A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post called “Dr. Stone’s Unconvincing Hero”. Like its title would suggest, it was about Dr. Stone’s hero, Senku, and why I struggled to get on board with his mission. To boil a 800-word-long post down into just a few key phrases: he doesn’t look hero material, but kind of sinister and velociraptor-y, his “good deeds” all seemed to be motivated by a desire to win people over to his “Kingdom of Science”, and I wasn’t sure whether restoring humanity to its former “glory” was such a good idea in the first place, given the problems our present-day world is beset with. While some of the things I wrote in that blog post still stand, after getting to know Senku a bit better, I’ve come to change my mind on a few key points. These are as follows…
One of Senku’s catchphrases is “This is exhilarating.” A good number of things seem to excite or exhilarate Senku, not least the prospect of restoring humanity to its former glory. In fact, this appears to be the driving force behind his lofty goal: the thrill of the challenge. I wasn’t sure of this motive at first. It struck me as a bit self-serving and egotistical. But isn’t that was artists, athletes, and other skilled people do every day? Push themselves towards a goal for the sake of achieving or creating something great, something few people before them have done? If not for these kinds of people, the world would be a lot less rich a place to live. In other words, it’s OK that Senku isn’t driven first and foremost by a desire to help other people. That doesn’t make his motive any less valid. I’m a people person. A lot of what I do is driven by a desire to help and serve others. But not everybody is wired like I am. And that’s alright. It was unfair of me to write Senku off simply for being built a bit different.
Another reason why I wasn’t convinced by Senku, at least at first, was that a lot of his good deeds felt manipulative, like a bid to gain manpower for his “Kingdom of Science”. It’s taken a couple of months of keen observation on my part, but I now have a record of all the times he’s helped another person, with there being nothing in it for him. A few of these instances include: creating a high-tech wetsuit for his father, to help him land his dream job, fashioning a pair of glasses for the visually impaired Suika, divorcing Ruri immediately after winning her hand in marriage (therein granting her her freedom), sharing cotton candy with Homura, somebody Senku knew he’d have no chance of winning over, and setting up a Christmas tree for the villagers. Whatever his reasons may have been, Senku ultimately wound up enriching and improving the lives of those around him, in particular, the primitive villagers, who have slowly come to accept him as one of their own.
But what worried me the most about Senku, when I first began watching Dr. Stone, was that, in his quest to restore humanity to its former glory, he’d make the same mistakes that his predecessors did. Alarm bells went off the second he started talking about recreating guns! That being said, following my previous blog post, Crow, of Crow’s World of Anime, pointed out that Senku may very well wind up sidestepping the mistakes of the past in his bid to restore civilisation. And he was right on the money. Senku’s first source of power was human-generated. And during a recent episode, he created a simple yet successful hydroelectric power plant. Both green, sustainable sources of energy. And for all his firepower (his guns, his katanas, his fancy gold spears, etc.), Senku much prefers to think and to talk his way out of confrontations. Long may that last! I’m curious to see whether he will consider sustainable methods of obtaining metals and other materials moving forward…
At any rate, I suspect that I may have judged Senku too hastily and too harshly. His motives are sound, he improves the lives of almost everybody he meets, and he’s thinking ahead to a greener, more sustainable future. Sure, he still looks like a velociraptor. But beneath that sinister, toothy grin, may actually lurk a heart of gold…
Now, to be fair, I was just guessing this was the route Senkuu was going to take! For all I knew, Gen’s guess about nuclear weapons might have played out instead!
But for the sake of the show, I was glad to see Senkuu tend towards sustainability.
And I love the description of “velociraptor-y.” Talk about not being able to unsee!
Glad to see you’re posting again!
Well it was a good guess! Credit where credit’s due!
For a second I thought you were talking about me (my real name’s actually Gen)! Ha, ha!
Yeah, while my opinion of Senku changed a lot overall, I still think he doesn’t look “hero material”! Though if I were to try to argue that Senku wasn’t cut out to be a hero, that’d be a pretty shallow basis for that argument!
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