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Dr. Stone 009-011 – 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:

Taiju wakes up 3,700 years later to find that civilization has long rotted away. But thankfully Senku, Taiju’s best friend, has also revived! The two set about finding a way to free everyone from their stone lumber and restart human society.

Review:

Chapter 009:

Chapter 009 opens on attempting to contact the other humans sending up smoke signals. Taiju and Yuzu are sent off to gather more wood while Senku keeps the fires burning. Unfortunately Tsukasa takes Yuzu hostage and threatens to kill her if Senku doesn’t tell him how to make the revival-fluid. Senku tries to remain strong, but caves in even though Yuzu is willing to sacrifice her life.

Oh god! She looks amazing with short hair! What am I gonna tell Taiju!?

My biggest issue with this scene is that Yuzu has felt like a pretty weak character. She’s been used entirely as a damsel in distress up to this point and while a later chapter here does try to rectify that, it still feels so disappointing that our only female character continues to be more of a plot device than an actual person.

We get a brief tease of another character, a mysterious woman, before returning to Senku and Tsukasa. The chapter ends as Tsukasa tries to force Senku to give up science/reviving our developed civilization. Taiju also is finally clued into the situation and runs to help. This feels like the most weighty of the three chapters. While the next two feel surprisingly thin on content.

Chapter 010:

Chapter 10 focuses on building Senku’s backstory and fleshing out his character motivations. It’s super transparent that Senku is, seemingly, not going to make it to the end of the chapter. We even get a bit of a retcon in the sense that Senku and Yuzu are apparently much more familiar with each other than was first let on in the manga’s opening chapters. At least, I never got a strong sense that the two of them really knew each other that well. She was more Taiju’s friend/love interest than anything else.

Seems a tad too ambitious.

Back in the present Senku tells Tsukasa he could never give up science, so he chooses death. As Taiju rushes to try and save Senku (Which begs the question what he’d even do since he’s sworn off physical violence.) it’s seemingly too late as Tsukasa appears to snap Senku’s neck.

Chapter 011:

Tsukasa has killed Senku and that sends Taiju into a fit of rage. He’s seemingly moved past his no violence policy, but as it turns out he’s still in control. He hurls a large boulder into the sky, getting Tsukasa’s attention, while Yuzu runs to the side to grab a pot of the black powder they’d been collecting earlier. The manga spells out that to Tsukasa women are to be protected. The need to spell out Yuzu’s leap into action almost gives this chapter a feel of “Baby’s first non-plot device female character” but is nice to see all the same as this is really Yuzu’s first true defining character moment.

She hurls the pot at him and Tsukasa becomes enveloped in the black powder. As the rock Taiju hurled comes crashing down a hug explosion seemingly envelopes Tsukasa. I still find it hypocritical that Taiju is against physical violence, but is totally okay with potentially blowing a man up.

He might be okay.

Overall these are again better than the last set. While I don’t believe Senku is actually dead, although I’d be impressed if he was, I am curious to see how they explain away his non-demise. I’m also intrigued enough to continue, if for nothing else than who the other people were that had been sending out the smoke signals.

I’m still far less positive than others seem to be on Dr. Stone, (and it did fall significantly in the last set of rankings) but I’m coming back around, slowly, to how I felt with its first chapter.

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.

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