I may just be in a great mood. I’m thinking this because everything I’ve watched in the past few days, I’ve really enjoyed. Sometimes I get reverse viruses that make me feel great and positive about everything for a little while.
I guess that pretty much gave it all away huh? Yeah, I enjoyed this episode.
What I thought Would Happen
Considering that the most pressing issue for the last episode was if Gen would betray them or not, I figure they would spend most of the episode trying to secure Gen’s cooperation while he played mind games. Gen is nowhere near as educated as Senku and seems a bit less calculating as well (and as Tsukasa for that matter) but he does have a singular skill in manipulation. A battle of wits between him and Senku could in fact be very interesting.
I also thought the villagers may be constantly pestering them for more ramen. I know I would in their place.
What Did Happen
In a way the battle of wills with Gen did happen but it was short-lived. Instead a few of the villagers (well one with lackeys) attacked the self proclaimed magician and injured him pretty badly leaving Senku & Co. to nurse him back to a semblance of health.
In the meantime, we found out that as grand Priestess, Ruri was bound to marry the winner of the generational great bout (an mma 1 on 1 elimination tourney held in the village) who would also become village chief by the same account. The tournament had actually been held recently but Kohaku ruined it by winning herself to avoid her sister having to marry some jerk. This is why she got exiled as well.
The bout having been called invalid another is set to be held soon and Kohaku, still desperate to see her sister safe and with a good man, decides to train up the village guards so that they may win. I assume the actual tournament will be next episode.
Finally, Gen comes to and returns to Tsukasa. I’m not going to tell you what happens but the episode does tell us.
What About the Characters
I really like Kohaku. I know I say that a lot but I’m honestly kind of surprised by it. I’m not generally into the token action girl in shonen shows but it works well here. In fact the entire dynamic of our rag tag little team is really an improvement.
Although we didn’t learn a whole lot about any particular character, their relationships to each other are slowly developing and getting better defined. Chrome and Senku make a good team. Kohaku is a pretty great foil to both of them creating a nice balance. Suika is almost like a pet, you know a cute little character that is occasionally useful but not much more. Still I enjoy her. And finally Gen is a nice wrench in the works. A wild card that throws some conflict in the mix.
Even the occasional appearances from Kinro and Ginro easily fit into the group dynamic. I find that right now, Dr. Stone is in a good spot. It seems like all the characters are working very well with each other. There’s no real standout and no real lame duck. A true ensemble cast is a rare thing and one of my favourite tropes.
What I Liked
Honestly, I’ve been consistently enjoying all the episodes since we got to the village.
In this episode, I liked that they manage to make Gen sympathetic but still completely unreliable. As an audience member, I want to see more of him even though he could easily ruin everything and I understand we the characters would also decide to trust him. It didn’t completely address my concerns from last week, but it smoothed them out.
I really enjoy Senku and Chrome being likeable nerds while everyone else was training for the tournament.
Establishing the lore and beliefs of the village made me care a lot more about the villagers. We’ve been focusing so tightly on Senku that anyone not directly related to him was a bit off my radar. This episode expanded my field of vision in that regard.
On a purely production note, this was one of the most colourful episodes we’ve had. For once, my screencaps aren’t a uniform mass of green and brown. The sunset sky is quite beautiful.
What I Liked Less
How can I put this…The flatness of the antagonists.
We had two antagonists this episode.
One was that big blonde villager, Magma. Anyways, he’s the one that wants to win Ruri’s hand in marriage. He also attempted to murder Gen. Very violently and unprovoked. That seems like enough to establish him as a bad guy and not the greatest husband material. But they went out of their way to have him publicly mumbling about murdering Ruri and making it seem like an accident so that he wouldn’t have to take care of her for too long after he became chief. And making jokes about claiming both sisters as his…
Talk about moustache-twirling villain. It doesn’t really get more obvious.
But when we catch up with Tsukasa again, he also seems to have turned very sinister. Tsukasa was always a huge threat. Strong and violent, he has been a clear enemy from the start. But he’s also presented as a man of morals trying to create a Utopia, willing to kill to protect that dream. We only saw him for a second and he didn’t say a word but he’s surrounded himself with violent thugs and looked like a despot sitting on a throne in the middle of his commune.
It was such a flat and uninteresting representation of the character. Personally, I would like to have seen him say something very menacing, to Gen, letting us think that he may suspect something while taking care of young children he’s unthawed without their parents.
I know the show has flaws and the potential to go downhill fast but I can’t help but get swayed into a false sense of security as week after week I find myself looking forward to the next episode.
This was a science light episode as far as they go. I’m looking forward to watching Senku make cola AND a fridge next episode!
Mood: Thirsty…for more!