Dr. STONE introduced itself as a mystery back in the series premiere. The first scenes see the heroes we’ve only briefly met being caught in a relentless wave of light that petrifies the whole world, turning all humans to stone. It would be a seemingly inexplicable phenomenon if not for our protagonist, a scientist through and through who doesn’t believe in miraculous occurrences without explanation. Yet, as we’ve spent time with the characters as more and more developments have been made in the pursuit of reclaiming the quality of life they had in the past, thousands of years ago, the script has managed to distract viewers from the mystery, with too many pressing concerns and puzzles for Senku (Yûsuke Kobayashi) and co., to figure out. In Dr.STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3, the series reminds us in a big way that the mystery and the force behind it have only been lying dormant, and it’s now been awakened again.
In part, this is largely the fault and triumph of Senku, as “First Contact” proves a fruitful episode for Team Science as they acquire new, necessary tools in fueling (literally) their journey across the sea in search of the petrification beam. The signal they made and the power it exudes means they alerted someone, be it a friend or foe, of their existence. It results in the most thrilling cliffhanger the series has had since its first season with all the dangers of awakening to a technology-stunted society. Dr. STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3 is a superb balance of the series’ constant humor while also serving as a reminder that for all of the discoveries they’ve been making on land, in the air, and at sea, there’s a troubling amount they still don’t know.
For much of the episode, it’s business as usual. The characters continue their plight to better prepare for the upcoming winter, able to forage better and store food due to both the wheat fields and the aerial photography they’ve been getting, expanding their worldview. The detailing is well done in moments where we see how tiresome the whole process has been, a reminder that with each development comes learning how to use it in their current era. It also opens up the opportunity for more work as characters leave the parameters of their village and the corners they’ve investigated to move further away from their familiar home.
The episode also serves as a potent reminder that it’s not just Senku whose brain the group relies on. Senku himself, in a brief moment of vulnerability, admits to himself that there’s only so much his brain is good for. It takes the combined talents of the characters, from someone’s superb eyesight and observation skills to the knowledge of a forager, Gen’s (Kengo Kawanishi) understanding of Morse code, to Senku’s retention of historical information, that brings upon the most significant advancement they’ve had so far.
The series can often be painfully earnest in its most heartfelt moments. There’s an urge to go broad in a way that mimics the character animation itself when the subtle moments work best. From Senku being given the physical realization that his father died thousands of years ago in season one to his quiet compassion towards Suika (Karin Takahashi) in “First Contact,” Dr. STONE is at its strongest when it combines its bold visuals with gentle sincerity.
The season as a whole so far has adopted a softer approach, quite literally, when it comes to the visuals itself. The third season saw Shûhei Matsushita take over from director Iino Shinya who directed the first two seasons of the anime. Matsushita director Dr. Stone: Ryusui and his work have kept the visual tone consistent while altering small details. The overall effect offers softer edges and character designs that forgo the original severity of lines, bringing forth the exaggerated character animation for reaction sequences only. While that abrasive character animation was once a draw, especially in how it contrasted against the subdued backgrounds, this subtle change dials down the outlandish comedy making the story more poignant.
Dr. STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3 is one of the more exciting installments of the series. While the first two episodes were set up as new characters were introduced and the season’s object was defined, “First Contact” disrupts expectations with the hint of a new threat through wordless and eerie Morse code. Senku might be thrilled to finally be unearthing a long-gestating mystery. Still, for fans of the series who can do nothing more than look on, the climatic moment adds an extra layer of tension and stress to a typically low-stake series.
Dr. STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3 is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Dr. STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3
Dr. STONE New World Season 3 Episode 3 is one of the more exciting installments of the series. While the first two episodes were set up as new characters were introduced and the season’s object was defined, “First Contact” disrupts expectations with the hint of a new threat.