And so begins the 2nd cour of Dr.STONE, complete with a whole new OP and everything. However for us, we are just picking up right where we left off. With Kinro’s fight, Senku’s science and an old friend returned. Let’s dive in!
In general I think this week was better than the last. Yes, the focus was still on the fights and yes this is still a Shounen. However it’s the manner, the focus of the fights, that differs. As last week was primarily on brawn and how it can be accentuated by Science. While this week Dr.STONE goes back to its roots and focuses entirely on science and teamwork. Of course before we can get to that, we have to talk about Kinro getting duped. I have to say, it was hard to write around knowing that would happen, and I am curious. What did you all think of the dupe? Was it setup fine and worked, or did it feel like a lazy contrivance to build tension? As Kinro has long been established as a bit of a rules lawyer. So while you read, please keep that in mind.
Before diving back into the science, I actually want to take a moment to talk about the original manga art. I did this a bit back with One Punch Man, but I can’t not bring it up here. As these are some of Boichi’s best panels, at least early in the manga. And while the anime largely does a good job, just look at the image above. The anime doesn’t do justice to the glory of that page. Of Boichi’s depiction of a flash fire on wool clothing. I understand why of course, anime has a lot more drawings involved, and color no doubt makes the fire more difficult. But it doesn’t even come close. The sheer passion just in this one page is fantastic. It’s just one of many examples of Dr.STONE’s stellar manga art, which I recommend you take a look at once the season is over.
Getting back to the actual fight itself, while the lens fire was a great scene and great drama, it always felt less grounded to me. At least compared to the rest of the science. As you would think this sort of fire hazard in clothing, flash fires, would be problematic for such a fire dependent society. In particular, the usage of water to make the concave lens convex always struck me as… perhaps not impossible, but improbable. Simply put a lot of things had to go right for this one in a million shot, with Senku literally doing calculations in his head. Of course, all of this doesn’t really matter much because the moment itself was great. Chrome, Gen and Senku working together with their strengths was fantastic. Really playing up Dr.STONE’s community focused message. So in light of that I can’t criticise it to much.
Speaking of Gen, my favorite boy returns from the dead! Its always interesting to me when Dr.STONE plays off the superstitions/ignorance of the stone age people. They really do believe in sorcery, and they really thought they saw Gen die. All lending credence to his little spell. In particular though, Gen’s explanation for why Magma fell for it was great. The idea that if it had been permanent, it never would have worked. But by forcing a time limit on it, with a hard limit, it was easier for Magma to swallow. After all, sitting still for a minute in front of a mostly defeated foe who can’t move? What’s to lose? He was basically laying the entire trick to get just enough of what they needed, when many would push the trick to far and fail. I always enjoy his psychoanalysis moments.
On the topic of psychoanalysis and perception though, I do want to take a moment to talk about Ginro. As this is actually something I think the anime improved upon, in light of its lackluster flash fire. As the music, timing and sounds going with the split image in Ginro’s head worked great. Even moving towards really limited animation at the end for his victory, playing the whole thing off as a gag. In a lot of series this wouldn’t work after/between such serious fights. But Dr.STONE has, for better or worse, interlaced its comedy throughout the entire series. Never really taking itself too seriously. Part of this is of course the low stakes, its a lot easier to insert humor when it’s just a lightbulb and not the fate of the world at stake. But it’s in scenes like this that I think it helps its pacing.
Finally, I have tiptoed around our boy Chrom for this entire post, but credit where its due. The man went in there knowing he couldn’t win in a physical fight and figured something out. He really has grown from his days of playing with colored fire. Now able to start actual fires with just a bit of sweat and hard work. The biggest indicator of this was how he no longer refers to himself as a sorcerer, but a sciencer. Not a scientist, as that belays a mastery of the word he doesn’t have, but a sort of merging of the two. Showing he is still somewhere in between but on his way. So yeah. While the science/setup of the fight was pretty cheesy, I think the payoff was worth it. Dr.STONE isn’t a particularly deep series, but what it has, I enjoy.
I hope you do to. See ya next week!