Right now Dr. Stone is sneaking up on me. I know that I enjoy the show, I consistently have fun watching it and when an episode ends I start looking forward to the next. And yet, it’s as if I suffer from some weird form of anime amnesia (animesia?) and every Friday I’m yet again surprised by how much fun I’m having with the show.
I’m starting to worry here. I shouldn’t be going senile quite yet.
What I thought Would Happen
This week it was pretty straight forward. Last week’s episode told us precisely what to expect. I figured Senku would start mapping out the necessary steps and gathering up the required materials to make a rudimentary telephone.
Although I did really love the idea, I was super curious how exactly that would work out. Long distance telephones aren’t exactly easy to manufacture and they need a network. I figured this one might really of some creative liberties.
I knew that Tsukasa would now be on the move so there would be a time crunch too. Exciting!
What Did Happen
Pretty much what I expected with a few flourishes. First, the narrative created a natural obstacle in the form of the coming winter which nicely slowed down that clock. Meaning that Senku now has at least a few months (or a few more episodes) to get everything worked out.
And first’s thing’s first: wires! Senku creates what amounts to a cotton candy machine to spin melted gold into wiring but first decides to test it with sugar to create actual cotton candy, much to the delight of everyone around.
Turns out the irregular spinning speed causes clumps so to solve that problem, Senku creates a wooden gear which allows to spin the machine using a cog instead of a rope and therefore allows for much more regular sinning speed. Gears and cogs are almost as brilliant as levers. It’s no wonder that seeing one gave Chrome some inspiration that allowed him to then adapt the idea to essentially creating a water wheel.
At that point, anyone who lives in Quebec knows exactly what the next step is: Hydro! As in hydroelectricity. Now this is going to change everything. Seems like we’ve just made a pretty serious technological leap.
Through all this, Homura is keeping a close watch on the Kingdom of Science, ready to report back should it prove necessary.
What About the Characters
I loved that Chrome came up with that water wheel all by himself. Certainly Senku knew about it but he was concentrating on something else but for Chrome, this is actual innovation. He’s not recreating something he already knew about, he is creating something new and in a way, this surpasses what Senku’s been doing so far.
Chrome is a sidekick and occasional comic relief. He was introduced and presented a bit like a replacement Taiju. Seeing him come into his own on a scientific venture felt very rewarding to me. And seeing Senku proud but unsurprised was also nice. Senku didn’t feel threatened or jealous, nor did he patronize the accomplishment in any way. Both of these guys did great this week!
What was a little off is just how cavalier Senku is about Taiju and Yuzu. He is right, they are valuable hostages and Tsukasa is probably not going to kill them just yet but it was still a bit odd that everyone else seemed more worried about his childhood friends, for most these are people they’ve never even seen, then Senku was.
Gen didn’t have much to do this week but I like that he’s the only one that has the proper context to understand just how outlandish Senku sounds sometimes. Because of this, he was a bit like the voice of the audience this week and it suits him well. It helps keep the show grounded.
As for the lady Homura. She eats cotton candy is a very sexy way but that’s pretty much all I learned about her this week.
What I Liked
Using the coming winter to slow down the action was a really smart move. Not only does it fix the narrative problem that creating the phones in a week is just ridiculous but it also regulates the pacing of the show allowing the authors a lot more control over the next few episodes.
Although the little cotton candy adventure was silly and unnecessary (they did come up with a convincing excuse for it mind you), it was actually pretty fun to see everyone enjoying themselves again.
The explanation for how telephones work was one of my favourites so far. I’m not sure why.
The invention/discovery of hydroelectricity is a big deal. They really could go in a lot of different directions from here. This is an exciting crossroads and I feel like the show will be able to take advantage of it.
What I Liked Less
I was going to say Homura felt superfluous but I think she’s supposed to. She’s biding her time and serves as a reminder of the lurking dangers. And as eye candy. Either way, even though she didn’t have that much of a role to play this episode, compared to the amount of screen time she was given, I have a feeling that’s just set up. I just needed something for this section.
Oh wait, I really like telecommunication as an idea. I found it both hilarious and inspiring that the villagers are going to twist all the required wiring by hand. But I still feel like the show may have bitten off a bit more than it can chew. This is a really tall order and I really don’t know if they’ll manage to make it stick without it seeming contrived or ridiculous. Mind you thins is just me worrying. It’s not actually something I don’t like about this episode.
There’s a non zero chance that a kid out there learned the basics of telecommunication because of this episode and I think that rocks. Dr Stone has a patterned and loosely formulaic narrative structure. Once again we’ve fallen into an invention of the week sort of cycle and this was the set up episode. These tend to not be as exciting as the actual discovery episodes but I thought it was still a lot of fun. If things keep going, we’re in for quite a ride.