Dr. Stone
Episode 19

How would you rate episode 19 of
Dr. Stone ?

Cell phones in the Stone World! Now that's a cool development that I wish we had explored a bit more this week. Sadly a full third of this episode was spent reiterating Tsukasa's motivations. I know a lot has happened, but it's really hard to feel like this was necessary. Especially when the secondary objective of this was to further establish Hyoga as his right hand man, something that already bloated the last episode.

These kind of pacing problems are troubling not because the story is necessarily stalling, but because they're calculated in a way that feels like the audience hasn't been trusted to remember the overarching plot. That would feel a little insulting once but especially so as it continues to happen. Have faith in your own storytelling and that it's engaging enough for the audience to remember. Or even if you really feel it's necessary, do it once and be done with it. So far all this has done is taint Hyoga's character as some kind of harbinger of past exposition. His chosen weapon may as well be detailed flashbacks rather than a bamboo spear.

The biggest problem with this is that it also eliminates tension for the end of this episode. Spending so much time with Tsukasa as a glorified tour guide who can't stop monologuing really undercuts the final shot of him being silently threatening. What should be a grand moment of conviction instead turns to a comic mirror as our memory is already full of him repeating why this is bad.

Thankfully there were new developments this episode. Some nameless wasteland thugs were killed off in favor of another really bizarrely designed character named Homura. It really is upsetting that every female character in this show looks like an alien species when compared to the men, and this, combined with the fact she is given no speech or personality this episode basically makes her an extension of Hyoga that acts as a humanoid fire delivery system rather than anything resembling an autonomous character. I sure hope this is quickly rectified because her introduction for the sheer purpose of pushing the plot forward feels pretty lame without any connective tissue.

Finally the biggest development is not just Senku's new plan, which kinda rules, but also his admission that his bluff was about to be called. While he was able to pretend they had guns before, that lie is easily exposed by the lack of revived humans in the village. It's a clever way to deliver that information so that it makes clear sense both to the audience, and to how Tsukasa will read it the same way. That this means the conflict is about to escalate also makes plenty of sense, and if the resources are there to establish a communication network in order to win the inevitable fight/battle/war then it makes perfect sense to do so. Information really is one the most powerful weapons imaginable, especially when fighting an opponent that has none of their own.

The big question is how Senku is gonna pull this one off. While his process so far has been to take a modern concept and create a stone world equivalent that only works so much. Phones are much more complicated and less easy to dumb down into only the vital component tech. Maybe there's still some old communication satellites orbiting the Earth, but even then creating anything that can work with them still seems far above what Senku can accomplish. Either way I'm super eager to see the end result of this one, and I'm setting the bar very low as I would be happy to see the villager's reactions to some cups and strings.

Overall, I still really like the direction the series is going, but these last few episodes have been content to take breaks to spin their own wheels, and something has to give very soon. We either need some quick progress in neat science, or see Tsukasa's army as a whole start acting. Ideally either of these would lead to some interesting character interaction as that has been the low point lately, which is doubly upsetting as it was such a strength of the Village Arc. I do like where the plot is moving to, all I can really ask is that it commits to it.

Rating:

Dr. Stone is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


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