Osamu Tezuka made a lot of manga throughout his career. And with successful manga, come anime adaptations. One of his most famed works is the medical drama series Black Jack. The manga first started publishing in 1978, and follows the titular character, who is the worlds best doctor. In spite of this, he works without a liscence to practice, and even rejects getting one. Because of this, he demands enormous sums of money from his clients, and always ends up treating unknown (sometimes even supernatural) diseases, or he ends up in dangerous enviroments, such as war zones or faraway lands. Along with him (occasionally) is also his assistant, Pinoko, who might be the proto loli character, considering that she looks like she's seven but is actually eighteen.
Well, I'm not here to discuss the manga, I'm here to talk about the OVA adaptation from 1993, which was directed by none other than Osamu Dezaki. It's very interesting and cool that Dezaki got to adapt such a big name Tezuka title considering that he started out working on the first Astro Boy TV anime in the mid 60's. The series is episodic, so each new episode features a new unexplained medical case that no one can understand nor explain. And when not even the best of the best can understand whats going, they call the one even better than that, which in this instance is Black Jack. I mentioned that the show sometimes introduces supernatural elements into the mix, and does so with some... let's just say, mixed results. The ones about supernatural cases are, in my opinon, easily the worst episodes. Black Jack as a character, well, he's not much of a character, but he's not a concept either in the sense that Kino from Kino no Tabi, he's more in the middle than that. Black Jack as a concept is very out there, but that's exactly why I like when it showcases restraint. I'd much rather watch Black Jack treat the leader of a Cuban terrorist uprising, while the U.S Military is hunting him, than watch him stay at some traditional japanese village, only for the disease to be solved by some weird dude killing an ancient spirit with a katana. It works when it's ridicilous-but within plausibility. It's similar to what I like about Lupin the Third in that way. When Lupin is just "cool heist-again," it's boring, because you've watched "cool heist-again" literally over 100 times. But when it's about Lupin saving the daughter of his dad's former buisness partner on a private island, or him infiltrating an island of master thieves who act as if their poor farmers to learn their secrets, that's cool and interesting. Because while it is "cool heist," it's not "cool heist-again," it's "cool heist with a twist!"
Whenever Lupin got crazy, like 4th dimensional travel and time machines and what have you, I zoned out. Because I don't believe it. It's too out there, and it's not that interesting, and even if it were it woudn't fit the show. So when Black Jack becomes ancient spirit fighting or ancient tree spirit who is mad at industrilization, that got too weird for me. Him saving a teenage girl because she got addicted to ancient mountain flowers? Plausible, a bit of an edge case but its still cool. Him treating an old man from an unknown disease which causes him to have migraines and makes it so he has to drink tons of water? Now we're talking. Because when this show gets good, oh it gets good. The production is insane, it's so good, every aspect of it. There is not a single negative thing I can say about this show in terms of its production. 50 minute episodes, banger soundtrack, great voice acting, gorgous visuals, it's all here. If cost cutting techniques and TV shows over 26 episodes are the bane of your existence, then Black Jack is the cure to all your woes. In conclusion, I really like this show. Sure, it may get a bit too out there a lot of the time, but overall I had more fun with it than I had displeasure. The production aspects are top notch and Osamu Dezaki worked on it. If the bad episodes were on par with the already good episodes, this would no doubt be in my top 10. Sadly, it's still got bad elements too it, but an 8/10 is still a really high score in my opinion. It's a great addition to Dezaki's library and after having watched so much calming slice of life, it's good to have something this different. Watch this show, it's worth it.