I have read nearly all 17 volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s well-known manga, Black Jack. I don’t yet own all copies of the English-translated manga, but I aim to get there some day. I like Tezuka’s art. His characters are quite Betty Boop-ish in style, and they are drawn in strokes that are bold and clear. It is very easy to follow the story through each frame.
Recently, I started watching the anime on Youtube. The anime has over 80 episodes (almost like a long-running Hong Kong or Taiwanese soap drama), and I have watched approximately 15% of the episodes so far.
Black Jack is a gifted but unlicensed medical doctor who operates on patients in the back of his house. He is not accepted in the mainstream medical society, yet he is sought after by doctors and patients for his superhuman ability to cure almost any illness. He is a bit like Batman or Robin Hood, someone who goes around helping the poor and needy while teaching the rich and arrogant a lesson. Regardless of one’s background, Black Jack asks for exorbitant medical fees, not because he is greedy, but because he wants to make sure that patients who seek his help understands that the value of life is worth far more than dollars and cents. He is a physician who doesn’t just cure people’s bodies, but mends their souls and hearts as well.
The anime is good fun to watch. While it follows the manga pretty closely, the anime feels alot lighter, and more humourous than the manga, which has a sombre undertone and at times, comes across as dark and depressing. The anime expanded the role of Pinoko-chan, and introduced a new character called Sharaku, as her close friend as well as a pet dog. I don’t recall characters such as Sharaku and the pet dog appearing in the manga.
Each story in the manga/anime is a standalone one, so you don’t have to start right at the beginning to be able to follow the story, but they are all full of warmth, and focuses on the messages of human decency, compassion and the value of life.