A little back story for the younger fans of anime out there: Osamu Tezuka was one of the greatest creators of Manga in the history of the media. He was so great at his craft he received the nickname of “The Godfather of Manga.” While most fans around the world will remember him for creating Astro Boy, one of his more personal projects came in the form of Black Jack, a story of a back-alley Doctor who would perform any operation for the right price. Tezuka himself had medical training and it helped him write a better story; and although some of the material he wrote about over the years involving the character may have been more fantastical than others, he still wrote intriguing stories of Black Jack and his godlike skill with a scalpel.
Now in Young Black Jack, its 1968, and we are introduced to Hazama Kuroo, the young man who would become Black Jack. He is studying to be a Doctor despite the tension that seems to be taking place in the country. This is of little interest to him as he prefers to practice surgery in the courtyard while the rest of his classmates prepare to march in protest. When a train accident occurs it becomes all hands on deck in the hospital. Hazama takes interest in a young boy who was hit by the train and has lost an arm and an a leg. The attending Doctor believes the best course of action would be amputation but Hazama a man who is patchwork himself believes the limbs can be reattached. With the aid of Okamato Maiko, another fellow medical student, the two head to the Operating Room of a Doctor Hazama knows named Yabu and the operation begins. With his incredible skill, Hazama is able to save the boy’s limbs but his parents go back on his word on the amount that was promised, which angers Hazama who can’t stand when someone bargain over people’s life.
One of the first questions you may as after watching this show is “How can he be so angry? Didn’t he ask for an insane amount of money to do the operation to begin with?” but know this is all part of Black Jack’s character. In the original manga he would often charge extreme amounts of money when people would ask for his services. He would take the money from those who were immoral and corrupt and then let the amount go entirely for those he saw as being genuine in willing to do all they could to save their loved ones. Had the parents said they were poor and wouldn’t be able to pay, Hazama would have shrugged off the expense and simple been happy that he helped another person of worth in the world. The explanation behind this mindset will hopefully be explored in future episodes.
The animation is gorgeous. A great way to update the characters for a more modern audience while at the same time holding true to the originally of Tezuka’s characters. The ending sequence with the spinning cards, one showing the original manga art of the character and the other showing the new art for the show is very impressive. The work as Hazama is performing surgery is interesting with the surgical sutures moving almost like when someone uses garrote wire in an action movie.
The characters are intriguing but Black Jack, no matter which series he is portrayed is always an interesting character. The show introduces a few others like Okamato Maiko, a fellow medical student who may prove to be Hazama’s love interest and Yabu, a doctor who is afraid of blood (Seriously how did he pass his exams with that type of flaw?). Both of whom will be aiding Hazama in his early days as he works to become the world-class surgeon of the future.
The new series does a lot to offer a new generation the chance to enjoy the great character created by Osamu Tezuka. It looks promising and hopefully will continue to be as intriguing in future episodes.