Dr. Stone 002-004 – Manga Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Taiju Oki is a big muscle bound oaf. But he has his heart in the right place. In fact, today’s the day he plans on finally confessing his love to his long time crush, Yuzuriha. After getting his blessing from his best friend, Senku, an arrogant and confident mad science student, Taiju rushes into action. But just as he’s about to profess his feelings for Yuzuriha, a brilliant light shines over the world– and turns him and everyone else to stone!
Warning: Spoilers to Follow:
I’m a bit less enthused with these chapters than I was with Dr. Stone’s 1st chapter. Chapter 2 focuses on a couple things, first, life in this new world. This means how foraging works, showcasing how inept Taiju is and how smart Senku is.
We switch gears after a few pages to showcase Senku’s attempts to free other beings from their statue like slumber. This is the manga’s most interesting concept and one it squanders away in this chapter.
We skip through time via a lengthy montage as the two work to create an elixir/salve that can free animals and humans from their stone forms. I feel like this is a big mistake. I don’t mean to say we shouldn’t see characters freed from stone ever, but the manga could’ve held off on this for a few chapters and better established the world. As it is, the swiftness with which we solve this conundrum speaks both to where the author is placing his attention, and ability to tell this particular story.
It feels like so much is squandered and skipped over here. While the montage indicates how long it took them to create this salve, it undermines the effort required to undo this crazy stone event, as our characters haven’t even really begun their story and they’ve already cleared a major hurdle.
While Chapter 002 saw our heroes figure out a cure for the stone condition of the human race, Chapter 003 at least prevents them from saving Yuzuriha right away as well.
Initially this is held up by a comedic bit about Taiju concerned with Senku seeing her naked. However the two are quickly attacked by a lion, which makes very little sense. We saw how long it was taking them to come up with a cure, at least through a season or two, and prior to then they never once were stumbled upon by this pack of lions?
The two eventually become cornered and it’s explained to us that Taiju is too nice a guy to fight back against the lions. He’s good for physical labor, but nothing else. Seems like he’d be kind of useless at protecting Yuzuriha in this new world, but okay. So the two are forced to awaken Tsukasa, a strong schoolmate of theirs from years passed.
Pouring the salve over him he awakens and with a quick explanation of the situation from Senku, makes short work of the lion’s pack leader.
I feel like the execution is way off here. The lions are already an issue, but the convenience of bumping into the one super strong guy, coupled with the realization that Taiju has absolutely no ability to fight to survive? How does he ever believe he can protect Yuzuriha? Also, if Senku is so smart, why didn’t he have weapons prepared for possible attacks by the wildlife? There’s a plethora of plot holes that compound this entire flow of events.
Chapter 004 primarily focuses on showcasing Tsukasa’s impressive physical ability, discussing what’s needed to rebuild the world, and Tsukasa’s innately violent tendencies/intense hatred for the world’s former society. The manga tries to set this up as almost science vs brawn, or might makes right. Neither character understands the argument against Tsukasa’s claims about pure children and corrupt adults is that really all children eventually become ‘corrupt’ adults. So it’s an argument that I feel pretty uninterested in since it feels lacking nuance and is otherwise exceedingly basic.
Senku decides he can’t possibly let Tsukasa find out how they can free people with the salve, but Taiju stumbles in right then and blows the lid on everything by excitedly calling out that they’ve collected enough of the substance to save Yuzuriha.
Overall these chapters really soured me on Dr. Stone. It’s first chapter was well done, and offered up a boat load of potential, a ton of which is then squandered in these following chapters. I’ll probably give it another few issues to pull me back in, and maybe if tension really gets going between Senju and Tsukasa things will pick back up, but right now I feel my interest has waned significantly.
Let me know your thoughts on Dr. Stone in the comments below!
Dr. Stone can be found in Shonen Jump and will be available to read for free at Viz.com.