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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ] Blackjack

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG
Parental Guidance Advised

Reviewed by Sylvain Parent:

Black Jack was actually the brainchild of the famed Tezuka Osamu aka the god of manga. The manga detailed the tribulations of a wandering surgeon for hire who was willing to perform on some rather bizarre customers including criminals.

This manga has now been the basis for a series of OAV detailling individual cases of one Dr. Black Jack. They are tales of a man obssessed with healing yet incredibly cold. Every time someone needs his assistance, they must make it known how much they are willing to offer for his services. His own body is scared beyond belief, making him a grotesque patchworked man. But his past remains a mystery throughout the series.

Volume 1

The first volume deals with an extremly unusual situation on an isolated island where lies a small village and a very wealthy man. This man is cursed it seems with the incapacity to maintain fluids inside his body, yet he is plagued by incredible thirst. The more he drinks the faster his condition worsens, making it quite a problematic situation. His state of the art equipement and medical staff have been unable to find a cure or even understand the illness, but the problem is that the village has also been hit by this plague.

This is where the good doctor steps in to save the day as usual. He'll have to work under great stress as the superstitious villagers seek to burn down the mansion and it's owner, the ill man.

In the end, if you watch Black Jack's first clinical chart you're stepping into a world that seems to have existed before this 1st chart but are left with no clue as to what exactly happened then. The manga is clearer about Black Jack's past compared with the anime, so don't feel as if you've missed a series or anything like that. His story will remain chained to the manga version. But it's still an interesting story, nothing groundbreaking like say Neon Genesis Evangelion (which went to great lenghts to stray from the traditionnal narrative process) but it's not preachy like Herald. It can be fun to dissect (no pun intended) the character of Black Jack and see how we try to make us believe that the man is a hero despite his blatantly cold and self serving method of offering his services. But then again, anime is known for such paradoxal situations...

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

This is certainly a detailled anime when it comes to medical scenes. Although the illness is improbable to say the least, the various shots during the surgery are quite realistic. But this is the problematic area for both young and old, since some people simply can't stand the sight of surgery being performed on someone. If your stomach is weak when it comes to medical procedures, then you might want to turn around during those scenes. But you might want to note that Black Jack is often a bit too talented, cancers and other such illnesses aren't quite as easy to cure as the anime might suggest, and transplantations are never easy. On a final note, there is nudity, some male nudity and some female nudity. Black Jack is seen in the shower in one scene, but we only see him from behind and thus only his cheeks are shown (hey, this isn't Bastard!! you know...). The wife of the rich man appears nude a few times, but I don't see how her breasts would be a big problem if you have none with Black Jack's exposed posterior.

Black Jack is a scientist all the way. I suppose this might offend some people, the man obviously puts his faith in science, or if you will, the world of senses (what he perceives though senses is reality).

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