“Do all living things exist to multiply? Only God knows the answer to that. And I don’t give a rat’s *** about God! I only care about not having to see the tears of such beautiful women!”
In Dr. Stone, science is everything. This is mainly because of Senku, the genius who seeks to rebuild civilization after a petrification beam was used to revert everyone to stone. What others call “magic,” Senku terms science. He even says words like “hope” and “luck” are not in his vocabulary. Instead, he relies on science to solve all of his and society’s problems, such as lack of food, water, and resources. His ultimate goal is to return society back to the way it was, to found a new world based on science.
And for that, he’ll need allies. Whether that is his best friends, Taiju and Yuzuriha, or the people of Ishigami village, like Kohaku and Chrome, he will use anyone and everyone to reach his goal. Even Ryusui (the character from the quote above) acknowledges that he is being used by Senku to sail their world exploring vessel, and he is pleased with this deal. Senku will also recruit allies from the “enemy,” such as Gen, Nikki, and Magma. He’ll do whatever it takes to bring his vision to light: a world without God, a world where science is God.
Will he be able to do it? That question hasn’t been answered…yet. But with twenty-six volumes of the manga published, and only half of them explored in the anime, the show is going to be in-progress for a while yet. Until then, let’s consider whether science is really king.
[spoilers ahead; for content warnings and a summary, scroll ahead]
From the very beginning, Senku has revered science more than God. In fact, I imagine if you asked him if God exists, he would either say that is a subject for philosophers or reject God’s existence entirely. In Senku’s mind, if something isn’t verifiable with the five senses and scientific method, it doesn’t exist. Senku isn’t alone in this philosophy, and I imagine he would agree with Stephen Hawking’s statement about the existence of God:
"What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary."
It’s interesting that Hawking doesn’t believe God is necessary for the universe to begin, but it is understandable from his point of view. After all, he is an atheist who viewed all scientific discovery through that lens. His worldview formed his results. But even in this quote, you can see that he has left room for God’s existence and the realization that he cannot prove that God doesn’t exist. Furthermore, other scientists have studied the origins of the universe and found a complexity and design there that has led them to believe someone or perhaps something (such as aliens) has created the universe.
"I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery, but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing." ~ Allan Sandage
The debate for the existence of God from a scientific perspective is much more than this simple blog post can expound upon. However, let us return to Senku, his friends, and their views about science.
Senku uses science to help the villagers find sustainable food, cure disease, and invent modern technologies using primitive tools. When he brings electricity to Ishigami village for the first time, Kohaku and the other villagers are filled with a sense of awe. Watching that particular clip, you might even see it as an act of worship, where they are astonished that science can make something so beautiful come alive (in this case, a Christmas tree). Their reaction, to Senku, is an opportunity to be inspiring. In a sense, he is telling them that this is just the beginning of what science can do.
Yet, science has limits. As even Senku acknowledges, the science of human behavior is beyond him. He often has to rely on Gen to manipulate the general populace and make Senku seem better than he really is. Gen also comments on Senku’s inability to make great deals because Senku prefers straightforward, logical manners, and humans are often illogical and erratic. Even though Gen can motivate many to do what Senku wishes, even Gen acknowledges that people are unpredictable at times and beyond his psychological, scientific, means to manipulate.
Love is another area where Senku’s science cannot go. Even though he knows how to create make-up and add product to someone’s hair to make them attractive (as was the case in the very funny Kohaku makeover episode), he doesn’t know how to foster feelings of love. In fact, he pretends to make a love potion for Taiju in the first episode, knowing that such a thing cannot be created or used, but as a way to test Taiju’s resolve. He also admits that love is a distraction that he prefers not to embark upon, focusing instead on scientific endeavors. His focus reminds me of a song from Hello Dolly, where Dolly confronts her love interest in verse, telling him that he can snuggle up with his cash register if that is what he really wishes. I think Senku would be pleased to “love” the art and study of science. But can such things really fulfill the human soul and purpose? I think not.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”― C.S. Lewis
Love, relationships, and human being’s behavior. Although scientists have tried, they cannot fully comprehend these things. Humans continually search for meaning and purpose, struggling with depression and anxiety in staggering numbers, and finding no true answers in science. That is where C.S. Lewis’s quote makes the most sense: if trying everything scientifically does not satisfy the human being, then perhaps the divine is the answer. Because Senku may be satisfied with science as God, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is.
Language: Words such as a—, d—, and h— are scattered throughout the series. Also, it’s clear that the characters are irreverent towards God (as the quote above shows), but I can’t recall any instances where they take the Lord’s name in vain.
Sexual Content: Since petrification destroys people’s clothing, they are naked when they are revived. Senku doesn’t care, often commenting on how in the stone age, no one cares about your butt hanging out. From the beginning, he is seen naked with stone pieces and bushes covering his privates. On the other hand, Taiju shows enormous care about nakedness, especially around girls, and will wait until a girl receives clothing before he will revive or witness the revival of a girl from petrification. As for the women themselves, they often wear revealing clothing or dresses. They can be seen naked taking a bath (with water/steam covering them). Kaseki loses his clothes when he is excited (but his underpants usually remain). There are also men who ogle at ladies, especially Ruri, who is considered the most beautiful girl in the village. Ruri and Chrome have a sweet romance, and Ruri and Senku get married, but then divorced (long story with no sex involved). There is uncertainty around Francois’s gender. Ryusui will proclaim his love for all women, but it is not necessarily sexual. Amaryllis uses her charms and attractiveness to manipulate men around her. Moz has an almost predator vibe about him, as he hunts for attractive women to add to the harem and speaks of breaking them. (Nothing has been currently shown about Moz doing this, just his threat to Kohaku). Ibara is also perverted, grabbing and molesting women as he wishes (all that is seen in the anime is him reaching out his hand to molest Kohaku and almost losing his fingers). On that particular island, it doesn’t matter if a woman is married or not—if she is pretty, she is taken and essentially raped (though it is if off screen).
Violent Content: There are fights with spears, swords, shields, and other weapons. However, most are not bloody with the exception of when Senku, Tsukasa, and Hyoga fought. One time, Senku “dies” when Tsukasa snaps his neck. You hear the snapping noise, but no blood is shown. Tsukasa is frozen as he is near death. Chrome pretends to be sick by eating berries and spitting up fake blood. Yo is a corrupt cop and his violence and cruelty is shown, but not blood is. Magma uses his strength to bully and beat down several people, including Chrome and Kinro. Chrome gets a bloody nose from the fight. Kinro is knocked out. Ginro eats too many herbs and there is a discussion of how/why he has to use the bathroom often. Hyoga jumps up so that two of Tsukasa’s muscle-men are killed by poisonous gas. All that is shown is an outline of their bodies.
Dr. Stone is a fun, action-packed anime for those who enjoy interesting characters and a compelling plot. Although it has problems philosophically, the show itself is amusing and generally light-hearted. It also is informative, helping viewers learn scientific concepts they may not have known before. If you can tolerate the content, then you’ll find this show to be a delightful form of escapism.
M.H. Elrich is a Christian Fantasy author, reader, otaku, and teacher who wears too many hats. In her spare time, she watches T.V. with her husband, rides horses, and travels to places with lots of trees. Her work has been featured in two separate books: Finding God in Anime and Where Giants Fall, and her stories have won several awards at the Kern County Fair. She is currently writing and publishing the Daughters of Tamnarae series.