Dr Stone Anime Series Review (Season 1)

Dr Stone Series Review
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Dr Stone Is An Upbeat Post Apocalyptic Story

There’s no denying that six months ago, when Dr Stone first rolled out its early episodes, I was somewhat less than impressed. It wasn’t until around six episodes in that Dr Stone really got my attention. There’s reasons for that and I’ll get into those soon but the important thing is that once Dr Stone got my attention, it didn’t lose momentum again. This is a story that continually builds on past events toward a future outcome and builds on the characters and generally gets more and more interesting. The only real and glaring issue with season one is that it builds up to a war that hasn’t happened yet and now we’re all waiting for a season two.

The first episode of this anime is decent enough and sets up the story introducing three characters: Senku, the high school genius, Taiju, his goofy friend, and Yuzuriha, Taiju’s love interest. Each of these characters work well enough and Taiju’s attempted confession just as the world gets turned to stone is entertaining enough, but nothing in the first episode really grabbed me. Watching the interactions in the next few episodes as Senku and Taiju took their first steps to reviving other characters was interesting enough but I could have easily walked away from Dr Stone at that point.

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Comparing these early episodes to later ones I can’t help but feel the issue is the chemistry within the cast itself. While I have no issue with any of the initial characters and find most of them interesting individually, though Yuzuriha being cast as damsel in distress a lot didn’t do much for her, as a group they weren’t really greater than the sum of their parts. They were just who they were on screen with the other characters.

While this doesn’t feel like a big deal early on, the contrast with the interactions between these early characters and the characters Senku meets later at Ishigami village is dramatic. Characters like Kohaku and Chrome, Kinro and Ginro have beautiful synergy bringing life to the story and it makes things so much more fun.

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While that is definitely a personal opinion, there was a tangible improvement in the viewing experience once Senku left Taiju and Yuzuriha behind. The story also seemed to gain momentum as there was now a clear antagonist opposing Senku’s goal of building civilisation again. This gave Senku more of a goal than just surviving and building technology. He had to prepare to deal with immediate threats and also win over a village that distrusted outsiders. Overall, things definitely picked up and just kept getting better from that point.



Now, the basis of the story is that Senku is trying to bring back science and there is plenty of discussion about how things work and how to make various bits of technology. By and large this is pretty accurate though some of it is overly simplistic and they most definitely improve in leaps and bounds without anywhere near enough set-backs given the scale of what they create. Particularly in the final episodes where there is a flurry of activity and invention after invention is churned out on the path to creating Senku’s ultimate ‘weapon’ for dealing with the upcoming war.

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Still, it is exciting watching characters respond to innovations like glasses or even simple foods. Again, it is a little simplified with a lot of positivity and many pitfalls of the modern world kind of overlooked for the sake of narrative convenience, but the tone is consistent through the show and to be honest the enthusiasm for science that the characters have is kind of infectious.

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Visually Dr Stone is a nicely made anime. Early episodes rely heavily on natural backgrounds that while beautifully drawn all look much the same and so it isn’t the most visually interesting anime to look at with one pile of rocks and group of trees looking much like another, yet the visual quality is solid. Movement is also pretty fluid and as the characters begin moving about there are some fairly interesting scenes that come along. My favourite was the personification of poisonous gas and ultimately it is those moments that stick with you once you are done viewing.

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The character designs are all very nicely done. I’m still wondering where the villagers get their blue dye for their clothing but the characters are distinct and fun enough to look at. I still think Senku looks like a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park when he smiles but his design is fine. However this anime does like its exaggerated character reactions and you will some of the most ridiculous face and body contortions ever at times. It works and it is consistently used throughout the season with most the characters having moments of eye-popping, jaw-dropping, or withered looking appearance. It conveys the tone of the scene well even if reality is kicked far away.

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Ultimately, Dr Stone is just a lot of fun. It delivers a lot of familiar sequences and puts its own spin on it or just embraces what it is. The science is pushed to absurd levels and speeds and the show just gives you a smile and dares you to criticise. The fighting tournament is over within episodes with each fight delivering an unexpected outcome (or at least gets to the expected outcome in an unexpected way).

