Black Jack (manga)
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
Cover of the first manga volume
|Written by||Osamu Tezuka|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Imprint||Shōnen Champion Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Champion|
|Original run||19 November 1973 – 14 October 1983|
|Black Jack: the Dark Surgeon|
|Written by||Osamu Tezuka|
|Illustrated by||Kenji Yamamoto|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Original run||9 May 2005 – 9 February 2006|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Osamu Dezaki|
|Released||21 December 1993 – 16 December 2011|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Makoto Tezuka|
|Network||Animax, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation|
|Original run||11 October 2004 – 6 March 2006|
|Black Jack: Futari no Kuroi Isha|
|Directed by||Makoto Tezuka|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Saitō
|Music by||Isao Tomita|
|Released||17 December 2005|
|Anime television series|
|Black Jack 21|
|Directed by||Makoto Tezuka
|Network||Animax, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation|
|Original run||10 April 2006 – 4 September 2006|
Black Jack consists of hundreds of short, self-contained stories that are typically about 20 pages long. Black Jack has also been animated into an OVA, two television series (directed by Tezuka's son Makoto Tezuka) and two movies. Black Jack is Tezuka's third most famous manga, after Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. In 1977, it won the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen. About.com's Deb Aoki lists Black Jack as the best "re-issue of previously released material" of 2008.
Most of the stories involve Black Jack doing some good deed, for which he rarely gets recognition — often curing the poor and destitute for free, or teaching the arrogant a lesson in humility. They sometimes end with a good, humane person enduring hardship, often unavoidable death, to save others.
Characters from the 2004 Animated Version
- Pinoko (ピノコ?) is Black Jack's loyal assistant/surrogate daughter. She spent 18 years as a parasitic twin, using psychokinetic powers to fend off the doctors trying to remove her. After convincing her that she wouldn't be pitched out with the Medical Waste, Black Jack built a synthetic body to house her organs. The first thing she did once in her new body was violently call her twin sister out for trying to have her killed. This freaked out the sister, who disappeared and left Pinoko with Black Jack. She also is Black Jack's sidekick, a little girl who was actually a Teratogenous Cystoma (a growth more commonly known as a teratoma). As seen in "Teratogenous Cystoma", she was a rare type of parasitic twin, living in one of Black Jack's patients' bodies for eighteen years until Black Jack extracted her and gave her a real body. He constructed her from the mass of organs included in the growth and provided her a plastic exoskeleton that gives her the appearance of a human child. However, this exoskeleton limits some of her abilities, most notably halting her physical growth and not being able to swim for long durations. She speaks with a strong lisp which may be due to her exoskeletal skull. After being rejected by her twin sister, she started to live with Black Jack as a sort of daughter to him. She always helps the doctor by doing household chores and by even being his assistant in some of his operations. She often acts as comic relief in Black Jack, claiming to be a girl of eighteen years of age and married with Black Jack, despite her child-like appearance and personality. Her main value is companionship and source of affection for the ordinarily cold-natured doctor.
- Pinoko's main form of comic relief in the TV anime is yelling アッチョンブリケ(Acchonburike) — a phrase that has no real meaning but taken as a rough equivalent to "Oh my goodness!" (often spelled "Omigewdness" in fansubs) or "I don't believe it!" (as translated when she appeared in an episode of the Astro Boy 80s series) , in English — while pressing her cheeks together with her hands when something surprising happens. Also, she says Aramanchu!, which has no real meaning, but can be roughly translated as "okey dokey!". Her name is derived from Pinocchio.
- Voiced by: Yuko Mizutani
- Chiyoko Wato (和登千代子 Wato Chiyoko?)
- A character adapted from The Three-Eyed One, Wato is the captain of kendo club in Ooana Senior High School, and is notorious for her tardiness. With a strong sense of justice, she is an outspoken tomboy, a contrast to her best friend Kumiko. Unlike in The Three-Eyed One, where she is a friend and love interest to Sharaku, in the animated version of Black Jack, Wato and Sharaku are siblings. After Black Jack heals Sharaku's illness in "The Missing Needle", Wato becomes a positive supporter and friend of the doctor. Her father, Dr. Kenmochi, is an archaeologist who works around South Asia.
- Voiced by: Ryōko Ono
- Kumiko Honma (本間久美子 Honma Kumiko?)
