Anime Best in Show

Review: Dr. Stone Episode 21 – Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Dr. Stone episode 21, “Spartan Crafts Club,” Senkuu generated a lot of excitement when the villagers learned that the water wheel, and the electrical generator it now powered, meant they won’t have to do some of the hard physical labor associated with manufacturing. It also gives them the means to make the next components in their quest for cell phones. Unfortunately, even with Kaseki applying all his skill, one of the components is proving problematic: vacuum tubes. And without those, it’s game over for their communications advantage! With fall slipping away into winter, and with options dwindling, will they find a way to keep their miracle streak alive? Or are they destined to become thralls in the Kingdom of Might — or worse?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best Moment in the Show

You can tell a lot about a person by how they respond to the doubts and fears that assail a soul in the middle of the night. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Senkuu’s no stranger to failure. He’s a scientist. The whole scientific method is based on learning from failures. You take what you learned from a failure, incorporate it into your next experiment, and rinse and repeat until you have a solution.

But what happens when you run out of options? What if you incorporate everything you’ve learned, and it’s still not enough? Senkuu faced that situation in this episode. In doing so, he showed us what he was made of.

They were trying to make vacuum tubes. He’d overcome several problems, but they had to use bamboo as one of the components. It kept burning out when they applied current. Senkuu walked away from Kohaku and Chrome, and they couldn’t see his expression. His fury warred with his despair. Both of his friends tried to be pragmatic. They said if bamboo wasn’t strong enough, they just needed to find something stronger.

“There’s nothing better in this age,” he said (17:04). He had run out of ideas.

For the first time in the series, Senkuu was out of ideas. He could not think of a way forward. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

This is the kind of of moment I look for in fiction. Put the character under maximum stress, and see what they do. How strong is Senkuu? Can he bounce back from this?

Senkuu justified my faith in him. He couldn’t sleep that evening. Rather than sink into despair, he tried to put the incident behind him. He was on the verge of scrapping the plan. Instead of trying to stick with an idea that he didn’t think was working, he was willing to scrap everything and start again.

If you’ve watched the episode, then you know how things really played out. Suika stepped up and accidentally found an answer. But to me, the high point of the episode was how Senkuu was willing to chuck everything and reapply his energies to a different direction. I’ve seen too many people stick with an idea that wasn’t working, either out of stubbornness or a lack of imagination. Sometimes, the best thing to do is cut your losses and move on.

For Senkuu’s sake, I’m glad that’s not how it played out. It’s already New Years, and the encounter with the Kingdom of Might is getting awfully close!

What did you think of the creation of batteries and light bulbs in this episode? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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