Dr Stone: It’s Got Science…and Some Other Stuff

Dr Stone‘s selling point is its science in a world that’s long lost the concept, but to be honest, there’s more to it than that…

Dr Stone is a science story at heart in the same way Cells at Work! is, sure, but it’s also a whole bunch of other things. Dr Stone starts as a love story between Taiju and Yuzuriha, y’see, and that’s basically the main thread of the first manga volume.

After reviving Tsukasa, however, it becomes a stereotypical fighting shonen (at least for a little while), albeit one flavoured with ~the Power of Science~. Interestingly, Taiju may be called “big oaf” every now and again by Senku, but he’s never thrown a punch in his life (and neither has Senku, being the Science Guy), which is a nice reversal to the norm.

Tsukasa’s bigger role in the story is to make Dr Stone a story of clashing ideals that portrays altruism as king, even over “survival of the fittest”, which is what you’d assume to be the reigning ideal of a stone world. Emphasising altruism is more a sign of civilisation and an enlightened society, so trying to get back to modernity as it was before this second stone age is an interesting perspective. Moreover, this mindset of “beating the enemy ~with Science~” brings to mind the space race in particular, itself characterised by modernity due to rapidly encouraging the growth of technology in order to reach an end goal.

Furthermore, if appearances are deceiving, then Dr Stone is no different. Particularly, Senku looks like he should be much older than a high schooler when he’s introduced and his act as straight man to Taiju’s “big oaf” gives him derpy faces that add to that effect. Tsukasa, too, looks like Tarzan when he was introduced (which I think is the point, considering the way he’s presented as taking down lions), while Taiju himself seems to be the one that steers closest to shonen formula with his overreactions and general stupidity. If I had to hazard a guess, Taiju seems to be inspired by fellow Jump protagonist Luffy, although he’s not as dense on the romantic side of things.

Sidebar: I hate to break it to you, but there’s foreshadowing in Tsukasa’s name – the characters that make up his surname mean “lion king”. Likewise, Senku’s surname is “stone god” and Taiju’s first name and surname are explained in-story to be two variations on “big tree”.

The thing that pisses me off vaguely about this series, like most other shonen, is its relegating of women to the sidelines. A punchline to one of the chapters is that “two men can’t be Adam and Eve” (“It’s called a metaphor!” Senku yells as a response to this)…yes, even if that’s not the true point here, it gives off a bit of a strange vibe when, in the real world, LGBTIQ+ people have more acceptance than ever. Even without picking at that, Yuzuriha’s job seems to be “stand there, be cute and be protected”, if not doing the traditional womanly things like cooking. You’d think a stone world would at least cause gender equality to be more visible…then again, we are just getting started at this stage and outside Yuzuriha, we don’t have anyone else to represent what femininity looks like in this work so far…

Sidebar 2: One of the things that struck me about Yuzuriha was her eyes don’t match the boys’ – they look like an imitation of shoujo eyes, whereas the boys’ are considerably more realistic. In that sense, I find Yuzuriha’s eyes a bit creepy…

Overall, I think Dr Stone‘s heart is in the right place, but by thinking science and modernity will save us all, it also brings back some of the more negative norms of (Japanese…?) society and even modernity as a whole, for better or for worse. However, these are only observations I’ve taken away from the first volume of the manga – two more are at my local library as I type this and of course, I’m going to try dig into those before the anime surpasses me.

So, are you looking forward to the anime of Dr Stone? To those who understand Senku’s science and who’ve read the series, how does the science shape up? (I asked my usual science consultant – who has a chemistry minor – about the “love potion” gag at the start of the series and according to them, it’s mostly right…it’s just the wrong type of petrol to make a car work.)

To those in the comments section: No manga spoilers if you’ve read past the 7th chapter/1st volume, please.


8 thoughts on “Dr Stone: It’s Got Science…and Some Other Stuff

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  1. Wasn’t planning on watching this one.
    Once I noticed that the main character has two green onions hanging down his face, I couldn’t unsee it. And that’s enough for me to pass on this one, plus there are so many other anime that I’d rather see anyways instead of just another fighting shounen.


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