It is currently just past 8 a.m. Because I had a movie festival to go to last night – and I’m going back in a few hours, I didn’t get the chance to watch and review my 4 Friday shows. So I have been up since 6 a.m. to do just that and let me tell you: I kinda like it. I feel refreshed, my mind is alert. The day hasn’t quite become stifling yet so I’m very comfy lounging around in an overlarge t-shirt.
This is a great day. And this may be why I just enjoyed everything this morning. Yay positivity! I’ll tell you guys about the anime movies eventually but first, Dr. Stone episode 4!
What I thought Would Happen
I thought they would spend most of the episode making gun powder while Senku monologued about the power and history of the stuff. I figured that by the end of the episode we would have a tense face of with Tsukasa, some primitive weapon aimed on him, and it would cut to black leaving the next episode or two dedicated entirely to the confrontation! Yay shonen tropes!
What Did Happen
Actually they got the powder done very quickly and aside from a little chemistry lesson didn’t really talk much about the stuff at all. Apparently, Senku made it as a negotiation toll rather than a weapon. Instead of dwelling on that there was a light romantic moment between Taiju and Yuzuriha and the sudden discovery that there may be other conscious humans out there when our three heroes sport a smoke signal.
The face off with Tsukasa did come but it was used to give Yuzuriha both a damsel in distress and a hero moment (efficient!) and as an excuse to give Senku an origin story by showing the roots of his passion for science. It did end in a cliffhanger though but I doubt it will take multiple episodes to resolve.
What About the Characters
I had this huge part about the characters last week but episode 4 was more or less status quo for everyone. As I mentioned Yuzuriha was given the chance to play the victim and the hero in the same scene which was nice but honestly didn’t add that much to the character. I will say that I do really like her short hair though. Maybe I’m biased but I thought it was cute and suited her very well!
Taiju and Tsukasa were mostly absent although their presence was felt. In Taiju’s case this means that he didn’t get a chance to go overboard about anything so I would say that’s a plus.
The bulk of development this week was given to Senku and his extended flashback as well as his interaction with Tsukasa. The core of Senku’s character is that he’s actually a very nice guy, a sap in many ways, that just has a sarcastic attitude and resting a*s face. He can say some pretty nasty things to Taiju but friends do that to each other all the time. When push comes to shove he’s both surprisingly compassionate and caring for others around him but we’ve never quite seen the archetype illustrated that way. In my opinion it’s hit or miss with a slightly higher hit ratio at the moment. I need to see more before given a verdict.
As for the mysterious stranger, we get a glimpse. It seems to be a young blonde woman which is both interesting and also very typical.
What I Liked
The romance between Taiju and Yuzuriha is super cheesy and sappy and why do I like it? They’re just such a sweet couple.
They did not invent guns and that’s great. In fact going for negotiation instead of violent confrontation was a great choice altogether.
Adding a new character that was not woken by them and could potentially have been roaming the stone world for years opens up a treasure trove of possibilities. It’s one of the most exciting twists they could have thrown in and it’s also completely reasonable. Of course they could also completely waste the opportunity but right now it’s ripe with potential.
Little Senku was quite adorable. I appreciate how they regularly show us failing experiments, and often doing so over and over again until he figures it out. Too many shows have people instantly figuring out complex machines or formulae. The accumulated failures make the successes feel much more satisfying.
What I Liked Less
The banter isn’t great. There’s something very practical about the conversations in this show. They are either exposition or explanation and can feel rather stiff.
I LIKE that Tsukasa is a conflicted villain. They greyness of his character is a plus but for some reason it isn’t resonating with me. Sure his views are extremely naive and immature but beyond that, the character isn’t structured properly in my opinion. He’s too overpowered and mysterious to be relatable or sympathetic but he’s too hesitant to be overly terrifying. I think they are going for the moral monster archetype (like Psycho Pass’ Makishima) but he’s not refined enough to properly pull it off yet.
Although I didn’t mind the cliffhanger, it’s fake tension. We all know how it’s going to play out so it’s a bit of a waste of time.
I can clearly see the elements that simply aren’t working as well in this show but I still enjoy it. It’s paced well and I find myself staring and just enjoying the ride. I wouldn’t call it brilliant but for me, the sciencish premise and a lot of the ideas are good enough to carry the show and as long as they don’t get too excited, all the characters are pleasant.
I still look forward to next episode.
Mood: Somewhat Neutrally Optimistic