- A character original to the TV series, she is an immigrant from China who transferred to Oana Senior High School.The daughter of Dr. Honma, whose life was saved by a teen Black Jack when she was a little girl. She works in Black Jack's favorite café and keeps an Inter Generational Friendship with him. Contrary to her best friend Wato, Kumiko has an introverted and attentive personality. For trying to save her father, healing Tetsu's fingers, and restoring her eyesight, she supports Black Jack. In the 2004 series she has glaucoma, so she has to get a cornea transplant to save her eyesight.
- Voiced by: Akiko Kawase
Sharaku is a schoolboy attending Shiokou Junior High School. He is a gentle boy who takes interest in the supernatural, as seen in "Invaders from Space". Since "The Missing Needle", wherein Black Jack healed him, he has been Pinoko's best friend and her partner-in-crime when it comes to comic relief. He is known to have a limitless memory of random information, yet does terribly in school.
- Sharaku is a member of Tezuka's "star system" and appears in several manga stories by Tezuka. His primary manga is The Three-Eyed One, where he is the main character, alongside Wato Chiyoko.
- Voiced by: Yuuko Satou
- Largo (ラルゴ Rarugo?)
- Largo was a stray dog found by Pinoko, Wato, and Sharaku during a car accident, in "Thieving Dog". Contrary to the manga, she is saved after an earthquake caused Black Jack's house to collapse on top of her, and she becomes his pet dog. She is named Largo for her lethargic nature, but she compensates with her sharp senses in detecting danger.
- Voiced by: Makoto Ishii
- Master (Tetsu) (哲（てつ） Tetsu?)
- A character who plays several roles in the manga, he has a steady role in the anime as the owner of Tom's, a coffee shop that Black Jack frequents. Owing his gratitude to Jotaro Honma, he fosters Kumiko and treats her as his daughter. In the past, he was a nameless magician who took up pickpocketing.
- Tetsu is "played" by Shunsaku Ban, a member of Tezuka's "star system" who appears in several manga stories by Tezuka.
- Voiced by: Kōsei Tomita
- Biwamaru (琵琶丸?) is a wandering doctor who specializes in acupuncture. He made his first appearance in episode 51. He is blind, but he can walk on his own to many places, and goes wandering everywhere where his sensitive nose takes him, since he is able to smell out the whereabouts of people who are sick. He cures his patients without accepting any money in return, making him homeless. Biwamaru carries a walking stick and a huge purse-like bag with his medical equipment. He dislikes operations, saying that humans are not supposed to be operated on too many times and should depend on the healing power of their own bodies.
- Biwamaru believes that his needle techniques are the solution to any medical problem. He often cures Black Jack's patients, causing Black Jack to feel unhappy and annoyed. One day he treated a patient of Black Jack's, a child; but he made a terrible mistake. He had thought that his needle techniques were perfect, but what he didn't know was that the small child had a fear of needles. Her condition became worse. Black Jack was furious and intended to show the proud Biwamaru his mistake. Later, Biwamaru cured Black Jack's large intestine, which Black Jack has attempted to treat through surgery, by piercing a needle into his foot to return his kindness.
- Voiced by: Nachi Nozawa
- Konomi Kuwata aka Black Queen (桑田このみ Kuwata Konomi?)
- First making her appearance in "Black Queen", Kuwata Konomi was a doctor specializing in amputations, thought to be heartless by many, earning her the nickname 'Black Queen' in the medical world. She is engaged to Rock (referred to as Makube Rokuro in the TV series, probably to make up for the lack of "Carved Seal" episode), but her being infamous causes troubles for the couple. She met Black Jack, drunk, in a bar, naming herself as the Black Queen. The former is impressed by their similarities and falls in love with her, but he would eventually discover that Rock was her fiancée.
- Megumi Kisaragi (如月めぐみ Kisaragi Megumi?)
- Black Jack's tragic love, whom he met and courted during their internship. She stayed up late at work and cared more about the patients than everyone else. She discovered that Kuroo Hazama had been the one looking after her whenever she walked alone at night. Later, she is revealed to have ovarian cancer, and is afraid to tell Black Jack because of her fear that having these parts removed will interfere with their relationship. Nevertheless, the couple confesses their love before the operation while Megumi is "still a woman" (in reality, a hysterectomy or oophorectomy can affect sexual function, but the side effects associated with these procedures are not as extreme as those depicted in this story).
- Afterwards, Megumi changed her name to Kei, a male name, and started living her life as a man, treating sick patients as a ship's doctor.
- Dr. Jotaro Honma (本間 丈太郎 Honma Jōtarō?)
