Anime Expo 2019
Dr. Stone Premiere Report

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Shonen Jump is known for its hot-blooded heroes, whether they're trying to pull off a spike at the volleyball net or become the village's greatest ninja. Readers know they can turn the pages of Shueisha's manga magazine to get their weekly dose of demon slaying and plucky orphans. The question becomes how does a series standout from the crowd?

The first episode of Dr. Stone has all the makings of a standard Jump title. It plays with the formula just enough to make sure it's discernible from its action brethren, but not enough to make its audience uncomfortable. Dr. Stone is still comfort food - just in a different locale.

The series duo is comprised of a classic brain and brawn team. Senku is scientific prodigy of sorts who spends his days in the school lab. Taiju is his burly best friend. He might not excel academically, but he's an honest, endearing guy. He decides to confess to his longtime crush but before he can get the words out, all of humanity is inexplicably petrified. Time moves forward and through sheer will (Senku) and undying love (Taiju), both buddies manage to break free from their stone skins several millennia into the future. Nature hash reclaimed the Earth, leaving Senku to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, in hopes of freeing those who are still trapped, including Taiju's prospective girlfriend.

It looks like Dr. Stone is hoping to do for science what Food Wars! did for cuisine. Eyeshield 21 story writer Riichirou Inagaki and artist Boichi enlisted help from a science consultant in ensure Senku's experiments weren't bunk. This attention to detail is carried over into TMS Entertainment's anime production. Series producer Shusuke Katagiri told premiere attendees at Anime Expo that, unlike the manga, the anime also had to consider things like color, sound, and movement when properly representing Senku's contraptions and experiments. In the first episode, Senku is trying to distill alcohol from grapes in order to combine it with acidic bat guano. He doesn't have access to a distillery, instead recreating a system first utilized in Mesopotamia. In turns out that humans began mastering the art of getting drunk pretty early in our history.

This "tradition" carries over into Dr. Stone production today.

"The production team is very fond of alcohol," Katagiri said. "So we would get sloshed. While we were thinking about what we would do 3,700 years in the future, we would getting totally plastered. Basically, the show is built on alcohol."

Crunchyroll is giving the series a huge push around the convention center and immediate Los Angeles area. A black moving truck toting dual screens circled the convention center while playing the Dr. Stone trailer.

Key art was posted on digital billboards on nearby skyscrapers. Inside the convention hall itself is a stage with two petrified humans; not mannequins but actual performance artists tasked with holding completely still for hours. The first episode dropped on the streaming service today with a unique CR logo fade in that, as far as I know, has not been used on any of the site's previous co-pros or season streaming titles.

The Dr. Stone anime may not be breaking any new ground, but it looks to be another solid entry in the Shonen Jump library.


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