The mission to restore the whole of humanity from their stone stockades continues in the Kingdom of Science led by high school whiz kid Senku Ishigami and the citizens of Ishigami Villiage. In order to proceed across the high seas, our group of spunky scientists decides to build a giant vessel capable of surviving the trip. However, it is quickly realized that none of the current crew have sailing experience, and Monkey D. Luffy isn’t available.
After a quick recon and a splash of revival fluid, Ryusui Nanami, the pretentious, boisterous heir to the illustrious Nanami Corporation and an accomplished sailor in his own right, is revived in all his naked ambitious glory. Ryusui goes over the plans for the new sailing ship and states that the current coal-powered system they’ve been using will not be efficient enough for the voyage. What they need is a more modern-day energy source: oil.
However, exploring the land by foot for some of those black gold reserves to tap is not feasible. So, our crew decides that they need to fly before they can sail and they decide to construct a hot air balloon made with a Snoop Dogg-approved material: hemp. With their hemp balloon done (thanks in no small part to Crafts Club Member Yuzuriha), Senku, Ryusui and Chrome take to the skies.
While their voyage is marred by a flock of dirty birds popping a hole in their balloon (just like another group of Dirty Birds popped a hole in their chances to win a Super Bowl), and a strong storm in their path that looks oddly like the Ruined Kingdom boss in “Super Mario Odyssey”, our intrepid group of travelers turns a two-day trip to Ishigami Villiage into a trip that takes only a few hours. With renewed confidence, Senku declares that he will learn all there is to know about the origins of the petrification beam and, with the aid of Ryusui’s unbridled desire, Chrome’s never-ending thirst for learning, and the entire might of the Kingdom of Science, he will get the petroleum needed to sail their craft across the seas. Get excited.
Hey guys, Josh here! And no, this isn’t a “First Impression” post as this is TECHNICALLY an ongoing series, but this is more like a review of an episode of a series that will be coming back later on! Thankfully our boss gave the green light for me to write a REVIEW, and I am so very glad he did! Any chance to talk about Dr. Stone is a great day indeed…even if it takes me a little while to finish due to my job not wanting me to be great and write about anime and putting me on the late shift. I’m quite literally finishing this review up at just past 2am. But for Dr. Stone, and in particular, this amazing primer for the new season, I’m willing to suffer through a bit of sleep deprivation! Brother, the things I do for Beneath the Tangles.
Actually, full disclosure, this probably won’t be my last late-night writing marathon as I’m working with my fellow writers on a special project that’ll go live in a couple of days, so please be on the lookout!
But I digress. Dr. Stone Special Episode: Ryusui is a nearly hour-long fast-forward through several chapters of the manga, covering from the point where Ryusei is revived to the time when the group discovers oil. Honestly, I can see why they put all this in a one-hour special instead of including it in the actual show to come along in the Spring 2023 season, assuming, of course, everything stays on schedule. Not only does this give fans something to tide them over until the show properly starts, but it also helps get some of the background stuff out the way that would just take up precious episodes in a series.
I would imagine that stuff like reviving Ryusei, the initial survey mission to find oil, introducing the economic Draco system, outfitting Ishigami Villiage in prodigious amounts of drip and the hot air balloon adventure would take at least 4 episodes, and, while those would’ve been GOOD episodes, it probably would’ve taken up precious time that should’ve been devoted for the next big story arc to come, which, having read ahead in the manga, will require all 12-13 episodes in a season. This episode does a great job giving us all this material while not making it feel like filler or giving the entire focus to Ryusui. This is very much an episode just like any other in the series, with the exception of being just a little longer.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about our title character. No, not Dr. Stone. That’s a bar of soap. I’m talking about the OTHER title character—Ryusui. From the moment we meet him, we get the feeling that this guy is a real piece of work. He comes off as being very braggadocious, spoiled, and self-assured. In a way, he’s pretty much the kind of guy Tsukasa, the absurdly strong high school student from the “Stone Wars” arc, was trying to PREVENT coming back into power. Heck, the man wants the rights to the oil fields that they find, IF they find any, and he goes so far as to institute a financial system in the form of the Draco based on the backing of that oil. Who does that?!
However, experienced Dr. Stone viewers and readers will know better than to write off ANY character just based on first episode impressions. If there’s one thing that this show does well it’s letting a character reveal themselves to us over time. We get that initial impression, and then, over the course of a few episodes, we learn what drives them. Yes, it’s easy to dislike Ryusui, but as this episode goes on, and as the series goes on, we’ll soon see what drives him and what kind of guy he is. And it also helps that we see him actually fall victim to some of his own little schemes, such as having Gen and Senku manipulate the use of the Draco currency to their own advantage.
Also, can we please talk about that OP?! Just when I thought Call of the Night was a lock for best OP of the year, “Good Morning [New] World!” by Burnout Syndromes is an absolute, 100% BOP! While some might say that it’s just the second verse of the same song, plus or minus a few changes, and while that is true, the whole thing just feels like a brand new song! This song is kinda like a Tootsie Roll lollipop; the same piece of candy but two different tastes! And the visuals that accompany it…wowzers. It’s just downright beautiful! Y’all, if you need a new desktop wallpaper, just expand the player to full screen and hold down the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. EVERY SINGLE FRAME of this opening sequence is downright beautiful to look at. Fans of the earlier show will no doubt recognize certain shots and moments from the previous OPs. It’s frankly amusing watching the new OP and seeing what scenes you recognize from what OP. It combines all the best parts of the first three OPs and remixes them in such a way that it both feels familiar and brand new!
So where does that leave us? Simple. Dr. Stone Special Episode Ryusui is a MUST WATCH. This isn’t just a glorified clip show episode where our crew just sits around and talks about “Hey, remember when we did XYZ? That was so cool!” No, my dear friends, this is a full-on episode just like the others that you must watch to understand the story. With the introduction of Ryusui and all the setup work completed, we now await the Spring 2023 anime season to see what will become of our group of adorable science-loving dorks.
We’re already there.
Dr. Stone is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.