Animation Production – Tezuka Productions
Director – Makoto Tezuka
This review is on the 2004 TV series of Black Jack, there have been OVA’s, movies and other TV series. I have watched the first 45 episodes which are faithful adaptations of the original manga (1973-83) by Osamu Tezuka. Director Makoto Tezuka is the son of Osamu Tezuka and continues on at the company his father created to create works based on his properties. He has almost exclusively worked on the Black Jack series in a creative capacity.
This is a series that despite being made recently stays true to the way Anime/Manga was 20-30 years ago. This may put you off but unlike shows now that are dependent on character development and an overarching story it is all self contained episodes. Just like the previous show I reviewed it is very hard to watch for more than a couple of episodes a week but it is perfect for just watching a episode now an then.
The premise of the show is around an unlicensed brilliant surgeon Dr Black Jack. He is renowned for being able to handle difficult/impossible operation and cure previously incurable diseases. He will accept any patient who is able to meet his price (in the millions) or out of compassion which is often the case. The show can get emotional as Black Jack cures people who otherwise would have died. The depiction’s of surgery is not graphic and bloody but this is not a show for young children (I would say 12+).
I enjoyed the show’s variety in cases, it doesn’t limit itself to reality and some of my favourites involve cases such as shrinking humans and various involving animals.The other characters are typically there for comic relief and side stories which add to the variety of the show. The most prominent character other than Dr Black Jack is Pinoco who has an interesting story around her (revealed in depth in episode 44). While Pinoco may seem an annoying kid character there is some depth in the character who plays a part in most of the episodes.
In the future I look forward to watching to the other Black Jack movies and in particular the Black Jack 21 series (which has more of a story arc).
Rating – A-
Genre – Medical Drama Length – 62 Episode series Year – 2004-2006
Currently not licensed in the US, Adapted from original manga
Here is a list of show I am watching now –
Porfy no Tabi, Chi’s New Address and Eden of the East
Michiko to Hatchin, Casshern Sins
12 Kingdoms, Nana, BlackJack
You can expect reviews of these in the future.
Perfect Blue 1998 – His directorial debut is a psychological thriller which depicts a pop-idol turned actress who has a obsessive fan/stalker. It became a classic which was praised by famous movie directors and reviewers. It cemented Satoshi Kon as a talented up and coming director.
Millenium Actress 2001 – An ambitious time spanning movie about a documentary film maker interviewing an actress about her past roles. The blend of complex fiction and reality is again present in this film. It was a critical success having won various awards.
Tokyo Godfathers 2003 – A departure from his usual themes involving a makeshift homeless family who find a dumped baby and try to return it to the parents. An interesting view on a different world which gives insights on family issues and values.
Animation Production – Tatsunoko
Director – Seiji Okuda
This show has become a favorite of mine from the 1980s alongside Robotech/Macross. It is a more episodic show (apart from the final few episodes) where each episode involves the confrontation between the the criminal organization Necrime and the Mobile Police Unit. The underlying plot of the show involves Ryuu Urashiman who has time slipped into the future (2040s) from the 1980s to become part of the police unit.
There are some standout episodes which deal with what Tokyo would be like in the future from the perspective of the 80s. The prerequisite 80s SF of laser guns, flying cars and zero g discos are all present. I have a soft spot for SF shows and this is one that is light hearted and perfect for watching an episode now and then. However I couldn’t bear to watch more than a few episodes at a time which could mean it can be a bit repetitive and formulaic. I’ve been watching the show for a couple of years and with the final episode being subbed this year I was determined to finish the show.
Animation production company Tatsunoko brought us this lesser known but classic show which was for some reason was not released in the US. For our benefit it has been fan-subbed by Anime Classics.
Rating – B+
Genre – Science Fiction, Action Length – 50 Episode series Year – 1983
Currently not licensed in the US, Adapted from manga. Was Released in Italy, Germany and France.