Sunday, January 1, 2023

REVIEW: Dr. Stone (manga, vol. 1) by Riichiro Inagaki, art by Boichi, translated by Caleb Cook

Dr. Stone is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi manga. I checked out this volume from the library.


Taiju is a high school student on his way to confess his feelings to Yuzuriha. However, just before he does it, there's a huge flash of light and a wave of something that transforms every person and animal it hits into stone. Most lose consciousness during this transformation, but Taiju stubbornly clings to his desire to protect Yuzuriha and finally tell her how he feels. Approximately 3,690 years later, he somehow breaks free only to find the whole world overgrown and filled with statues rather than people. Some were broken over time, but luckily Yuzuriha is still whole.

Taiju soon encounters Senku, his best friend and the smartest person he knows. Senku broke free several months earlier and has begun his plans to rebuild civilization from scratch. He's limited in what he can do on his own, though, and Taiju happily becomes the brawn to his brains. After Senku discovers a way to revive petrified people (but only those who haven't been broken to pieces over time), he and Taiju use their new knowledge to revive a couple people. Unfortunately, one of them, Tsukasa Shishio, believes that only some people deserve to be revived. He's more than strong enough to force Senku and the others to follow his lead, but Senku has science on his side.

Even before Taiju was revived, Senku managed to create a few basic tools, build a tree house, create pottery, find food that's safe to eat, and extract salt from seawater (for flavoring and preserving food). With Taiju taking over all the most physical work, Senku had time to concentrate on testing different methods for reviving people (starting with petrified birds as test subjects). After that, it's time to get some calcium carbonate, something that will help with several parts of Senku's ultimate plan to rebuild civilization.

While reading this, I couldn't help but think of isekai with female protagonists. Granted, this had way more shouting, muscles, and nudity (with strategically-placed greenery) than a lot of those series, but Senku's plans to recreate the world he used to live in reminded me a lot of the ways those heroines would try to recreate foods and personal hygiene products from their worlds. In Senku's case, it's looking like the first big thing he's going to work on, now that he's able to revive people, is weaponry. To be fair, he has a good reason, but I couldn't help but laugh that the cooking aspect of "rebuilding civilization" was (so far) limited to smoking meats/fish and seasoning them with salt extracted from seawater.

My library has volume 2 as well, so I'll be seeing at least a bit of where this goes now that the basic premise has been established. At this point, I have lots of questions I'm not sure will ever get answered like: Did this affect the whole world? If so, how did some of the animals keep from getting petrified? Maybe I'm thinking too much, but I've heard a bunch of positive things about the science in this series, so I don't think it's out of line to ask questions.


Brief notes from both the author and illustrator, and a short side story in which Taiju attempts to make pottery and ends up with something that looks like a pile of poop instead.

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