The cast continues to grow and each character contributes a different skill to the overall group in a way that feels perfectly natural even while it seems fairly unrealistic in reality that they would have exactly the people they need altogether. It all makes sense but doesn’t and you either embrace what Dr Stone does and enjoy it, or you could pick it apart but I think you’d miss out on a lot of fun.

A second season has aired. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the second cour of season one and feel this is an anime that took a little bit of time to set itself up but it was worth waiting through those slower opening episodes. Whether or not this anime continues to build on these successes in season two remains to be seen but there’s more than enough promise in the story and the characters to suggest that it will be worth waiting for.


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Karandi James


Dr Stone Episodes 23 + 24 Review

Stone Episode 23 24
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Exhilarating

The final two episodes of Dr Stone season one deliver the final push from the science users to make a phone and in the process make an unexpected discovery courtesy of one of the 100 tales being passed down by the village. These episodes are fun and packed with great moments from the characters but most definitely leave us hanging as far as the plot is concerned (though it was apparent a fair few episodes ago that this would probably be the case). Fortunately a season two has been announced, though the lack of ending here will definitely be discussed more in my review of the whole season.

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There’s really not a huge amount to say about episode 23 as Senku pushes the characters through the final steps of construction. Even moments such as Senku giving Chrome a push to solve a problem on his own without being told the answer largely gets buried in amongst the bustle of other activity going on within the episode. It is a satisfying moment nonetheless but no more stand out then any of the other characters contributing and enjoying the process of creation.

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The original OP also makes an appearance for a final montage sequence and I will admit it was a lovely return. I enjoyed that song and it kind of fit what they were doing. Where I will be a bit more critical is the transition into it as it just felt like there was a lull and suddenly the music started and we were into a making montage. Still, it was a great way to end the penultimate episode of the season.



The final episode gives us one more throw back to Senku’s father who left behind a glass recording for Senku and the villagers in the future. I kind of feel they are pushing it a bit with Byakuya’s faith that his son will have both woken up and found the survivors of the astronaut’s descendants (also assuming the village wasn’t wiped out by any of the logical possibilities that could have befallen it). It makes for a touching moment and yet another excuse for a musical number in the final two episodes but it is most definitely pushing logic at this point.

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That aside, we also get rewarded with a glimpse of Taiju and Yuzuriha as Tsukasa’s kingdom gets ready to go on the attack. Whether the village is ready or not remains to be seen but the season ends with the two forces seemingly prepped and ready for the ideological war to just become actual warfare. As a result they’ve left us wanting more and confirmed a season two but it makes all of this feel a little incomplete. That said, I’ll definitely watch a second season as this is a show that has gotten better and better over time.


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episodes 21 + 22 Review

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Team Work and Friendship

While there’s a few cringe worthy moments, noted even by the characters, in this pair of episodes from Dr Stone, there’s also a lot of warm hearted and fun moments as the gang prepare for winter and prepare for the coming conflict. This means some rapid-fire development of technology and the speed is a little mind-blowing (and kind of implausible but we’re watching a show about a world where everyone turned to stone so let’s move on).

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The point that is emphasised over and over again in these two episodes is that everyone has a role to play and contributes something to the mix. Whether they are thinking things through, crafting, training, carrying, collecting, etc, they are important. The social harmony message was pretty heavy handed even before Senku’s talk with Magma after they fell into a hole together and honestly I think we could have done without Senku declaring it didn’t matter who the boss was because I’m pretty sure most of us living in the modern world think it matters a great deal in terms of pay-scale. I am enjoying this anime but Dr Stone has definitely got rose-tinted lenses on when it looks back at the current technological society.

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Despite the nit-picks though, Dr Stone continues to be consistently enjoyable. The characters inhabiting Ishigami village are just fun to spend time with and watching Chrome and the craftsman getting excited over small projects, watching Suika earnestly try to contribute, and even just seeing the other villagers happy about the idea of being able to preserve meat over the winter is all quite delightful.


