*This article will contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.*
When I was a child, my favorite science science shows were Bill Nye - The Science Guy and The Magic School Bus. Both of these shows, especially the latter, gave me the inspiration to pursue a scientific career.
Both shows' approaches differ greatly from one another. With Bill Nye, he focuses on teaching the audience the basic principles of a phenomenon like electricity, the food web, or the solar system. Usually, he starts off an episode with a simple "What is ______?" question. Then, he will provide simple explanations, do mini-demonstrations, and present real life applications on these phenomena.
Bill Nye uses some string to demonstrate how a chicken sandwich is connected to the food web.
The Magic School Bus, on the other hand, relies more on visual presentation. If the episode is about the human body, then Ms. Frizzle will shrink the class and bus to explore Arnold's digestive system. At times, the show will present a problem which Ms. Frizzle's class tries to solve through inquiry and a magical school bus. There is one episode where Keesha accused Ms. Frizzle of stealing her prized cucumber and swapped it with a pickle. Arnold, then, proves his teacher's innocence through a field trip where the class shrinks to microscopic levels to investigate the activities of a variety of microbes.
Ms. Frizzle and her class investigate what's happening when Keesha's cucumber is in pickle juice.
A few decades later, I stumbled upon Dr. Stone, a manga series (and it also has an anime adaptation) that revolves around science. For a simple synopsis, the entire human population (with a few exceptions) is suddenly petrified by a mysterious bean. Thousands of years later, Senku Ishigami, the protagonist, is able to break out from the petrification. He tries to apply his scientific knowledge to revive humanity and progress technology in order to solve the mystery behind the petrification beam.
When I read and watched the series, I came away extremely impressed with its story and incorporation of science as the main plot device. In fact, I actually feel that Dr. Stone does a better job teaching science than Bill Nye or The Magic School Bus for one simple reason: it can give you practical knowledge, not just facts that you can extract from a textbook.
How Dr. Stone is able to accomplish this while the other shows could not has to do with the plot: starting from square one and building up from there. When Senku finally revives after thousands of years, nature has reclaimed everything. He doesn't have factories and refined materials to rely on. However, as the story progresses, he gains allies, more manpower, and more advanced means to gather and refine materials. Most importantly of all, the series shows you how the characters get to that point in a believable way.
Take for example electricity. Dr. Stone first introduces this when Chrome challenges Senku to a "sorcery" battle and takes out a ball of sulfur. He demonstrates static electricity by rubbing his hands against it before shocking Ginro on the nose. Then, Senku rubs leather against it to demonstrate how he can gather electrons more efficiently. A few episodes later, he and Kohaku make a magnet with lightning and Senku uses the magnet with two copper plates to form a man-powered generator. Later on, when the Ishigami Village is first introduced to the concept of gears, Chrome applied that concept along with his knowledge of electricity to make hydroelectric power.
How it started.
How it ended.
Another strength Dr. Stone has is how it emphasizes the scientific method throughout. While Senku does have some hax abilities, namely his mental math and vast pit of knowledge, even he does not nail his experiments on the first try. You will see his lab explode on accident or his contraption will fail due to a flaw. In response, Senku modifies his methods, relies on the talent of his friends, and use alternative materials in order to get the task done.
On top of that, the other aspects of the series are very strong. There are a plethora of funny moments that will make you laugh. The artstyle and animations are dynamic and striking. The soundtrack is incredibly diverse with each track relying on unique instrumentations. For example, "I'm A Human" features the rhythmic clashing of two rocks as an unexpected, but very effective percussive instrument. Dr. Stone also does a really good job providing the sense of triumph and accomplishment whenever Senku and his team complete something.
Yeah, they actually made a small rap of how to make zinc-carbon batteries.
Senku and Ishigami Village play the glass record left by his father which contains Lillian Weinberg singing "One Small Step". It's a really good song.
Dr. Stone has two seasons spanning a total of 35 episodes. The end of the second season strongly hints that the anime is continue, so expect the episode count to rise. However, if you want to get ahead, the manga updates weekly and currently has a total of 205 chapters.