Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi’s Dr. STONE has impressed from the very beginning with its unique premise, striking visuals, and exciting portrayals of scientific discovery. The last installment fleshed the series’s world out, exploring what Senku’s father Byakuya was up to while the rest of humanity was turned to stone thousands of years ago. Vol. 6 picks up with the rest of Byakuya’s story before resuming in the present, where Tsukasa and Senku’s forces are on the brink of war. Is this volume good?
Art-wise, Boichi continues to deliver great work. There’s an effective variety to the thickness of his lines; bold action shots and character spotlights often have thicker outlines while nature and technological imagery tend to have thinner lines more suited for showcasing intricate detail. Then you have the characters’ body language and facial expressions, which are fantastic. Boichi is a master of dramatically increasing or decreasing his level of detail to alternate between both humorous and horrific faces. In both cases, the characters’ reactions are delightfully extreme. There are also some notably creative design choices in spreads depicting scientific processes and the like.
Speaking of science, it continues to be an excellent backbone for the action. Watching Senku explain basic scientific principles and utilize them to create modern tech in the stone world continues to be a treat. Learning the basic premises behind tech we now take for granted really sells how cool science is. Even cooler is how it gets utilized in the characters’ battle strategies. Chemical warfare enters the fray, and a lot of importance is placed on misdirection and taking advantage of one’s natural surroundings. All in all this volume probably has the series’s best action scenes to date.
With that said, many of the best moments throughout stem from emotional character drama. The flashback to Byakuya’s time period concludes and is followed by Senku’s most poignant scene thus far. It’s a great brief moment of vulnerability for a character who’s served almost exclusively as a fountain of logic up until this point. Besides this we also get some nice small instances of characters showing off their personalities in lighthearted ways and just generally being fun to watch.
My only notable con for this volume is one that’s spanned the manga’s entire run: its women, or rather, how they’re drawn. I’m not against fan service entirely, but the execution of it can get ridiculous. Women’s bodies are at times contorted to extremes that don’t even begin to make sense given what they’re doing, and it gets laughable. Fortunately this only happens occasionally in this volume so it’s not a constant distraction.
Overall, Dr. STONE Vol. 6 is a great read. It continues to make learning fun, and it also delivers some unexpected poignancy from Senku and Byakuya. The action throughout is also exciting and incorporates nature in unexpected ways. My only big con is with how laughable the fan service can get, but I would still recommend this series to anyone willing interested in comics and science.