Young Black Jack 03-05

young black jack2015-11-07-16h55m37s367Start watching my show or you may have a surgical “Mishap”


I’m not really sure how many other anime have dealt with the Vietnam War.  Of course there is Apocalypse Meow, which is exactly what you think it is.  Adorable animals replacing humans for the events of the Vietnam War.  It’s totally rad manga.  And of course my beloved Grappler Baki went to ‘Nam when Hanma Yujiro beat up America.  Explaining that sentence will not compute with anyone, just trust me.  Any other prominent examples I’m missing?

21st Century Schizoid Man

young black jack2015-11-07-16h52m48s053The happiest Black Jack has been for the entire show

So far, Young Black Jack has been a very odd show.  The first two episodes where odd morality plays in essence, and that trend continues on.  But since the Vietnam War was brought into focus, there have been lots of political commentary brought into the show.  Not all of which I am comfortable with.  The third episode of Black Jack is a bit hard to watch as a fan of the character and many of his previous appearances.  While it is no shock that there is a surgery the Black Jack needs to do otherwise someone will die, the way in which Black Jack is brought to the operating table honestly leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  When Maiko is intruding in on Black Jack to see just what makes him so damn awesome, they are interrupted to find two American deserters in the room next door.  And some thoroughly horrible anti-war protesters too.

It’s the way that these protesters are depicted that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  The male protester is a sniveling coward afraid to be hurt, and his female companion is even worse.  The way these characters are portrayed, and by extension the rest of the protesters because these are the only characters in the show that are shown to be anti-war,  is very UN-Black Jack.  The more established (read: older) Black Jack is a character who has his own opinions and views on issues and takes a stand when between two options.  Younger Black Jack’s biggest motivation seems to be: Black Jack.

young black jack2015-11-07-16h55m10s863Who is awesome enough to boss around Black Jack?  Black Jack

The ideal Black Jack that Young Black Jack wants to be wouldn’t abandon someone dying, so he does the surgery.  That works as a motivation, but in the grand scheme of the character something just doesn’t work.  I understand that this show is meant to introduce a new fan base into the series, but if doesn’t reflect the type of work or character that the franchise is known for, I feel that there is something wrong with this picture.

Better Run Through the Jungle

young black jack2015-11-07-16h58m36s366A bit closer to Apocalypse Now than Apocalypse Meow.  What a shame.

Bringing Black Jack to ‘Nam is both a welcome shift for the show as well as a source of more odd issues.  Black Jack goes to ‘Nam in the first place because Yabu, his doctor friend who is week to blood and a WWII survivor, has been volunteering at a hospital in Saigon that was bombed.  So Black Jack goes to Vietnam to find his friend, and the show goes in search of moral complexity.  The search has interesting results.   After getting into Vietnam by way of Raymond, the man Black Jack changed the face of so he looks like Nicholas Cage I mean John Travolta I mean that old cult leader, Black Jack meets up with a reporter named Takayanagi who shows Black Jack what the real Vietnam is like.  It’s really bad.  Since the Vietnam war was the first war that was covered in such a way that people could see the war in progress, journalism had a very important role in showing the world exactly what was happening as shit hit the fan.  Events lead Black Jack to get on a military convoy including the interpreter Phan and captain Bob to go find Yabu, but of course it stands to reason that Black Jack can’t just get to his location.

young black jack2015-11-07-16h59m54s774

On their way, the convoy is ambushed by the Vietcong and Black has to perform a mid fire operation.  Sweet.  In a frankly ridiculous and impossible situation Black Jack proves to the world no one is more awesome than him.  A poor soldier named Steve almost bled out from his neck, and is later seen with maggots festering from the wounds.  That guy is going through some tough times.  Even though the surgery was a success, Black Jack and co get captured by the Vietcong, and we do see Black Jack and Phan go through the ringer (more on this later).  Fortunately Phan is given a key by one sympathetic Vietcong member, and the crew manages to escape to a village to reunite with Yabu, introduce a rival for Black Jack, and perform a life saving operation on Steve!  Sounds pretty great right?  Well…

My Six Pack Brings all the Fujoshi to the Yard

young black jack2015-11-07-17h04m48s194The jungle is a rough place

I haven’t really addressed this topic much, seeing as I being a strait male am not really the target of the fan service in Young Black Jack (or for that matter other shows like Ranpo Kitan or Gangsta.  And yet I keep watching them).  And as you may have guessed from my appearances on Mechanorn but I don’t particularly like fan service anyhow.  Young Black is the kind of show where even though life threatening events are happening, you are supposed to keep in mind how sexy Black Jack is.  As a fan of the character, this leaves me in an odd place, regardless of sexual preference.

young black jack2015-11-07-17h07m05s410You got a problem?  Sidle on over and let’s talk it out. 

The doctor character who shows up to be Black Jack’s immediate rival is both an impressive rival… and total ship bait.  If this is what the fan girls want who am I to say no?  BUT, and I know I keep bringing up the same point, as someone who is already a fan of the series, this really is a hurdle to my enjoying the show.  The Black Jack I know and love just wouldn’t do any of this.  So sure I get why shots like this

young black jack2015-11-07-17h07m12s258

coupled with shots like this

young black jack2015-11-07-17h06m38s131

are what a certain fan-base wants.  When these same ogling shots are used to show Black Jack’s sexiness while being tortured I say is BAD.  And I say the same thing for male oriented fan service too (I may be repeating myself, but Heavy Object can take its Bros yelling about hot chicks and get stepped on by a mech).  It just doesn’t sit right with me.  I feel this fan service to be a disservice to the character, and it doesn’t add anything to my viewing experience.


I really wished there weren’t all these troubling aspects to Young Black Jack.  What should be an insane story of impossible medical deeds is now a Fujoshi baiting, oddly conservative show that I’m not really in love with.  I do believe that this show will be a worthwhile viewing experience in the end.  But as of now I can’t honestly say I enjoy Young Black Jack as much as I thought I would as the show began.


As someone of questionable tastes and even more questionable ethics; if we laugh at the same things you are one of two things: A person of discerning taste or a weirdo. Guess where I fall.
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2 Responses to “Young Black Jack 03-05”

  1. zztop says:

    If Tezuka Osamu were still alive*, do you think he would’ve approved of this version of Black Jack?

    *If he’d survived his cancer, Tezuka would be 87 years old now. I wonder what he’d think of the current animanga scene had he lived on.

    • Samsura says:

      So I haven’t read many interviews by Tezuka, so this is all conjecture based on his manga. This does not strike me as a Tezuka work because I haven’t read anything by Tezuka that involves things like pandering to a crowd and also because Tezuka works have characters that take moral stands. Some of Tezuka’s more mature works like Ode to Kirihito, MW, or Adolf all have main characters that are thrust into situations, but it is their guiding beliefs that affect their actions. This Young Black Jack is more guided by his desire to be the best darn surgeon ever than any inherent belief to the character. I really only have all these problems because this is an established character. If you called this show Young Adada Ryuu (from Team Medcal Dragon, a good medical procedural manga/drama) I would have almost none of these problems.

      I doubt Tezuka would be as grouchy as say Miyazaki, but again, I haven’t read many interviews. I imagine he would be like Kazuo Koike and start up a school for young manga authors or something.

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