I am very sad to say that I am unfamiliar with the late Osamu Tezuka’s original Blackjack manga. Having only heard about the series through an AMV at an anime convention a year or two ago. I honestly, wish I could share this amv with you for it was not just a work of editing beauty. It was more then enough to get you to drop everything you are doing and go watch Blackjack right now.
Sadly for me, I have yet to get a chance to do such. With that being said, Episode 1 of Young Blackjack was my first encounter with a real episode of the series. What did I think of it? How did it hold up? Let’s take a look.
During a chaotic age of riot and revolution, many jobs are suffering, including that of the medical field. With interns lining up on the streets, they need any help they can get in order to heal the people in need. This holds especially true when a bus and a train collide and also, a young boy who’s bike was on the train tracks comes in with two of his limbs severed from his body.
When the other doctors say there is nothing they can do to reattach the limbs and it’s either the kids limbs or his life. However, Hazuma Kuroo, or the man who will later be known as Blackjack says that he can do the surgery.
with that being said, there is a price. In this case, the price is 5 million yen. A hefty price, but can you really give a value to the life of your son? Well, you could let your son live as a cripple for the rest of his life. The other doctors could do at least that much, however, this young doctor is offering you a miracle. So they agree to pay it and Hazuma gets to work.
The actual surgery scenes are well done, it’s not too bloody. Very classy,does a lot of interesting visual techniques. I’m not a doctor, so the accuracy of the surgery and the terms that are used in it are beyond me. With that being said, the visuals made it easy enough to follow and made sure that I did not lose interest. The surgery is a success.
Hazuma is understandably shaken by the entire process, it being his first surgery. I think, that’s what they say anyway, I’m not entirely convinced.
Now remember when I said you can’t put a price on a miracle for your kid? Well apparently, you can. You can rip off the doctor who made it so your kid wouldn’t be a cripple for the rest of his life and only pay him five hundred thousand instead of five million. Okay, I get it, five million is a lot of money. I wouldn’t really want to have to pay it either.
That’s pretty low though, like, this guy performed what other doctors said was impossible and kept your kid from being a cripple for life. Yes, he’s just a student. No, he does not have a medical license. He saved your kids life and limbs! You can’t put a price on a miracle.
Let’s wrap this post up with a few final thoughts on the animation and characters.
Animation: The animation in this show is gorgeous, that was the first thought I had as the episode began. The character designs of many of the side characters carry a very Tezuka feel to them. However, with that being said. I think that the main characters. Hazuma, Maiko, the doctor who’s E.R. that they used to operate in but I don’t believe they mentioned the name of feature a almost different style. You can still pin them as Tezuka’s works, but not as much as say someone like the boys father.
I think in my mind, since it’s the most famous of his works I will always think of this style as “The Astro Boy” style. That’s probably just me and it’s strange that I would make that association since I’ve never seen Astro Boy.
Characters: The characters all seem rather interesting. Hazuma or Blackjack, has interested me since I’ve heard about him. It’s no secret to know that he performs without a license even in the later series. I don’t know if the reason he doesn’t have a license is explained in the original or if that’s what Young Blackjack is going to explain to us. I also don’t know anything about his patchwork.
Second off, there is Okamoto Maiko is a medical intern at the hospital, one of the few people not partaking in the protests. She seems nice an earnest young woman with a real interest in helping people. She sticks with Hazuma through the surgery when she’s under no real obligation to do so and was probably needed back at the hospital taking care of the multiple other victims. She was ready to reel Hazuma in if it began to look impossible.
Lastly, we have the unnamed doctor. Who is afraid of blood and gets high, he’s an interesting character to be sure. He helped them out by watching the boys vitals so he wouldn’t have to look at the blood. What’s his story? What kind of doctor is afraid of blood? How do Hazuma and him know each other? I have to say he’s probably the one I’m most interested in so far.
I really enjoyed this first episode and I don’t think it will let up, the question here is if the series will adhere to more of a ‘patient of the week’ formula or hold a more cohesive plot. With the way the opening is looking and the story of the strike going on, it’s looking like there may be a more cohesive plot going on. I’m going to keep an eye on this series.
I think it has a lot of potential. Hopefully, I’ll be able to double back sometime and watch the original. Until then, I think i’ll be covering Young Blackjack.