Story: Riichiro Inagaki
Translation: Caleb Cook
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Design: Julian [JR] Robinson
Editor: John Bae
Science Consultant: Kurare
What They Say:
The Grant Bout Tournament to decide the village chief has begun! Standing in the way of Senku’s Kingdom of Science is the powerful warrior Magma, who’s facing Kinro in the opening match. Kinro’s bad eyesight gives him a decided disadvantage, but thanks to the power of science, a pair of glasses might just be the thing to tip the scales in his favor!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah, what a joy Dr. Stone is to read. Even the tournament arc is entertaining, and doesn’t overstay its welcome for what it needs to accomplish. Inagaki, he of Eyeshield 21 fame, knows how long he can keep an audience’s attention for what is one-on-one fights (or in Eyeshield’s case, team-on-team). He even adds general comedy to an otherwise serious tournament, and concludes the whole thing in very Senku fashion.
Kinro put up a good fight against Magma, but was ultimately felled. Chrome managed past Magma’s buddy Mantle in the second fight, setting up for a Magma v. Chrome match in the second round. On the other side of the bracket, Senku beat Kohaku by default due to Mantle’s prior interference, and Ginro beat a previously unnamed and unmentioned character, Argo. I’m mostly caught up with the jump chapters, and I haven’t seen Argo again, nor do I think he needs to be seen again.
The Magma v. Chrome fight is where the real character development happens, and it is, as it seemingly frequently is, with Chrome. He’s been a gatherer and sorcerer, but now he’s a scientist. He’s learning from Senku, and he’s applying that information to his fight with Magma. He takes Suika’s helmet, who had thrown it to Kinro so he could see (both characters are near sighted, and Senku had inserted some glasses into it), and crafts a crude device to try and start Magma’s clothes aflame using the glasses’ lens and his own sweat and tears. It shows Chrome has really taken in all this information, and it also pays off a previous one-off panel that didn’t really mean much at the time. But it’s insignificance shows how much Chrome has been watching and learning from Senku. He’s always observing, and always learning. Human curiosity knows no bounds.
Setting aside Ginro’s character throwing away any development he achieved in the previous volume…It’s the end of the tournament that provides the best combination of entertainment and comedy. It’s Senku who wins the tournament with a low blow on Ginro and a forfeit from a worn-out Chrome. He gets to marry Ruri, which he has no interest in. After marrying and divorcing Ruri, Senku high tails it out of the village with the winner’s alcohol to make his sulfa drug. It’s Kinro that defends him to the current village chieftain, Ruri and Kohaku’s father, which allows Senku to continue his science.
And later it’s Kohaku that believes in Senku while he works his trail and error on Ruri’s ailment, later discovered to be pneumonia. The chieftain, Kohaku, and the rest of the village are just happy that Ruri can be cured, and they all accept Senku into the village as it’s new chief.
Oh, and there are those final few chapters. They reveal that the birds that turned to stone in the first few chapters were, indeed, real birds that were turned to stone. But why were humans not affected when the birds were? Why were only humans affected by the Earth-wide blast when animals weren’t? And who is it that named Ruri and Kohaku, and now Senku’s, village Ishigami Village?
Well, Senku’s father is who did it, 3,700 years ago. He and five others were spared of the blast, as they were sitting safe above the Earth on the International Space Station. They rebuilt humanity as it exists now. And Senku’s father named the village after himself and after Senku. He passed down 100 stories, with the last-named Senku Ishigami. A message to his son that he knew would wake up one day from his stone.
This is the kind of content that thrust Dr. Stone from pretty good shonen to something I looked forward to reading in every jump magazine, back when the digital app was still a digital magazine. Inagaki surely knows where he’s going with this story, and the intrigue is only raised as the chapters raise higher and higher.
Senku’s kingdom of science is being built quicker and quicker, as he finally has the tools and manpower to build upon what he was doing by himself until Taiju awoke. And Chrome is becoming a very useful right-hand man to Senku. Every aspect of Dr. Stone is just getting better and better as it moves along.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: May 7, 2019