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Black Jack
Clinical Chart 1: Iceberg, Man With Kimaira

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1993 Tezuka Productions (Japan), © 1996 US Manga Corps (North America)
Length: 50 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: English Dubbed (VHS)

Original Story: Tezuka Osamu Director: Dezaki Osamu Producers: Kubota Minoru, Udagawa Sumio Character Design: Tezuka Osamu Music: Shoji Osamu English Version Executive Producer: John O'Donnell

[ plot summary ]

Enovis Crossward, the multi-billionaire chairman of Karosan Enterprises is dying of a slow, painful death. Seven years of torturous existence on a secluded island paradise, Crossward had all but given up hope, save one possibility: the enigmatic, unlicensed physician know only as 'Black Jack.' But Crossword is not alone in his affliction. The strange disease, Kimaira, results in the violent expulsion of fluids from every pore in a person's body, causing a slow, painful death by dehydration. Yet the disease has stubbornly refused to be isolated, even after its 150 years of existence. Can Black Jack save Crossword's life long enough to see his unborn child? Will a cure be found before the entire population of the island is decimated?

[ capsule review ]

There is no mistaking Tezuka's artistic style in any of his works. The rounded, almost comical appearance of most of his characters have long been a trademark of his style. Black Jack is rather unique in that it not only draws upon Tezuka Osamu's educational background as a medical doctor, but also serves as an experimental means of story telling. Ironically, this series was produced after his death, and is based on his manga series. (Luckily, some alterations have been made to the original character designs -- the original manga features characters who are comical in appearance, despite the serious nature of the stories.) There are some rather questionable medical ideas presented as plot devices, but by in large, the centre of focus is the artistic style used to progress the story. (Besides, I'm certainly not qualified to critique the medical information contained in this show.) Black Jack is told in a chronological manner, with liberal use of freeze-frame cuts to emphasize dramatic elements. While the cut to still frame technique can be very effective, the device is used far too often, giving this episode a 'stop-and-go' sense of discontinuity. Character designs vary significantly, from the wild-haired shrivelled old tycoon to the delicate beauty of Crossward's wife, Seiyori (who could have very well have been an Ikegami Ryoichi design).

It's difficult to say how well the original screenplay was written, as we only have access to the English dub. Overall, this dub is not bad -- the English screenplay is of decent quality, and moves fairly well, though the motivations and timing of the actions of the townspeople of Rikosky Island are very, very questionable. The English vocal cast is fair, with the voices for Black Jack and for Crossward's assistant, David Rosinger, being worthy of mention. Still, this is not a show to watch for entertainment value; the plot really stretches the limits of credibility beyond the breaking point. But the story-telling technique, over-used as it may be, is worth a look. - AN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A N/A 2 stars
Direction: N/A N/A 4 stars
Acting: N/A N/A 3 stars
Animation: N/A N/A 4 stars
Music: N/A N/A 3 stars
Translation: N/A N/A N/A
Overall Rating: N/A N/A 3 stars

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