I am not the kind of person who says something just to make a splash. I don’t do clickbait, I don’t like to write what I know will just go against the grain for the sake of controversy. So I balked at the idea of writing my criticism of Dr. Stone because I know it is the single most popular show this season. I really liked this show at first, but a few weeks in I ended up losing interest in watching the series. My reasoning might feel a little silly to some, but I hope it makes some sense after an explanation.
~Spoilers for the first three episodes of Dr. Stone!~
While I really didn’t care much for the main character, Senkuu, but the animation kept me coming back through the first few weeks. Furthermore, I was incredibly drawn to the motives that the other main character, Taiju. The entire narrative to a point has been following this young man as he endures thousands of years because he wants to finally confess to his big crush after protecting her. The problem comes when he wakes from his long sleep that his crush has met the same fate as most of the world. The young lady has been turned to stone and, as a result, Taiju swears to protect her until he figures out how to restore her to life in a way that brought him back. He spends the first two episodes carefully looking after her and spending considerable amounts of time swearing to her that he would confess to her. It is sappy, sure, but it was really effective to me.
I think one of the most important parts of having a character like Taiju and his goal to build a future with his crush is that there are stakes that motivate his character. This motivation can carry his character development with the eventual achievement being the payoff for the aforementioned development. Put more simply, I think that it is wonderful to have a character who will be motivated to survive in this post-apocalyptic world whilst reminding himself of what he is working towards. Some may argue this is overused, but I think it can be viewed as cliché for a reason! It works more times than not in well written stories.
There is a sudden change in the narrative when Taiju gets help from Senkuu to obtain a special substance that turns his crush, Yuzuriha, back to life from stone. Maybe it was just me, but I saw this story development as way too soon for starters. No harm, though. At least Taiju will get to share that passion that he has used to endure so much for all of those years, right? NOPE. Instead, what we get is Taiju not having the stones (no pun intended, I promise) to say things he was literally saying to Yuzuriha seconds before she turned back to life.
Now, I understand why they can’t have him outright say this to her in episode three of a popular series, I am not delusional. My question becomes “Why bring her into the fray in the first place?” when it is obvious that by having her unrestored, Taiju has stakes and reason to fight. It is frustrating because it simply feels like she is brought into the story because having nothing but dudes would be uninteresting to audiences. I can’t buy into a story that feels so obvious in how it takes a female character into the mix and how much it changes a character whose entire being to this point was built around a goal like this. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I would like to see if anyone else believes this was a significant roadblock in this show. I have tried giving the following episodes a few tries, but I have been unable to gather the same interest as before. Perhaps I will power through after the season is over, but I am disappointed with such a large turn in the story.
I hope you are all enjoying this Summer season…let me know what you’re watching! Have a wonderful day.