In this edition of Channel Surfing, I bring to you Dr. Stone. This series was part of the highly anticipated anime lineup for Summer 2019, and just in time for the season finale, I finally bring myself from my hectic schedule to tell everyone what it’s all about. To me, I think this is the most exciting anime I have ever watched on the level of Fullmetal Alchemist.
The name itself is interesting enough: Dr. Stone, which might sound like a Doctor that specializes in everything relating to stones for an entirely different story. However, and which might present mild spoilers for this discussion–it is actually about a teenager by the name of Senku Ishigami (if you know Japanese, his last name makes a lot of sense!), who is a huge science nerd, pressed with the task of bringing civilization back to life after a phenomenon occurs in the present day that turns everyone into stone. Senku wakes up 3700 years in the future and puts his ever-so-restless brain to use to bring everyone back. Oh yeah, there is also Taiju.
Taiju is Senku’s friend since childhood who are both attending the same school. Taiju is initially the focus of the first several episodes where he is introduced as a love interest of Yuzuriha, whom he has had a crush on for quite some time. One day, he confronts Senku, like any good friend does, and says that he’s going to confess to Yuzuriha. Senku listens to what he has to say, and wishes him good luck in proper Senku fashion. (In order words, he doesn’t care, considering what he’s into, but praises him in his own style.) The day Taiju confesses, the world is suddenly engulfed in a green light, where everyone is turned into stone, and everything comes to a screeching halt.
During this time, Taiju is conscious, asking himself what is wrong and why is everyone turned to stone, whilst thinking of his friends–especially of Yuzuriha… Even 3700 years later when he finally awakens. His state of petrification suddenly breaking into pieces and his figure is devoid of clothing being exposed through the years of the elements. The first thing he does is look at the surroundings, questioning how much time has passed since being in such a state.
After finding Yuzuriha in petrification, Taiju finds some writing on a tree that he is certain is from Senku (due to the tone it’s written in) to join at a meetup place just ahead. Taiju finds Senku, who explains to him that he’s been awake for 6 months, and Taiju is in awe as of how Senku has been counting the exact time for such a long time!
In the time since breaking free, Senku is making preparations to bring back civilization, and gives Taiju too much information that only a “big oaf” can take. Yet, Taiju’s current objective is returning Yuzuriha from her stone state, in which Senku gives him comfort that it is possible–as he narrows down how both Taiju and himself were de-stoned, which much be kept underwraps between the two. Upon researching the reason of their awakening, the two run into the awakened Tsukasa, who was known in the present era as a champion wrestler. Although he has different ideas in store.
Tsukasa presents Senku with the idea that they can make a new era where no one judges another for petty reasons, and to also rid of the problematic people in their lives, including those on the world stage. You would think this is how the story would go, considering that some people watching this would lean towards that dream–but nope. Senku is determined to bring the world back the way it was, even though there are issues in the world that could be solved by eliminating individuals responsible for the grief. It also seems that Senku has another goal of personal reasons in mind…
While Dr. Stone got its start as a manga, currently running in Shounen Jump, the anime was highly anticipated. When I first heard about Dr. Stone, it was through the promotional art for the anime, and looking at the initial poster locked in my interest due to how gorgeous it was. I have realized that I am a very picky person (and a terrible procrastinator) when it comes to the anime series we’ve been presented this past decade. Only a handful of anime series that have caught my eye to extreme lengths, such as Tiger & Bunny and My Hero Academia, and a few more that I have yet to write about due to my long blogging hiatus. But this is a series that closes out a rollercoaster decade on a high, positive note going into the 2020s.
The level of excitement for Dr. Stone personally takes me back to when Fullmetal Alchemist first aired on Adult Swim back in 2003–which has a similar theme when it comes to the topic of science, although slightly lighthearted compared to the events encountered in FMA. (And in an ironic twist, the English dub of Dr. Stone features Aaron Dismuke, the voice of Alphonse Elric, as the voice of Senku!) It seems that this is a series that attracts an audience who like a similar level of depth to the story, such as Fullmetal Alchemist, so if you like anime series with complex plots, then this might be the perfect series.
The series is penned by Riichiro Inagaki and artist BOICHI. There are currently over 130 chapters of the manga and with the first 24 episodes of the anime cleared and ready for binge watching until we get another order of exhilarating science at work!
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Support the official release! Watch Dr. Stone on Crunchyroll or via VRV (subs only), as well as on FUNimation (subbed and dubbed). Dr. Stone also airs on Toonami on a TV near you if you live in the US!