Of all the Weekly Shounen Jump anime to come out in the last year or so, Dr. Stone might be the strangest. It’s a post-apocalypse anime but instead of the usual nuclear explosion or zombie invasion, Dr. Stone‘s cataclysmic event is a flash of light that petrifies the entire human population. Fast forward thousands of years into the future and two friends, Senku Ishigami (Yuusuke Kobayashi) and Taiju Ooi (Makoto Furukawa), set out to free everyone from their stone prisons. How you may ask? With the power of science, of course!
And that’s where I start to suspend my disbelief with the plot. Not that scientific accuracy or the most basic logic is always a must but goodness, Dr. Stone is really leaning on the fiction part of science fiction. So many questions begin to pop up when you start to think about the story. Like, how exactly did a wave of light petrify people? How can human cells be preserved under rock for over three thousand years? Everyone is conscious while they’re turned to stone? Nitric acid and wine mixed together can un-petrify people? Senku can have that kind of spiky hair? Magma grants humans immortali-oh wait, wrong show. Sorry, I’m still bitter.
If realism isn’t what Dr. Stone is banking on, perhaps it’s the story and characters. I’ll admit, the friendship between Senku and Taiju is pretty good. It’s a pretty traditional dynamic, the former being the brains and the latter being the brawn, but it does work. Watching the two characters combine their best attributes to survive and do science experiments together was a huge highlight of the episode. It also raises an eyebrow how Senku, a man of science, was convinced he’d see his friend again three thousand years later. For all his talk of there being an explanation for everything, it does see like he has a little bit of faith in some things.
The only character that felt like a dud was Taiju’s love interest, Yuzuriha (Kana Ichinose). Frankly, she felt more like a plot device than a real person, something to motivate Taiju to endure his three thousand years of petrification and make saving humanity a personal endeavor. I honestly couldn’t tell you what her personality is apart from the fact that she might reciprocate Taiju’s feelings for her. It especially doesn’t help that the episode rushes through the romantic banter between the two characters. In fact, the episode immediately starts with Taiju saying he’ll confess his feelings to Yuzuriha. Hopefully, when Yuzuriha is freed from her stone shell, we’ll learn about her actual character.
I don’t know if I’m hooked on Dr. Stone just yet but it did make an impression and a pretty good one at that. It’s a pretty distinct show too; I really can’t think of a WSJ anime or just any recent anime that’s like this one. Considering how safe anime can get, that’s certainly a nice change of pace. Now the show just needs to stick the landing.
OP: “Good Morning World!” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES
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