It's pretty rare for a show coming out to really live up to the hype. If you followed my reviews of anime before this, you'll already know I was one of the most critical people about Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan was one of the biggest shows fora while and I could never really get behind that one, and I absolutely hated That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime. So while Dr. Stone I didn't see a lot of people talking about it, the people who did watch it seriously seemed to love it, and it feels kind of good to see a show live up to all that hype.
The main character of our story is Senku, who seems to be the only person to have awakened after a mysterious event causes the entire world to become petrified. However he awakens 3,700 years later, so all the technology of the world is effectively gone, and all the civilizations turned to rubble and have disappeared with the flow of time entirely. He now works tirelessly to try and find a way to undo the petrification of everyone, while having to use his knowledge of the science to rebuild civilization in order to survive.
The story really kicks off not only when his friend Taiju wakes up, and Senku discovers the formula needed for reviving the petrified. However, when attacked by wild animals, they are forced to revive Tsukasa, someone Taiju recognized as a powerful warrior who would be able to help them survive. Turns out that Tsukasa kind of hates the old world and the people who ran it, and wants to prevent science from ever taking off, with the exception of the revival formula he is going to use to bring back only the youth,and to never allow science to become a thing again.
The entire season is focused on Senku trying to establish a 'Kingdom of Science' to fight against Tsukasa's' Empire of Might', and he does so by working with a group of primitive villagers (Well, primitive by the standards he's used to)and try to defeat Tsukasa who is the only one near the source of the Nitric Acid needed to create the formula. The show's theme is the shear power of Tsukasa and the army he is reviving being matched up against Senku and his expanding the current era's scientific power.
I don't want anyone to go into this show thinking they will see the final showdown because that won't'come until season two. This season is largely just establishing the creation of the Kingdom of Science. You have a growing interest in how this group of villagers is even here, as they didn't seem to be revived from petrification, yet have no knowledge of a world before it happened, or even that the statues of people they see every where are actually, people. They are of mixed ethnic backgrounds despite all being in Japan, they seem to have knowledge of certain animals not native to the area, and a lot of other things that just don't seem to fit together.
Where the show really shines is how much I love the characters. Despite being way out of everyone's league mentally speaking, Senku clearly realizes how much help he will actually need as he is nowhere near a physical specimen that you would need to be to create much of anything in this world, especially when he is faced off against Tsukasa. And while the show focus's mostly on him, it's amazing how well he meshes with the variety of different people in this time, even though at first you'd think they would have so little in common.
There are his two friends from before the world petrified whose relationship feels very genuine, him and Tsukasa don't even seem to hate each other or hold any animosity towards the other in the slightest, which is quite interesting. It really does just come down to their own ideological views of how things should be, and there really is no way to reconcile the difference, violent confrontation really does feel like the only way these two could possibly end. I'd go on, but there are a lot of villagers that become important to the story, but no matter the sizeof the cast, the show does a fantastic job at making each and every relationship you see feels real.
Furthermore, I love how fallible Senku comes across in this show. A lot of times in shows like this the lead character just feels so far beyond everyone else, and considering the shows overall premise of how wonderful science is, they really could have copped out and do just that with Senku. For example, what he has when he first wakes up Tsukasa isn't nearly enough to stop him then and there. Even as time goes on, the growing empire of Tsukasa feels like it is going to be far more then Senku can readily handle despite the growing science of the village. Senku is often forced to rely on his allies to not only do what he cannot in terms of manual labor and detailed craftsmanship but to get him out of situations he ends up in by him slipping up or not noticing something he should have earlier.
He is still definitely the 'Strongest'in the show, at least in relation to how vital he is to the coming victory, but I like that everyone feels like they need to be therefor all of this to come together. It not only shows the value and power of science, but that you need a lot more than just that to come out on top. It's been a while since I have seen a show like this that doesn't seem to actively fight against its own themes. Shows like YuYu Hackisho, which I still love to this day, made a huge deal out of human spirit energy, only to completely undercut themselves in the last season or even Naruto trying to showcase that hard work is the key factor while giving Naruto every possible advantage under the sun to make him stand out (Two powerful bloodlines, trained by the strongest Ninja's in the land, the reserve energy of a giant demonic fox), but here they do a fantastic job of blending together both science and hard physical work without ever feeling like one wasn't important.
And while this is still an anime and corners are cut for pacing issues (And possibly being able to do things that they simply shouldn't be able to do with their current tech) I love how closely the logic of the show falls in line with how the science actually works in the real world. In addition to having just a fantastic story and wonderful characters, it actually makes the science behind everything they are doing interesting and fascinating,which is largely tied to it's importance and relevance to the story.
There is one big complaint I do have,however, and that is the show's tendency of just kind of having them stumble across the things they may need, or how much coincidence plays a role. For example how close Tsukasa was when they were attacked by wild animals, or how close to a village then ended up being, conveniently located mineral deposits, and other such things.It's not nearly enough to kill the show, but it's pretty easy to notice and can feel a bit lazy at times.
There are also a few issues I take with the origins of the village, though I can't get into details without spoiling it. All I will say that the issue there is similar to the complaint I have about how coincidental everything in the show is.That said it inevitably leads to what may be one of the most touching moments in anime this entire year and caused me to rate this show higher on my year-end list than I originally thought it was going to be. Because of that, I can't really hate on it all that much, despite being a bit of a problem for me. The payoff was worth it.
Dr. Stone is one of the best shows out this year. It has a very unique premise, some fantastic characters,and manages to keep high tensions throughout even though any actual fighting is pretty minimal. This is a show that is definitely worth checking out.