Dr. Stone Volumes 5 and 6 by Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi
Dr. Stone’s science-infused shonen post-apocalyptic story continues to be amusing. The fifth volume works through the shonen staple of a tournament fight in order to decide the chieftain of the small village that Senku intends to use to build his Kingdom of Science. There are opportunities to expound on the benefits of optics in battle, both for improving eyesight and setting things on fire. The tournament doesn’t last overly long though, and Senku turns his attention back to manufacturing basic antibiotics in order to save the life of Kohaku’s sister.
I was glad to see this series take more of a detour into the backstory of the event where everyone turned into stone, with an appearance by Senku’s father who was an astronaut. The decisions he made up in space during the event ended up ensuring that Senku would find allies once he woke up. The contrast between a crew of castaway astronauts living in Senku’s past and building the idea of oral traditions with Senku’s contemporary science-based approach was interesting. The looming possibility of conflict between Senku’s Kingdom of Science and Tsukasa’s growing empire continues, as a raiding party attacks and Senku’s allies narrowly escape. Boichi’s art is always dynamic, but I particularly enjoyed the scenes in this volume where a poisonous wind is portrayed as a terrifying giant looming over the landscape. Occasionally seeing the characters portrayed as tiny against the immense backdrop of nature just brings to home how difficult it is to cobble together a society with only a few resources.
I’m still getting more impatient for another appearance by Taiju, but I’m hoping as Senku and Tsubasa race towards an epic confrontation he shows up again. This is still a fun series because I never know what type of invention will be featured next, and Senku’s cerebral enthusiasm makes him an entertaining shonen protagonist for anyone wanting a slightly different slant on fight scenes.