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Dr. Stone Vol. #02 Manga Review

3 min read
Imagine waking to a world where every last human has been mysteriously turned to stone…

Science!

Creative Staff:
Story: Riichiro Inagaki
Art: Boichi
Translation: Caleb Cook
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Design: Julian [JR] Robinson
Editor: John Bae
Science Consultant: Kurare

What They Say:
Imagine waking to a world where every last human has been mysteriously turned to stone…

Senku, Taiju and Yuzuriha are well on their way to crafting gunpowder when they spot smoke far off in the distance. Convinced that it’s a sign of other humans, Senku takes a huge risk by sending up a smoke signal of his own. Meanwhile, Tsukasa is determined to stop Senku from making gunpowder, and his arrival on the scene could spell the end for our heroes!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dr. Stone has quite a long prologue; it began last volume and continued halfway through this one! But it isn’t quite a prologue, though really I’m just splitting hairs with the definitions in my head. This first section of the manga deals with Senku, Taiju, and Yuzuriha trying to survive in their first days and months in this world 3,700 years in the future. That, along with fighting against Tsukasa, makes it quite difficult to keep alive. And all while trying to rebuild the scientific world they came from.

It ends in surprising fashion, with Tsukasa taking Yuzuriha captive and Senku sacrificing his life for her. It’s the kind of illogical, un-science-like move that really defines Senku as a character. He’s a dude who absolutely believes in science, yet can’t help himself with it comes to sentimentality. He knows science, and he believes in science. But friendship and relationship above all else, even his own life.

The second part of the manga, and the next 50 or 60 chapters or so if I recall, all deal with a low-simmering rivalry between Senku, who Tsukasa believes to be dead, and Tsukasa, who is rebuilding the world with his own ideals. In Tsukasa’s world, older and corrupted individuals would be destroyed still in their stone form. It is seemingly a meritocracy where the strongest survive. But Senku wants to revive everyone, old racists and all. He believes in science, he has faith in the relationship, and he values human life. These few chapters in this volume are just the beginning of these two clashing over ideals and much more.

Taiju and Yuzuriha join Tsukasa’s ranks as spies and so the story begins…

The science aspect of the manga is one of the more enjoyable aspects for a pleb like me (I was, uh, not great in science class…). Senku is having to science himself from the bottom up, and it’s incredible to watch him do so. Of course, all these elements exist in the world as we know it, but he’s throwing them together effortlessly. It’s a kind of problem solving that isn’t unlike a mystery television show, but Senku is usually just trying to figure out how to create a certain substance without having a key element. He’s problem solving by gathering context clues around him and figuring out that such and such thing someone mentioned is actually this important and useful thing. It’s fun for me, and it’s great they have a science consultant to make it all real (or at least sound real to me, the uninformed—I’m a writer and an editor, not a scientist).

In Summary:
I forgot just how much of a turn it took after these first 12 or 13 chapters, and how fun it was to see Senku, Taiju, and Yuzuriha combating directly with Tsukasa during that time. The direct antagonism toward each other sets up the slower burn of the subsequent chapters of the manga extremely well, as it sets a tone and expectation for what’s to come as well as sets the stakes for what they’re all fighting for.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 6, 2018
MSRP: $9.99


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