The genre of battle shonen is one filled with different types of series, which focus on all matter of different themes, ideas, and subject matter. It is also the most prominent type of anime, as it's aimed at teenagers and young adults. I mean, it's in the name, "shonen". While isekai has overtaken it popularity recently, it's by no means slowing down. If you look at the current season for example, while there are five isekai shows compared to only three battle shonen out of a total thirty eight currently airing shows, it's still well and alive. The genre is also notable for having spawned some of the largest anime in terms of both notoriety and influence both inside and outside of anime circles. The latest popular manga in this genre to be adapted into animation is none other than 'Dr.Stone', so how about we start with a short synopsis?
'Dr.Stone' is about Taiju, Senku (the titular character), Tsukasa, and Yuzuriha. One day, a beam of light petrifes every living human into stone, however over three thousand years later, Senku awakens from the petrification and sets out to rebuild civilization along with his friends. However, a rift in ideals between Tsukasa and Senku make unable to coexist, and a battle between them quickly starts up.
If nothing, it certainly is an interesting premise, and one which gives the creators a lot of leeway in terms of what ideas to explore, and what to do with the story in general. A lot of really popular battle shonen have a set goal for their main characters, and this is generally a good idea, as it gives the writer a goal their cast can work towards, which makes sure that the story never loses sight of itself, as well as there always being an easy way to end the series when that becomes necessary (i.e 'Naruto', 'One Piece', 'BNHA'), a writing tool which 'Dr.Stone' also uses. But premise is nothing but the first impression, and doesn't really tell you whether a story is going to appeal to you or be good.
The series is only on its fifth episode, and while I want to continue, there are some glaring problems, the first one of which is just that the show looks ugly. The character designs are fairly normal for these types of shows, but that's not really where my gripes with the shows visuals come in. While its usual for shows utilizing digital animation to have a pretty obvious difference between the background art and characters, it is really noticeable in Dr.Stone. In some way, 'Dr.Stone' has the exact opposite problems of another currently airing show within the same genre, 'Fire Force'. While 'Fire Force' has great visuals, its dialouge scenes are horrible, with weird spaces in between characters talking which makes it feel unnatural and alien. 'Dr.Stone' on the other hand, has great dialouge, with constant banter between characters, which really makes it feel like you're watching a group of people who were friends before the petrification. While 'Dr.Stone' certainly has expressive facial expressions and cool character designs, they don't blend in well with the world, and they certainly don't move very much.
The lack of motion in anime usually doesn't annoy me, however for it not I either need to connect greatly with some of the characters, (i.e 'Love Live SIP'), or it needs to have a great storyline with interesting themes, or the stills and background art needs to be great (i.e 'Berserk 1997' or 'Uchuu Senkan Yamato S1'). Sadly, Dr.Stone doesn't have either of those qualites as of yet, and it is worrying. The season has been a bit dissapointing to me as of late, with 'Kanata no Astra', 'Re:Stage Dream Days', 'Machikadou Mazoku', and 'Cop Craft' all being of lesser quality than I had expected them to be.
Dr.Stone does have some more redeeming qualites though. As I stated earlier, the dialouge between characters is great, and the voice acting really helps with that. All the seiyuu do a great job voicing their characters, and it really helps the characters come to life. The OP and ED are both great, so thats also a plus.
I can certainly see Dr.Stone tackling some more interesting ideas, however as of now the production values being as low as they are makes me hesitant to want to continue.