You know, I never expected a Shounen to be a battle of the nerds but Dr. Stone has proven me wrong. Between Senku VS Xeno, it isn’t about who’s got the most brawns and special attacks, but about who is smarter instead. And honestly I already appreciated what Dr. Stone was doing with the whole science and research angle, especially when you consider most dystopian anime. But it’s truly these two characters that sell the over the top setting and still make it fairly realistic.
So, say you had to choose between Senku and Xeno in terms of wit. Personally, I think Dr. Xeno Houston Wingfield is smarter than Senku Ishigami, solely based on the fact that he has more experience in the field. But if you get rid of that, the two are fairly equal in their standing. Like, both are exceptionally smart individuals who want the Stone World to go through modernization. It’s their motivations that set them apart. Because while for Senku it’s about aiding humanity, Xeno wants nothing more than absolute control.
And that’s an interesting dichotomy to place in a Shounen, one that you can see mirrored in real life. It’s not whether Senku is smarter than Xeno, or vice versa. It’s about what two brilliant minds could do, and how their methods differ, despite having similar goals. Senku is ethical, he is altruistic and cares about the human component. Whereas Xeno is impartial, unbiased to an unhealthy degree and condescending with his intelligence. So, yes, that does affect how their intellect manifests.
But if we were to compare the two at face value, who would come out at top? Senku VS Xeno, who would be the smarter of the two? Well, for that we need to look at them without any bias. Ignoring the fact that Senku is the protagonist and Xeno is an antagonist, both are men of science. So, who is going to be better at leading civilization into the new age? Let’s compare the two in another round of Character Versus!
Xeno: The Mentor That Wants To Rule The World
So, you can’t really compare intellect the same way you can something like physical power. There are no overcomplicated Jutsus or Spirit Bombs here. It’s genuinely just brain power and, well, you can’t quantify that. But we can look at achievements adn guage something from there.
There’s a reason why many people consider Dr. Xeno as the perfect foil to Senku. Because technically, he is the reason Senku is as trained in the sciences as he is, because he mentored Senku. Xeno was his teacher, who helped stoke the fires of knowledge in his heart. So, in a way, his intelligence is always going to be superior. I mean, the man was a former NASA scientist, like he has control over basic sciences and advanced branches like Astrophysics.
Xeno used his intellect to gain more ranks, eventually becoming the leader of the American Colony, providing them with machinery that advanced their agriculture. It is said that the Fortress in San Francisco also had him involved in its construction. Again, this is technically the Stone Age, so his resources are extremely limited. But regardless, he even created a Polygraph Test, with its accuracy being tested on Senku.
But perhaps Xeno’s greatest asset is how mentally fortified he is, and how he truly believed in his convictions. If we forget the whole Xeno VS Senku thing for a second here, we can appreciate the fact that Dr. Xeno and his cohorts kept themselves awake for multiple millennia instead of succumbing to Petrification. He is quick to adapt in critical situations, keeping his calm,
And so, he believes the power of knowledge only belongs to those capable of handling it. Which, I guess I can see where that stems from. We see what misinformation does to people who don’t have a full idea of where that misinformation comes from, like with Anti-Vaxxers during the Pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that holding education away from everyone is a better idea.
Senku: The Protege That Wants To Advance Society
So, how does Senku fair against someone who was literally a scientist beforehand and his teacher? Well, honestly, it’s simply by working hard and staying true to your ideals, because even science requires a degree of honest sincerity and emotion.
And Senku is the heart of Dr. Stone for a reason. Tsukasa Shishio, one of the primary antagonists of the series, even called him the “sharpest, most intelligent man in the world”, which is high praise coming from someone out to get you. Senku is simply an encyclopedia of information, with subjects such as chemistry, biology and medicine at his very fingertips.
The best part is, he doesn’t withhold that information from the world for his own superiority. He is arrogant, but not selfish, and aims to further people in the field of science using his own experiences to light the way. It’s through trusting others and forming a team, that he has advanced in a number of his projects, including when it came to making the De-Petrification Elixir. The boy is a marvel, for good reason, but even if there are things he might lack in, his allies more than make up for it.
Which is why he is surrounded with more innovation. When like minded people share ideas and theories, there is bound to be invention. And that is Senku’s biggest asset, it’s his willingness to not gatekeep all the knowledge that he has gained, instead using it to help those around him and building a Kingdom Of Science.
Winner: Xeno, But Not For Long!
Okay, the reason Xeno is smarter than Senku for now, is simply because he has done more for science in the time he has been alive, including teaching Senku himself. But the thing is, that experience won’t be permanent. There will come a time where Senku surpasses Xeno. Hell, he might have already done that with finding the cure to Petrification.
But what nobody tends to discuss is how much better both these characters are together. When they work for the betterment of their respective fields, they are unstoppable. With Senku being the optimist and Xeno being the nihilist, they strike a nice balance of grounded realness, where the dream of a new world doesn’t feel so out there.
And, let’s be honest: This is a Shonen Jump series, so the protagonist is eventually going to be the strongest and/or smartest. So, while Xeno might be Top Dog right now, the day isn’t far when he falls and Senku helps pick him up, proposing to work together.