It’s hard not to see that Shonen Jump and its publisher Shueisha are on a roll. Of course, in the past, the weekly anthology manga series has been responsible for some of the biggest anime ever. But while those are all series all maintain their incredible popularity, they haven’t been content to relax. Instead, lately, they’ve cranked out even more great series, like Black Clover, My Hero Academia, and most recently, Dr. Stone, a series from Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi that started in 2017, and recently got an anime adaptation. Doubtlessly another hit in the making, here are ten facts about Dr. Stone every anime fan should know!
10 COOL, A NEW SHONEN JUMP ANIME! WHAT'S THIS ONE ABOUT?
Doctor Stone starts out in our modern era. One day, a strange green light begins to cover the world, turning every human in its path completely to stone. After that, for the rest of the world, time continues to go as it normally does. Days pass…then months…then years. Over three thousand years, actually. Enough time passes for the Earth to take back all the cities humanity has created, for animals to be allowed to roam the world freely, and for the entire landscape of the planet to alter in a way that restores the planet to the stone age. And then one day, the humans reawaken.
9 SO, DOES ALL OF HUMANITY WAKE UP AT ONCE?
Absolutely not. In fact, although all of humanity is frozen into stone, their bodies are subject to the elements and natural disasters occurring around the world. Earthquakes, storms, and hurricanes occur even when humanity’s not around, after all. Moreover, just because they’re all made of stone doesn’t mean they’re invincible—in some ways, they’re far more vulnerable than they once were because they’re stationary.
If their bodies are toppled over by animals or extreme weather conditions, they’re likely to shatter. In other words, not only does all of humanity not wake up at once, much of humanity isn’t even alive anymore.
8 WHO'S THE MAIN CHARACTER?
The lead character for Doctor Stone is Senku Ishigami. He’s the first human to wake up and is one of those absurdly intelligent kids that tends to exist in anime and comic books. When the series begins, he’s roughly sixteen years old, and up until things get real Adam and Eye-y, he spends most of his time in a science lab working on inventions. He’s a genius and most of the information we get about the current state of things comes from him, right down to what year the series begins in, because he was able to count the over one million days that passed while he was encased in stone.
7 OH, NEAT! SO DOES THIS SERIES HAVE A BUNCH OF SCIENCE STUFF?
Totally. When the series begins, Senku has been awake for months already and has skipped the hunter-gatherer phase of humanity’s humble beginnings. Instead, he’s already built a rudimentary house for himself out of basic materials found in the forest he’s living in, while collecting herbs, fruits, and vegetables he can eat.
From there, his goal is to gradually rebuild society, taking humanity from the stone age to the modern era again all in his single lifetime. Many chapters of the manga (and the anime) involve successful re-discoveries or re-inventions of important human inventions, with episode two focusing around calcium carbonate, used to create mortar, soap, and improving soil.
6 THEY WANNA REBUILD SOCIETY?! HOW LONG IS THIS SERIES SUPPOSED TO RUN?
That’s a great question. It’s a shonen jump-based series and those tend to run forever, after all. But considering they’ve already skipped steps that took humanity far longer than a few months to figure out, we probably aren’t looking at anything absurd like a One Piece length series. The whole point of the series is for humanity to recover all of what it lost. Sure Senku is only sixteen (though he’s technically almost 4000), but for him to catch back up with technology from the 21st century they’re going to have to do it by leaps and bounds. The series is only scheduled for twenty-four episodes, currently.
5 ANY IMPORTANT SIDE CHARACTERS?
Of course! While Senku is the first person to awake that we know of, he certainly isn’t the only one. The second person to wake up is his friend Taiju Oki. Because anime is a world of extremes, Taiju is the exact opposite of Senku. While Senku is a super-genius who remembers enough of society’s tech to help us recover what humanity lost, Taiju is all about physical power: strength, speed, and stamina. He was about to confess to his childhood friend Yuzuriha when they were both frozen in stone, and one of the first things he aims to do when he awakens is help her wake up as well.
4 ARE THERE ANY VILLAINS?
Well, it’s pretty early to say but there’s a strong chance the villain is the third person they awakened. His name is Tsukasa Shishio, and he’s absurdly strong. They wake him up because a situation demands the help of someone powerful, and he turns out to be exactly what they’re looking for. Of course, the concern is that he could be too powerful for his own good.
Later on, this seems to be confirmed when he explains his belief that society should avoid awakening any adult humans out of a belief that they would only ruin the planet as they did before everyone was turned to stone.
3 SOUNDS SERIOUS. IS THIS AN ACTION SHOW LIKE DBZ?
It’s pretty doubtful. Though both Taiju and Tsukasa are incredibly powerful and capable of doing things normal humans in real life pretty much couldn’t, creating a world in which characters constantly top their previous amazing feats with newer and more unrealistic/inhuman ones doesn’t seem to be what this show is aiming for. In fact, Senku specifically notes how despite Taiju’s absurd strength and stamina, he’s never shown himself capable of throwing a single punch. Though there’s still time for this to change, this is going to be more about using intelligence and science to save the day than it is any combat.
2 SO...WHAT HAPPENED TO YUZURIHA? IT'S WEIRD THIS SHOW'S ALL DUDES.
The young woman Taiju almost confessed to before everything on Earth was turned to stone is definitely still around. She’s the fourth person to wake up after Senju, Taiju, and Tsukasa. The only reason she isn’t the third is Taiju refuses to wake her up at first because she’s not wearing any clothes, and he wants to preserve her dignity. Still, even at the early point of the anime, she’s already an active member of the cast, allowing the character archetypes to be more than just “smart guy”, “bad guy”, and “strong guy”. Too bad she doesn’t remember Taiju’s love confession.
1 IS THE MANGA EVEN DONE? THIS WON'T HAVE AN "ORIGINAL" ENDING, WILL IT?
Yeah, that’s a bit of a problem. Doctor Stone actually managed to get an anime series incredibly quickly considering how new it is. The manga is absolutely still running, and they’re barely beyond one hundred chapters at the moment. Fortunately, the series is only scheduled to run around 24 episodes, and they’re barely adapting three chapters an episode so if they want this series could easily go on hiatus for a year or so and give the manga time to get ahead again, like My Hero Academia. There should only be an “anime original” ending if they choose not to do another season.