I don’t know about where you are, but here in Canada, we’re heading into a 3 day weekend!!! I know! I’m seriously happy about this. And to get it all started, I watched a bunch of anime, including the latest episode of Dr. Stone.
What I thought Would Happen
I thought we would be well on our way to discovering penicillin. That was the path that had been spelled out for us last episode. Granted there’s a few steps along the way, but I figured that would be the goal this episode.
I also thought we would learn more about Ruri. They sort of keep dropping hints about the importance of the character and I figured it would be a good time to start establishing her. Son far all we really know is that she’s Kohaku’s sister, she’s sick and she knows some stuff she shouldn’t know…
What Did Happen
Not that, none of that… Well colour me embarrassed. I don’t actually think they decided to let Ruri die between episodes and penicillin is still the ultimate goal, they really didn’t mention it this week. Instead we concentrated on making iron which turned out to be for use in a powerful magnate and ultimately a kinetic generator.This was done by bribing villagers with ramen as planned and with the help of a particularly opportune thunder storm.
However the main development was the sudden appearance of Asigiri Gen. A former con man magician, probably unpetrified by Tsukasa. We find out early enough that he actually comes from Tsukasa’s camp and was sent to make sure Senku is really dead. However he’s a flighty sort of man, giving his allegiance away to whatever suits him best in the moment and decides to switch to Senku’s side with the promise of the luxuries science could bring.
For now, an unsteady alliance is formed.
What About the Characters
Gen is sort of a null sum for me. As a potential turncoat and an important plot character, this episode really focused on him with very little time to spare for the rest of the cast. The two guard brothers got a few moments and they’re fun. Not much else I can say about them.
But back to Gen. Despite having spent most of the episode with him, I still haven’t decided. In theory I’m a big fan of trickster characters. They tend to have amusing personalities and a knack for pushing the plot along. And Gen definitely falls into that category. An ever smiling grifter you can trust as far as you can throw but also sly and keen.
Except the caricature is taken just a touch too far. This probably won’t be very useful to a lot of readers, but he reminded me a lot of Hakutaku from Hozuki, but without the charm. Dr. Stone plays a lot with physical humour, cartoon physics, ridiculously exaggerated expressions those type of things. There are very few “jokes” per see. However, I think a character like Gen shines through words. This may not be the best show for him.
What I Liked
Despite being dubious about Gen and the episode centring on him, somehow I still enjoyed it. Quite a bit in fact. Mildly sciency adventures in the future past are just an easy romp for me to get into.
The pacing is pretty good and right now there is nothing overly annoying or unsavoury to bring the show down. Worst you can say about it is that it’s somewhat formulaic and lacks an element that could be considered a wow factor.
I really think that I would have enjoyed Dr. Stone much more as a binge. Waiting a week between episodes just makes me realize that some parts are really unmemorable while others don’t quite work. But the plot flows well and I think watching a handful of episode for a few days in a row would have downplayed the weaker parts and showcased the stronger.
What I Liked Less
The inconsistency of Gen’s backstory. I’ve already gone over some of the weak points of Gen himself but his entire presence with Senku is a bit odd. He’s there to confirm Senku’s condition and report back to Tsukasa. They can’t kill him because if he doesn’t return, Tsukasa will simply come investigate directly. Luckily he has no loyalty and almost immediately switches sides.
Ok, but at the end of the episode he’s still in the village with no indication of leaving anything soon. Isn’t Tsukasa about to show up? It’s been days! And if a problem comes up they may have to kill or imprison him anyways, they seem to be taking a huge risk by leaving him in their midst, and I’m not entirely sure what Senku gets from it.
Then there’s his treachery. He really did not need a lot of convincing to decide to lie to Tsukasa. How do any of them know that he won’t just change his mind again, especially when faced with someone as intimidating as Tsukasa?
Most of all,Tsukasa is extremely smart. We know this. He rivals Senku. He has to know exactly what kind of man Gen is. Why would he send him out to scout when he can’t trust a word he says?
Once these questions popped into my head I couldn’t get them out and Gen’s character became much less interesting, since I suspected that he was a walking plot hole. Time will tell!
Oh Senku made a light bulb, hence the title of the post… That was close!
It’s always awkward to end a post after criticizing an episode so much when I really liked it. It sounds like complete contradiction but both these things are true. The episode has a lot of weaknesses and they may be writing themselves into a corner but it was also fun to watch in my opinion. An uncomplicated shonen to rest your brain at the end of a hard week but with a bit of food for thought nonetheless.
Mood: Looking for a night light.