Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spotlight: Black Jack

Life is not Cheap!

It's been a long time since I did one of these and what better manga to talk about than Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack!

I usually don't talk much about the mangaka during these, but if anyone gets an exception it's gotta be Osamu Tezuka. 

Over 500 volumes! More than 150,000 Pages! They don't call him the God of Manga for nothing and Black Jack is without a doubt an Osamu Tezuka Quality Product.

The manga narrates the story of the titular character, a license-less doctor specializing in surgery that charges exorbitant prices for his services.

It goes without saying he is damn good at his job.

Pictured: Douche of the Day

Curiously enough, the manga uses an episodic format. It's not something you see much nowadays outside of slice-of-life and comedy manga.

Each chapter features a different case with a new patient and a new problem. Tezuka went to Medical School, but that does not mean the diseases treated here are all realistic. There is everything from the realistic to the flat out bizarre.Each story is a stand-alone and sometimes only have a loose continuity between them. 

There are a few recurring characters, but for the most part, the major constant throughout it all is the mysterious Black Jack.

As a character, Black Jack is highly mercurial.

He is brilliant, operates without a license, and charges exorbitant fees. Sometimes, he waives the fee entirely. Others times, not so much. Even when his patients are nice people.

He tries hard to cultivate an uncaring persona and can be brutal to his more dick-ish patients yet shows mercy at odd times.

Above all, Black Jack is a very human. He is not an invincible or infallible. He can and does lose patients and it hurts him like hell when that happens.

He is a Doctor, not God. The manga makes damn sure the reader is aware of that.

Since death is fair game, each chapter can be an emotional punch in the gut. The survival of the characters is not guaranteed and even when they live, a happy end may still be out of reach.

The manga does not shy away from complicated topics. Our desire to prolong our lives and the inevitability of death. The resources of the rich and the powerless of the poor.

In plain terms, this has all the feels.
Overall, Black Jack is great, amazingly great.

A definite recommendation to anyone.

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