The post-apocalyptic, civilization-rebuilding science-adventure Dr. Stone has become one of the most entertaining and popular manga series running in Shonen Jump, resulting in an anime adaptation that is currently simulcasting on Crunchyroll and FUNimation as well as airing Saturdays at midnight on Toonami. At Anime NYC, CBR spoke with Dr. Stone's writer Riichiro Inagaki and artist Boichi, who recently created his own spin-off manga Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya, on their work on the hit series.
CBR: Inagaki-san, your first big hit was a football manga (Eyeshield 21). Now you're writing a science manga (Dr. Stone). When you were growing up, were you more of a jock or a nerd?
Inagaki: When I was in grade school, I did play sports, baseball, soccer, so I did grow up playing team sports. I think my experiences from that time might be reflected in Eyeshield 21. But that was in grade school, so I would never consider myself a star player, but when it came to brain power, that was where I excelled, so I became a storywriter and a non-athletic person.
Boichi-san, you've done art for both Japanese manga and Korean manwha. What's the biggest difference between working in the two different industries?
Boichi: That question is really interesting! I have material I can tell you for three days, so let me tell you two differences. First of all, the big difference is the Japanese manga artists have a classical spirit as an artisan, whereas manwha artists have more like a traditional artist point of view. The second is that in Korea, because of political reasons, there are no erotic manga. But Japan does. To me, I think erotic manga is important to providing energy to manga in Japan. It plays the same role as horror films in Hollywood.
Do you consider Dr. Stone to be part of or inspired by the isekai genre?
Inagaki: As I was writing Dr. Stone, I started to notice there are aspects that reflect the hit genre. Am I gonna avoid it? No, because if I think it’s entertaining, and everyone thinks it’s entertaining, great. Even if it hits that typical genre, I will hit that with a bigger genre ball. On one hand, I would say no, but on the other hand, when there are similarities, that motivates me more to create something even bigger than that genre.
I feel like you could make a really good crafting-centered video game based on Dr. Stone. Any chance of a game adaptation?
Inagaki: It’s something I really want. If someone can do it for me, definitely.
Boichi: I really hope it can be turned into a game.
Inagaki-san, there was a story that spread around the internet earlier this year about you getting a bunch of different famous Shonen Jump manga-ka to draw your son a birthday card. Would you want to do any bigger collaborations with any of those manga-ka?
Inagaki: So those manga-ka, they’re actually just my personal friends. I gathered them and put it up on social media and it went a little bit viral. I’m a little afraid of the results of that! They are just my personal friends, so do I want to do a collaboration with them? Definitely not!
Boichi-san, you're now writing a spin-off series, Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya. What's it like to go from drawing these characters to now also writing for them?
Boichi: I would like to ask you to imagine my position. It’s like I just had a jackpot at a casino, and on the way out, I won a lottery at the same time! This chance came to me with Inagaki-sensei to create Dr. Stone, I thought it could not be better than this in my life. Now I’m doing the spin-off, and now I have this lotto! Imagine that’s how I feel. So that was how I felt when we started, but once we started I told myself to calm down. In the Reboot, what’s important is I am trying to learn from the story Inagaki-sensei created and the editing that [Hiroyuki Honda, editor of Weekly Shonen Jump] does. I told myself this is an important chance to learn a lot from these artists. I’m learning story from Inagaki-sensei and that story is actually published on Shonen Jump. Wow! That’s fantastic!
How will Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya proceed from here? Please let us know what you can.
Boichi: I really don’t know how far I can reveal to you. When we first discussed the storyline with Honda-san, my question was “Is it OK I have so few characters?” Honda-san assured me that would be OK. Up until the fourth chapter of Byakuya, you can still see the similarity to Dr. Stone. However, after it will reveal more traditional science fiction.
The Dr. Stone manga is currently in its third major story arc. How many arcs do you see this story going for? Is Dr. Stone going be a relatively contained story like The Promised Neverland or is it the goal to go on as long as One Piece?
Inagaki: I get this question often, and it’s an answer that’s hard to give. We have a certain goal we’re striving for, but as far as the journey goes that’s unknown. It might be a windy U-turn, it might be a short journey, it might be a long-journey. It’s hard to answer. I actually asked that question myself to Boichi-sensei in the past, and he said, “Do whatever you feel does justice to the story.”
Boichi: I hope it will last for a million years.
So you gotta train your successors for when you’re dead.
Boichi: I should be evolved into a new being to live and continue Dr. Stone!
New episodes of Dr. Stone air every Saturday night as part of Adult Swim's Toonami block, and are available on Crunchyroll. Viz Media publishes chapters of the manga in English weekly.