Quickly the Special Events Hall of the Javits Center filled to capacity, as the sounds of YouTube star Kizuna Ai blared on the screen and through the speakers. Excitement filled the air as fans of the hit series Dr. STONE waited for creators Riichiro Inagaki (writer) and BOICHI (artist) to hit the stage. After an introduction from three of the VIZ Media staff members and some shameless plugs, we learned about some of the challenges that the editors face when translating the manga to English. While the dialogue is very easy thanks to its humanistic dialogue, the scientific stuff can be a little jarring. Although working on Dr. STONE has taught them how to survive a post-apocalyptic world, it hasn’t made them feel smarter.
After a trailer for the anime, BOICHI and Inagaki walked to a roaring applause from the audience. Inagaki charmed the audience with some of his English skills in his intro, joking about his love for manga and his favorite being Dr. STONE. He recently took a trip to a museum in New York, where he saw prehistoric weapons that he will use in a future chapter of the series. BOICHI was excited to be at the con, and was blown away by how many fans he has. At a previous panel in Las Vegas many years ago, Inagaki had mentioned his love for BOICHI’s Wallman, which led to them meeting and collaborating on Dr. STONE.
The process of creating each Dr. STONE chapter starts with a storyboard, which — after passing through the editor — gets passed to BOICHI, who he claimed has the hardest job. BOICHI disagreed, claiming he just scribbles quickly so he can eat. Their editor Honda-san acts as their go-to, making sure all of the nuances are brought to each side. This led to a science quiz, where three fans face off against Inagaki and BOICHI on a Dr. STONE know-it-all contest. The prize: an official Dr. STONE beaker set!
BOICHI’s journey to becoming a manga writer & artist began at the age of two, where he would draw constantly for hours on used newspaper and calendar pages. After his failed attempt of becoming President of South Korea at the age of ten, he decided that maybe doing manga would be easier. He revealed that the biggest challenge working at Shonen Jump is actually getting into the company, as everything else has been easier than working at a Korean comic company. Inagaki revealed that his reaction to the final look to the first chapter of Dr. STONE was one word: “WOW!” From a fashion perspective, BOICHI looks into what the material and personality the world and characters of Dr. STONE have. He revealed that Senku gets more pockets in his clothes when he’s in danger, decreasing in numbers the safer he becomes.
If BOICHI never became an artist, he imagines he would’ve become a scientist. Inagaki revealed that being a writer is a lonely life, claiming he hopes to make friends with everyone at the convention. He said looking back, he should’ve become a doctor so he can get a lot of cute girls, with the audience reacting with huge laughter. With BOICHI being of Korean descent, he hopes that more foreigners are given the chance to make genuine manga, no matter what their living situation may be. A letter from a fan in Morocco opened his eyes to how some folks have to suffer to make their dreams come true, and he hopes that making manga will be easier for people in the future.
As BOICHI drew to the side, Inagaki revealed that the idea of Dr. STONE was inspired by doing a reverse superhero story, where even the most average person has something special. His origin story regarding writing manga came from entering a contest to storyboard a series. After seeing how many people in the audience wants to be a manga writer, he revealed that Shonen Jump holds contests all the time, and that anybody can enter them. Editor Honda-san shared that sentiment, encouraging the audience to enter and get their work out there. Inagaki also revealed that he never expected to make something both entertaining and educational, as he’d rather do something fun for people to read.
For Dr. STONE’s writing process, Inagaki says that while he feels every writer knows where it’s going, he takes in reader feedback into consideration in making the story better. Growing up, Inagaki loved reading Doraemon, which sometimes plays a great influence on Dr. STONE. The character he related to the most is Ginro and his unsightly personality. Honda-san doesn’t think editors would be of any relevance in the Stone world, so he feels like he’d be useless if this were to happen. Regarding Senku’s real parents, he feels revealing them wouldn’t be important, as Byakuga is his real dad through and through.
While Inagaki took the questions, BOICHI drew two pictures in under 20 minutes, which were shockingly as detailed as the manga itself. The drawings were given to two lucky audience members, with an additional three sketches drawn during the science quiz section. With that, Inagaki and BOICHI took their leave, as the panel concluded with the premiere of the English dub version of Dr. STONE’s nineteenth episode. With the way the audience reacted from start-to-finish, it was clear that the hype train for Dr. STONE wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon!
Promotional consideration provided by Anime NYC and Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR