Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya is an exceptional side story about Senku’s father and his crew on the ISS several days after humanity was turned to stone.
The original Dr stone manga is a currently ongoing Shonen Weekly Jump title written by Riichiro Inagaki and illustrated by Boichi. According to Inagaki, Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya it’s a “what if?” story set in an alternate universe of the main series. By Inagaki’s admission, it’s not canon, but it still uses the same real-world settings, events, and characters associated with the original. Dr stone. By all accounts, Restart It feels canon, but perhaps saying that it doesn’t give the mangaka flexibility to choose whether or not they want to use the plot points that Boichi established here.
All that said, this one-volume story once again introduces readers to Senku’s adoptive father, Byakuya Ishigami. It was initially introduced in full in Chapter 42 of Dr stone after Senku first discovers the villagers of Ishigami village. In that chapter, a flashback sequence occurs in which we witness a young Senku’s curiosity for space and Byakuya’s goal of becoming an astronaut in the hope that Senku will be proud of him. We see that Byakuya finally passes his exam and can finally launch into space. Restart continue from this point.
Three days after its launch into space, the original mass petrification event that wiped out humanity at the beginning of Dr stone it is also the catalyst for this manga. Byakuya and the crew, who are out of range of the petrification beam, safely witness the event from the International Space Station. It is unclear how Byakuya concludes that humanity must have been turned to stone, but he is determined to return to Earth to save them anyway. He especially wants to meet Senku, whom he is convinced will awaken from the stone and help bring humanity back.
Without getting into major spoilers, most of this one-volume story takes place in space. The original Dr stone takes place on Earth where Senku and his crew solve problems and create items to pave the way for their mission to restore humanity. Rather, Reboot is partially focused on the logistics of returning to Earth from space as technology begins to fail and maintaining a space station with limited resources. Despite knowing where Byakuya and the team end up already, the spinoff series offers an exciting look at the characters working through this catastrophic event in real time.
Speaking of characters, Byakuya is just as infectiously funny as Senku, if not more so. With several chapters in the spotlight, we can see how cool, caring, and kind of a man he was. His charm conveys the story, making it almost frustrating that we have limited time with him. That said, Byakuya carries much of Restart on his back, while outshining the rest of his crew, which is ultimately quite forgettable.
The exception is Byakuya’s lovable robot, Rei 23, who becomes the focus of the second half of the manga. Rei 23 guides readers through an entertaining yet emotional story from the perspective of a robot as it is trapped in a failing space station. Despite sounding boring, the isolated adventure unfolds equally healthy and stressful. It is all elevated by how spectacular Boichi’s art is, bringing life and excitement to a robot and fostering a substantial degree of concern for its livelihood.
From detailed spacesuits, robotics and machinery, to solid character designs that readers of Dr stone They’ve gotten me used to it for a while, Boichi complies. Just as he was able to convey Senku’s rudimentary contraptions in the original story, he also superbly illustrates the complex intricacies of a complete space station. Whether it’s the lush greenery and blue ocean of Earth or the vast dark blanket of space, it is evident that Boichi’s skill shines through no matter the environment.
The experience was brief, but this one-volume “prequel” had an emotional impact that continues to show that Boichi is a very talented artist, but also highlights some writing skills. Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya it’s a heartfelt story that adds significantly to the main series and potentially sets the stage for later points in the plot. For fans of the original series, this is a must read.
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