Hello dear readers,
I hope everyone reading this is safe and well! It’s been a busy past few months, and while it’s been another long hiatus, life events took some precedence. Hopefully though, this is the start of a more consistent writing schedule again. To kick things back off is a highly acclaimed series from its first season, and it couldn’t be more exciting to finally cover it. Enjoy!
Show: Dr. STONE
Studio/years aired: TMS Entertainment, 2019-
Well, well, well. After hearing about this series for a while, the time was finally right to plunge into a new adventure show- and Dr. Stone is a great pick. This genre has always been something I’ve enjoyed watching, and after a lot of recent “slice of lifes” and the foray into isekai that the last number of reviews had, it was worth going back to my roots. As a result, there was something nostalgic about watching this show- namely finding a grand adventure that felt well paced and enrapturing all the same.
One of 2019s’ breakout series, Dr. Stone was adapted from the manga of the same name and features a far-flung future Earth where humans had been mysteriously petrified for millennia due to a strange attack that occurred in the present. The long period of elapsing time had destroyed most traces of civilization and in turn, sent the world back to the Stone Age technologically. However, this series is anything but primitive in its storytelling as a brilliant student-scientist named Senku Ishigami awakens from his petrification, determined to bring humanity all back from nothing.
It’s definitely a different ride than say a Hunter x Hunter, or even a Fullmetal Alchemist but the unique, interesting premise along with the excellent lead that is Senku and an adequate supporting cast that grows well into their roles is simply enjoyable. Perhaps even more enthralling is the science lessons wrapped into a fun package of inventions from our lead, be it from a pulley system made of bamboo to an inventive take on ramen. It’s impossible to not enjoy the interactions that occur though the show, and a good balance of humor and seriousness is struck. In turn, the storytelling feels very natural and the show’s big moments so far flow with the right gravity and mood.
The premise works brilliantly given the clear scope and eventual end goal of the series, and similar to some of the best shonen series, Dr. Stone doesn’t have power creep as an issue- instead choosing to make the power of might- led by the powerful Tsukasa- be pitted against the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Senku’s fledgling Kingdom of Science. The character introductions are paced well, starting with the initial arc’s setup of the situation, and the eventual reveal of Ishigami Village, the locale that becomes the main setting for the remainder of the season.
If you’re looking for a show that stands out from the shonen fray in recent years, this is a fantastic pick, and one that has exciting potential in a second season that’s been confirmed. Here’s hoping it can continue to be a big hit as the decade gets under way!
Animation: Modern 2-D animation. It looks great as you’d expect, but what really stands out is the science- as the animation of Senku’s inventions are both well-paired with the explanation and visually interesting. The show’s bright palette suggests this take of a far-flung post-modernity isn’t all that bad…until you realize the monumental task in front of the characters. And speaking of them, the designs in this show are great- a perfect reflection of both the individuals and personalities mixed with the circumstances.
Characterization: Leading the way is Senku- a take on the teenage genius character. Unusual to this type is a starring role however- and Senku performs brilliantly. With distinctive hair and single-minded determination to achieve his grand goal, he’s equal parts mad and gifted scientist with a wholehearted devotion to his craft-but also to his friends and the people who trust him. Initially he starts on his own, but with the revival of Taiju Oki, his best friend, his plans start to take a real leap forward.
Speaking of which, Taiju is a passionate, stubborn and simple guy whose emotions run near the surface- but also the kindest person as well. With a massive crush on another friend of his- Yuzuriha Ogawa- he’s waited a long, long time for that confession…
Yuzuriha for her part wound up as Taiju’s inspiration to keep his consciousness for millennia. When unfrozen from her petrification, she’s a kind, perceptive individual who proves to be useful in the new world- and might just reciprocate Taiju’s feelings…
A large portion of the cast comes into play after Senku’s deception and escape from Tsukasa- the so-called “Strongest High School Primate” in the old days. Physically without peer in strength, he proves to also have a capable and quick thinking mind but a very different philosophy from Senku, leading to irreconcilable differences and the formation of his own faction to oppose the latter.
Kohaku discovers Senku after a run-in with Tsukasa, who despite her martial prowess, she can’t defeat. A girl with impressive martial skills and a quick mouth, she quickly proves her worth and loyalty. She cares deeply for her sister, who is sick with a mysterious illness but also serves as her village’s priestess and keeper of the mythology stories…
After being led to the nearby village, Senku meets Chrome, a self-proclaimed shaman who actually is a fledgling scientist between his discoveries and habit of collecting raw resource materials in his hut. He quickly becomes Senku’s right hand man after some initial distrust, and proves himself as resourceful and a quick thinker in his own right, to the point that he’s actively help drive Senku’s inventing as the season progresses.
In addition to these two, Senku becomes close with the whole village over time, discovering that these people were descendants of a certain group of individuals who avoided the petrification. While many of these individuals probably could also be involved in this section, they form a delightful supporting cast that’s worth discovering for yourself.
While many more individuals probably could also be involved in this section, they form a delightful supporting cast that’s worth discovering for yourself.
Story: Frozen in time for over 2000 years, the petrified Senku awakens to a Japan that has become overrun by nature’s reclamation- and the initial goal to make some clothes, a shelter, eat and get started on his goal- reviving all of humanity, and with it, the vast technology and scientific knowledge that had been lost as well.
The story actually begins with Taiju’s revival- both an experiment and a need for manual labor from Senku, but it’s through his eyes viewers first experience the work and meet our main protagonist- an interesting choice to be sure. While this constitutes minor spoilers, it’s when the two team up that Senku’s progress on his goal really begins to grow- until a situation forces him to revive a certain someone…
Talked about in some detail above, it’s an engaging and interesting setting on which the characters are laid out. A real treat so far!
Themes: Perseverance in the face of impossible odds and the iron will of those who have a goal that cannot be denied- these are at the core of Dr. Stone. Thanks to the unique setting and premise, it’s a world where the classic “survival of the fittest” idea is pitted against the unyielding will of scientific progress in a race against time, along with the further mystery of what was the nature of the calamity that befell the planet…
Don’t Insult the Viewer (Intangibles): Dr. Stone excels with a balance of seriousness and humor that works very well, backed by an aesthetic that’s very interesting- namely the rapid re-emergence of science in a Japan covered in forests and nature.
Overall: 22.75/25 (91%). A compelling entry into both its genre and the medium as a whole, Dr. Stone is sure to entertain with its quirky mix of science, premise and a great cast of characters.
Like what you see? Big fan of Dr. Stone? Leave a comment!