In these episodes we finally see something I’ve waited for, for such a long time. Something I’ve been asking myself for an age. Yes, a mystery so significant to this show I’d put it in the top 5. The mystery of. . .how long the mysterious henchmen standing by Tsukasa in the second opening would take to show up and become a big scary bad boy threat. So today, a bunch of beefy big boys show up to mess up the kingdom of science, alongside a mysterious Kakashi rip off. This big ol’ baddy is named Hyoga, and he leads a team of unfortunate brutish individuals to rightly screw up the Kingdom of Science and make sure that once and for all, Senku is truly dead. Of course he doesn’t quite find that! Instead it’s a battle between the two kingdoms that takes all of episode 18 and 19 to ‘finish’.
All of episode one focuses in on buying time. Senku uses the last of his gunpowder to trick Hyoga into thinking he has made guns, which of course is not true. Still, I’m glad that Gen has proven his allegiance because he spends much of episode 18 tricking Hyoga and ultimately saving the lives of his new friends by sabotaging Hyoga’s weapons. It’s still wild that his allegiance was won with a simple carbonated beverage, but that can be used as a measure for things that are genuinely impressive in the stone age.
Still, Hyoga is terrifying and uses big stupid weapons. And he is clever unlike his brutish friends: so clever that Tsukasa seems to put him on his level. Even the creation of outright katanas isn’t enough to completely overpower his unique weapons. Seeing characters I actually love get stabbed and knowing these characters are definitely willing to cut off their heads and destroy them is stressful. But this is the tension of the show: we do know these characters are not morally good and so we have to know there are stakes. The stakes are the death of people and the death of science.
Of course you know, they set the village on fire. No, they actually go super deep in and ultra burn down the huts. Senku overshadows this and says “yeah okay just leave your house we can rebuild” which is very true, and Senku proves logic wins: but it’s still pretty far to go for these villagers who have lived there for….3700 years, generation after generation. They’ve lost basically all the things they had before this but they seem to take it pretty well, given their gratefulness for Senku saving them from the big bad GREATEST PRIMATE army.
Eventually Hyoga returns to Tsukasa and Senku and co begin to consider their next step: Senku determines this will be the mobile phone, an idea that everyone scoffs at. But given how communication has absolutely destroyed the lines of enemy action throughout history, it’s not the absolute craziest thing. Sort of. Meanwhile my absolute favorite moment was Tsukasa’s reaction to the knowledge that Senku is alive: