Upon the release of Ranma 1/2 on Bluray, Mike takes a stroll through the world of Rumiko Takahashi.
Black Jack: The Movie
Blackjack is one of the best loved creations by the great Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and a host of other classics. Osamu Dezaki, director of everything from Oniisama E... (To My Brother) to Golgo 13, is one of the great directors in anime. Together, the feature-length episode of Blackjack is pure magic.
Blackjack, for those that don't know, is a rogue unlicensed surgeon, and possibly the greatest doctor in the world. His services are available to those rich enough to pay his extravagent fees, but often the actual paid work is just the tip of the iceberg. Living with his assistant (and surrogate daughter) Pinnoko, he quietly waits for the next phone call.
In the movie, which is really just a longer, letterboxed OAV with better animation, what seems to be a new breed of superhuman is taking the Olympics by storm, while Blackjack keeps getting calls from a lady willing to pay any price, and offering the chance to study something amazing... but he doesn't return the call because she doesn't say what the problem is.
When she finally hunts him down, the lady introduces herself as the head of a huge research corportation, who is looking into the matter of the superhumans... all of whom are pushing themselves so hard that they end up killing themselves just to hold onto the glory. One of these patients is a girl Blackjack treated a while ago... and while he's losing patients one by one, something bigger is unraveling. Were these people poisoned? What kind of person is this woman? Why is Amnesty International after her? The good doctor isn't just about to get personally involved, but Pinnoko is being held at ransom as well...
Blackjack is a masterpiece, pure and simple. The art is fantastic, the story well-told and haunting (if a bit preacy towards the end), and the characters are unforgettable. Tezuka, himself a former man of medicine, put his knowledge to good use in creating a medical drama as farfetched as possible, while still being as believable as TV's ER.
Since the OAV's were dubbed into English by Tezuka Production using Animaze.. dubbing studio, Manga was able to use the same cast for its English version, and it is a very good cast. Dr. Blackjack sounds quiet, brooding, and mellow, but not above the occasional angry outburst. Pinnoko is irritating (I think this is intentional), and all of the other characters fit their roles perfectly.
Blackjack is supposed to be released in theaters sometime this year, and while I have yet to see any dates of release or locations, this is most certainly worth seeing in the theater, failing that, owning on DVD. At least this episode is available subtitled!
Overall (dub) : A-
+ Beautiful designs, great telling of the classic Tezuka stories. Great dub.
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