After nearly five years, the Dr. STONE manga series has come to an end with Chapter 232. The series, written by Riichiro Inagaki and illustrated by Boichi, has sold over 10 million copies to date and won the 2019 Shogakukan Manga Award for shonen. It inspired an anime, the third season of which is scheduled for next year, with a special episode and final bonus manga chapter coming out later this year. There is also a spinoff manga series, Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya, focused on the few survivors of the initial stone world attack (though it is considered non-canonical).
A Dr. STONE Primer
For those unaware of the premise, Dr. STONE takes place in a distant future after an unknown event suddenly and rapidly covered all humans on Earth with a layer of stone. One day, brilliant teenage scientist Senku Ishigami emerges from the stone. He finds one of his former classmates and discovers the secret to freeing others from their rocky prisons.
The series follows Senku and his growing group of allies as they try to rebuild civilization through the application of science while simultaneously seeking to unlock the secrets of how the world entered into this Age of Stone.
If you enjoy intricate, accurate discussions on the scientific method, Dr. STONE is for you! It delivers, presenting such detailed discourse in a unique and entertaining way. As others have pointed out, the series ended up being surprisingly accurate in its portrayal of science. In fact, former Mythbuster Kari Byron did an interesting video on the topic for Crunchyroll:
With Dr. STONE coming to an end, I decided to get together some of our staff members who have been reading the series, so that we could pool together our thoughts on this fantastic series. We talk about the ending, the series as a whole, and anything else we wanted to highlight about the series.
Dr. STONE Retrospective
The end of Dr. STONE. Wow. You know, I knew this was coming, but I really didn’t want it to. But, as we’re all aware, all good things must come to an end. I can count on one hand the manga that I’ve followed all the way through to completion, and this one, I am glad to say, is one of that number. I absolutely LOVED Dr. STONE from beginning to end. Were there times when I felt like it was a little confusing? Oh, absolutely. Were there times when I completely forgot character names and plot situations? Yup. But much like the story itself, all I had to do was find an anchor—something to center on and reorient myself to the story as a whole—and I would fall right back in love with it.
That anchor is Senku himself. From the beginning, this Leek-haired bro has been the bedrock (nyuk, nyuk) of this series. He’s so unlike any of the other shounen heroes out there, and because of that, he’s probably one of my favorites. Confident but not arrogant, intelligent but not a know-it-all, a loner but always willing to bring people together. And when you combine a character like that with endearing and lovable characters like Taiju, Chrome, Yuzuriha, Gen, and Kohaku, you get a rich story that keeps you coming back chapter after chapter.
With regards to the ending, I’m pretty satisfied. While there are a few plots that I would’ve liked to have seen resolved, on the whole, I think they handled the ending well…though they did that dawg gone thing where it feels like they’re setting up for another story arc…only to slap “THE END” at, well, the end. Ah well, science never stops even though the story does, and we can only imagine what kind of scientific shenanigans Senku and crew will get up to next. Now, to get excited about the anime special coming in July!
Dr. STONE has been such a roller coaster for me. When it started, I was hooked quickly. The entire concept—worldbuilding, characters, everything—just clicked for me. However, after a while I felt it became stagnant. There were times where, quite honestly, I got tired of the schtick and was ready for the series to end. Yet, I kept persisting, and the series kept going. And invariably, it would pull me back in, either through the interesting scientific discussions, or by doing something off-the-wall ridiculous, like making fidget spinners!
Then the final arc began. Yes, it was a bit rapid fire at times, but I just got so hooked on that final arc. Everything about the preparation, going into space—it all just worked for me. It reminded me of why I got into the series in the first place: the cleverness, the science, the camaraderie. The ending was satisfying to me. It does what every scientist knows to be true by reminding us that science does not end. Ever. I appreciated the ending and while I don’t expect a sequel series, the finale left things open enough that if they decided to revisit the series at some point in the future, it could happen. Overall, I enjoyed the ending and felt it wrapped up this series well.
Ah, Dr. STONE! This one goes on the shelf, alongside The Promised Neverland, as one of the greatest complete manga series that I’ve had the privilege of following from Day 1. Why do we get so drawn into these stories? And why do we feel a sense of loss when they come to an end? Sure, the art is wonderful, the plot is mind-bending, and the humor is uplifting. But what sets a truly great story apart from the merely excellent is how well the characters become our friends.
I came to love the Dr. STONE cast, and I loved watching them grow. When they succeeded, I rejoiced; when they struggled, I wept beside them. And now, these friends are leaving us. We can always go back and reread the manga, like opening a photo album of departed loved ones; but we can never go back and watch them grow and live as we did the first time.
So I’m going to conclude with an image (shown to the left) of what is probably my favorite moment in the entire series. Through it all, Senku has a fixed set of expressions: excited, shocked, playful, and the like—but never vulnerable. Except here. As he stands before his father’s grave, all alone, he cries. For one moment, we see Senku the boy: missing his only family member, shouldering the inhuman responsibility of saving the world, feeling weak in the face of a task that he knows only he can accomplish. And like the stone on the revived humans, his façade cracks. Senku is truly human, and we will miss him.
Have you been a Dr. STONE manga reader? What did you think of the ending of the series? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!
Dr. STONE is published by VIZ Media through their Shonen Jump imprint.