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Manga / Dr. STONE reboot: Byakuya

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The other side of the story.

Dr. Stone reboot: Byakuya is a spin-off of Dr. STONE focused on the ISS crew and Rei, an intelligent robot Byakuya built. Following the Petrification Event that turned all of humanity to stone, the ISS crew returns to Earth to try and save it, leaving Rei alone. The story focuses on Rei maintaining the space station while remaining hopeful that Byakuya will return one day.

It should be noted that this spin-off is not canon to the main Dr. STONE story, and its plot gets directly contradicted by elements of its parent manga.

Dr. Stone Reboot: Byakuya contains the following tropes:

  • Alternate Continuity: The fact that Senku and company don't encounter Rei when they eventually travel to the moon during the manga's finale, suggests that the events of the manga didn't actually take place in the story canon.
  • Apocalypse How: Europe suffers a Class 4 via a meteor strike. Rei then sets up a meteor detection/defense system and manages to avert a Class 5.
  • Artificial Family Member: An interesting take on the trope. Rei, despite being a robot, immediately identifies as part of the ISS crew. And much later, in chapter 8, after numberous brain upgrades, it brands itself a member of the Ishigami family.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The original Rei ceases to function, but the ISS is remade into a much bigger, more self-sufficient space station. Rei is then remade there as a Robot Girl, with much of its original personality intact, still determined to wait for Byakuya to come and get it in space. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Senku sees the light signal but doesn't realise that it's Rei and the ISS, thinking, like Byakuya before him, that both the ISS and Rei were destroyed many years ago. Chrome intercepts the signal and puts together a sign of its light patterns, but he can't understand what it means since he doesn't know how to read Japanese. However, while there are much bigger problems to deal with (since the story concludes during the time of the antibiotic creation arc), Senku and the gang will head in space to confront the Whyman, and there is hope they'll find Rei.
  • Body Backup Drive: Just before Rei ceases to function it creates one for both it and the ISS in the form of a large physical disks (capable of lasting millions of years). These discs give instructions to a 3D printer which then recreates both the ISS and Rei.
  • Came Back Strong: The newly 3D printed ISS in the final chapter resembles a space city rather than a space station. This description would arguably also fit the newly revived Rei itself, but it's unclear if it's smarter or more capable then the previous incarnation.
  • Cargo Cult: In Chapter 8, the final panel shows a star sign being set up, as Rei's light signal does its annual appearance. The human survivors have noticed Rei's light signal, they just can't explain what it is.
  • Catchphrase: Rei responds with "your assessment is appreciated" whenever somebody addresses it. The response is the same whether somebody is praising how cute it looks (Lillian) or calling it a "useless" (Shamil)
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember the Robot Girl model with the inscription "Rei 01" that Senku sees in the first chapter? During the story's final chapter it's shown that Rei remade itself in her image.
  • Colony Drop: a giant meteor hits Italy, effectively eradicating it off the map, and turning the entirety of Europe gray. Another meteor is set to strike Japan 500 years after that but Rei manages to set it off course thus averting a planetary apocalypse.
  • Cool Ship: Rei's Reigelion, a spaceship made out of... space suits stacked on top of each other. It later builds automated versions for collecting satellites and 4000 missile ships to knock a massive meteor away.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first four chapters are about Byakuya and the astronauts' return to earth. The rest of the story focuses on Rei and its efforts to keep the ISS in orbit until Byakuya fulfills his promise of coming back.
  • Doting Parent: Byakuya acts this way towards Rei at the start of the story. Shamil even comments on it.
  • Dramatic Irony:
  • Determinator: Rei is absolutely determined to keep the ISS in space for as long as it can.
  • Do Androids Dream?: They certainly do ponder their existence.
  • Empty Promise: Byakuya gives one to Rei just before he leaves the ISS. Sadly, the robot, lacking any common-sense programming, interprets this as The Promise instead.
  • Everything Is 3D-Printed in the Future: At the end, Rei makes a giant 3D printer in space out of satellite parts to essentially recreate the entire International Space Station, and ultimately, Rei itself.
  • Exhaustion-Induced Idiocy: Shamil and Byakuya almost get into a Cock Fight over who should lead the ISS return mission. Lillian quickly breaks up the fight by pointing out that the both of them have been awake for over 20 hours, and that they should get rome rest. And then she assumes leadership of the ISS.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Byakuya and Senku build an orb robot and Byakuya takes it to the ISS. This causes a number of differences to the timeline compared to the canon one: a meteor wipes out all life in Europe (no better telescope tech to confirm a route to India, at minimum), Rei never notices the Why-Men on the Moon as if they have already abandoned it (how would Senku survive Stanley's squad at Brazil without the devices' global petrification command?) and the ISS has been rebuilt and expanded upon with a new Rei inside instead of crashing.
  • Foreshadowing: Shamil's comment about Byakuya forgetting to input information about human lifespans on Rei turns out to be really important later on.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Rei, Byakuya's Robot Buddy manages to avert a planetary life destroying meteor-strike all by itself. But, due to the fact that it's stuck in space, and its fine memory circuits are slowly being fried by the sun, nobody will ever find out. Senku does witness Rei blasting the meteor off-course, but he is still Taken for Granite and he doesn't knows it was Rei that did it. The final few pages of the story confirm that like Byakuya Senku thinks Rei and the ISS perished a long time ago.
    • In a less important case, the damaged memory might reduce the chance of anyone learning Rei found a giant alien behemoth trapped in an extrasolar comet it hijacked for building material.
