Bad dads make for sad kids. And in the latest episode Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist shows us how a parent’s love doesn’t always have the best in mind.
"Is there nothing I can do for him?"
The last episode left the audience wondering about Shun, who was last seen being forced by his father to engage strictly in education rather than do what he loves. He disappears from school, leaving a confused class, and Kuro who hasn’t really figured out that he isn’t as cold as he thinks he is. The new episode finally shows us what happened to Shun, and shows us what really happens to people who repress a child’s imagination. Or it sorta does? It’s kinda hard to tell
The entire point of the 2-part episode is showing why we should love your kids as they are, and why we shouldn’t be afraid to see them succeed and soar. And it’s a common enough trope in every form of media that makes it easy to spot, easy to build up, and easy to enjoy. So when the last episode introduced us to Shun, it was simple enough to know what type of story would play out.
We have Shun, a character who’s coded as neurodivergent and has poor social skills, but is an absolute genius when it comes to art. There’s the typical “genius that is recognized by others but isn’t appreciated by the ones closest to him” trope. There’s Kuro as the typical “outsider loner” who finds himself happy with Shun. And then the drama when the ones who don’t like Shun’s art finally make a big decision and intervenes. Normally, you’d expect a big dramatic moral exploration about how being a parent is all about, or how we should respect the individualities with each other.
This is why it’s strange Dr. Ramune chose the path it did.
Spoilers ahead! There’s gonna be some discussion on the themes of the show! Try watching the episode then come back here and see if you agree with the thoughts.
"I stopped seeing sparkles"
First off, the episode tries to be very heartwarming. With the whole point of the episode being around Shun accepting who he is, it could have been an easy enough emotional ride, even if the entire set up wasn’t as deep as it could have been. But for some reason, Shun is left nothing more than a vehicle to Kuro’s development. While Shun was the patient, the entire two-part episode was more focused on Kuro learning how to make friends. This seems counterintuitive to the whole set-up of making a possibly-neurodivergent character as a major player in the story. While you could argue that Kuro learning friendship was just a side theme, the fact that it’s Kuro’s actions that drive the story to its resolution, and not Shun’s, makes it known who the story really wants to talk about.
Now, this isn’t to say that Kuro’s story is bad. Though underwhelming, the development of Kuro in these episodes nicely ties into a slow theme the show has between Ramune and Kuro. The familial bond between the two is very visible, but only subtly explored in the limits and extents. So this story does provide some nice moments where we see Kuro learning to be more appreciative of Ramune, and of Shun.
But that isn’t the major issue that needs to be tackled. While the lack of focus on Shun as a main character with agency is already weird, seeing the resolution between his conflict with his dad is even more so. The very issue that caused the problem in the first place is Shun and his dad’s conflict of interests. And how the dad made decisions that deprived Shun of proper expression of his art.
We see Shun suffer from this emotionally, animated with heavy eye bags and little to no energy when he interacts with Kuro. It ultimately leads him to make a decision that, while in retrospect isn’t that severe, could have been harmful to him in the long run. But the story, for some reason, chooses to treat the choice made by the dad lightly. While he does regret what he did, the reveal of the lie is so lighthearted that it seems like the story isn’t really trying to punish the dad. It’s ironic considering that, in the first episode, a mother was doing the exact same thing to her kid, and she payed a heavy toll. The entire ending to the conflict sends a very conflicted message. That even though you hurt them when acting out of love, so long as you become honest and let them be free, you’ll be forgiven.
"I’ll let them fly away"
All in all the entire 2-part isn’t as good as the last 2-part episode, and is certainly more problematic. But for what it’s worth, there were heartwarming moments that were fun and is definitely worth the time.
Dr. Ramune Mysterious Disease Specialist Episode 9 will be released on Sunday, 7 of March at 1:30 am JST.
Tell us, do you agree or disagree with Dr. Ramune? How'd you like the episode? Comment down below!
Official Anime Website: Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist