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Black Jack Manga Profile and Story Summary

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Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka, published by Vertical Inc. - promotional poster

Black Jack promo poster

© Tezuka Productions

Title:

Black Jack (English)
Burakku Jakku (Japanese)

Creator:

Author and Artist: Osamu Tezuka

Publishers:

Volumes:

13 volumes

Manga Genres:

Content Rating:

OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for graphic surgery scenes and mature themes
More about content ratings.

About the Manga:

Black Jack was originally serialized in Shonen Champion magazine between 1973 and 1983, and is considered one of Osamu Tezuka's major manga works, next to Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu), Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Taitei) and Phoenix (Hi no Tori). It has also been adapted several times as an animated feature film and as an animated TV series, including one version directed by Tezuka's son, Makoto.

Black Jack was also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kodansha Manga Award in the shonen category in 1977.

About the Author / Artist:

Osamu Tezuka is widely regarded as the "godfather of modern manga." His art and storytelling style has influenced several generations of manga artists throughout his 40-year career and beyond.

Tezuka completed his degree as an M.D., but never actually practiced medicine. However, his extensive and intimate knowledge of medical procedures and ethics informed his storytelling in numerous stories, including Ode to Kirihito, MW and most profoundly in Black Jack, which focuses on a brilliant doctor who works outside of the medical establishment.

Story Summary:

Mysterious and serious, Black Jack is a Japanese surgeon who can perform near-miracles on patients who are gravely injured or ill. The innocent and the wicked alike receive his care, as long as they can meet his price, but Black Jack has his own sense of justice, which gives each patient a fitting diagnosis in the end.

Black Jack is a loner, seemingly without family or close friends until he creates and adopts Pinoko, a child-woman who he treats like a daughter. Together, this unlikely pair meet and assist a variety of patients; humans, animals and even a computer.

Main Characters:

Black Jack
Enigmatic Black Jack is an unlicensed surgeon whose talent with a scalpel is known far and wide. Scarred from a childhood accident and rescued from near death by Dr. Honma, Black Jack vows to become a great doctor himself.

Somewhere along the way, Black Jack decides to work outside the medical establishment, and sets up shop in a shack on the outskirts of town. There, he receives calls from hospitals and desperate doctors and patients who believe that he is their only hope, and they are willing to pay big bucks to hire him.

However mercenary he may seem, Black Jack has a strong sense of justice. He may take big fees from the rich and wicked, then will turn around to "cure" them in a way that gives them an unexpected come-uppance.

Black Jack is largely a loner, who rarely shows his true emotions or shares his family background. His only constant companion is Pinoko, a child-woman that he "creates" and adopts as his daughter.

Pinoko
Pinoko was once an unformed twin fetus who was implanted during gestation into her twin sister's body. Pinoko grew as a barely alive bundle of flesh and bones that manifested as a tumor on her host sister's body. Many doctors tried to cut her off from her sister's body, but Pinoko's will was too strong, as she psychically attacked anyone who dared to try to cut her free from her sister.

By the time Pinoko and her sister came under Black Jack's care, 18 years had past since her birth, and Black Jack was called to cut off the now immense tumor. Black Jack negotiated with the young girl's consciousness and promised to let her live if she would let him cut her off from her sister's body.

After retrieving Pinoko's mish-mash of organs and body parts, Black Jack performed his next miracle by taking these parts and putting them into a synthetic shell to create Pinoko as a headstrong little girl who is technically 18-years old.

Pinoko often introduces herself as Black Jack's wife, but he treats her like a daughter. Little wonder that he does, since Pinoko has a child-like lisp and an impetuous personality despite her contention that she's really an adult in an adolescent's body.

Dr. Jotaro Honma
Dr. Honma first encountered Black Jack when he arrived at his hospital with numerous broken bones and damaged organs from an unknown accident. This wise old doctor performed his own kind of miracle on Black Jack and gave him a second chance at life -- a gift that inspired Black Jack to go into medicine.

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