Black Jack anime review

Black Jack anime review
Black Jack is an "unregistered" doctor with a clouded, mysterious past. He works with his little assistant Pinoko (who has a massive crush on the doctor), dealing with medical cases not very well known, which can be strange, dangerous, or not known at all. But he is a genius, and can save almost any of his patients' life (as long as they have the money for it, that is), and is known to many around the world, especially to those of medicine and science. He's a man of science himself, and does not believe much until he has seen it, yet it is many times he is surprised by love and nature often overpowering the science he bases his life in.

At first Black Jack seems to be the archetype of the arrogant doctor - a man who only works for as much money as he can get, a man who seems purely selfish and conceited. But this is only a facade he puts up to ward off the curious and capricious. Black Jack is a doctor in the truest sense of the word. Unhampered by HMOs, licenses, and all trappings of the real-world bureaucracy, he is free to work medical miracles, when he can manage them. Yet he isn't just concerned about the physical health of a person - he helps people to live beyond the situations they are thrust in, whether in peace or war. As such, he is a very noble and heroic figure cut from the same cloth as any of the best of anime and manga. Nothing less than you'd expect from a creation of Tezuka Osamu, Japan's "God of Manga".

The series itself is well plotted and acted. Each case poses not only a unique medical challenge for the master doctor, but a very human struggle as well. Sometimes Black Jack must watch as lives he thought he'd saved are futilely thrown away. What seem to be simple cases turn out to have complications far beyond the lives of the patients. And the medical procedures themselves, though sometimes completely unbelievable, are still portrayed realistically, reflecting Tezuka's own experiences as a doctor. The animation depicts Tezuka's manga style well, while updating it for '90s audiences. The characters don't look nearly as cartoony as in the original manga, which is better for the tone of the series. The dramatic pause is also used very effectively, heightening the tension and suspense of a given situation.

The music is appropriate and effective. Though you wouldn't expect hard rock as opening and ending themes, the lyrics are what make them work. The background is very appropriate and dramatic. As far as the animation style, it is glossy and well done, and still scenes are sometimes used, though to very good effect. Not standard anime, but an experiment that not only works well, but also pays brilliant tribute to Tezuka Osamu, who had passed on before this project began. Were he alive, he would've been proud, as this was one of the series that was closest to his heart. As far as the dubbing, it is one of ZRO Limit's better translations, and the voice of Black Jack is simply dead on. Even the thickly accented Hispanics in one episode are believable, unlike some very stereotypical "ethnic dubs" (like Lajendra in Heroic Legend of Arslan).

Black Jack is a hard series to describe. It is unlike any other anime out there, in style, pacing, and content. And it's done very well. The only real objections there might be are that the surgeries can get a tad *too* unbelievable, but then again, only those with a medical background would really notice that. Also there is a very thinly disguised United States invading a small Latin country and arresting its leader for supposed drug offenses, and it's not exactly a favorable view on the "Federal Unites" either. Keep in mind, however, that the rest of the world might just have a different opinion on US than its inhabitants do. Still, Black Jack is an exceptional drama that deserves far more attention than it's received here. It's easy to overlook because it's a US Manga Corps title, but it may very well be the most brilliant gem in their tape inventory. If you have a solid stomach for medical procedures, and a desire to see something that is thought-provoking and socially redeeming, this is the anime for you.


Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Black Jack. Watch it now:
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