In the later episode of Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist, their newest patient comes from a chance encounter. A young boy, with a bit of a popcorn problem, needs Ramune’s and Kuro’s help in solving the mystery of his disease. But nothing ever comes easy, especially for kid patients.
"So when did the popcorn start coming out of your head?"
The episode begins with Ramune finally recovering from the near-death experience of the past episode. While still wobbly on his feet, thanks to a cast, it doesn’t stop him from being a total nuisance to a very-much-done-with Kuro. So it was by pure chance when Ramune and Kuro meet Aona, the newest patient of the doctor, in the same halls of the hospital.
Aona seems, for all intents and purposes, a lovable and eccentric guy. Except of course for the pieces of popcorn that fly out his head every once in a while. Presented with a new case, Ramune takes the case, and decides to help Aona. And maybe make sure Kuro learns something about friendship along the way. But not all is well in Aona’s world. Something despicable is haunting him. Something close and important to him. And no matter how hard he tries, Aona is stuck in the nightmare.
Continuing the last episode’s trend of “let’s make the pain of kids as content”, this new episode doesn’t let up when it comes to delivering the angst. It’s nowhere near as bad as the previous two episodes, which were just absolutely HORRIFYING when it came to the cause of the disease, but the latest episode's villain and mysterious disease etiology isn’t any less despicable. It’s even arguable that the newest episode is even more despicable since the one behind the suffering here is even more cruel and wicked.
No, it doesn’t include murder, but it might as well have considering it’s a boy’s mental health that’s being manipulated. And that just makes this and the upcoming episodes so exciting. It’s just as engaging as the last 2 part episodes. Funnily enough, this episode is also a 2 parter. It seems that Dr. Ramune’s best stories come when they don’t compress the stories.
Got yourself a funny friend there huh, Kuropi?
There’s also the inclusion of character growth of our main characters. Specifically, Kuro who has been hinted, in both the ending song and the previous episodes, as a bit of a loner. And Ramune takes it upon himself to fix that. It’s a small addition, but it was nice to see considering that the series is showing traits of a more cohesive development to the characters. The episode plays out no differently than the rest, with Ramune being a man-child and a mysterious object making an appearance. But it’s the decision to focus heavily on Aona and his condition that should require a second look.
"People can’t hide their true nature"
If there’s one thing that the show makes sure is that Aona is not like other people. He’s beloved but he’s not exactly acting in the same way as others. Ramune even made a joke about it with Kuro, who didn’t appreciate it but then again he didn’t really appreciate any of Ramune’s attempts at comedy. But beyond Ramune, there was an attempt by the story to show that what Aona is can just be accepted as “unordinary”.
While there’s no confirmation in the show, Aona seems to be coded as neurodivergent with his genius artistic abilities and unusual social interaction. But the show is, more or less, respectful on how to handle some aspects of the probably-neurodivergent Aona. It doesn’t make an effort to create a story where he’s ostracized, which is a usual in stories that involved people like Aona, and doesn’t make an effort to make at a “teach him how to be normal” kind of plot. It’s a small tidbit of respecting who Aona is that makes the show a little sweeter and more enjoyable. And what makes the villain of the story even more diabolical. And with the way the episode ended, there’s a frustration and excitement that’s ready to burst as the next episode arrives.
Dr. Ramune Mysterious Disease Specialist Episode 8 will be released on Sunday, 28 of February at 1:30 am JST.
Official Anime Website: Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist