Hazuma researches Johnny’s condition to the point of exhaustion, only to be told by Tommy, a soldier suffering from PTSD that Johnny never went to Vietnam. As the truth because known, it’s revealed that Johnny was involved with military experiments conducted by the CIA, and the Doctor Risenburg might be connected to it all. Will Johnny ever be able to feel pain again?
This episode showcases the weaknesses that come from any Black Jack story. Black Jack was originally written as a short story series by Tezuka and a lot of storytellers who deal with the character seem to take a similar approach. This means despite the fact there is a much larger story that could be told here, with the CIA, Professor Risenburg’s past, and a military conspiracy, a quick fix ending is used instead. Any of those topics could easily be the plot of the an entire anime series but rather than expand this storyline, it is wrapped up by the end of the episode with little to no chance it will be addressed in the rest of the series. Such wasted potential for compelling storytelling.
There is a reference to another Osamu Tezuka series here which will easily go over the heads of almost every American anime fan. The character of Tommy is shown wearing clown makeup and then shows a character who has thick glasses and what looks like a thief’s calling card. This is Rainbow Parakeet, a manga series created by Tezuka back in 1981. This is a bit of a stretch even for hardcore Tezuka fans. Sure, the reference a few episodes ago where Hazuma met with his rival Kiriko before he became an unlicensed doctor was one thing, but this is a reference to a series which has no exposure in American and never even had an anime adaptation. Kind of makes the whole attempt at a connection seem unnecessary.
A good episode none the less but could have been incredible if it had just taken the time to expand what it was telling a little more. This may very well be the weakness of the entire series. Fantastic stories but they just don’t dig into them deep enough for lasting effect.
Young Black Jack is simulcast streaming from Crunchyroll.