Welcome to the newest episode of the only anime that will teach you how to build bombs with bat piss.
Dr. Stone Episode 9 covers the second half of the battle with Tsukasa’s Empire. Given how good the past episodes have been, I had really, really high expectations for this one. Yet it was surprisingly uneven? (Hold on to your bottoms, there’s a lot of gripes in this post). I find Dr. Stone’s humor very hit or miss. So when the big final battle interrupted by silly faces and sketches, I found my immersion was broken, and it was difficult to get back into it.
I don’t think this would have bothered me so much if the animation wasn’t so choppy? This episode felt like a slideshow at points. Given this is the big finale, that is not a good thing!
My whining aside, I thought this had some good points at well. The story beginning and ending with a bar of soap felt super satisfying. (Also, I don’t usually understand the science of Dr. Stone, but as I am a pharmacy tech in real life, I was super excited to recognize the creation of nitroglycerin.) I also liked to see the conclusion of might vs. science theme that’s been going on in this arch. Finally, while this episode may not have flowed as well as it should, there were lots of awesome quotes from various characters.
One of Doctor Stone’s things that I’ve found I have to be forgiving with is the passage of time is hard to track. This feels especially so the case in this episode. It feels like moments pass in the battle between Tsukasa, Hyoga, and the Villagers, yet Senku and Gen have time to build paper airplanes. Even further, Ukyo somehow manages to dip his arrows in the nitroglycerin. Yet…wasn’t he on the ground in the middle of the battlefield in the last episode? How did he make it to the cave? And how injured was he? It just feels like large chunks of this battle were cut out and overall the whole thing was rushed…and that is never a good feeling, especially for a final battle.
Yet all my frustrations melted away when it came to negotiation between Senku and Tsukasa. It contains a really great reveal! Senku is a wholesome guy who helps Tsukasa despite everything Tsukasa is done, resulting in the two nations having a truce. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, and I will admit it does feel a little like an ass-pull, but I liked it.
At the end of the episode, where Senku is traveling to keep up his end of the bargain, Tsukasa talks about his worldview, and he is surprisingly sympathetic. I’ve spent so long building him up as the villain in my mind that I was really surprised by how much I was rooting for him at the end of this episode.
Keep in my mind, though, that the battle may be over; the season is not! There are two more episodes, so I think there are still some twists and turns ahead.
All in all, while not perfect, I think it was an okay episode. I am an anime-only viewer, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this were executed much better in the manga than the anime. Definitely a little disappointed, but overall I enjoyed it.
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