Welcome all, to a double feature and the grand finale for this season of Dr. STONE. Neither episode really had a whole lot going on, this being an extended epilogue of sorts, so I decided to just merge them together. Don’t worry though, you’ll still get a final review! At some point. Over Christmas. God it’s busy. Anyways, on with the show!
First up we have episode 10, “Treasure Island”. This is mostly more time spent on the island, introducing the locals to the wonders of technology, etc etc. It’s a speed all the stuff season one create. From ramen and glasses to radio towers and lightbulbs, it’s one long extended “Humanity Fuck Yeah” moment. And that’s fine! That’s sort of what I watch Dr. STONE for. But in this case, none of it was particularly new. Because of that it felt very… subdued? Filtered? Diluted! That’s the word! It felt like a diluted experience of something we had already gotten and loved. Personally, as much I enjoy this stuff, the best moments were actually just Senku reminiscing on what this island means to him. After all, this is where his father died.
That brings me to what I think is the best scene of the episode hands down: Kohaku and Senku. I already love their relationship. It’s not a forced romance, hell Dr. STONE doesn’t really do romance at all. Because of that, their relationship always feels natural. Like their attraction and understanding of each other is genuine rather than artificially constructed by the author. After all, Kohaku is the only one who really understands what this place means to Senku. Who he can really open up to and show emotion around. For everyone else, he’s almost this force of nature. But around her… It’s like he feels safe enough to talk about his “illogical emotions”. And without missing a beat, she knows exactly what to say. That Byakuya and the astronauts aren’t gone, not so long as he remembers them. They live on through the science and culture they cultivated.
Finally this episode sets us up for the big reveal in 11: Tsukasa. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen him. Years in real life, two entire seasons in the show. And now? Now he’s finally coming back. That’s great. I missed him. We’ll talk a lot more about him in the next episode though. Instead I want to point out some… issues with Dr. STONE’s production. The show doesn’t look good on the best of days. It almost never moves and exists entirely for these beautifully lit closeups like the ones found above or below. Those are the money shots for Dr. STONE. So the wide shots of the bay, the ship sitting superimposed on an otherwise mediocre background? Or the forest and beach as they arrived? Well… Let’s just say those all looked rather funky and leave it at that, yeah?
This brings us to episode 11, “Beyond the New World”. As the name implies, this episode takes the vague idea of “Going to the moon” and lays out a patented Dr. STONE roadmap for actually getting there. And much like the idea itself, this is the biggest, most ostentatious roadmap yet. An entire planetarium, complete with a massive globe with each of their destinations mapped out! This was really cool, both in how the crafting team one-upped Senku and his reaction at them going all out. I also appreciated how Dr. STONE, for all it speed-runs science, isn’t underestimating just how big an undertaking this is or just how many resources are required. They are going to need material from every corner of the globe. And the first thing they need, the most important? Corn! Should be a fun time in America.
Aside from the roadmap the rest of the episode was all about reintroducing Tsukasa to the cast. This was appropriately emotional, both with Senku welcoming back an old friend and with forcing him to confront his prior mistakes. Seeing him struggle with his past actions, recognizing they were wrong and that he can’t take them back, was appreciated. As was Gen’s clever little plan with the “war paint”, both keeping their designs the same and making him feel included and part of the tribe. Some may balk at how easily a prior villain was accepted, and I sort of get it. But you have to remember that they were able to fix any statues he broke through Yuzuriha and that, at the end of the day, he did what he did out of an altruistic desire for humanity. If nothing else, he supports Senku now,
Besides it’s not like his issues just went away. Dr. STONE recognizes that his ideals aren’t fully compatible with some of the other members of the cast, Ryusui especially. So it was nice that it took the time to let them understand each other a bit. To let Tsukasa overhear how yes, Ryusui does believe in and use money, but he does so not as a method of control but rather as a way to bring people together. It’s still rough, I think Ryusui’s ultracapitalist views have always been the most awkward to work into the story, and Dr. STONE doesn’t always succeed. Still, I appreciate that the attempt was made it helps Tsukasa ease back into the cast as a good guy so it works out.
So yeah all in all this was a solid epilogue. Episode 10 was rather slow, mostly getting us back to the mainland and resetting everything for our next big arc. The whole “speed-run” of new inventions and food and such wasn’t to engaging, but Kohaku and Senku saved it a bit. Episode 11 however brought it all together and set up so we can kick off the next season right away. Tsukasa played a big role in making the episode interesting as well, as there was a whole host of things to work through with his return, most of them rather emotional. As far as endings go, I think it worked.
And with that we come to the end of the season! The final review should come out sometime over Christmas. Don’t get to antsy if its delayed, I’m flying home so won’t have as much time to pump these out. Still, I think I can do it. So until they are done, I hope you have a happy holidays!
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