Seeing as how I wrote a review back in late 2019 regarding season one of Dr. Stone, although it's been a little while since the final episode aired, I think it's only fitting that I continue this trend by reviewing season two: Stone Wars.
Starting off, we have the story, which is possibly the weakest part of this season. Back in my original review of the show, I criticized the lack of connection between the Kingdom of Science and the Kingdom of Might. Stone Wars, however, establishes a very distinct tie between the two nations, as we see Taiju and Yuzuriha make their return and as Senku plans their attack of sorts on Tsukasa and his army (I'll go further into detail about this dynamic when we get to Characters).
Unfortunately, I feel both the length of the season and its subtitle make for an underwhelming final battle. Not only is about three-quarters of the season spent anticipating and preparing for the final battle, but it's also brief and rather uneventful. By the time credits rolled on episode 11, I felt somewhat robbed of the so-called "Stone Wars" and felt "Stone Battle" was a more fitting name.
Nonetheless, the moment to moment action and intensity is far more prevalent here than it was in season 1 - I failed to mention it in my previous review because it was not nearly as essential to the plot as it is here - the educational wonder inspired by Senku's inventions make a triumphant and flashy return, and the final scenes have me excited for what lies ahead.
The animation and sound, just like in season 1, are some of the best you can find in modern shounen. When I made my first review, I called the fighting and crafting scenes "breathtaking." Having watched much more anime since then, I wouldn't go as far as to call it breathtaking, but it is certainly entertaining to watch at times. As I mentioned before, there's only a handful of fights, especially for a season with the word "war" in its title, but all of them keep you on the edge of your seat and generally revolve around the Kingdom of Science using their intellectual prowess to outwit the Kingdom of Might and emerge victorious.
As for the sound, much of the soundtrack is retained from season 1, which I still have no problems with. Many of the sound effects, like the crushing of rocks or the striking of swords, are still very satisfying to hear and make the world and characters feel powerful. As for the voice acting, however, I found myself getting annoyed by Chrome's high-pitched shouts far too often. It should be expected with a shounen anime, but it irked me nonetheless.
Oh yeah, and the opening and ending songs are both bangers.
Finally, we reach the characters. In my season 1 review, I claimed that Senku was the "icing on the cake" of Dr. Stone as a whole. While I still feel much of this is true, his connections with the other members of the cast feel much more superficial this time around. It could be because season 2 is less than half the length of season 1 or because their relationships haven't developed much since season 1; regardless, I felt the supporting cast was lacking in some regards.
However, as I mentioned in Story, Stone Wars does a much better job of making the two kingdoms feel like neighborring nations at war rather than two villages located miles and miles away from one another. We get a clearer look into the minds of Tsukasa's supposed allies, and interactions between Senku's and Tsukasa's forces are far more frequent. It gives viewers more of a reason to see the Kingdom of Might defeated and it helps to further differentiate the two kingdoms from one another. We even get to see more of Senku's and Tsukasa's motivations, allowing them to be sympathized with and brought closer together; not as enemies, but as companions.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars by itself, in my opinion, is somewhat of an unfinished product, as it leaves a lot to be desired in a number of departments; things such as a weaker plot and the lack of the development of the Kingdom of Science's residents and simply awe-inspiring moments make the season a bit of a drag at times. However, the humanizing of the Kingdom of Might, the increase in the number of fights, the strengthening of the relationship between Senku and Tsukasa, and the promise of an exciting season 3 more than make up for its weaknesses. So while it'll likely be a low point in the overarching series, this year's installment still has a lot to offer and to love, ten billion percent.