Sunday, 21 February 2021

The Power of Science is Amazing!


Every year, I like to try and watch at least one anime show I've never seen before. 

I tend to be a bit picky with the anime I watch these days. Long gone are the days as a young twenty-something where I'd watch anything if it was anime. I don't have as much time to dedicate to something like that anymore afterall.

I have a habit of sticking to series' I know and love; Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Digimon... but it's nice to branch out every now and then because you never know what you will enjoy. That said, a series has to really capture my attention to watch it, whether it's through seeing trailers or seeing others talk about a specific series.

In previous years I've watched things like The Ancient Magus' Bride and The Promised Neverland which I both thoroughly enjoyed and are series' I would continue watching beyond their first seasons (though I have only seen episode 1 of season 2 of The Promised Neverland as of writing, but it's on the watch list.)

This year, I decided to choose to watch Dr. STONE. I'd been meaning to give it a try as the concept intrigued me and I'd seen a few people talk about it and share artwork on Twitter. With the second season 'STONE WARS' approaching at the time and myself eager to give a new series a go, I decided to gradually start watching season 1.

I definitely wasn't disappointed.


(The following entry may contain mild spoilers for the show, but I've attempted to not go into too much detail beyond the basic plot.)

The show follows the protagonist Senku Ishigami, who is petrified into stone, along with the rest of humanity, through some bizarre light that covers the entire world. Senku breaks out of the petrification around 3,700 years later to find that human civilization no longer exists and the world has regressed back to the stone age.

Using his expansive knowledge of science, Senku aims to rebuild human civilization from scratch, creating a kingdom of science and save all the the other people in the world that are still petrified.

The cast starts off small with just Senku, and his friend Taiju, as they attempt to survive in the stone world they've found themselves in. Senku is the smarts of the group and Taiju is the physical strength. They are later joined by Tsukasa, who becomes the antagonist of the series and Taiju's love interest, Yuzuriha.

Later on, Senku finds a primitive village of people and aims to gradually win them over and build his kingdom of science in order to use it against Tsukasa, who believes that the world has been purified and should remain that way, only wishing to revive the young as he holds a very sour perception on how adults selfishly claimed the previous world as theirs, resulting in things such as wars. He worries that if Senku revives the adults and recreates 'weapons of science', that this would repeat and once again taint the world.

Tsukasa and Senku

The characters are all quite fun to watch and I didn't have a hard time identifying the characters from each other as they were introduced, which can happen with me when casts in a series get large and some characters aren't as stand out as others, but for the most part, the main characters mostly stand out well and are all a lot of fun to watch.

Senku is brilliant and eccentric, though can come off as a bit of an asshole and somewhat skeevy at times to comedic effect. He thinks very practically and doesn't get too hung up on emotional stuff usually. That said, he cares a lot for those he forms bonds with, in his own Senku-like way, and wouldn't turn his back on them.

Taiju is... very loud! If you don't like characters who shout a lot, he's probably not a character you'll get hooked on, but he's an incredibly loyal friend to Senku, who he holds a lot of trust in.

Tsukasa is a character who is freakishly strong and protective, and, for the most part at the beginning, comes off as a 'good' person, but he's also very unsettling, something Senku quickly picks up on. As you learn of his ideals for keeping the stone world 'pure' and his sourness over reviving adults who he sees as greedy and selfish, he begins showing that he's not beyond killing people for that ideal he holds. He destroys the stone statues of adults, so they can't be revived, without a second thought, effectively 'murdering' them, or as he sees it - 'culling' them.

There's also the characters within Ishigami village; Kohaku - the brutish youngest daughter of the villager chief and the first to befriend Senku; Chrome - A fellow science user who originally describes it as 'sorcery' and begins to better understand science through Senku's knowledge and Suika - a young spirited girl who wishes to make herself helpful, as well as many more.

Additionally, there is also Gen, a mentalist who was revived by Tsukasa. He's good at bluffing and tricks and can be fairly self-centred, but he quickly defects to Senku's kingdom of science from Tsukasa's group, as he holds quite the fascination with Senku.

This cast is one where I found myself liking most of the characters, including antagonists like Tsukasa, so it’s hard to pick favourites, but I quite enjoy watching Senku and Gen’s interactions with each other, which are often highly entertaining.

Gen Asagiri and Chrome

Kohaku, Suika and Ruri

I found myself really hooked and amazed on how Senku, along with the help of the village, are able to create so many things, just by using items and chemicals they can find in the stone world. Apparently all the methods he uses are actually real methods that could be used in such a setting and they work hard to make the science as accurate as they can get it. Senku's science talk goes over my head, but I think, for the most part, the viewer isn't supposed to understand a lot of what he's saying, which also goes for most of the other characters in the show, who also have no idea what he's talking about a lot of the time. (Though occasionally a 'mecha' version of Senku will pop up and explain some of the scientific processes using visuals to explain it better for the audience.)

All we know is that it means more gruelling work for everyone!

I've really found that I absolutely LOVE the soundtrack to the series. I haven't been able to stop listening to it!

The music through a series is always something I take note of and a good soundtrack really compliments a good series. I'm not great at commenting on or describing music, but Dr. STONE's soundtrack compliments it nicely with wind type instruments in a lot of the music, to capture the essence of the primitive world they're in, but also has a lot of more modern sounding music with things like incredibly catchy rap tracks. A lot of the music really gives the effect of an epic, and somewhat whimsical, journey in a primitive world and others give somewhat quick paced, goofy or busy sounding music, great for Senku's gruelling science projects.

One thing I loved about the series is how Senku occasionally references things like video games and whenever they acquire something through a science project, a little box pops up saying ''ITEM' was acquired!!' or if someone joins their group it'll be 'PERSON has joined the party!!' as if they're gaining items and team members needed for a quest in a video game. It's a nice little detail that I've found quite enjoyable and amusing to see.

I was very quickly pulled into this story and found myself very much engrossed in Senku's aim to rebuild human civilization using science. 

As of writing this post, I’ve gotten up to the latest subbed episode of season 2 (Episode 6) and it’s safe to say that I’ll be joining other fans of the series in looking forward to the newest episode each week.

If you're interested in watching the show, it can be found on both Crunchyroll (Sub) and Funimation’s (Dub) streaming services. If you don't have a subscription to either of these services, but don't minds ads, the newest episodes become free to watch without a subscription after a week on both services. Older episodes are also free to stream.

I've seen a few clips of the dub and I can tell that the dub cast does a great job portraying their characters and I was amazed to learn that Senku's English VA is Aaron Dismuke, who as a child, played Alphonse Elric in the original 2004 Fullmetal Alchemist anime.

In the end, if you like science and some wacky hi-jinks involving said science, this is definitely a show for you.


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