So usually I have a really tough time finding a title for these review posts. I either default to themed titles or just find one line in the episode to use. That’s actually my preference but it rarely works out. When there is such a significant moment in the episode, most of the time it’s the official title. But once in a while, if I’m lucky, I get multiple choices! This was a lucky week.
Yes, quite a lot. All of Senkuu’s science-y goodness remains intact, and the characters are as warm and vibrant as ever! The show’s humor hits me just right, too, like when Gen test-drove the Steam Gorilla.
Paper Tank is a cool title I think. It’s sort of a synonym of the actual title but it reminds me of paper tiger! That wouldn’t bode well for our heroes. Oh there will be spoilers, I suppose. But it was a really fun episode, as most of the Dr. Stone episodes have been, so just go ahead and watch it for fun. We’ll wait. And I’ll be in plain text!
I’m confused but it looks cool!
That could basically be my mantra. And although I’m not a huge train person, I can’t say I’m not a train person at all. And I was super excited when I saw that steam engine. I don’t know if you guys have ever played Civilization. I would say, yes of course everyone has, but I think I may date myself if I do. In any case, the Civilization series kind of reminds me of Dr. Stone in many ways. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. And in those games, the invention of the steam engine is a huge deal. It’s revolutionary if you will!
It’s a lot of fun to see how he builds a steam engine, using just the tools in a practically technology-free world. A steam engine would be huge, and it’s hard for us to understand just how huge because we’re so used to what is to us advanced technology.
We’re not worried one bit
I’ve heard about dry wit, in fact I’m a big fan of deadpan humour, but Dr. Stone may be one of the few examples of dry sentimentality I can think of. What, you say that expression is pure nonsense. Well, you’re right. I’m just really bad at describing things.
I think it makes perfect sense! But please continue!
When you lay it all out, Dr. Stone has very frequent moments of just sappy emotion and saccharine scenes. It’s a show filled with celebrations of pure friendships and the simple joy of pursuing one’s interest in healthy and productive ways. It’s a super wholesome show. And it could easily tip over into the mellow. But it doesn’t. The old folks that decided to stay at the village in order to not slow down the others or get in the way, in a different show it could have been presented as a noble sacrifice. Senku or his team could have argued or begged for them to change their minds before reluctantly agreeing. Or maybe a late-night scene showing how Senku is actually really worried that something terrible may come.
But instead, they said their bit. We the audience found out more about everyone’s character in that moment. And it was over. Everyone was full of smiles and confidence and I got teary-eyed. Because those are the moments that get to me. If I feel the show is forcing the emotion on me, I get annoyed. Because I’m a toddler. But this way, they’ll get me every time.
What about you, Crow?
It’s the under-played moments like the one you just described that hit me the hardest, too. In real life, people don’t gush emotional stuff to each other. They are indirect. They use body language. This show is great at setting up those little authentic moments.
Chrome the Science User
There is one thing I really like about Dr. Stone: They don’t have a designated loser. A lot of large ensemble casts, especially comedies, will often have a character that’s really slow and sort of not good for anything. And often the mean jokes are made at their expense but it’s o.k. Cause they don’t realize it. And once in a while, they will have a huge triumph and the unexpected nature of that will be a type of humour in itself.
Shows with genius characters will have either likeable or miserable idiots to further contrast and make the geniuses seem even smarter by comparison. And I guess you could say Taiju is that character, but we haven’t seen him in forever and the series goes out of its way to insist that Senku does, in fact, care for and more importantly respect Taiju a lot. So that doesn’t entirely fit the bill. The closest I can find to that actual archetype is Ginro.
And what’s even more unusual is to contrast the classical book smart and intuitive genius with another classical book smart and intuitive genius. And they’re not enemies or anything. There are zero rivalries. It’s just two really smart and nice guys who are friends. Honestly, how often does that happen in fiction?
I’m saying I like Chrome and in some ways, his character is actually pretty subversive. So it was really cool to see how well he is doing even though he’s been isolated from the rest. I’m super psyched to see what he’ll come up with next week.
He’s a surprisingly deep character. In the previous episode, he seemed content to go to his death not having betrayed Senkuu or the village. In this episode, he felt horrified when he saw how many traps Tsukasa had set for the steam engine he knew was coming. So instead of freaking out or despairing, he figured he would turn the tables. He now plans to save Senkuu and the others. You mentioned that he doesn’t see Senkuu as a rival, and you’re right. He wants to save Senkuu to save Senkuu, not to be one up on him.
That goes back to how much heart this show has. These people genuinely like each other and want to work together. I’ve mentioned before how the show’s respect for science is a relief to me. So’s how this show presents community. It’s nice to know that not only will our drive to understand the world survive, but so will out desire to come together.
All in all, I had a fantastic time with this episode. The only negative note I had was that I wish we saw more of the building process of both the original steam engine and the armoured version. But I’m an old nerd…
I’m still laughing over how hard Senkuu vibrated when Kinrou insisted they field test the paper shields! And yeah, more shots of building would have been better. I’m amazed at how they made paper!