We leap forward in time again to catch up with the events in Dr Stone Volume 3. But, if you’ve missed the previous volumes, Dr Stone is a shōnen written by Riichiro Inagaki (Eyeshield 21) and South Korean artist Boichi (It was all for the Tuna). You can currently find it digitally through Viz Media or printed physically in tankōbon. Dr Stone has a single series of anime by TMS Entertainment Co presently, license to Funimation and Crunch Roll.
Senku meets a whole new cast of characters after parting ways with Taiju and Yuzuriha in the previous volume. The Primitives. Who named because they were born into this archaic world. The new characters open up the plot to a lot more possibilities and avenues for progression. While it’s been enjoyable having the action progress the story in previous volumes. I always like character and world-building that little bit more.
First introduced in volume 2’s climax, Kohaku becomes a series mainstay. I want to say she shows signs of being a full and rounded character. However, on first impressions, she’s attractive window dressing used to move the story along and explain some fundamentals about this new world to the readers.
On the flip side, Chrome is a great new addition to the cast, making his debut in this book. While Chrome’s a lot sharper than Taiju, while being a Primitive allows Senku to explain to him (and us) different scientific concepts. Not just a plot devise, he also has a few comedic moments too. However, one is reminded of the age range of the series when he drops his baaaaad catchphrase.
It’s good to see that both plot and technology advanced at a reasonable rate throughout the volume. It’s nice that Inagaki isn’t decompressing the story as some mangaka’s do. A good sign for the future and you can be happy with the knowledge that each time you pick up a volume, the plot would have moved along by the time you’ve finished it.
The artwork is on point as always. New locales introduced look lived in and like they fit into the world. The brand-new cast additions look individual, and I never get confused with who is who. I still have my issues with the female character design from volume 1, and in fact, they seem to be getting even sexier. I’m not against a curvey character, but I don’t think everyone needs to look like a sex doll. It would fit more if the book is more in the ecchi territory, but it just seems out of place to me here. I’ll have to swallow this bitter pill and deal with it for the remainder of the series, as it’s not going to change now.
I do love when Senku talks about the past (present-day for us), this means we get to see a lovely detailed spread of the modern age. It looks like Biiochi enjoys these as much as I do because they always look exquisite. For the first time in the series, it appears that the typography has had a little attention too. When Chrome first appears, there is a beautiful display of lettering. Bold and distinct, akin to a movie title or video game splash screen. Something I’m looking forward to seeing more of in future.
Too hard to comprehend?
I’ve found that the dialogue lacks nuance in places and it’s a little unclear what characters intentions are. Senku’s initial interactions with Kohaku are entirely mind-boggling. “My name is Kohaku. And I do believe… I’ve fallen for you quite hard.” I mean this is quite a confusing statement when you’re first introducing yourself.
As the volume progresses, Kohaku does continue to have a few more odd lines. Several times I’ve had to go back and reread panels as I have no idea what she is trying to say or the motivations behind it? It’s almost like she’s another of Dr Stone’s sexy body pillow females but this time crossed with a parrot. I’m not sure if this is a weak writing or translation issue.
Luckily for the readers, the scientific content keeps you entertained and coming back for more. The real-life science is detailed enough for the core shōnen audience. Each invention or discovery is a joy to see, and I love learning a few little facts in each chapter. One particular moment is when Senku is trying to recruit new team members and introduces the Primitive characters to Ramen he’s created. It’s fun to see Inagaki show the science behind everyday objects.
There is a slight problem with the Dr Stone world science. While I don’t expect to understand the ins and outs of petrification just yet, I do feel that when it discusses specifics that Senku does know about, it glosses over them. I’ve read one section several times, and I still had no idea what it was trying to explain. Maybe this is intentional, you don’t want to write yourself into a corner in volume 3, but it was mildly frustrating to think I was the one being dim.
Is Dr Stone Volume 3 worth reading?
Despite having some small issues with the writing and artwork, overall I think Dr Stone is progressing in the right direction. It’s strange to say; volume 3 is a good jumping on point if you don’t want to invest in the first two tankōbons. If you’ve picked up the first two volumes, it’s worth grabbing this one as the story is starting to get some legs. If you’re new to the series, Dr Stone volume 3 is an excellent jumping-on point.