Senku recruits Chrome and Kohaku into his medicine-making process for Ruri. He explains that re-creating antibiotics would be a long and tumultuous task. They decide to create “sulfa drugs” from rocks and set off to find iron. When Chrome reveals that he’s discovered a magnet, they track down more of them and use them to pull iron bits out of a riverbed. In the riverbed, a watermelon-wearing villager child named Suika spies on the trio and decides to join them in their quest to help gather iron. Senku happily accepts her help, and Suika is joyed at how he didn’t ask questions about her watermelon.
Senku instructs the gang on how to cook the iron at 1500 degrees. The quartet spends all day/night hand blowing air (oxygen) into a stone crafted furnace in order to get the right temperature. When it doesn’t work, Senku sends Suika back into the village (disguised as a watermelon) to eavesdrop on what they could get the villagers that would entice them to join their need for manpower in cooking the iron. Suika reports that certain villagers just want better food, and this inspires Senku to create ramen noodles using foxtail millet to create the flour. They add in things like wild birds’ eggs, potassium carbonate, different types of meats, and wild seasonings. Chrome, Kohaku, and Suika fall in love with the ramen (Senku doesn’t because he’s had actual ramen) so they bring it to the village.
There were a lot of really nice details in this episode that ranged from sweet to hilarious. Aside from the main plot wherein we see the characters enjoy a very archaic version of what is considered to be a classic Japanese dish, it’s also a smile-worthy narrative to see these four characters working together, with no quarreling. Suika is the newest edition to the cast, and while we don’t know why she wears a watermelon to hide her face, it’s almost satisfying to not know, considering how important people accepting her at face value is to her. She seems obsessed with being “useful,” but we don’t know too much about her aside from that.
Other notable character moments included discovering Chrome’s crush on Ruri, and Kohaku’s not-so-perfect reputation in her village. Beyond this, though, it’s the little moments that really make these characters feel genuine. One of the best scenes was by far when Kohaku and Chrome pestered Senku all night about questions regarding how the world works. What seemed like basic questions/knowledge to us were big deals to Kohaku and Chrome. Watching the energy leave Senku as he realizes he can’t escape flat earthers 3,700 years into the future was priceless.
Another charmer about this episode (and the show in general) are how exaggerated the facial expressions are. They’re so varied and caricature-esque. When the show flips between its classic-anime looking style and its overly detailed expressions, it shows how much fun the animators/designers are having — which makes us have fun, too!