How would you rate episode 11 of
Dr. Stone ?
While last week offered a deeper dive into the politics of the village and the inner workings of Asagiri Gen, this week was all about science. There's not much to delve into character-wise, as it was mostly a static episode in terms of motivations, and we're still working with the kind of foundational science that's paving the way for the big plot-advancing experiments to come. However, that's not to say this episode is boring or unnecessary. This slower pace gives us time to refocus on existing characters while also leaving space for fresh introductions.
As Senku points out, someone had to have made Kohaku's shield and the bridge to the village, and there's no better time than now to finally meet Kaseki. The old man is gifted beyond his years, which is saying a lot when he's lived through so many! Though his skill clearly exists to move the plot forward, it's important to note how his inclusion continues the collaborative vision the Kingdom of Science represents. I've always appreciated Dr. Stone's commitment to showing everyone's contribution to the process, as nothing can be accomplished without the dedication and grunt work that are so easily ignored by those of us who have never had to work for such scientific marvels, and true to form, Senku himself has nothing but praise for the old man and all those who choose to work hard on honing their craft all their lives.
The other major (and extremely heart-warming) portion of this episode goes to the ever-lovable Suika. We finally learn why she's a watermelon-wearing weirdo, and the reveal is refreshing in its simplicity. The poor girl just needs some glasses! It's something we take for granted in our time, but as Kinro proves, vision problems were once a major problem that couldn't be solved easily. Ideas of a mystery sickness and avoiding treatment out of pride are incredibly believable from a society that doesn't know any better way, which is why the moment Suika finally sees sunflowers for the first time works so well. The direction and animation for this scene are absolutely wonderful, as Suika goes from seeing sunflowers to truly seeing sunflowers in all their detail. This is what Senku offers the future—not just the knowledge and methods of science, but these moments where those things truly enrich the lives of others.
It remains to be seen whether this kind of focus episode is an over-correction to maintain the balance between science and story that's defined the majority of the show before this most recent arc, or if both are examples of the different styles Dr. Stone wants to employ, but the series has now proven capable of carrying both story arcs and standalones. There's nothing stopping it from playing with this balance from here on out, and that's exciting in its own way.
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