ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya’

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Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya

Can a father’s love transcend time? Can it transcend thousands of years into a future where he won’t exist? Well, Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya aims to answer that question by offering fans of the series a peek into Senku’s father’s life, as well as a different side to the stone apocalypse.

Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya is a manga from the original writer, Riichiro Inagaki, and the original artist, Boichi. However, rather than being a mainline story, this is a spin-off of sorts. This volume is being translated by Caleb Cook, with touch-up and lettering by Brandon Bovia. Readers might know that I’m a big Brandon Bovia fan; it’s nice to see him handling this entry in the Dr. STONE franchise. Additionally, Julian “JR” Robinson will be handling design. Finally, Alexis Kirsch will serve as this volume’s editor

Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya follows the titular Byakuya and the survivors of the International Space Station after the initial events of Dr. STONE. Now a full-fledged astronaut, Byakuya heads to the stars on the Soyuz rocket only to be one of six survivors in a post-stone world. Overall, this single volume is a special side story to the main series, filling in the gaps of how Byakuya and crew turned a bad situation around.

While Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya is a standalone volume, readers will need prior knowledge of the Dr. STONE series before picking it up. I suggest watching season one of Dr. STONE or reading chapters 1 through 60 via the Shonen Jump App. Either route will offer enough context for you to dive right into Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya. That being said, let’s get into the meat of this standalone volume.

As said above, Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya focuses on Byakuya, one of the survivors in a world turned to stone. Much like Dr. STONE, the story takes place across different periods of time, though the main story is focused on the post-stone apocalypse that’s shown in the manga and anime. It just so happens that for Byakuya, that’s dozens of hours after the initial event versus Senku’s thousands.

The stories contained within this standalone volume are really engaging, but I think that’s to be expected from Dr. STONE in general. Still, seeing Byakuya take center stage ahead of the events of the main story. His approach to science and puzzling out problems is markedly different from Senku, offering a more down-to-earth approach to unraveling all the elements that make up every process in the world.

Readers also get to meet Rei Ishigami, a super-powered AI who dwells on the space station. Just like Senku and Byakuya, they heavily rely on sciencing everything to figure out a solution. And just like Senku and Hyakuya, their love for humanity can’t be matched. Rei is willing to strive to preserve humanity as much as they can. While Rei wasn’t featured in the anime or the main manga, they’re still a delight. In fact, I found myself rooting for the little robot, especially knowing what I do from watching the anime and bingeing the manga on the Shonen Jump app.

There are also loads of easter eggs in this volume for readers who’ve either watched the anime or read ahead in the manga. While I’ll leave those up to you to discover, I will say that they’re all fun little references that add to the world of Dr. STONE. There’s also plenty of world-building, which is interesting seeing as this is our Earth, just with a strange, but plausible, scientific event. Still, I really loved being able to dig a bit deeper into new snippets of science. That’s ultimately what makes Dr. STONE so darn enjoyable.

The most beautiful thing about Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya is honestly the man himself. Byakuya’s love for his son Senku truly transcends time. Everything he does in this volume is specifically for the sake of his son, as well as all of humanity. At the core of his survival is a love for his son that cannot be matched by any other father in all of manga. Byakuya’s earnest, heartfelt, genuine love for his child is just that strong. Truly, every shounen lead needs a father like Byakuya—a passionate, caring, clever, and inexplicably hot dad. Mind you, the hot part? That’s for us readers. (Or maybe, it’s just for me.)

All in all, I found Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya to be a really good spin-off volume about a valuable character. Byakuya is an incredibly likable character, as are the crew members of the Soyuz. Rei is a cute addition to the wide, wide world of Dr. STONE, and honestly, is the star of this standalone volume. Definitely snag a copy of this if you’re any level of Dr. STONE fan. You won’t regret it. 

Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya is available from wherever books are sold on March 2, 2021

Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya
4.5

TL;DR

All in all, I found Dr. STONE Reboot: Byakuya to be a really good spin-off volume about a valuable character. Byakuya is an incredibly likable character, as are the crew members of the Soyuz. Rei is a cute addition to the wide, wide world of Dr. STONE, and honestly, is the star of this standalone volume. Definitely snag a copy of this if you’re any level of Dr. STONE fan.