VSIs one of the most popular titles of the moment for fans of manga shonen (adventure manga for teenagers) since the start of its publication in France in April 2018. The ninth volume of Dr. Stone, which has just been released in France, is the scene of a crucial confrontation between the characters. It also confirms the particularly original character of this series which celebrates both the intellect and the muscular bodies.
Very distant cousin of His majesty of flies, this survivalist tale depicts a group of teenagers in a society returned to the state of nature, more than three thousand six hundred years after us – a mysterious explosion has petrified the whole of humanity. Two high school students who manage to wake up one day manage to do everything possible to restore scientific progress and save their peers. To restore civilization, the inexhaustible Taiju puts his strength and energy at the service of his friend Senku, a brilliant brain. There will quickly be supporters of a new order who prefer to wipe the slate clean and get rid of petrified people so that humanity does not repeat the same mistakes.
The extravagance of Dr. Stone already resides in the duo of authors brought together by the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump, locomotive of the manga in Japan. At the writing, Riichiro Inagaki, screenwriter ofEyeshield 21, one of the most famous sports manga. In the drawing, the Korean mangaka installed in Japan Boichi, particularly applauded for his series Sun-Ken Rock. The obsessively precise feature of the latter is in Dr. Stone immediately recognizable: exacerbated Apollonian muscles, particularly expressive faces, short-clothed and fantasized women with for “Absolute model” actress Sophie Marceau, as he confided to the specialized magazine Atom in 2019.
“Boichi makes particularly muscular characters and bodies, who have a propensity to go in physical contact rather than clashes from a distance with projections of energy or other, explained to World Riichiro Inagaki during an interview in Tokyo organized by his French publisher Glénat, last November. So when I think about the story and the evolution of the characters, I try to play on these qualities. “
Fast forward to the progress of humanity
If the action and the fights are indeed present in the series, the hero of the band, Senku, is clearly not the strongest physically. But it has a certain advantage from the start. His disproportionate scientific background, it is certain, will allow him to impose the “Kingdom of science”, which would ensure its survival more than staying in the “Stoneworld”, this new stone age. From the first chapters follow a frantic race – exhausting will find some – to obtain new scientific advances, as if one put the technical progress of humanity since its inception fast: powder, glass, electricity … If the conquests are fanciful in their course, they are nonetheless based on a certain veracity.
“At first I didn't necessarily decide that the manga would revolve around science as much, but it turns out that the public got hooked on this theme. “
Mr. Inagaki has no particular passion for science but remembers his school lessons well. Nor does he especially want to make an educational manga. “I don't start from science to evolve my story, but I have my story and science is then added to it”, he insists before continuing:
“I rather start from my characters, from what I want to make them live and how I want to make them evolve. I explain what I want to do to the scientific supervisor of the series, and ask him how, from a scientific point of view, we can get to this stage, what I can use. “
Dr. Stone also manages to stand out through its cast of characters, starting with the central protagonist, Senku, an overexcited genius whose leitmotif is “rationality”. “He is direct, he says things as he feels without wearing gloves. He is not necessarily ill-intentioned but that is how it is, his personality. On the other hand, he is not as strong psychologically as you might think. And I was interested in this duality in his character “, details the scriptwriter, who explains that he built his hero's relationship with his friend Taiju like that of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes. This is not without causing discrepancies and misunderstandings with his peers, and generating the necessary dose of humor.
Sold more than 400,000 copies for all the volumes in France, Dr. Stone is one of the flagship titles in the manga catalog of Glénat, after the unbeatable ones One Piece and Dragon ball. The animated adaptation released last summer contributed to the success of the series, which will delight fans of adventure manga but may leave the least experienced Japanese comics on the window.
Dr. Stone, by Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi, translation by Karine Rupp Stanko, Glénat editions, 192 pages, 6.90 euros.