Dr. Stone: Stone Wars
Episode 8

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars ?

“In which 20 seconds takes 6 minutes.”

This episode is obviously the big-battle-action-climax of this season. Not only is it called the “Final Battle”, but it is also the only actual battle of the titular “Stone Wars” we're likely to see. As such, it's no surprise that world-building and character development are largely absent from this one.

Sure, there are some nice moments that add to the drama: like Taiju's fear that he'll be forced to watch as Senku is killed by Tsukasa again, or Kohaku leading the charge in an unwinnable fight against Tsukasa and Hyoga just because she unquestionably believes that, if she buys enough time, Senku will save them all. We also get to see how Taiju, Yuzuriha, and Nikki's deception factored into the whole plan by temporarily denying the enemy communication and reinforcements.

So as far as action climaxes go, it's pretty solid. The battle has its ups and downs, everyone has a chance to shine, and it's visually interesting. In fact, it works so well that you might be fooled into never even noticing the episode's greatest flaw: the battle itself doesn't seem to have any logical point to it.

We've been told time and again that whoever controls the cave—and thus the production of both revival fluid and gunpowder—controls the Stone World. While this may turn out to be true in the long-term, Senku taking the cave means very little in the current balance of power. His forces went from being outnumbered outside of the cave (but having the advantages of surprise and maneuverability) to being outnumbered inside the cave (and losing both advantages).

Even without the ability to add to his numbers, Tsukasa has superior military strength. If he's willing to make a bit of a bloodbath out of it, he can take the cave back with ease. And even if Senku is able to make a quick batch of gunpowder before Tsukasa and his elites join the fight, how does that change things? Unless some major work has been done off-screen, Senku has no guns, bullets, or bombshells. And even if he does, he lacks the will to use them to kill (and Tsukasa knows that).

It feels like Underpants Gnomes designed this plan.

Step 1: Take control of the cave.

Step 2: Make gunpowder.

Step 3: ????

Step 4: Total victory.

Of course, now that the materials needed for gunpowder are no longer available, Senku will have to switch to a backup plan. However, I can't help but wonder what the original plan was supposed to be. While the villagers may be uneducated, they're not stupid; I have problems believing they would accept that “winning the battle for the cave means they win the war” without further explanation.

But perhaps the show just expects us, like Kohaku, to have unwavering faith in big-brain Senku to overcome any obstacle and leave it at that. However, when it comes to big climactic battles, I like to know what's supposed to happen and why. That way, when it all hits the fan, I'm right in the thick of it wondering how they're going to get out of this one (instead of wondering what they were trying to do in the first place).


Random Thoughts:

• If I were to take a guess, I'd say that the original plan was to make gunpowder and threaten to blow up the cave. Senku could likely, with time and effort, find another cave and recreate the revival fluid if needed. Tsukasa, on the other hand, doesn't have the scientific knowledge to adjust the formula to a new source. He can't afford to lose the cave.

• Thanks to that sonic canon, a lot of people are gonna be deaf for a while...

• Even without discovering the phone, that first tank shell explosion should have been enough to alert everyone to something going on.

• While there's no way all that happened on screen actually took place in 20 seconds, I think we can give it a “rule of cool” pass just this once and move on

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.

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