Dr. Stone Welcomes Us to the Rock-pocalypse

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 1 of Dr. Stone, "Stone World."

The first episode of Dr. Stone begins on a perfectly normal day. We meet our two central protagonists at high school: the thick-headed but sweet natured Taiju Oki and his mad scientist classmate, Senku Ishigami -- whose gravity-defying, green-tinged hair could get him mistaken for a new Yu-Gi-Oh! hero.

Senku offers Taiju a potion that will boost his pheromones so as to make him more attractive to Yuzuriha -- his crush -- as he confesses his feelings to her. Taiju turns the poisonous poison (which was actually gasoline) down, as Senku was certain he would. Taiju instead opts to simply declare his feelings to her and await an honest response. Midway through his declaration, however, things take a dramatic turn from coming-of-age romantic comedy to apocalyptic science fiction.

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A mysterious green light engulfs Earth, trapping every human being in stone. Somehow, Taiju remains conscious inside his tomb; determined to finish his heartfelt confession even as months, years and, eventually, decades go by. In that time, nature -- free from the detrimental effects of human progress -- creeps in to reclaim lifeless towns and cities, creating a luscious, wild world that is both futuristic and primordial at once.

3,700 years pass until, just as mysteriously as he was encased, Taiju breaks free from his stone shell, his body -- luckily -- perfectly preserved inside. Following a nearby river, he makes his back to where his school building once stood, still intent on making his feelings known to Yuzuriha's stone form.

When he arrives at her location, however, he finds that someone else has gotten there first. Using the instructions he discovers there, Taiju is surprised to find that Senku had also broken free months before him, and has already constructed a ramshackle treehouse for himself -- complete with a makeshift laboratory.

His survival method was far more scientific than Taiju's. Rather than keep his focus on the object of his affections, Senku instead counted the passing days, ensuring that when he was able to crack the stone, he'd do so in spring for the best possible chance of continued survival.

With Taiju now awake, the pair form the perfect brains and brawn alliance -- Taiju becoming the hunter-gatherer and Senku directing him in exactly what he should be hunting and gathering. More importantly for the developing story, the pair also commit themselves to restarting human civilization. Of course, it doesn't take a super genius like Senku to figure out that repopulating the planet will require something they don't currently have: women. Senku has already begun work on a possible cure for petrification but he's missing a key component to perfect it.

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This is where Taiju proves himself to be good for more than just growing a great winter beard. During his foraging missions, he comes across some grapes and, on hearing Senku list nitric acid -- found in alcohol -- as the missing piece of the anti-petrification puzzle, suggests that they make wine.

The pair spend the next year distilling nitrol and guano (from bat droppings) until they're ready to try out their concoction on a test subject: a stone-covered bird. And... It works! The bird emerges from the cracked rock as good as the day it was frozen. Taiju reaffirms his strong desire to tell a non-petrified Yuzuriha how he feels, while Senku gloats about defeating "fantasy" with science.

New episodes of Dr. Stone air every Saturday night as part of Cartoon Network's Toonami block, and every Friday on Crunchyroll.

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