WARNING: the following contains spoilers for Dr. Stone Chapter 232, by Boichi, Riichiro Inagaki, Caleb Cook and Steve Dutro.
Senku's fateful mission to the Moon ends with a peaceful and diplomatic solution, and a single Medusa is all that remains of the hive-minded -- and possibly alien -- A.I. known as Why-Man. Hero Ishigami Senku and his tiny crew return home to Earth in triumph, but no victory on the Moon can fix the ancient past; Yet.
Senku's victory opens all kinds of possibilities for the future of this new Stone Age, but Senku still longs for the past. From the very start, his mission has been to restore human civilization around the world, and his final invention is a game-changer on par with any James Cameron movie. In Dr. Stone's final chapter, Senku becomes the legendary John Connor.
No Future But What Senku Makes
In Dr. Stone's final chapter, Senku's team returns home, and years pass. The ever-expanding Kingdom of Science makes rapid progress, from building functioning airplanes to a small city, complete with 21st-century flags. Taiju even finally marries his sweetheart, Yuzuriha. For the brilliant Senku, though, there is always another project, another theory to test. Instead of savoring the peace with everyone else, Senku works hard in a secret lab on his most ambitious project yet. Senku uses the Medusa as a reference for reverse engineering and plans to build a functioning time machine.
As of Dr. Stone's final chapter, the in-progress time machine is not yet ready for use, and Senku admits that years or decades may pass before this incredible contraption is ready for use. His friends can hardly believe their eyes, but they have already seen Senku do the impossible. If Senku succeeds in this daring mission, he may become one of shonen's greatest-ever science fiction heroes.
He can already be compared to The Matrix's Neo, a brave hero who stood up to the tyranny of machines, but not even Neo traveled through time. But in James Cameron's popular Terminator movies, the resistance commander John Connor used time travel to send Kyle Reese back to 1984 Los Angeles and save humanity from the horrors of Skynet and its mechanical legions. By A.D. 2029, the human race was nearly doomed, and the key to salvation lay in the past. Senku thinks along the same lines in Dr. Stone, but he may cost himself his most critical shonen values along the way.
The Sacrifices Of Senku's Time-Travel Mission
Senku's mission is to return to the 21st century, just hours before Why-Man released its all-encompassing petrification beam to trap the human race in stone. Why-Man had mistakenly believed this to be a beneficial move for humanity, but Senku knows better. Senku plans to use the technology for a much better purpose. He will trap the entire human race in stone on his own, and this will prevent Why-Man from discovering humanity and using its own beams. Thus, Why-Man will simply pass by Earth in ignorance, and once the danger passes, Senku will undo his petrification and restore humanity.
In so doing, Senku will prevent the new Stone Age from ever happening, and future Stone Age natives such as Kohaku, the "sorcerer" Chrome, and Kaseki will never have existed. Senku's entire adventure there will be erased and replaced with a new timeline. That's good news for the human race, but oddly enough, Senku's greatest time-travel plan will also invalidate all the shonen lessons he had learned along the way. He relied on ingenuity, the power of friendship, and hard work to accomplish what he wanted, and soon, it will all be gone. It's almost ironic, but it seems to be the only way to accomplish Senku's original goal of preserving global human civilization. If John Connor can erase the grim future to restore a more peaceful past, then so can Ishigami Senku. Leaders like them always have to make the toughest decisions for the sake of others.