Crunchyroll just debuted the new anime series Dr. Stone, which was based off of the long-running manga series by Riichiro Inagaki. I was able to catch the premiere this morning, and here are my thoughts on the new series.
Aw, geez. Talk about the ultimate rejection: all-around straight laced student Taiju Oki decides that this is the exact moment that he’s going to tell Yuzuriha, the girl he’s been pining over for 5 years, exactly how he feels. That’s also the exact moment that a bright green light flashes in the sky, turning everyone in the world to stone.
The incident is pure chaos, as cars crash into stone people, planes manned by sudden statues crash into the earth, and people shatter as they are suddenly immobile, stuck in roads, cars, you name it.
Only the human population (and apparently sparrows) of the earth are affected. A little dog can be seen barking at the end of its leash, wondering why his person isn’t walking him anymore.
The people also appear to be aware of what’s happening, which seems horrific if you think about it too long. There is a long montage of Taiju trying to keep himself sane as the years pass him by. Eventually, nature takes hold of the earth again, and there is barely any sign of human civilization left.
Taiju breaks free of the stone shell that contained him, perfectly preserving him in his mid teens. He travels about, looking for Yuzuriha, and finds her at the base of the tree he had seen her at when the flash hit. He also finds a message carved into the tree next to her head, coaxing him personally to continue down the river.
There, he meets his old friend Senku Ishigami, who has an incredible proficiency with science. Senku needs Taiju’s help with physical labor, since he lacks the stamina to hunt and forage while trying to find a cure for the petrification that struck humanity down.
There is a tragic melancholy weaving through the narrative, because no matter how hard the pair work, you can see fragmented remains of shattered human beings littering the landscape. It’s been 3700 years since the incident (Senku counted the seconds to keep time), and Senku desperately wants to revive people and re-build civilization with science at its core.
The world-building of Dr. Stone is a lot of fun, with Senku rattling off a lot of scientific fact to Taiju, who doesn’t understand much of what’s being said. I’m not sure how accurate the science behind Dr. Stone is, but it’s entertaining in a McGyver sort of way, and the two male leads are great.
The setting is pretty unique, too, and leaves a lot of possibilities wide open for future stories.
There’s also a bit of awesome thrown in, too; Taiju kept himself sane and focused for nearly 4,000 years by focusing on Yuzuriha and wanting more than anything to make sure she was okay.
The animation is pretty good, too, with above-average style and backgrounds, and a bit less static animation than a few of the shows I’ve seen lately. You can freeze-frame just about anywhere and see something pretty neat, especially with how nature’s reclamation of the earth is rendered.
The music works pretty well, too, with an impressive, ominous score that knows when to let off the “swelling wonder” for a little levity.
It will be interesting to see how closely the Dr. Stone anime follows the manga, which I’ve read a bit of. The rest of the cast isn’t introduced in the premiere episode, but they are shown pretty clearly in the closing credits.
Dr. Stone simulcasts on Friday mornings at 7:30am Pacific Time.
Several thousand years after a mysterious phenomenon that turns all of humanity to stone, the extraordinarily intelligent, science-driven boy, Senku Ishigami, awakens. Facing a world of stone and the total collapse of civilization, Senku makes up his mind to use science to rebuild the world. Starting with his super strong childhood friend Taiju Oki, who awakened at the same time, they will begin to rebuild civilization from nothing… Depicting two million years of scientific history from the Stone Age to present day, the unprecedented crafting adventure story is about to begin!