Dr. Stone 019-021 – Manga Review
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.
Chapter 019 starts to address some of my issues with the series. Namely this chapter begins an entire arc on crafting medicine for Kohaku’s sick sister, Ruri. I still have qualms with its portrayal, but it’s a great first step in actually incorporating science into a narrative that’s so centered around it.
We mostly follow as Senku finds Chrome’s great stash of various rocks and stones, a brief experimentation with that, before moving onto the introduction of Ruri herself. A number of the 40 some odd characters introduced last time are seen here, although play no significant role, making that two page spread pointless because outside of recognizing some faces, it holds no real barring on events.
Senku also tells Chrome the history of the world before then vowing they’ll build a world of science and cure Ruri’s sickness. It’s a bit of a lame duck conclusion to the chapter as we, the readers, don’t know Ruri very well and she means nothing to Senku, outside of way to get the villagers working with him.
We get a two page spread here showing the villagers reactions to Senku’s presence on the outskirts of the village. There’s also something about the village chief talking about breaking rules for mingling with outsiders, I guess implying there are potentially other villages?
Otherwise Dr. Stone does something cool for once, introducing us to a form of antibiotics rarely mentioned as Penicillin ultimately superseded it. It’s great that the series is finally introducing us to lesser known science and is one of the more interesting things it’s done since its inception. I wish it had done this earlier however, as early ‘lesser’ science methods that’ve been superseded by more modern answers seem like they’d be what Senku would really be working towards early on. But this is the first real mention of anything that isn’t modern, or specific to the series’ setting (such as the stuff to cure the stone skin.)
We get a fun little two page spread detailing the method of creation for sulphonamides before moving onto Senku explaining some basic science stuff to Kohaku and Chrome. We then move onto the effort to craft the antibiotics for Ruri.
My one big issue is Senku’s confidence and the complete dismissal that Antibiotics might not cure Ruri. It’s something very quickly skirted as if it’s not even a possibility. A series I had more faith in might get me to think this’ll blow up in Senku’s face. But more likely Dr. Stone is taking the commonly held belief that antibiotics are some kind of cure all, when that simply isn’t the case. Otherwise I’m still very much impressed with the usage of science here. It’s at least better than it was before.
As the quest to construct antibiotics continues we meet Suika, a little girl with a weird helmet over her head. She quickly becomes enamored with Senku for not asking about the weird thing on her head (damn, easy to please.) and joins the party.
During this we get some hints that Ruri might know more than she’s letting on, as she’s passed down loads of stories to the others and makes use of more intellectual based words compared to the rest of the tribe.
We also get Senku’s first efforts to create Iron, the very first step in the long journey to craft antibiotics. It doesn’t go well at all and Senku finds he just doesn’t have the man power to make the components burn hot enough.
The chapter ends with our newest addition, Suika, offering herself as a detective to sneak around and find out what will bring people over to Senku’s side. Senku readily accepts.
While I’m generally more pleased with these chapters than previously, I feel it’s a bit too late for someone like myself. Dr. Stone has made strides to incorporate actual science more readily into its plot, and teased more mysteries concerning characters like Ruri. But overall I find my attention and interest in the series hasn’t returned with these improvements. While I’d no longer call Dr. Stone a poor or outright bad series, I still think it’s sub-par compared to other titles in Jump.
So my coverage for the series ends here, but anyone still continuing on is more than welcome to come back and comment here with their thoughts. I’ll potentially still follow the series and perhaps, if my feelings change, cover Dr. Stone again in some capacity.
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.