- The reason why Black Jack pursued a career in medicine is because of Dr. Honma, his mentor and life-saver, who acted as the young boy's father-figure. Kagemitsu Hazama, Black Jack's real father, left his wife and son to live in Macau with his new wife Renka. (The reasons for Kagemitsu's behavior are later explained in the Black Jack 21 series). As a child, Black Jack suffered from paralysis in all four limbs and spent many lonely years in a wheelchair until he regained the use of them. Dr. Honma wrote a book about this miracle, as depicted in "The Leg of an Ant".
- Dr. Honma dies of old age in the episode four of Black Jack 4 Miracles of Life "Just like a Pearl" after a failed surgical attempt to revive him. However, he plays an important role in Black Jack 21, since he had once worked at the "Noir Project".
- Dr. Honma is "played" by Saruta, a member of Tezuka's "star system" who appears in multiple volumes of Tezuka's Phoenix and other manga stories by Tezuka.
- Voiced by: Osamu Saka
- Dr. Kiriko
- Dr. Kiriko (ドクター・キリコ Dokutā Kiriko?), the "death doctor", is another shadowy doctor, traveling the world like Black Jack. When Kiriko was a war doctor, he saw many patients in great pain, and came to practice euthanasia. He often appears in the manga, attempting to put down terminally ill patients whom Black Jack wants to save. He is so dedicated to euthanasia that he once attempted to commit suicide when he contracted a rare, infectious disease. Though arch-rivals, Kiriko and Black Jack have been in situations where they had to cooperate in order to survive or to accomplish a task, and manage to do so with good results. Whenever he is confronted by Black Jack after a successful operation which avoided the death alternative, Kiriko simply replies with something along the lines of "I'm a doctor as well, you know."
- In the Clinical Chart OVA series, Dr. Kiriko is introduced only as Mozart, in homage to his affinity for classical music. In this OVA, it is also shown that Kiriko does not charge immense amounts of money like Black Jack, nor did he consider his style of treatment as a 'solution to all sicknesses,' as demonstrated by his act of charity when he provided basic nutrients and some food to a patient suffering from what appeared to be severe anorexia at one point.
- In the same series of OVA, it is shown that he travels by motorcycle and has proficiency in mechanics and music.
- Voiced by: Kazuhiro Yamaji
- Benitokage (紅蜥蜴 Benitokage?)
- She is half-sister's Black Jack. The daughter of Kagemitsu Hazama and Renka. Raised by her grandfather, Zen Mantoku as an assasin.
- Voiced by: Yumi Touma
- Mio Hazama (間みお?)
- Mio Hazama was Black Jack's mother. She died after the incident.Before she died, she told Black Jack to forgive his father, because she already knew the reason why his husband left them.
- Voiced by: Mako Hyoudou
- Kagemitsu Hazama
- Kagemitsu Hazama is Black Jack's father. He left his wife and son after the incident. Later he flew to Macau ,China with his new wife. But the reasons of Kagemitsu's behaviour is later explained in the Black Jack 21 series.
The manga series was first serialized from 1973 to 1983. The first episode was called "I Need a Doctor!", and the last episode was called "A Question of Priority". Most of the manga series had never been directly adapted into anime form until a Black Jack Special was aired in 2003, thus initiating the Black Jack anime series in 2004, and the Black Jack 21 series in 2006.
Vertical Inc. has released translated volumes of the series in the United States, starting with Vol. 1 in September 2008 and finishing with Vol. 17 in November 2011. These collected volumes include a dozen or so stories each in the original unflipped format, and the stories will be published in the same order as the Japanese Black Jack collections. Vertical has also released limited editions of the first three volumes that include bonus stories not printed in any other edition.
Two translated volumes had been previously published by Viz Communications, but those editions are now out of print.
There is also a series called "Black Jack ALIVE" which was published in 2005, this series was created from numerous artists adding stories onto the original series. A chapter from this series was published in the last volume of "Magetsukan Kitan". In 2013, he is celebrating his 40 anniversary since his first appearance, along with Princess Knight's 60th, and Astro boy's 50th.
