Dr. Stone Volume 1 ReviewSeptember 16, 2018
Dr. Stone begins with a kid named Taiju, who had been madly in love with his classmate Yuzuhira for five years, about to finally make a move. He tells his scientifically gifted classmate Senku, before making his way to Yuzuhira. At this exact moment, a bright light comes down from the sky. Though Taiju tries his best to push his crush out of harm’s way, Yuzuhira and everyone else is frozen. Not just the school, but all of humanity is petrified.
Strangely, although all of the people are frozen, they still retain their thoughts and memories. Most others seem to lose the will to continue after a while, but Taiju is determined to save himself and his love from this hell. Months pass, then years, then millennia, but Taiju perseveres through it all, never losing hope.
Taiju eventually breaks free and soon discovers a carving on a tree. The message is from Senku, who has kept his mind from madness by counting each day that he’s been trapped in his icy prison. Thus, we come to learn that Taiju has broken free on October 5th, 5738. It has been thirty centuries since his confession of love to Yuzuhira, and Taiju refocuses his efforts on breaking his love out of her icy prison.
One of the more interesting aspects of Dr. Stone Volume 1 is how Senkuu and Taiju must rediscover some of mankind’s greatest inventions. Senkuu, who self-proclaims himself as Dr. Stone, must rediscover technology such as corrosive agents, gunpowder, and the many uses of calcium carbonate. An antagonist is soon established in a man named Tsukasa, who begins smashing other trapped humans in what he calls, “thinning the herd”. All of his rivals in life are now petrified and helpless to defend themselves, and Tsukasa feels no remorse in wiping them permanently from existence.
The artwork in Dr. Stone Volume 1 is quite good, with detailed environments and facial expressions. It can get a bit cartoony at times, but only when it fits for comic relief and such. I liked how Dr. Stone, as nerdy as he’s portrayed in dialogue, has a decidedly badass look to him, with the crazy anime hair and stone cracks throughout his body. There’s a bit of sexuality throughout the book, as mostly nude females cast in stone can be seen as early as the very first page.
As for the characters, I found them a bit boring and flat in this volume. Taiju is the strong and loyal companion to the super-intelligent Dr. Stone, and their dynamic just isn’t that interesting in this volume. On top of that, Yuzuhira mostly comes off as just a damsel in distress.
Even so, Dr. Stone Volume 1 is a fun read, with good pacing and intriguing mix of scientific know-how and action. If you’re in the mood for a fantasy manga with sci-fi leanings, I recommend checking it out. You can buy the book in print or digital through Viz Media here.