Dr. Stone: New World episode 18 could arguably be the best episode of the season so far. Granted, this season hasn’t given us a single bad episode yet. But it goes without saying that when sci-fi and action clash even in the modern Stone Age, exciting events occur and twists begin to arise.
Battles of Grit and Science
There are many things I love about Dr. Stone and I’ve been consistently vocal about them over the course of this season. But the action is one subject of the series I’ve barely touched upon. In episode 17, the charm of Dr. Stone‘s action comes to the forefront. It may not have the animation quality of other series from this season such as Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End or Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, but Dr. Stone relies on its interesting characters and love of history and science.
The fight between Hyoga and Moz was as hype as it should’ve been but its transition to another side of the story was extremely well done. A high-paced animation bout between arguably the series’ best fighters with classic Jin Aketagawa sound design was as epic as I’d hoped it be. With an intense spear fight in the middle of the day on a boat, there isn’t much left for creativity to give it an original touch and uplift the source material. In other words, the anime hit the nail on the head. But building up Moz the past few weeks and knowing Hyoga’s past, the writing alone made it a solid fight.
Having the fight intertwine with Senku’s party relied on the genius of both Hyoga and Senku. Having Hyoga interrupt Senku’s bamboo cutting to actually make what they were doing part of his fight with Moz in the end was brilliant. It’s even more incredible when you think about how Senku might’ve planned this from the very beginning when he unpetrified Hyoga.
Moz winning with brute force in the beginning only for Hyoga to come up victorious due to a fighting style that utilizes science is what the series is all about. Moz, even in his final moments, was amazed at what he saw with Hyoga’s Owari Kanryu-style. He didn’t simply brush it off as sorcery and another stupid trick he could overcome and see through. Even more so, when was the last time you watched a shonen anime and one guy wants to learn the other’s battle style after being defeated? Again, what Dr. Stone falls short on in comparison to others, it makes up for in its character development and script.
Senku vs Ibara
Senku and Ibara is a such weird yet wonderful contrasting fight. When you look at the to as their characters alone, you couldn’t be anymore different other than the fact they’re both leaders in their own ways. But even stacked against Ibara, Tsukasa and Hyoga look like angelic profits here to spread the good word of lord science. Almost everything that Ibara is, Senku isn’t.
Senku draws people in, Ibara betrays them. Senku’s sarcasm and evil laugh are harmless, Ibara’s are the opposite. Even down to the physical differences, the two are in stellar contrast. While I do think that Tsukasa was a much better-written antagonist for many reasons, same with Hyoga, Ibara plays his part. He’s supposed to show that not everyone has good intentions and is strictly out for power and pleasure and doesn’t mind shedding anyone else’s blood to obtain it. In other words, Dr. Stone finally has its first true villain in the classic sense.
There are no redeeming qualities about Ibara—none. Which, again, is in direct contrast with Senku. But that’s a good thing. A shonen protagonist doesn’t always need to face someone they can talk the fight down from. Sometimes it’s good to have a villain be a villain and a hero be a hero. Someone like Ibara forces Senku to think in critical life-or-death scenarios he hasn’t face before. And what better way to do that than to have the stage set for a 1v1 fight with everyone else petrified and out of the way?
The final moments of the episode were undoubtedly the best for me. Ibara being terrified at the thought of losing and being petrified as Senku shows up on a cliff above him with his iconic grin as he shouts “Yo, Ibara!” had me even more excited than when I read this in the manga. The voice acting from Yuusuke Kobayashi (Senku) and especially Yutaka Aoyama (Ibara) made everything that much better.
The Other Layers of Storytelling
While Moz vs. Hyoga and Ibara vs. Senku were definitely the main acts of this episode, seeing more backstory on Soyuz and finally seeing his mother’s face is a piece of scriptwriting I previously talked about. It’s how Dr. Stone constantly keeps things interesting. In the midst of all the action and heart-pumping moments, there’s an emotional build-up going on the side of everything as well that reminds us to pay attention to everything going on, not just one thing or the other.
Seeing the face of Soyuz’s mother for the first time, and learning about the family lineage and their talent was a nice side story to keep in the back pocket for when the time comes. It’s one that’s been reaching its climax for a while now and could potentially have an impact on the outcome of the arc. Remember, with Dr. Stone everything has a purpose in some way or another.
Dr. Stone: New World Episode 18 Wrap-Up
One minor detail that’s very easy to overlook is how Chrome and everyone lined up when they were petrified. It’s a simple detail but one that somehow led to Senku surviving the Medusa. So looking back, this episode had a little bit of everything. The best part is that it was all executed flawlessly.
Episode 18 rating: 9/10
If you enjoyed episode 18 of Dr. Stone: New World, then make sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 19 of Dr. Stone: New World will air on Thursday, November 30. Crunchyroll is steaming Dr. Stone: New World with English subtitles.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©Richiro Inagaki, Boichi/Shueisha, Dr. STONE Production Committee