasa bought this lie? I don’t want to give to much of my own thoughts on the matter though. For fear of spoiling those of you who are anime only. One has to wonder though, assuming Tsukasa did buy it, will Gen leave Tsukasa? Come back to Senku, somehow sneaking his way out of the empire? Either way, there is a lot for Gen to think about.

Continuing with Gen, how about that diplomacy huh? The first alliance, the alliance that set the course for the Kingdom of Science going forward. Forged over a simple bottle of cola. Something so small, yet I can see why. It’s such a simple, yet impossible desire in a Kingdom of Stone. Really helps show off Gen’s character. It also fits that, as Senku said, Gen was won over the moment he saw electricity. At that point it was just Gen driving a hard bargain for a better deal. As for the Cola itself, here we see some more strength in Dr.STONE’s writing. As historically the first Cola’s were produced by pharmaceutical companies. So it really fits with the current arc of creating a Cure All drug. Cola is something creatable on the way, rather than a side-journey. Convenient? Yes. But ultimately believable as a motivation as well.

Moving on from Gen, let’s talk about his attackers, Magma and co. Magma actually becomes a rather interesting character at some point. I never particularly liked him, but he has his moments. However I have never really been able to stand his posse, specifically Mantle, the short one. I just don’t enjoy his design or attitude. As a sort of Gaston and LeFou relationship, it just doesn’t work. Meanwhile his assault of Gen was convenient. The why makes perfect sense, as Magma had yet to meet Senku. However the blood-bags blocking the spear was very lucky. For the most part, these are all nitpicks, but they do exist. As a whole though Magma did his job as the new Antagonist well this week. Not just sitting idly by, but actively going after the “sorcerers” invading his village. It’s a nice touch.

Lastly I want to talk about the other villagers, such as Kinrou and Chrome. Kinrou was nice this week as Dr.STONE skips the whole “talky talky, we are good” trope. We see him thinking for himself, and with everything Kinrou has seen, he knows Senku isn’t a bad person. When I was reading the manga, this was unexpected but welcome. Similarly, Chrome also surprised with his willingness to give up what he wants. He knows where his strengths lie and what is at stake. So he isn’t trying to force himself into something he know he isn’t good at. Of course he is going to compete in the Grand Bout, but he will do it with Science. Not Power. It’s still very self sacrificing, which is also a trope, but it’s a more palatable trope than MC stubbornness for me.

So all in all, how was Dr.STONE this week? I found it to be a good intermediary episode between big moments. Closing on last weeks high and transitioning to a more serious issue/arc well. Sure, there are plenty of small things I can nitpick. Some jokes were reused and Mantle is still disturbing. But fact is every week I am enjoying Dr.STONE. Ever since leaving Tsukasa behind and focusing on technological advancement the series has been nothing but a good time. A good mix of somber emotions and existential highs with new technology. Moving into this Grand Bout arc, I just hope that Dr.STONE can manage to pull off a more action focused segment. The science is still the centerpiece, but fact is, there are some action sequences that will hopefully be well animated. We can only hope for the best.

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