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Black Jack Manga Gets Stage Play Starring Voice Actor Akio Ōtsuka

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Play also stars Ippei Osako in double-cast titular role; runs from March 20-24 in Tokyo

Tezuka Productions announced on Thursday that Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack manga is getting a stage play titled "Black Jack" Mangeki!! Tezuka Osamu Dai-5-Kan The Fusion of Comics & Theater that will run for eight performances in Tokyo from March 20-24.

Image via Human Art Theater's website

The stage play will star voice actor Akio Ōtsuka as the titular Black Jack, reprising the role from many anime adaptations. Actor Ippei Osako is also cast as Black Jack, as the role is double cast. The play is the fifth entry in the Mangeki!! Osaku Tezuka series.

Ryūsei Kudō is writing the script and directing the play. The play will use robotics and projection mapping alongside actors.

Tezuka's original Black Jack manga centers on a brilliant maverick doctor who practices without a license. Tezuka published the manga in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine from 1973 to 1984. The official Osamu Tezuka website describes the manga:

This is a medical drama in which an unlicensed but gifted surgeon, Black Jack, is the main character. Endowed with excellent surgical technique, Black Jack always miraculously saves seriously ill patients and those on the verge of death. But he always claims an outrageous price for his surgery, which is why his presence is rejected in medical circles.

Black Jack lives quietly in a clinic out in the deserted wilderness with his assistant, Pinoko, whose life he had saved. Patients whom other doctors have given up on come to see him every today; he represents their very last hope.

The manga has inspired multiple anime adaptations, as well as spinoffs from other creators. The manga has inspired several Japanese live-action adaptations, including a film in 1977, a series in 1981, a video in 1996, a special in 2000, and another special in 2011. A new live-action series will debut in 2024.

The manga is also inspiring a Chinese live-action adaptation. Beijing Enlight Pictures announced the adaptation at a press conference announcing new works in production. Beijing Enight Pictures' subsidiary Coloroom Pictures is producing the work.

"Black Jack Kikai no Shinzō - Heartbeat Mark II" (Black Jack Mechanical Heart - Heartbeat Mark II, a new partially generative AI-produced 32-page one-shot Black Jack manga, debuted in Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine on November 22. An earlier project "TEZUKA2020" launched a manga titled "Paidon" in February 2020 that used AI to learn from and imitate Tezuka's style.

Sources: Human Art Theater, Comic Natalie

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