  • Internal Reveal: Byakuya spends his life thinking that the ISS went down and his Robot Buddy Rei is now little more that space dust. Then he sees a light signal and realises that both the ISS and Rei are still around orbit waiting for him to get them. Unfortunately this happens as Byakuya is laying down drawing his final breath, so he didn't have time to tell anyone about it.
  • Island Help Message: Or rather "Space Help Message". Rei sends a powerful light signal to Earth every time the ISS passes over the island the Byakuya and the astronauts have landed. It's meant to show Byakuya that the ISS is still up in space and Rei is still waiting for him up there. Sadly, the first light signal happens to be the last thing Byakuya ever sees. So instead of humanity advancing to the space age in order to reach Rei, a Cargo Cult forms around it. In the final chapter of the story, it's shown that the message is much more than a simple light signal, the light twinkles in different places spelling out "Byakuya, I am here".
  • I Will Wait for You: A non-romantic variation. During the final chapter Rei decides it's worth waiting for humanity to get back in space and goes back to sending the light signal.
  • Kill It with Ice: After capturing an extrasolar comet to provide resources to maintain the ISS, Rei discovers a giant, alien beast frozen inside. Rei is merely grateful that the corpse provides organic material for later use.
  • Mundane Utility: Rei's reaction to finding a giant space dragon frozen inside a comet? "More organic resources".
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite the title using the word reboot, the manga is hardly one, as it is actually a side story to the main Dr. Stone manga.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: No humans that is. When Shamil, Lillian and Connie miss their landing mark and are hours from drowning, Yakov urges Byakuya to abandon them and land somewhere near mainland Japan, but Byakuya refuses to let any of his comrades die. Someone however needs to stay aboard the ISS to properly guide the return probe, and that someone is Rei.
  • Parent Never Came Back from the Store: Played for Drama. Byakuya may not be Rei's biological parent but he is still shown to behave towards the little robot like a Doting Parent and he is completely heartbroken that he has to leave it behind inside the ISS. His last words towards Rei are an Empty Promise that humanity (and consequently he) will one day return for it.
  • The Promise: Just before Byakuya departs from the ISS he turns to face his robot companion Rei which has to be left behind and promises that he will come back for it in space. It was meant to be an Empty Promise which would allow Rei to pass on peacefully. Instead, it turns the robot into The Determinator, with the single-minded goal of keeping the ISS in space for as long as it can. To that end it develops problem solving skills, invents advanced technology, builds itself a mini-spaceship and even achieves Goal-Oriented Evolution.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Rei's plan to use 4,000 flying rocket hydrogen bombs to set the planet destroying meteor off-course is ultimately successfull but the little robot has sacrificed too many resources to achieve it. It can no longer upgrade and fix itself and the ISS, and it's too beat up itself. The reader can see that both the ISS and the little robot are on their last legs.
  • Shout-Out: For a 9-chapter mini-series it still packs a few...
    • The "Rei 01" model we see at the start of the manga is a reference to Battle Angel Alita
    • The "Reigelion" Rei makes to go comet and resource hunting references Neon Genesis Evangelion.
    • Whenever Rei upgrades itself, a parody version of Vegeta pops up to proclaim that its brainpower is "over X thousand!".
    • Chapter 8 references Shonen Jump's 50th Anniversary.
  • Shown Their Work: Rei's achievements might be over the top but the space science in the manga is pretty accurate. The authors credit their scientific advisor, MsCoolAstro aka Dr Soyeon Yi.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • When it's time to get back down on earth, the scientists aboard the ISS are more concerned about bringing back their research data, their magazines and their samples, rather than packing something that would actually help them survive such as tools, medication and food. Lillian can only look dejectedly at the whole absurdity of the situation, while quietly sipping on her juice.
    • Apparently, Senku and Byakuya programmed Rei with extensive knowledge about Weekly Shonen Jump and Dragon Ball, but forgot to add in any common-sense programming or basic human biology knowledge.
  • The Last Dance: For once not a character's last dance, but rather humanity's last dance in space, performed by Lilian as she laments the fact that this is probably the last time people are going to come to something like the ISS. Byakuya is suitably moved.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The title of the story, Boichi's description and the first three chapters would have you believe it's about Byakuya, the astronauts and their life on Earth after they returned. Nope, instead the story focuses on Byakuya's Robot Buddy Rei, and its efforts to keep the ISS in orbit and later to protect the earth from a Class 5 apocalypse.
  • True Companions: The ISS crew in its entirety, Rei included.
  • Wham Shot: The final panel of the penultimate page with the message "Byakuya, I am here".
  • What If?: The story is set on an alternate timeline where Byakuya and Senku built Rei, a robot that ends up maintaining the ISS over millenia and saving Japan from a meteor crash after another had wiped out Europe. In Dr. Stone proper, Senku never mentions Rei and doesn't find any signs of such destruction during his world travels. Then, when he's preparing to go to the Moon, he reflects on how the ISS must have crashed and burned a long time ago. The very end of Dr. Stone implies this story is the result of Senku and Xeno trying to change history, as Xeno considers somehow creating an A.I. savior for mankind and Rei is pictured on the background as he speaks.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During Chapter 8, after going comet-hunting for raw materials, Rei finds out that the latest comet it obtained contains an alien space behemoth trapped inside the comet's ice. Instead of lamenting the earth-shattering importance of such a discovery, Rei is instead simply thankful that the comet provides raw organic materials for its work. Then again, Rei is a robot and its only concern is to keep the ISS in orbit.