Steam Gorilla (
Not afraid of the new steam engine approaching, Magma tries to stop it in its tracks. He claims he can handle it, but after a valiant effort he is thrown backwards, defeated. Senku calls him an idiot for trying. Next, they have Gen, the only one with a pre-petrification licence, drive the vehicle around as a test. The ride is very bumpy, and Gen asks if they have a better option.
Instead of using wooden wheels, a new wheel is made of woven bamboo strips. They're based off of NASA's airless tires. The automobile is completed with a boat-like body and a gorilla design on the front. The boys enjoy the car, but the girls don't know what they find so interesting about it. Senku and Kaseki then feel bad for Chrome that he's not here to see the vehicle.
Coming forward, Natri says that the village's elderly won't be making the journey. He acknowledges that the vehicle was made for them, but that it would be better for them to stay behind even though they risk an attack. Instead, they say they'll trust Senku to get it over with quickly. They bid the fighters farewell as they begin their journey to the Tsukasa Empire.
Ever helpful, Suika escapes into enemy territory as soon as they're done unpacking the steam gorilla. She searches around for where they're keeping Chrome, and eventually finds him in a cell. She returns to tell everyone of what she found, and Senku decides they'll be building a tank next.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- New vehicle acquired!
- Infirm villagers not suited for fighting stay behind in the village.
- Chrome is shown trapped in the Tsukasa Empire.
- Everyone plans how to get Chrome out.
- Nasa's airless tire, formally referred to as the "Resilient Wheel" was developed for the lunar roving vehicles taken to the moon during the Apollo missions. Ferenc Pavlics received a certificate of recognition from Nasa for developing the wheels, which were made of woven steel wire strands with titanium chevrons attached to the surface for traction.
- Initially the steam gorilla had front wheel drive and no differential, hence no steering. This was changed to rear wheel drive in the second iteration, with the engine getting flipped around, and this made easy to implement steering.
- Coming up the hill, the facial expression of the gorilla painted at the front of the vehicle seems to change slightly to match the struggle.
- Even Suika is sort of implied to do better than Senku in the strength department, as in one panel they are shown carrying similarly sized clay pots, Senku struggling while Suika doesn't break a sweat. This detail was carried over into the anime when this chapter was animated.