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However, even as their lives literally depend on them succeeding in their preparations, Senku still takes the time to put on a light show for Christmas. Morale is important and everyone most definitely appreciated seeing the fruits of their labour lighting up the tree. While Senku has made a lot of very useful stuff, the visible technology is always going to be what gets the attention of the villagers and keeps them moving forward. They are unlikely to be impressed by a battery unless they can see a practical use.

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I think it best we don’t pay too much attention to the logistics of their spelunking expedition. Anyone who has ever spent any time in a mine or a cave will probably be raising an eye-brow at the antics of Chrome, Senku and Magma, but as we established earlier, while Dr Stone has consistently explained the science behind things reasonably well, they have been a little far fetched in Senku’s reach at times. If you just take it as part of the overall fantasy of the show it works well enough and who really wants to watch an anime about real spelunkers… okay, I would totally watch that.

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With apparently two episodes to go (one is already available but I’ll probably do a double feature and finish the series), I’m getting the impression we’re all going to be wanting a season two. That’s okay though given Dr Stone is an anime that has gone from strength to strength. While it took a good half a cour to really hook me, once it got me interested it has continued to build on that and I’m enjoying this anime more and more.


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 20 Review

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Invention Is Sweet

Once again Dr Stone wants to remind us that underneath their opposing philosophies, Senku and Tsukasa do kind of think alike (or at least are both fairly practical). Both of them draw the same conclusion about when the conflict is going to occur and so now both camps are in preparation mode for both winter and the fight that will happen after spring. While I don’t know what Tsukasa’s version of preparation is, I know that Senku’s works out to be pretty delicious.

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Clearly a necessary step to making a mobile phone is making fairy floss (sorry, cotton candy) and the villagers are big fans of the new product. While there is some legitimate reasoning why this step is needed, by and large I really think Senku just gets a kick out of making food from his time (much like his ramen stand).

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Ultimately though we do get onto some serious invention (actually, making the sugary treat took a fair amount of ingenuity given the circumstances). The machine used to spin the sugar is actually going to make gold thread in order for them to make wires that will ultimately be a fairly integral part of the phone. While there’s a lot of hands on deck, Senku is reminded that the bulk of the villagers need to be preparing for winter (more so since their village just got burned down and rebuilt losing stock in the process). It is a reminder that even becoming village chief hasn’t solved all Senku’s manpower issues.



While Senku is working his group to the bone as they make the threads and turn it into the growing pile of wire, Chrome has a sudden inspiration and takes the artisan to make an invention of his own. I ended up with two questions (though was pretty impressed at how quick Chrome put all the things he had been observing together). Firstly, why is there only one craftsman in the village? Surely someone else could be helping at this point with the making of stuff. And secondly, even if Chrome did have a sudden flash of inspiration, he was kind of in the middle of something so I’m not sure that disappearing for three days and diverting manpower was the best contribution. I know, someone will argue that the invention will ultimately save time but it still seems like a weird choice given the situation.

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So far things seem to be going well for Senku with this latest undertaking and hopefully they continue to because I really don’t think he has time for a lot of set backs. The other part of all of this is wondering what other preparations, if any, he’s made for the conflict. Communication is all well and good but I doubt Tsukasa is going to be easy to take down even if you have perfect information about where he is and what he’s up to (which by and large seems to be sitting on a throne in a cave – how does he not get bored?).


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 19 Review

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The Road To Modern Technology

Turns out Hyoga is actually a significant threat in that at least he has a brain. Sure his attack on the bridge ended up being foiled through Gen’s betrayal but apparently all of that was a diversion in the first place while his partner, a pink wearing girl who jumps about like a gymnast, sets fire to the entire village and burns down the bridges. However, given how close Hyoga and Tsukasa seem in the brief flash back we get of Hyoga being revived it kind of makes sense that he isn’t just a muscle head.

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As for Tsukasa, I have to wonder how he is not dying of boredom in the kingdom of his own making. Surrounded by meat-heads and fan-girls surely can’t be that entertaining and while he keeps talking about building a new world his process seems more about preventing progress from the hunter-gatherer model at any cost. I wonder if he’d still feel that way if he was sick and a really basic medication could fix him.

