After a break for Fire Force, the Shounen Showdown continues. These two hotblooded, rock-solid anime are letting the rubber really hit the road, now. But who comes out on top this time?
Voyager: Finally! We get to talk about these again!
EvilBob: Right?! I’m all fired up, now!
Voyager: Yeah! ‘Speeecially for Fire Force.
EvilBob: Aha. Ahahaha. It’s funny how you meant Dr. STONE and totally misspoke. It’s okay, though. Happens to the best of us.
Voyager: Haha, yeah! As if you’re smart enough to understand all that science, though, am I right?
EvilBob: So it’s gonna be like this, huh?
Voyager: I wouldn’t expect any better from my self-proclaimed rival.
EvilBob: Oh, I’m gonna enjoy this.
Voyager: It’ll be fun, beating you for a third time.
EvilBob: Oh yeah? Then let’s settle this. Opening Thoughts. Let’s go.
Voyager: My pleasure.
EvilBob: Dr. STONE continues to impress and entertain me. We’re finally up to four characters and three of them are trying to stop Tarzan from killing all of the old stoners. I love how they know they can’t beat him in a straight fight. I’m also curious if Tarzan will grow out of the “kill the old people” thing. He doesn’t seem like final boss material, just yet. If he figured out how to free people himself and built up an army, then he might just be able to fit the bill. I have no gripes with this show so far.
Voyager: This episode was just so… so fun. And also sets up the intrigue of the story. The introduction of the mysterious Joker works great and the action is as fantastic as ever. The introduction of a certain kinda-sorta cat-girl is also fun. And… that’s about all there is to it! Just a blast of an episode that sets up a lot of this story’s greatest mysteries and gives the audience plenty of questions to try and answer, leaving us hooked and wanting more.
Voyager: Okay! So the characters in Fire Force are actually starting to step up! Yeah, we got the new girl and Arthur doesn’t do a whole lot. But they’re still fun when they’re around! And Shinra’s actually starting to leave a real impression, especially when faced with more information on the mystery surrounding his past.
EvilBob: Oh! So… they’re finally starting to come online, then? Well, my show just revived yet another character. And she’s adorable! But, on top of that, the characters in Dr. STONE surge forward with all the momentum and energy they’ve had since the first episode! Their chemistry is great for having barely been around one another for long. And there are actually a lot of really good character moments in this episode, mostly courtesy of Senku, but also for Taiju. All in all, it’s just a really engaging cast.
Voyager: Yeah, well…
EvilBob: You basically just have, what, the one that really stands out and a few nobodies that won’t get fleshed out until later? You know, for a show about fire, yours is a surprisingly slow burn.
Voyager: I mean… we don’t get a ton of that stuff, but when the characters are around one another and interacting, they’re pretty fun, all things considered.
EvilBob: Sure, but do they stand out as much as my cast of extreme personalities? Seems, to me, like they’re not going anywhere fast.
Voyager: Tch… But it’s not all about extreme personalities and fun interactions, so…
EvilBob: Sooo? Have any of your characters proven to be particularly deep or interesting aside from Shinra?
EvilBob: I bet I know what hurts the most.
EvilBob: Having read the manga and knowing what happens, only for none of that to matter here on this battlefield.
EvilBob: So it’s my win. Riiight?
EvilBob: All right, time to cement my victory by taking the win in the-
Voyager: B—h please. Don’t even try it.
EvilBob: What? The animation in Dr. STONE is-
Voyager: Fine. It’s… just fine. Meanwhile, Fire Force manages to once again put on an absolute clinic in an action sequence and it didn’t even need to, this time.
EvilBob: But… but the environment art and backgrounds are so gorgeous and-
Voyager: And static? The word you want is static, right? Sure, the landscape’s pretty. But it’s called animation. Kind works best when things are… you know… animated.
EvilBob: Well, what about the characters? Dr. STONE’s character animation is great. Especially when it comes to facial expressions and physical reactions. They do some really wild, off-model stuff with Senku and the gang, when it comes to that. It’s part of what makes them stand out so much.
Voyager: Oh, did you say something? I didn’t hear you over all the roaring flames in this epic action sequence and- oh! Wow. Look at some of those facial expressions. Oh. Right. It’s friggin Atsushi Ohkubo. You know. Of Soul Eater fame. Remember those expressions? Yeah. Ya do.
EvilBob: But… but…!
Voyager: But I absolutely take the obvious category? Why, thank you! I humbly accept these accolades.
EvilBob: “Humble” my foot!
Voyager: And it all comes down to this.
EvilBob: So it does.
Voyager: Of course you realize what happens if you lose this category, yes?
EvilBob: Yeah. Which is why I don’t intend to lose.
Voyager: Your “intentions” were never part of the equation.
EvilBob: Enough talk. Fight!
Voyager: In that case, let’s talk about the story of Shinra and the thickening plot around that mysterious fire of his youth. The questions Joker brings and the revelations are just a great way to test Shinra and lead him down the path to becoming the kind of hero he aspires to be.
EvilBob: Yeah, but… question.
EvilBob: Would you say the episode really does… anything to really push Shinra? His convictions, what he believes, all that?
Voyager: Of course. He’s forced to wrestle with the possibility that the Fire Force isn’t exactly what he thinks it is.
EvilBob: Right, right. But it doesn’t really seem to change his trajectory at all, would you agree?
Voyager: Well… yeah. He’s pretty much no different now than when he started. He just has a more immediate goal to focus on, for now.
EvilBob: Right, right. My show’s kind of operating like that too. A clear overarching objective and a subplot thrown in there for immediate fulfillment. But you wanna know what else happens?
EvilBob: The characters are pushed.
Voyager: You mean to say Joker didn’t push Shinra?
EvilBob: Not in the same way. Or at least not as much. When faced with an overwhelming obstacle, character reveals itself. And Tarzan is definitely an overwhelming obstacle.
Voyager: Well… that much is true, but-
EvilBob: Seeing what he’s able to get out of Senku and Taiju, especially by exploiting Yuzuriha is some great stuff for all of them on a character level. Because even if they don’t necessarily change, it gets them to show us more of themselves. Tell me. What new side do we see out of Shinra as a result of being pushed by Joker?
Voyager: His… uncertainty? Err… heroic resolve? Uh…
EvilBob: What’s the matter? You’ve gone quiet.
Voyager: You smug little…
EvilBob: I think your response says it all. I greatly appreciate the win and I humbly accept these accolades.
EvilBob: Phew. Still in the race.
Voyager: Hmph. Don’t let it go to your head. There’s still one round left for you to lose.
EvilBob: Oh, I’m counting on it… wait.
Voyager: …Seriously? This idiot? HE took a win off me? Ugh, whatever. What do you guys think? Did Dr. STONE earn this win? Or should Fire Force have picked up a quick 3-0? Let us know, down below. Thanks, as always, for reading.
EvilBob: And for letting us waste your time, people.
Voyager: Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And Keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care.
I’m finding both of these just so-so. While I appreciate what they are doing, neither has really grabbed me and to be honest I could leave them until the end of the season and binge watch and it wouldn’t really bother me at this point. I do think Dr Stone is criminally under-using the one female character it has introduced so far much like Fire Force doesn’t seem to want to explore the whole potential dark side of Shinra despite every character bringing it up every time they meet him. While both of these shows might just get around to do something later, they are both so far just kind of fine.
Didn’t read much Fire Force, but to me, the Dr. Stone manga was a slow burner until more of the people from the opening sequence is introduced.
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