Story/Art: Osamu Tezuka
What They Say
The Most Beautiful Woman in the World– Given Black Jack’s profession it is not unusual for the unlicensed surgeon to get requests for house calls at least opportune times of night. While his prices are negotiable he is always on-call, ready to provide services twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. But on this particular night, it is not Black Jack who is called for his services. This time, the person on the phone is calling for someone named Kuroo, and instead of calling in a panic, this caller wants to have some chit-chat before detailing where Kuroo’s services will be needed.
Blood Relations–After his last trip to Macau Black Jack was not looking forward to returning to the Portuguese colony. Unfortunately, he receives another call from the peninsula, but this time from his step-mother.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Black Jack continues his varied adventures in these 14 new stories. As with all of Black Jack, sometimes they turn out for the best, and sometimes not. These chapters go a long way of showing that even though Black Jack can heal almost anybody, he can only do so much for the heart or the mind, and he can’t stop the capriciousness of life and of nature from taking its toll. Some of the more notable stories from this collection include a pair of star-crossed lovers who fight death and disability, but whose society won’t let them be together; Black Jack meeting his father for the first time in over 20 years; rehabilitating a woman who survived a terrorist attack; and scouring the underground for a set of stolen custom-made prosthetics.
The seediness in Black Jack, a natural byproduct of following the exploits of an unlicensed surgeon, is a prime foil for highlighting the dual nature of life. No matter how far on the fringe Black Jack travels, be it with bank robbers, drug smugglers, or kidnappers, we always get a chance to see the underlying humanity. While some people are craven, others are misguided, and, true to life in many ways, some people are “bad” in some aspects of their life while being “good” in others. Together these stories weave a unique tapestry that relishes the complexities of life and shows that while even ordinary people may not be the fringe elements of society, we all live between shades of grey.
With each passing volume, it becomes easier and easier to see why Black Jack is such an enduring character in the Tezuka canon. He’s not quite a hero and not quite an anti-hero. He is just himself – a stark individual, something like the ego personified. The situations he gets into don’t shy away from difficult topics and the solutions he comes to often defy the norm. But despite his unorthodox approach, he’s no rogue. You always know who he is, what he stands for, and that he’ll do the right thing, even if that means betraying a person, society, or conventional expectations. All together, Black Jack is much more than entertainment, it is a challenge in disguise.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vertical
Release Date: March 23rd, 2010