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However with so much focus on Hyoga and Tsukasa, there’s little time for anyone from the village to get screen time and largely they are reduced to reaction shots and sound-bites. What this does is make it very apparent how much the villagers added to this anime in terms of fun viewing as while I didn’t dislike this episode, it didn’t have quite the same appeal as the episodes that focused exclusively on the village.



The exception being the focus on Suika. As the villagers regroup at the science shack, she takes it upon herself to lead the attackers away and starts to head up the mountain. Almost supernaturally, Senku seems to sense a change in the wind and hops into pursuit with Kohaku and they arrive in time, wearing gas masks, to save Suika from a poisonous gust of wind. I know Senku is super-smart and all but there’s really no logical reason for him to have been able to figure out that the wind was going to blow the gas exactly that way at that time or that Suika would head that far up the mountain. It is almost as though the writers, having established that Senku is smart, now feel that he can just know anything they need him to regardless of how far-fetched it might be.

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With a new threat established as Hyoga has most definitely reported Senku’s survival to Tsukasa, Senku has to come up with a new plan. I’m a little surprised by his decision though it isn’t a terrible one (I’m just not sure it is the most time efficient). Yep, he’s taking on Taiju’s request from way back at the start of the season and he’s going to try to make a smart phone. Okay, not so smart but at least a portable communication. I can’t wait to see how this one plays out.

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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 18 Review

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The First Wave

Before I start reviewing the episode I just want to talk about Kinro and how he is rocking those new glasses. Seriously, I may have a contender for favourite megane anime boy, though it would be quite hard for him to beat Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion. And that moment when all the characters jump out and they show us them wearing traditional Japanese clothes is just awesome even if it isn’t really happening like that.

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Like, wow.

That aside, I definitely had concerns going into this episode that it wasn’t going to be particularly enthralling given we were getting back to Tsukasa and the whole world of science vs brute force. Totally wrong. The episode was fantastic from start to finish.

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Kinro’s defence of the bridge when he first notices the invaders is admirable and I love Senku’s bluff here, assisted by Gen. I assume after the events in this episode Gen has just permanently switched sides because I would not want to be him and returning to Tsukasa after these events. Anyway, Senku and friends manage to chase off the invaders momentarily and that gives them time to start planning.

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It does help that the leader of the invading party isn’t an idiot and honestly I could do with more of him. He’s also got some mad skills so I’m wondering what he was doing before he was turned into stone. Also, how does Tsukasa keep finding body-builders to revive? I mean, he is in Japan. The muscly physique most of the idiots this episode are carrying isn’t exactly the standard body shape.



Anyway, the whole village has finally come together to assist and Senku directs them in making katanas, which while being both traditionally Japanese and logical given the time constraints they are working under and the fact that even if he had time to make more advanced weapons, none of the villagers know how to use them anyway. A sword though is something they can work with.

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Senku is ready to go to war.

So for an episode I expected to kind of be a little bit less enjoyable, this one really defied my expectations and delivered a solidly entertaining twenty minutes, established a new character, had some fantastic moments with Gen, introduced a great new look to Kinro, and more or less drives us straight into the next episode where I hope they don’t lose this current momentum. If Dr Stone can keep this going it could make for a very interesting climax.


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 17 Review

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A Gift That Stands
The Test of Time

Episode 17 of Dr Stone continued Byakuya’s story and how the astronauts landed on Earth and survived on an island. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses but the resilience of these characters was quite phenomenal. Through the story we learn that Byakuya’s wasn’t actually Senku’s father but he is still determined to leave him the gift he promised when he went into space as he is convinced that one day Senku will wake up (there is absolutely no basis for his belief but it was touching nonetheless).

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The other bit of information that kind of got thrown in there and then forgotten for the time being is that based on when social media posts stopped the source of the green light was somewhere in South America. That’s going to make it tricky for the kids in Japan to ever figure out what it is given its on the other side of the globe. I wonder if they are up for a round the world trip? Or maybe the origin doesn’t matter so much as rebuilding the world with what is left.