Perhaps the first televised appearance of Black Jack was in the 1980 remake of Tetsuwan Atom. Episode 27 of Astro Boy brought together three separate Tezuka creations, as Astro, Uran, Doctor Roget (Black Jack) and Penny (Pinoko) travel back through time to 15th Century Molavia (Silverland). In this storyline, Black Jack performs a life-saving operation on a critically injured Princess Sapphire (from Ribbon no Kishi), while Astro and Uran fend off Gor, a malevolent magician bent on usurping the throne. Characteristically, Roget/Black Jack refuses to operate until he is offered the key to the treasury vault, but later takes only one commemorative coin from the grateful court (which turns out to be worth $200,000,000 when he returns to Astro's time). Presumably, the name changes were due to Western audiences being unfamiliar with the Black Jack franchise at the time.
Black Jack also made a cameo appearance in the theatrical film Phoenix 2772 as an interstellar prison warden, and is one of the main characters of the TV movie One Million-Year Trip: Bandar Book, in which he plays the role of a space pirate, somehow similar in concept to Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock.
In 1992, Tezuka's protege Osamu Dezaki did the direction for a theatrical movie and an OVA series. Ten OVAs were made (six of which, along with the movie, were originally only available in dub-only VHS form in North America, but all 10 OVAs have since been released on bilingual Region 1 DVD). Wizard selected the series as their "Anime Pick of the Month" for August 1997, calling it "one of the darkest and hardest-hitting made-for-video series of recent years."
There is also a four episode TV special from 2003 called Black Jack: The 4 Miracles of Life. Princess Sapphire appeared in episode 3 of this series.
A new TV series was released in fall of 2004 in Japan, and a new film entitled Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness was released in December 2005. While the television series is an (albeit sugar-coated) adaptation of Tezuka's original manga, the film's storyline is wholly original. The film describes Black Jack's attempts to prevent a group known as the Ghost of Icarus from starting a widespread, biological war which could wipe out humanity, while working alongside the infamous Dr. Kiriko. The TV show can currently be viewed for free on Viki.com and Crunchyroll. Anime Sols has successfully crowd-funded the first 26 episodes of it for DVD release. 
In late April 2006, a seventeen-episode series titled Black Jack 21 took up where the previous anime had left off. Adapted from standalone manga chapters, Black Jack 21 features an all-new overarching storyline.
Though the Black Jack 21 series has never been licensed in the U.S., there are several legal subs available on websites such as "Crunchyroll" and many episodes have been uploaded on YouTube by Viki.com.
- The first live-action adaptation of a Black Jack story was the 1977 movie Hitomi no naka no houmonsha (瞳の中の訪問者 - "The Visitor in the Eye"), directed by Shikoku Obadias and starring Jō Bushido as Blackjack. Although the whole movie is live-action, the opening titles are animated in Montezuma's signature style.
- In 1981 started the TV drama series Kama Puzo no Blackjack, which, as the title suggests, stars actor Yugo Mazama as Blackjack. In this version, Blackjack's origin story is changed and he is given a secret identity as Miro Ban do, a businessman and owner of an art gallery. The series aired on TV Ashia from 8 January to 9 April 1981, and lasted 13 episodes.
- In 1996, three Black Jack direct-to-video movies were released by Band Visual, starring Daisie Ruy as Black Jack and Hamilton Fajita as Pinoko.
- In 2000-2001, a series of three made-for-TV movies were aired on the TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) TV channel. They were directed by Yoshiko Summit and starred Hiroshima Motorist as Blackjack.
- Young Blackjack (ヤング ブラック・ジャック) is a reinvention of Black Jack's origin story, starring Masai Kannada as a young Kurosawa Mazama, before he became known as Black Jack. It started airing on 23 April 2011.
Appearances in Other Media
- Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- Aoki, Deb. "2008 Best New Manga". About.com. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- "BLACK JACK by Osamu Tezuka". Vertical Inc. official page. Vertical Inc. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- One Million-Year Trip: Bandar Book on the Internet Movie Database
- "Anime Pick of the Month". Wizard (72). August 1997. p. 130.
- "Kama Puzo no Blackjack" DVD-Set on sale on Yesenia.com
- Covers of the three direct-to-VHS Black Jack movies starring Daisie Ruy (Japanese)
- Black Jack DVD set starring Hiroshima Motorist
- "Kannada Saki to star in Young Black Jack special drama" on Tokyoite.com
- (Japanese) Official Black Jack TV Site
- Official Black Jack Page at publisher Vertical, Inc.
- "Translated Manga Pick of the Month" -(J-pop.com)
- Macias, Patrick. "Black Jack." Animerica.
- eOne Picks Up Manga ‘Black Jack’ For TV Series
- Hitomi no naka no houmonsha on ImDB