The Daily Stream: Dr. Stone Is The Science-Loving Adventure You Need To Catch Up On

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Series: "Dr. Stone"

Where You Can Stream It: Crunchyroll

The Pitch: When a mysterious beam of light covers the world, every human becomes petrified. But after 3700 years, one 15-year-old kid named Senku is suddenly revived, and using nothing but his Jimmy Neutron-like intellect, Senku sets out to restart human civilization using stone-age tools. "Dr. Stone" is based on the manga of the same name by Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi.

Where most "edutainment" shows focus too much on one part over the other, "Dr. Stone" manages to strike a perfect balance between thrills and fun. It also teaches something about how humanity achieved the technological advancements that brought us to today. With two seasons and a special episode out, there's never been a better time to catch up on this exhilarating show.

Why it's essential viewing

"Dr. Stone" stands out amongst most shonen anime because it is not about powering up and becoming stronger for its own sake. Instead, this show is a love letter to human perseverance in the face of adversity and a love letter to science.

From the moment Senku wakes up, the anime rises the question of, should humanity be brought back indiscriminately? Or selectively? Once you try to bring every human back and all of human civilization, wouldn't it also bring back war, inequality, and bigotry — and if the last few months have taught us anything is to really think twice about the value of modern civilization. But "Dr. Stone" is not "Attack on Titan." This is by no means a nihilistic or cynical show, but a deeply optimistic one that argues that darkness and goodness both are what make us human. 

As for science, that is where the heart and soul of "Dr. Stone" lies. This is the best example of on-screen science since "Breaking Bad" went off the air, with a painstaking level of detail when it comes to portraying science experiments on the show (and if you don't believe me, believe Kari Byron from "MythBusters").

As an anime, this has some of the most gorgeous backgrounds in recent years, and a fantastic score that pulls at the heartstrings in surprising moments. Plus the voice acting makes the over-the-top characters feel likable, particularly Kengo Kawanishi as Gen Asagiri, a mentalist from modern Japan who often serves as comic relief and a skeptic of Senku's experiments.

The first season of "Dr. Stone" focuses on Senku trying to win over a group of potential allies who never knew the ancient world, and season 2 focused on a war against a group of unpetrified teens that want to rule the new stone world.

Welcome to the kingdom of science

The recent special, titled "Dr. Stone: Ryusui," serves as an introduction to the upcoming third season, and also as an encapsulation of everything that makes this show special.

Like the previous two seasons, "Ryusui" shows the bad side of humanity, once the titular Ryusui (a petrified former sailor and also spoiled rich brat) introduces a currency backed by faith in oil (from a reserve that may not even exist) and capitalism to the post-stone world. But the characters quickly find a way to con the conman by introducing their own aspect of capitalism: department stores and high-end fashion. Even beyond its hilarious gags (and instructive videos on sewing), the anime shows that greed is a natural part of being human and can actually be a good motivator to reach new heights.

The special also does a fantastic job of showcasing how "Dr. Stone" portrays the marvels of science and the human spirit. Senku is not a cold and detached scientist like Dexter from "Dexter's Laboratory," he recognizes that science is also just fun. To convince people to join him, he first makes sure they actually care about bringing back technology with things like ramen.

"Dr. Stone" excels at making you care about science and engineering advancements we take for granted in our modern world, from corrective lenses, to music records, phones, or even just a lightbulb. In the new special, just seeing one of the villagers discover that the Earth is not flat because he can see the sunrise from a hot air balloon is more powerful and emotional than many shonen battle scenes.

"Dr. Stone" is one of the best science-fiction anime stories, a show about humanity persevering in the worst adversities, and about the wonders of science and engineering — while delivering magical moments like this.