Dr. Stone: New World episode 21 was a calm-down before starting the next arc but it was one filled with sentimental memories and a wonderous look into how science can be applied to so much more than just technical use. This series has proved once more that it can even make the slower episodes enjoyable.
The Luxury of Science
When we tend to think of science we look mostly at technology and medicine. It’s all too common for people to think that science only applies to fields that are too difficult for the average person to understand. And I think that’s a big part of why I loved this episode so much because it reminded me that science is everywhere and can be something for all to enjoy in different aspects of life.
The food that Francois made and the cotton candy that Gen whipped up are prime examples of this. Tasty food, at its core, is science. Seeing the islanders live through what is completely new to them puts things into perspective as someone living in the modern age who experiences these sensations every day. It’s a luxury of science that provides enjoyment through taste, simply put. A kid experiences the joy of cotton candy. Grown adults tasting high-quality cuisine. All that can be partially thanks to the science behind it all.
Take the fireworks for example. Some of the islanders even quivered in fear once they were set off until they realized how beautiful and harmless they were to them. The moment with Senku and his memories of Byakuya taking him to a festival tugged on all the heartstrings. As I said earlier this season, emotional moments with Senku are a rarity but when they hit, they hit like an asteroid.
Senku taking in the fireworks sparked a memory of happiness that he shared with his father and that all began with science. Senku as a kid couldn’t appreciate the delicate work put into making them. Now that he’s older, he seems to grasp what Byakuya was talking about and why he enjoyed them so much. It’s not just the science that makes them work, but it’s the people who apply that science in the first with hard work and care that truly make those fireworks special.
But it’s not just the fireworks, the food, or the telecommunication, that are just a few luxuries of science. There was also a moment in this episode that made me reminisce on old times. Suika sharing her glasses with another girl who couldn’t see quite well goes to show that even something as simple as being able to see better is something that became a luxury because of science. Even as someone with bad vision myself, sometimes I don’t realize the fact that before glasses and contacts, there used to be people who just couldn’t see well at all and had nothing to help them. So indeed, glasses are without a doubt a luxury of science.
And I think that was the theme of this episode after a long arc with continuous violence. While we saw the wonders science can bring about in the form of conflict, having a bridge between arcs to show that science can be applied in things to bring about happiness is a keystone for Dr. Stone as a series. I’d go as far as to say very few series nowadays can showcase the themes they want to between arcs like Dr. Stone can.
I think the characters from the modern age reflect how we as viewers could feel about seeing all of these little things again. Yuzuriha getting emotional at seeing fireworks again for the first time in such a long time has to be a nostalgia hit on the level of older gamers nowadays hearing the sound of a Playstation 2 being turned on… just amplify that by a few thousand years worth of built of nostalgia.
As I said, Senku getting emotion is few and far between. He likes to be alone when he does and he doesn’t so much show much sadness either, even though he feels it. While science brought joy for the islanders, it brought back memories for those who have experienced it. While those such as Chrome and Kohaku couldn’t understand the emotion, they still sympathize with what a five-star meal or the vibrancy of fireworks meant to them.
The final goodbye was extremely bittersweet but it wasn’t the most emotional goodbye for me. Soyuz and his story was okay to a certain degree but if his character was built up from the very beginning then that final goodbye would’ve hit way harder than it did. If anything, seeing Mirai beginning to tear up at the sight of Senku and the others returning was even more emotional.
That all being said, it was still a wonderful send-off as they left Treasure Island. It reminds us that this is the kind of goal Senku wants — to revive all of humanity and for it to be led by the beauty and wonders of science, not the destructiveness of it. The yearning to learn more about science and what it’s capable of could be not only what defines Senku as a character but human nature itself.
Dr. Stone: New World Episode 21 Wrap-Up
Episode 21 of Dr. Stone: New World went by faster than the fireworks faded. I found myself lost in time while watching the episode and it ended up becoming a favorite of mine from this season. The artwork was beautiful and the little chuckles along the way, along with the biggest grin on my face seeing Senku and Byakuya together again, made this episode that much more special for me. There was no action or conflict to be found in this episode but there were sure a bunch of touching moments, themes, nostalgia, and maybe a life lesson or two.
Episode 21 rating: 9/10
If you enjoyed episode 21 of Dr. Stone: New World, then make sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 22 (season finale) of Dr. Stone: New World will air on Thursday, December 21. Crunchyroll is steaming Dr. Stone: New World with English subtitles.
Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©Richiro Inagaki, Boichi/Shueisha, Dr. STONE Production Committee