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New Live-Action Black Jack Show Casts Marika Matsumoto, Debuts on June 30

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Matsumoto plays patient suffering from "Lion-Face Disease"

The official website for the new live-action series of Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack manga revealed a new cast member and the series' June 30 premiere date on Friday. Marika Matsumoto plays a patient who suffers from "Lion-Face Disease," a disease that makes patients' bones swell and thus their face slowly begins to resemble a lion's. The visual below shows Matsumoto as the patient in three visages: her face before (center), her face after the disease progresses (left), and a horse mask she dons to hide her features (right).

Image via Black Jack live action Twitter

The series will premiere this year, and it stars Issei Takahashi as the titular character.

The cast includes Shizuka Ishibashi, Takayuki Yamauchi, Eiji Okuda, Tetsuya Chiba, Ryōsuke Mikata, Takashi Yamanaka, Kai Inowaki, Isao Hashizume, Shōhei Uno, and Taichi Saotome.

Hideo Jōjō is directing the series, and Yoshiko Morishita is writing the screenplay. Takashi Ohmama is composing the music. Isao Tsuge is designing the costumes and supervising the character designs.

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.

The manga is also inspiring a Chinese live-action adaptation. Beijing Enlight Pictures announced the adaptation in 2020 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: TV Asahi, Comic Natalie

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