One of the last things I would’ve expected to see in Dr. STONE is the science of beautification. But when it comes time to infiltrate the mysterious Treasure Island, it’s up to the art of gorgeousness to get the plan rolling. Naturally, it all rests on the shoulders of our favorite Best Girl Kohaku, who aims to help Senku un-petrify their friends from their stone prison. But can she strike a pose in the name of science?

The thirteenth volume of Dr. STONE sets the stage for the Science Wars, as Senku and his crew attempt to find the person responsible for petrifying the world thousands of years back. However, their plans hit a snag not just because of who was turned to stone, but who the sole survivor of the attack is: Ginro. Thankfully, everyone’s favorite melon-helmeted Suika throws in her assistance to snag the movable lab for Senku. That’s where the plan to infiltrate the island leader’s harem starts to take motion, as Kohaku (and a couple other participants) experience the art of makeup.

First, the good news. There’s a lot more great scientific how-tos when it comes to the creation of beauty projects and the creation of a certain high-flying invention. It also gets a little deep with the origin of the element Senku is seeking, as it links back to Byakuya and his quest to prepare his son to revive the world. In a big way, it paves the path towards Senku’s main goal, especially now that another group of friends is affected with the petrification.

However, this is the first volume of Dr. STONE where its narrative somewhat stumbles. Although it demonstrates the strengths of Kohaku and Ginro, they’re not exactly used in the strongest way. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like the means of infiltrating the harem doesn’t quite hit the mark that writer Riichiro Inagaki was attempting to bring about. It has its humorous parts, with Kohaku going My Fair Lady with some of her mannerisms, but it somewhat dilutes the character. (She finds a way to redeem herself, but it takes awhile in the manga for that ace to be pulled from her sleeve.)

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With that being said, this is some of BOICHI’s best art work in the manga’s run. The sequence where Suika and Ginro nab the movable lab is presented with both great detail and exciting personality. This volume’s final moments are also showcased in a gorgeous light, with the heaviness and importance of Byakuya’s actions and his moment of passing. Of course, the characters themselves continue to evolve from a drawing perspective, with both the pretty aspects and exaggerated comedic expressions reaching great heights.

Volume Thirteen of Dr. STONE hits a slight snag with the plot, but it rebuilds itself back to its intelligent roots towards the end. There are some funny moments, as Kohaku demonstrates some good gags and some smart thought processes. Hopefully, the next volume will bring the exciting tone back to Inagaki and BOICHI’s story, and considering how the volume ends, there’s a strong indication that the Science Wars is about to blow up.

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FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media

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