I have to admit, I overdid it with episode reviews this season. I am very happy for this between season respite. I only have two posts to write tonight which means I actually had some time to enjoy anime! Crazy right!
And you know what else. This episode of Dr. Stone did something the series hasn’t been able to do in a while. The closing credits caught me by surprise! The episode blew by. Nothing better than high action to make time fly!
What I thought Would Happen
I figured it would be ingredient of the week. I admit I completely forgot that the next ingredient was ammonia which is somewhat more accessible than the rest. I figured it would be yet another scientific adventure for an episode or two, while the brawn kept practising for the Grand Bout.
I also figured they would absolutely need to get Kinro his own glasses before the start of the tournament. I mean I thought they would do so last episode and they didn’t even get to the reveal so I was sure they would this episode, dividing Senku’s talents between completing the drug and preparing a new pair of glasses!
What Did Happen
Like I mentioned, this week’s super secret ingredient was ammonia so that took a cool 5 seconds to get! But before that, Senku, Chrome and Ginro returned with the acid to an honestly heartwarming welcome. It caught me a bit off guard and I awwwed.
The bulk of the episode was actually dedicated to the beginning of the bout. First Ginro and Senku tried to find every possible way to almost, if not actually, cheat much to Kinro’s despair. First they signed up Senku for the bout figuring he could tire out the competition a bit or at least give one of them a free pass should they get paired up. I’m not sure if this is in fact against the rules of the bout but it is definitely against the spirit.
All this was moot however as the first match up ended up being Magma and Kinro. Since the ultimate plan was to have a tired Magma face off against a fresh Kinro, this was the worst possible outcome so it was time for plan B.
That turned out to be Senku’s homemade energy drink which definitely wasn’t cheating but Ginro ended up drinking it instead so that plan goes down as well. To make things worst, Magma’s goon kidnaps Suika in a bid to lure Kohaku away (their best hope after Kinro), really ramping up the pressure.
The rest of the episode was .dedicated to the Magma vs Kinro fight, including a hilarious last minute power up.
What About the Characters
Have I mentioned how much I like Kohaku. I have, I definitely have! I still do.
Ginro and Kinro are a bit flat as characters. Ginro can get a tad annoying, not entirely unlike Zenitsu, but in his good moments he is rather enjoyable. His sleazy connection to Senku was pretty funny, so when the character is good I’m glad he’s around. Also like Zenitsu. And they’re both blonde! Coincidence? Yes, for sure!
On the other hand, Kinro is your classic stoic straight edge guy. Unyielding disciplined and strong! By himself, he’s not really a character that could carry a narrative but his role is actually rather minimal. Although we saw him a lot this week, for the most part, he was silent and simply there for the action. Like a Mecha or something. Used in this kind of moderation, Kinro becomes a great foil for the rest of the lunatics he hangs out with. This also allows Kohaku to be a bot eccentric as well since there’s another straight man to fill the role.
The few seconds we saw Ruri we’re possibly the most interesting. It seems she may not simply be a keeper of tales, the episode hinted at some divination, like an oracle or something. If this is actually the case (and her implied knowledge certainly grabbed Senku’s attention as well), I really look forward to the clash between science and clairvoyance. Seems like that would have a load of possibilities.
So although we haven’t gotten to know Ruri enough for me to be attached to the character beyond wanting her sister to be happy, I certainly am intrigued by the mystery of Ruri. For that reason I look forward to seeing more of her.
What I Liked
I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out why this episode tickled my fancy so. I think it may come down to pacing. The episode moved swiftly from scene to scene but made sure to logically set up everything. It flowed logically. Every reaction made sense and was set up in some way.
Even more surprising (although I couldn’t tell you why) is that the fight between Magma and Kinro really kept me interested. For one it was very well animated. The blocking and framing was such that I could always tell exactly what was going on. Also, I understand inherently the rules of this universe and therefor this fight. I can tell what hits are hurting and what is supposed to be impressive. As such, I could easily get invested in the action.
The fight was also broken up with scenes from the other characters as they have the benefit of having in show spectators. That means you can move the camera away from the action without taking the audience completely out of the fight, we see the spectators reactions and hear what’s happening. This type of action structure is very common in sports anime and I’ve always been fond of it. It allows you to stay in the moment without getting exhausted.
I really like how the whole group is coming together as a team. They work well as an ensemble cast with each character having their place and no one feeling superfluous.
And after me screaming to get Kinro some glasses ALL of last episode and most of this episode, he did. And it was more satisfying than I could ever have imagined.
What I Liked Less
Kinro was fine this episode but he was right on the edge of not fine. Why did he drink his brother’s energy drink and then eat all the ingredients? I mean aside from plot of course. It seemed like a particularly stupid move and the episode just glossed over it. If I had been there I would have screamed at him or at least asked why he would do such a thing.
I know I just said I loved that Kinro got his glasses but it kind of bothered me that not only did Suika’s watermelon rind fit him perfectly but her prescription was perfect for him. C’mon Dr Stone, you don’t usually go the Deus Ex Machina route this obviously. We even saw them give Suika an eye exam, having her raise her hand when images were clearer so they basically went out of their way to point out this little contrivance making it much easier for the audience to notice.
There’s nothing for it guys, as far as I’m concerned this week’s Dr Stone is a good episode coming of the heels of half a dozen other good episodes. I hate to get my hopes up but they are way up!