I’ve always enjoyed civilization-building games. If you aren’t familiar, these types of games center on the player guiding a society’s progress through the ages by gathering resources, managing cities, and making scientific breakthroughs. Watching a civilization advance from a stone age tribe to space-faring explorers under my leadership is something I find very satisfying. If this sounds at all interesting to you, then I have a recommendation; check out Dr. Stone.
The story begins in the modern era when all of humanity is mysteriously turned to stone. After 3700 years the main character, Senku, emerges from his stone statue and finds himself in a stone age world reclaimed by nature and filled with the statues of people turned to stone. What follows is an incredible adventure, where Senku works to restore the modern era using science to overcome threats and obstacles.
One of the most engaging aspects of the series is how real it is. Senku doesn’t invent a bunch of magic boxes that work just because the plot demands it. Everything Senku crafts is something humanity has already made in the past, he just uses his vast knowledge of mankind’s scientific and technological history to choose the right invention for the right situation, given the materials and time available. The series always makes it a point to explain the history, crafting process, and underlying science of whatever Senku whips up. Basically, if you’ve ever imagined yourself in the past and wondered how amazing you could do with all the modern knowledge you have at your disposal, this story is for you.
The tone of Dr. Stone is light-hearted adventure. In addition to its educational aspects, the story also makes great use of comedy to keep the overall atmosphere jovial, despite the post-apocalyptic setting of the story. Dangers are few, with most of them rooted in the inherent risks of chemistry. The art style is both easy on the eyes and excellent for the story, the scientific inventions are well detailed, and the characters are hilariously expressive.
I typically don’t enjoy stories that take place in a post-apocalyptic setting, as they often come off as brutal, pessimistic, and, overall, a real downer. That’s not what you get here. This story isn’t a series of failings where characters are struggling to survive, it’s a celebration of humanity’s ingenuity and our triumphs over adversity. Sometimes, we take for granted the world we have today, we can forget just how far we’ve come. Lights, medicine, cars, phones, and electricity, we can forget that it was all earned slowly by generations of people building on the work of their predecessors. Dr. Stone shows how, we took a chaotic world, learned its rules, and harnessed them to make this planet into the home we know today. This slow process, that took us two million years of effort, is what we call science.
The anime of Dr. Stone has been licensed by Crunchyroll and is viewable on their website. It is currently on its 6th episode, with updates every Friday. If you are also interested in reading the manga, the series has been licensed by Viz and is available on their website. It is currently on its 116th chapter, with updates every Sunday.
About the Author:
Robert Pugh is a freelance writer from Ohio. He graduated from Wright State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history, spent a summer in Japan, and loves trying new things.