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Black Jack The Movie
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 11/23/2001

Dr. Black Jack is a surgeon with skills like no man has ever seen. Assisted by a little girl named Pinoko, Black Jack works independently... and he is paid millions of dollars to perform operations which are otherwise deemed impossible. Dr. Black Jack has saved countless lives with his expertise, and has recently garnered the attention of a certain woman named Jo Carroll. A new breed of superhumans has caught the world's attention in recent days, and they possess extraordinary intellectual, athletic, and artistic skills -- causing them to greatly excel in different fields. The problem is, these superhumans start deteriorating after some period of time -- eventually causing their excruciating deaths. Jo needs Black Jack's help in determining the cause of the degeneration, and hopefully find a cure for it. Is superhumanity itself a disease? Or is there something else amiss?
Tagged as "a surgeon with the hands of God", Black Jack is yet another product of the legendary Osamu Tezuka's (known for Astro Boy and Kimba) creative genius. Black Jack's unique premises intrigued me right away, as it's not often that I encounter an anime that seriously deals with the field of medicine.
The plot is intricate, but it is not confusing nor is it difficult to grasp. The way that the story unfolds is as methodical and precise as Black Jack's scalpel, and I found myself totally engrossed right from the start. Black Jack's skills are unparalleled, yet he is not duly licensed. He performs all his operations in secret, yet almost every doctor knows who he is and what he's capable of. It is not explained exactly why this is, it is only implied that he works to fight against "the system".
Black Jack and his enthusiastic young assistant Pinoko are mysterious figures, both of whom pose some questions for the viewer. It is never revealed what their relationship is, or how they got together. The art and animation are good, and are quite a deviation from the cute, roundish general style used in "Astro Boy" and "Kimba". The way the characters are drawn in Black Jack reminded me more of "City Hunter" -- they don't look too anime-sque with the usual big round eyes and tiny mouths, but more like actual people with proportioned features. The operations and medical procedures are portrayed with extensive detail, which goes to show how much research went into making this film. The theme songs are also noteworthy. They are the same kind jazzy and soulful tunes you'd hear (or have heard) in "Cowboy Bebop", also sung by Mai Yamane (she's on the Bebop soundtrack).
Overall, Black Jack the Movie is a solid title. It has an excellent thought-provoking plot, striking characters, nice sounds and visuals -- it's only minor flaw being the lack of character backgrounds for both Black Jack and Pinoko.
Astro Boy and Kimba make a few surprise appearances in the movie. Black Jack is also available as an OAV series.

Black Jack The Movie
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Review Title:
Black Jack The Movie
100 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Drama, Psychological
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