I have said in the past that I like Christmas a lot but I’m not crazy about Christmas episodes. Not sure why. They just rarely end up entertaining me. But this one, it really snuck up on me there. Airing it in November was a nice touch too.
So how do I feel about Christmas episodes now?
What I thought Would Happen
Last week ended with the reinvention of hydroelectricity. Which is absolutely amazing but without a power grid, I’m not sure how much use it would be. Essentially it’s just a stationary low yield generator and they don’t have any electrical devices… yet… but crafting electronic components seems just a bit too insane.
I also had no idea how this would help with their cell phone plan. OK, I admit, they’ve been saying cell phone from the start, but my slow little brain kept on reinterpreting it as “telephone”, you know, a landline. So I spent most of my week trying to figure out how they were going to lay all those wires down (and secretly infiltrate Tsukasa’s base while they’re at it.
I only today clicked that they actually mean cell phones. So I guess they’re betting on those satellites still working after thousands of years. I really don’t know enough about satellites to know why they wouldn’t be working so, why not. And with Senku’s dad being an astronaut as the time of the event, there’s even reason to think that Senku would know the right frequencies…If any of these words are correct, it’s pure coincidence, I assure you.
What Did Happen
Well, they haven’t started laying down wire at all. But they did manage to harness the power of hydroelectricity to create actual light bulbs. That’s a big deal. They even made a vacuum. And then immediately used those light bulbs for decoration. And that may sound silly but we are creatures who crave entertainment. I think it was a fine use of their time….
These light bulbs also inspire Chrome to go mineral picking now that he has a way to see in the dark. (Oh they made flashlights too, it was a productive episode!).
So I’m poking fun at Senku making Christmas lights but what he also did was start to automate certain parts of their manufacturing process which is really smart actually. Unfortunately, when it came time to creating vacuum tubes, it seems bamboo simply couldn’t stand up to the heat and with no better material available, Senku finally hit a wall.
Luck favours the kind and so when sweet little Suika decided she needed to do something and combed through all the rocks Chrome had collected, desperate to find anything that could help, she noticed something she had never seen before. As the new year starts, Senku and his team have a new hope in the form of tungsten. The world’s most heat resistant metal!
What About the Characters
Well we already know these guys pretty well but, and this could just as easily go into the stuff I liked category, this week was a subtle turning point for Senku.
I mentioned that Senku didn’t come up with the water wheel. Chrome did, on his own. In many ways Senku is a bit like a smartphone. He simply shares previously stored information and often relies on the strengths and skills of others to get anything done. He certainly seems to have a prodigious memory but beyond that, when faced with a problem he doesn’t already know the answer to…
And this week, he was finally faced with an obstacle he couldn’t simply overcome. We do know that Senku is no stranger to failure, he will try over and over again, tinkering and adjusting things until it works. He tried everything with those vacuum tubes. But when he had to accept that he just didn’t have the materials, he was quick to give up.
We haven’t seen Senku openly admit defeat before. Even if it did turn out to be a temporary setback. It was still a side of him that was new. It made him more relatable. And I was impressed by how mature he was about it. Not that he needed to, but Senku is growing on me.
Also, I’ve been noticing it for a while, but Gen is actually playing the straight man. It’s pretty awesome to have your trickster archetype be the one sane guy!
What I Liked
Well I really liked that things didn’t go as planned for Senku. And not through unexpected circumstances or surprise attack or something. He just failed at something. It was refreshing.
I really liked Senku’s explanation of vacuum tubes. I plan to steal it and try to work it into a conversation as soon as possible!
And you know what, I was super happy to see Santa! It was cheesy and it didn’t make any sense and I may have let out an audible aww. Narratively it was in fact a rather sweet bookend as Senku had asked his father for a Christmas gift of Science! And in a way, he got it. This village and the foundations it provided was Byakuya’s long-promised Christmas gift to his beloved son. I may not be a huge fan of Christmas episodes, but I’m not made of stone. This was pretty.
Finally, picking Magma as the third member of their little expedition is really interesting. We haven’t seen these characters interact much at all. Next episode is going to have some interesting dynamics.
What I Liked Less
I suppose the discovery of the tungsten was a bit convenient but I’m gonna let them have this one. C’mon guys, it’s Christmas!
Maybe the festive spirit is getting to me, but I can’t really come up with anything. This wasn’t my favourite episode but there really wasn’t much for me to pick at either. And it was also a really fun episode…so there!
I’m already considering buying up the available manga. I’m pretty sure the season is not going to wrap up the story and I want to know what happens. Amazon seems to have up to vol 10…