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For the astronauts though, they are faced with hardships they never even expected as simple illnesses and the like take their toll. As much as they try to keep their spirits up all and all they are the last six people in the world and that’s definitely a dangerous business.



However, the children and their descendants, armed with the knowledge from the 100 tales that Byakuya left behind are a fantastic gift. Senku is now chief of the village and just in time because Gen has an announcement about what Tsukasa has been up to.

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It feels like we’re about to round a corner and head toward a confrontation between Tsukasa and Senku. I’m not sure how I feel about that given I’ve enjoyed the story so much more since Senku went his own way and came across the village in the first place. Still, I am curious as to how this encounter will go and I would like to know what happened to Taiju.


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 16 Review

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The Day The Earth
Turned To Stone

Well, this episode solved the mystery of why there is one random village that seemed to have people that weren’t turned to stone in it. Of course, I’m now scratching my head wondering why they have no technology. Largely because if the village was founded by astronauts surely they’d have passed on basic things like gears and the like. But the history lesson isn’t over yet so maybe we’ll get some clarity around what happened in future episodes.

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Dr Stone continues its run of fairly compelling episodes and this one brings us back to the day the earth was turned to stone only this time from the perspective of those looking down upon the earth from space. It is a truly surreal moment and the group very quickly need to come to terms with the fact that they may very well be the only non-stone humans left which leaves them with all manner of problems including getting back to earth without a support from the ground. Still, given this all starts with the story of the village I’m pretty sure we can safely assume they are going to land.

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I did really enjoy getting a bit more of a perspective on Senku’s father though. I’m pretty sure we briefly saw him the last time we were flashing back in Senku’s life, but we didn’t learn much about him. In this episode he really becomes a character in his own right.



They also reminded us about the whole petrified swallow thing which is still interesting because it was clearly happening before the green wave of light hit the whole planet and so I’m very curious as to what was going on (clearly the intent).

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I can’t wait to find out more about what happens next in this story with the founding of the village and then get back to Senku in the ‘present’ and hear what his next plans are. Normally a flashback like this would kill narrative momentum, but here it feels timed just right and it is filling in information that we need, helping us understand the current situation, and it was just entertaining to watch.


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Karandi James


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Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Dr Stone Episode 15 Review

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Victory Tastes Like
Sulfa and Cola

It’s been a long time coming but the tournament is finally decided, in a really weird manner, the Kingdom of Science get their alcohol and then it is a really fast manufacturing process to get the drug to Ruri because suddenly we have a real time crunch. It makes for an episode that just hits the accelerator and runs and before you know it the episode ends. However, the important thing to note is that Senku did keep his promise about making Cola (in amongst everything else he was doing).

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I was kind of surprised with how the tournament turned out. Not at all surprised that Ginro misunderstood Ruri and then needed to be beaten for real because the guy is a bit of an idiot. More surprised that they did decide to throw another spanner in the works. It all kind of works out though you have to wonder if the concept of divorce would even exist in this kind of village under the circumstances.

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Still, Dr Stone managed to avoid a lull after the end of its tournament. The fighting might have ended but there’s still plenty to get on with and like everything else, participation in the tournament was merely a means to an end rather than an actual goal. It helps keep the momentum of the story rolling along even as this particular part gets wrapped up.


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I will say that the science babble gets a little intense in this episode. I’m sure it mostly makes sense but I’m equally sure that it wasn’t really necessary for Senku to say half of it given the people he was talking to equally didn’t have a clue what he was going on about. Then again, I never did like Chemistry all that much so it probably makes sense that about midway through most of Senku’s drug explanations I’ve kind of zoned out.

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However, while all this has been going on, future developments have been kind of hinted at and the end of this episode most definitely gives us a new line of inquiry meaning that we can keep moving forward. The way Dr Stone keeps bringing new developments and ideas in helps keep the story feeling like it is going somewhere and hasn’t allowed for any real lulls in the story so far. Hopefully we learn a bit more about the village next episode.


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