When I first heard about the setting of Dr. Stone, I immediately knew that I would become a fan. I like science and I like to watch overpowered protagonists kick butt. What I enjoy even more though, is the application of logic into the setting. Yes, working hard makes our protagonist stronger but pure willpower isn’t always the key. Senku’s character is great because he is a logic beast. If he says he’s gonna do something, you know he’s gonna succeed, 10,000,000,000%. That’s what makes him a great protagonist. Not to mention that him becoming a sleazy bugger from time to time is another aspect of his character I enjoy; it’s what makes him feel real.
But I’m not here to review the setting, the script writing or the directing of Dr. Stone. I’m here to write about the music. In this article, I want to make a case for the opening themes. I would have never guessed that the openings of this story would pass as shounen. And that is true for both openings of the first season. I kinda felt that OP1 and OP2 were the reason why Dr. Stone was identified as shounen, even though to me the anime itself isn’t. That being said, I still found both season 1 OPs enjoyable. However, the opening theme of the Stone Wars seems to have a completely different approach.
“Rakuen” by Fujifabric
“Rakuen” by Fujifabric steered us towards a more mature direction. I find it less action-oriented, yet more fitting to the story. It’s as if the opening evolved and matured along with the story. And that’s great because the story’s progress isn’t harder boss fights, it’s a complex series of events where you have to rebuild the world and outsmart your opponent. That’s how the Kingdom of Science rolls. And that’s something I get from the music.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars is another good example of good anime sequel openings, along with Noragami Aragoto, Mob Phsycho 100 II and Beastars 2. If I was asked to rank all three openings, I probably wouldn’t be able to since I see them as different ‘entities’, rather than as elements of the same painting.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars OP is groovier, written in a slower tempo and is a different kind of catchy tune. Up until now, the series was identified by J-Rock, but now we dove into a kind of 70’s disco sound that makes you groove along rather than head-bang. Good jam.
I bet you wanna know what makes this song good. To answer that, we’ll have to broaden our scope. Anisong in general is focused on a single concept. Borrow extremely catchy music ideas from older hits and scatter them throughout the new releases. I wrote an article about what makes anisong so familiar where I go more in depth, don’t miss it. The thing is that anisong composers are influenced, as composers have always been. Often the case is that the larger the number of influences → the better the quality of the song. That’s because you can’t pinpoint exactly what the composer had in mind. You can’t pinpoint his/her influences.
And here comes the nagging part of my article. I know it reminds me of something, I just don’t know what. The song reminds me of three different things. The first starts on 00:04, the second on 00:19 and the third on 00:47. Each music motif lasts only a few seconds. Note that I’m only referring to the stripped music motif, not the music phrase as is on the song. That means that I’m talking about the music motif that hasn’t been altered or developed to create a standalone music phrase. As I have written in my other article on the familiarity of anisong tracks, after listening to a new song a couple of times, you start accepting it as a whole, not as raw elements. That’s what makes it harder and harder for me to pinpoint each and every element.
Now the ‘fun’ part is that in a week, in a month or in a year I’ll come across the track Dr. Stone second season OP reminds me of and I’ll try to think of what that in turn reminds me of. So, I’ll be creating yet another never-ending circle… Only imagining that makes my head hurt but whatevs. I can’t even begin counting how many songs I’ve been searching for throughout the years. I wish all these *search music by notes/rhythm/humming* databases worked well but naaah. You’re spared now. Nagging’s over.
So my conclusion is that I am happy to listen to the evolution of Dr. Stone‘s sound because I feel that it works better than before. It has left me with the impression that this show is worth my time and that it didn’t take an unexpected turn, making me feel like I have been mislead into having the wrong expectations from it. Job really well done.