Whether it’s battle shonen titles like Dragon Ball Z and My Hero Academia, or titles like Food Wars and Astra Lost In Space, they all have one thing in common: a fun, over-the-top nature in their storytelling that the genre is known for. That is the main reason behind their popularity. With so many previous successors like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, the super hero title My Hero Academia brought freshness to the genre. Which series could be the next potential shonen hit? How about a story about how all of humanity turned to stone and how its salvation rides on the shoulders of a highschooler prodigy with a massive passion for science?
With an anime adaptation in Summer 2019, I wanted to take a look at the manga of the freshest shonen title on offer.
With sincere, steady science, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
Story & Art: Riichiro Inagaki
English Release: 6 March 2017 to Present (10 volumes)
English Publisher: Viz Media
Taiju is about to confess his love to his childhood friend Yuzuriha. Suddenly a flash of light covers the world, causing all of humanity to turn to stone. Fast forward 3,000 years and highschool genius Senku awakens to an overgrown jungle world where every single human has been petrified. Senku is determined to save humanity with the power of science. Senku resurrects his friend Taiju, Yuzuriha, and the strongest fighter in school Tsukasa Shishio. Senku thinks he has a team but Tsukasa does a 180 turn and says he will save the young only and not the adults due to a past childhood trauma. Tsukasa begins to kill all the stoned adults and makes his intention happens. A war is about to start between Senku and Tsukasa.
Dr. Stone possesses all the qualities that make a shonen title because of its exaggerated and over-the-top nature. In the first few pages, the series wastes no time in getting to the main theme of its plot: all of humanity is turned to stone. It’s a cool, curious appeal to lure into this title and the potential direction the series could take. The stunner who sets up a great introduction for Dr. Stone is the artwork; shonen’s artwork is always strikingly bold, especially Dr. Stone‘s details in the background. Being set 3000 years in the future, the artwork has a prehistoric feel, overgrown vegetation, and tells of the years that have passed. Even the characters’ costume choices fit the bill perfectly.
Senku Ishigami, who is a mixture of Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory and Rintaro Okabe from Steins Gate, is such a fun protagonist for this series. His eccentric, science loving side plays a huge part in himself and his friends’ survival. With a mind and thought process such as his, it’s beyond fascinating to follow through the volume, how he thinks and reacts to any situation. Senku might come off as the mad scientist type who cares about nothing but science, but deep down he cares for others more than he likes to let on. Senku has a precious pride to hold up in the name of his love of science but this also is an example of his obsessiveness towards his passionate love of science.
Senku’s friends are Taiju and Yuzuriha are charming in their own right. Taiju is not the smartest bean on the block; it’s hilarious how Senku puts up with this trait of Taiju. Despite this, Senku doesn’t treat him any less and clearly treasures him as a friend. Taiju is loyal by nature and will do anything for his love Yuzuriha and science nerd Senku; this is Taiju’s strongest attribute. Taiju will remind you of Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho. Taiju is not a burden on Senku; his unmeasured strength helps Senku out of immensely hard situations since he does not have the upper body required for. Yuzuriha is your typical sweetheart and warm, loving female character like Yamato (My Love Story) but her love and talent of craft comes also in handy for Senku. Senku may possess all the knowledge and knows what he does, but any of his plans he wishes to make happen with the help he gets from Taiju and Yuzuriha.
Tsukasa Shishio is a fun antagonist. Tsukasa is known as the school’s ‘ultimate fighter’ because he only knows how to fight. Tsukasa demonstrates his sharpness, however, by trying to stay one step ahead of Senku. Tsukasa’s plan to dispose of all adults and only save the ‘pure hearted youths’ makes him look crazy but this part is not his fault. A past childhood trauma has screwed up his mind.
Volume 1 did a fantastic job in setting up the intriguing premise of humanity being turned to stone and its fun-loving characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Themes And Trivia
Riichiro Inagaki: This author is best known for his other work on Eyeshield 21, a sports manga about American football.
It’s a been long time since I read a shonen. Last one I read was Rurouni Kenshin and that was a LONG time ago. For years I’ve just never had the interest to read popular titles like One Piece and Naruto; their level of popularity steered me away. Since getting back into manga this year after six years, I wanted to broaden my horizons. I started reading Astra Lost In Space, which was more enjoyable than I initially thought, and that lead me to want to check out this fresh title, Dr. Stone. The main protagonist Senku is an absolute hoot and I love following the inner workings of his science mind. I’m very curious to know why humanity was turned to stone.
Science Will Prevail
Dr. Stone has all the potential to become a great series and represents perfectly the fun side of shonen that fans loves and keep coming back too. With a quirky science-loving individual such as Senku, you know it’s going to be a good manga.
If you want to read Dr. Stone, you can jump on the Shonen Jump app. Read for FREE the first three chapters to see if it peaks your interest.
Anime Adaptation Info:
Anime Info | Simulcast | Episode Reviews