(ブラック・ジャック Burakku Jakku) is a Manga
written by Osamu Tezuka in the 1970s, dealing with the medical adventures of the eponymous doctor Black Jack.
Black Jack consists of hundreds of short, self-contained episodes, on the order of 20 pages of manga each. Two volumes have been translated into English by Viz Communications, but those editions fell out of print. Vertical Inc. has announced that they will release the entire series starting in Fall 2008. 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 shonen.
Most of the episodes involve Black Jack doing some good deed, for which he rarely gets recognition—often curing the poor and destitute for free, or teaching a capitalist fat cat and his pompous colleagues a lesson in humility. They frequently end with a good, humane person enduring hardship, often unavoidable death, to save others.
Osamu Tezuka drew on his knowledge as a physician in writing Black Jack, and the manga contains frequent medical details. However, Tezuka chose to generally eschew medical plausibility in his manga: Black Jack is superhuman, regularly performing spectacular and impossible feats of surgical virtuosity, such as operating in absolute darkness completely from memory, and transplanting body parts without any risk of rejection. (However, rejection is accounted for in some Anime
Perhaps the first televised appearance of Black Jack was in the 1980 remake of Tetsuwan Atom. Episode 26 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.
In 1992 Tezuka's protege Osamu Dezaki did the direction for an OVA series. Ten OVAs were made (six of which were originally only available in dub-only VHS form in North America, but all 10 OVAs are now available on bilingual Region 1 DVD), and a movie (also by Dezaki).
There is also a four episode TV special from 2003 called Black Jack: The 4 Miracles of Life.
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 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 wide-spread, biological war which could wipe out humanity, while working alongside the infamous Dr. Kiriko.
In late April 2006, a seventeen-episodes series titled Black Jack 21 premiered. Adapted from standalone manga chapters, Black Jack 21 features an all-new overarching storyline.
- From Wikipedia