You know, a lot of anime and manga out there get shafted because of very limiting and unreasonably universal standards people apply to them. Everything must have some kind of unique story or characters simply must be developed to the point you know everything about them. Those are standards that give no chances to smaller and eccentric titles focused on new experience and adventure which I like quite a lot. Titles like STONe. Now for the actual review that explains why despite the intro I rate this 5/10.
Art: hands down the strongest point of this worn. The visuals do an excellent job of bit by
bit introducing you to a bizarre post-apocalyptic world filled with the ocean of sand (that everyone can still swim in) as well as hideous creatures living below and above it (get it? I just called humans hideous creatures cause they do bad stuff here, poetic).
There are small style inconsistencies like there are a few super detailed old people whose wrinkled faces can take up nearly entire page yet everyone else is done in more stylized yet still detailed style with only main heroine sticking out like a sore, cartoony ass thumb.
Ship designs are in particular interesting cause it's a mix of sci-fi, pirates and horror of all things. I won't spoil the fun of seeing it for the first time so I'll just say expect some neat little references even if they are not at all subtle.
Overall the look of this manga is sketchy and unique with refreshing creativity.
Story: STONe is a pretty bare bones adventure story about a young girl with shady heritage getting exiled from a religious cult and using it as opportunity to look for her parents by sailing through sand ocean to the fabled "lost continent". If I added a few more sentences it would be a plot summary rather than synopsis. STONe is rather light on story and characters but it doesn't really claim to be anything more than a simple adventure which is why I think it's only fair to judge it as one.
And it fails as one. The hook is interesting enough and then you see the monstrous sand whales, weird tribe living on a destroyed aircraft carrier with their own interesting traditions and rituals. It's good enough to pull someone in. Then you meet the pirates, ruthless empire assholes with horror themed ships and crustacean army that looks a bit similar to enclave from fallout. Sounds fun, isn't it? Then you find out there's some genetically engineered race of humans designed to resurrect humanity and then there's an all out battle between empirr and pirates who have a ship that turns into a skeleton that fires a giant death cannon. Adventures thrive on constant barrage of excitement like this but then after all this there's an abrupt end that leaves what little plot threads there were unresolved and adventure unfinished.
In my opinion build up isn't worth shit when it doesn't lead to anything worthwhile so that leaves STONe to be little more than a collection of cool drawings.
Fun factor: I had decent enjoyment right until the end but if manga wasn't a dear hobby of mine I wouldn't consider reading this. If however the description above sparked something in you it should be worth a read, it's only two volumes and cool things are cool.