Dr. Stone is an anime with an identity crisis. This is the most glaring flaw in the show. On one hand, Dr. Stone is a serious sci-fi adventure anime about a genius high schooler who aims to identify the cause of the worldwide petrification of humanity. The problem: modernity is dead and humanity is back to the stone age. On the other, it's just a silly show where the rules of science aren't real and a girl can fit inside a watermelon. You know, just silly stuff like that. This could be bad...
--the bad, the good, and the ugly--
Dr. Stone's writing inconsistencies are a blot on a show that could have been a very promising shounen anime. It IS possible to write rule-breaking jokes into a show that takes itself seriously. The stipulation is that the joke must be a throwaway that interferes in no way with the plot. Dr. Stone does not abide by this stipulation.
There is a scene (slight spoiler alert) where Suika, the watermelon girl, escapes a group of grown-ass men by hiding and bouncing away in a watermelon. Now, first of all, if you're going to have a girl that can fit inside a watermelon, why would she bounce? It would make much more sense if she rolled everywhere (which she is shown to do at times, but I guess due to budged constraints, the animation team made her bounce?). Secondly, this moment is in direct competition with the idea that science is important and the prevailing law of Dr. Stone. When science is the lens through which we see the world, allowing such events to occur within the main plot compromises the integrity of the show's presumed rules. This is bad writing.
On the plus side, the rest of the show's writing is actually pretty good. The inciting incidents are compelling and (somewhat) believable. The two juxtaposed ideologies between Senkuu and Tsukasa are well thought-out. Neither of their beliefs come across as irrational or inherently disagreeable. Senkuu's mission to rebuild modern society is incorporated well into the story, which makes the scientific developments feel less forced. This is good writing.
At times, the show does cut corners on the process of sciencing, but this is to be expected since watching an entire village pump air into a furnace for an entire cour wouldn't be very entertaining. Nonetheless, these seeming lapses in the laws of physics are meant only to serve as plot accelerators and don't necessarily compete with the show's rules. If a group of characters was strong and tenacious enough, they could theoretically smelt iron in a furnace by hand. This sort of anime logic does in a small way compete with the rules of physics, but not in such a way to where its occurrence seems like a deus ex machina. This is okay writing.
The presentation of Dr. Stone is, well, certainly different to say the least.
The artstyle of the show is strange, almost unbefitting of a shounen anime. You see, the manga was illustrated by a guy who makes hentai. The show's animators had to replicate this artstyle and as a result, the females in the show are bonerfodder, but everything else is just weird. Sometimes, when a character is making an (antonym of sakuga) face, it just looks off because of how far it strays from the show's normal artstyle. When a character cracks an ugly-bastard face, their eyes become almost too squinty and their mouths too pronounced. In this regard, Dr. Stone's art reminds me of a Saturday-morning cartoon- you know, that american anime stuff. It's almost exactly the same as when Spongebob has a grotesque scene. I'd rate the artstyle of Dr. Stone a Spongebob/10.
The Sound design on the other hand is a step down from Spongebob/10. The OPs for this show have had pretty poor choices in music. The first one was dreadful. The second one was passable, but not passable enough to make me not skip it. Needless to say, the quality of animation for the OP was phenominal.
The voice acting in the show has generally been good, but Byakuya, Senkuu's dad, had a terribly casted voice actor. Don't get me wrong: the voice actor is fine, but the role does not suit him. Byakuya is seen to be a carefree and humorous guy, but also an astronaut who is very clearly a respectable person. The voice actor, though, speaks as if Byakuya is a greedy noble/ugly bastard. That's not his character at all. The voice actor sounded more like a dipshit isekai back-alley villain than an accomplished astronaut. Luckily, this flaw is minor in the grand scheme of things. Obviously, since Dr. Stone's story is set 3700 years in the future, Byakuya is long-dead and has very little screen time in the show. Pretty much everything else about the sound is unremarkable.
Dr. Stone has two interesting characters: Senkuu and Tsukasa. The rest of the characters aren't yet fully fledged out or they're just written to be archetypes. It's hard to tell if characters well ever see major development, since this is an ongoing shounen anime which is likely to span well over 100 episodes. In my opinion, it's unlikely that any characters that aren't listed as "main" will ever see any substantial growth throughout the show, especially once the events of the next season begin (yeah, I read the mAnga :sunglasses:).
I'm still gonna watch Dr. Stone since despite its flaws because I like the show. Science is intriguing to me, even if i'm not very knowledgeable on the subject. If the writers had stuck to their guns and maintained a consistent rule set, Dr. Stone would be an easy 9 from me, but i'm a stickler for good writing. If you're down to watch a well-above-average shounen anime, give Dr. Stone a try. I 10 BilLiON PerCenT recommend it.