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Black Jack: A Surgeon with the Hands of God

blackjack-1
Genre: Drama
Company: Tezuka Production Co./Shochiku Co.
Format: 1 movie
Dates: 11/30/1996

Black Jack is a mysterious figure. A brilliant surgeon who charges astronomical fees, yet he doesn’t have a medical license. Whenever an operation seems impossible, he’s secretly called to do the job. Two years after the sudden appearance of “Super-Humans” during the Olympics, Black Jack is called to action in his toughest challenge to date: a secret research in a prestigious laboratory. What is so important about this research that needs Black Jack’s skill, and how is it related to the Super-Humans?

summary by Griveton

 

Reviewed: 09/27/2002 by
Grade: 81% av-Griveton

Highs: Entertaining story; interesting main character; music; animation

Lows: Disappointing ending; some events feel forced

Like Metropolis, Black Jack is based on a popular manga by the late “God of Manga”, Tezuka Osamu. Due to this similarity, I was afraid this movie would run into the same problems. I’m glad to say that this isn’t the case. What we have here is a medical thriller, a rare genre in anime… and a very good one, at that.

The animation, for the most part, is well done. Several scenes use animation techniques to emphasize the mood, and range from conventional (slow motion) to unique (seeing the muscles of a moving person). Most of the time these techniques work pretty well. The story, although probably a little over-the-top, has enough mystery and tension to keep you interested. The main characters are decently developed, and while the music is not going to my favorites list, it’s good and well-implemented.

However, there are several problems with this movie. The biggest of them is the resolution: the seemingly overwhelming problem is solved regardless of everything that happened previously. Because of this, a good part of the story ends up feeling irrelevant. Adding to this, the ecological message the epilogue delivers feels a little out of place, as the topic isn’t dealt with in the movie. I realize its importance in the Black Jack manga, but the movie should need that connection. Lastly, there are a couple of scenes that look like they were forced into the story to help it progress faster.

Even with those faults, this is a good addition to anyone’s collection. Although I’ve heard people complain that Black Jack’s life is kept shrouded from the viewer, I liked the aura of mystery around him; after all, he is supposed to be a mysterious, ghostly figure of the medical world. Assuredly, this movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but even then, it will be worth your time.

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