The Summer 2019 anime series has officially begun, and one of the biggest new series leading the pack is the adaptation of Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi's Dr. Stone. Already standing out from other major series in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump for its focus on science and ingenuity over traditional action, this difference from other traditional Shonen magazine has not been lost on those who work on the series themselves.
Speaking with GameSpot, Dr. Stone Editor Hiroyuki Honda mentioned how the Shonen demographic has been shifting in the last few years as fans are beginning to like series they would not have necessarily enjoyed in the magazine a few years ago.
Honda explained how Weekly Shonen Jump changes to reflect the current interests of the Shonen demographic, which was traditionally to be an audience consisting of younger boys, "The titles that Weekly Shonen Jump carries is defined by the demographic, and I think the shonen demographics are now just changing...The popularity is definitely shown in the polls that [stories like Dr. Stone] are the ones the readers now like."
Elaborating further, Honda said explained that current, less action oriented favorites like Dr. Stone and The Promised Neverland reflect this shift in demo, "The reader demographic defines what is in the titles, so titles like The Promised Neverland and Dr. Stone are very popular now but they might not have been five years ago. And five, ten years down the line these type of stories might not fit what readers want anymore. The demographic defines shonen and that demographic is changing over time."
Honda then laid out why some series tend to be more popular than others even with the shifting demographic tastes, "Popular authors tend to have a very good grasp of what is popular in the now and an understanding of what will be popular; they're ahead of their time. Take One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Haikyu, take any popular [Weekly Shonen Jump title] and you'll see they're written to be what the readers want while also evolving to be slightly ahead of their time."
So it's no surprise to long time fans of the Shonen magazine to see the number of different kinds of series gracing its pages like Dr. Stone, Act Age, We Never Learn, and even Chainsaw Man. This latest crop of big series may still be headlined by major action titles like One Piece and My Hero Academia, but there's definitely a palpable interest in different kinds of series outside of traditional battle manga.
Dr. Stone was originally created by Riichiro Inagaki with illustrations provided by Boichi for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 2017. The series follows two boys (initially) as they try and save a world that's been completely petrified in stone, and has so far been collected into several volumes since it's release, and Viz Media has licensed the series for an English language release.
The anime series is currently listed with 24 episodes, and can currently be found streaming on Crunchyroll. Funimation will be offering the English dub at a later date, and they describe the series as such, "Several thousand years after a mysterious phenomenon that turns all of humanity to stone, the extraordinarily intelligent, science-driven boy, Senku Ishigami, awakens. Facing a world of stone and the total collapse of civilization, Senku makes up his mind to use science to rebuild the world. Starting with his super strong childhood friend Taiju Oki, who awakened at the same time, they will begin to rebuild civilization from nothing... Depicting two million years of scientific history from the Stone Age to present day, the unprecedented crafting adventure story is about to begin!"