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Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist - Episode 6: Gyoza and Grief

Fighting for their life, Dr. Ramune and Rio must find a way to reach help and survive the storm in the latest episode of Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist. Will they ever get out alive? Will Rio’s mom finally face her fear? And will Rio get a chance to see his mom again?

Which do you think your mom wants?
Dr. Ramune, the blond man, is bloody and bruised, lying on a the ground in a forest
Bloody and bruised

The last episode left Dr. Ramune and Rio in dire straits. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, and one of them injured, the duo are left in a dangerous situation. Both Rio and Ramune have to find a way to get help, to get out of the danger they’re in, and survive the elements long enough for Kuro and Rio’s parents to arrive. But as wounds take their toll, things are more and more hopeless.

Well not exactly. Rio has one trick left up his sleeve. One that was supposed to be for someone else, but might be the thing that could save them. But the cost to use it is high, and the guarantee of success even less. So as they further and further get beaten by nature, a choice has to be made. Whatever the choice, whatever the outcome, there is one guarantee. This is gonna be one fun ride.

Only his mother can hear Rio’s voice.

A woman stands in front of a dark red background, with shattered glass effect

The tonal shift the two-part episode might be the best decision he show has taken so far. Breaking from the light heartedness of the series, though still very much happy-go-lucky, Dr. Ramune’s glimpse of its darker underbelly is a fascinating watch. The two-part episode fully explores a darker consequence to the mysterious disease, and the tragedies that surround those who are afflicted. While the previous episodes were no doubt dark in their own small way, nothing could ever match this episode’s willingness to take a leap of faith into the abyss. This isn’t to say that the series ascended into high art. It’s still very much on the same level as any other shounen comedy anime. But the surprise of what story it was willing to take was enough to give it some credit.

The best part, however, is how it treats the central theme. Grief and rejection is something that requires delicacy to unpack. And anime tends to not be the best, specifically the shounen genre. While there are many series and movies that explore the sensitivities of grief, they’re rarely ever in the same genre as Dr. Ramune. Grief and tragedy isn’t always properly covered in the fantasy shounen genre, and are often more sidelined into other drama-centric stories.

So to see a surprising level of depth, though not full sensitivity, to the topic of grief was surprising. There isn’t a lot of shouting, or the annoying trope of “face your fear you coward” where one character forces the other to accept their grief. Circumstance is their enemy, yet no character takes the road of insensitivity. For the most part at least. And even when the episode ends, the grief doesn’t really end, lingering like scars on the characters. And this small attention to thematic detail manages to keep the two-part episodes whole without being derailed by the narrative choices. Especially some of the revelations at the end that undermine the entire episode, though in a very minor manner.

Something is never coming home again

A woman is crying
Consequence of choices

But another surprise came in the small moment of character development, or rather character revelation, between Kuro and Ramune at the end of the episode. It was an emotional moment of confrontation. Kuro angry, and Ramune guilty. And it was a surprise to see, given that the two have only ever been portrayed as caricatures of a “smart-but-childish-sensei” and “mature-student”. Seeing a better glimpse into their relationship was exciting to say the least. There’s an obvious undercurrent of strong familial attachments in that moment, and hopefully, the show decides to capitalize on this bond even more for the future.

While the future episodes of the show might not take the same dark road, these two episodes managed to give fresh excitement to a series that was threatened to get stale. And what excitement it is to see what comes next!


Tell us what you think of the episode below!

Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist Episode 7 will be released on Sunday, 21 of February at 1:30 am JST.


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