I just watched the last episode of what I thought to be a fantastic anime series, and I was so impressed by it that I had to share. It’s called “Black Jack: The 4 Miracles of Life“, and it was a 4 part special that originally aired last year in Japan. Black Jack, for those of you who don’t know, is a classic character created by Osamu Tezuka, the God of Comics and creator of Astro Boy. An amazing but unlicensed doctor who charges outrageous amounts of money for his services, Black Jack’s stories have been grounded in realism, since Tezuka himself was a doctor and used his knowledge of medicine and anatomy in his work as a comic book artist.

These special 4 episodes were recently fansubbed in anticipation for the brand new Black Jack series currently on the air in Japan, with fansubs forthcoming as well. The first episode starts with a flashback detailing how Black Jack became the man he is, but other than that each episode stands alone, and assumes that the audience already has a familiarity with the character. But even if you don’t know the character it’s still easy to get into this show, and I’m sure you’ll be a fan by the time it’s done.

The only prior exposure I’ve had to Black Jack is a 1996 movie released in English in 2001 by Manga Entertainment. That had a different animation style and was much grittier and graphic than this more recent series, which is more or less appropriate for all ages. There is more Black Jack animation out there as well, and after seeing “The 4 Miracles of Life” I think I may have to track it down and see for myself. The character is just so dark and cool, and the stories are unlike anything else I’ve seen put to animation before.

If you’re an anime fan, I urge you to check these episodes out. The fansubs are by Froth Bite who did a great job. There’s not much in the way of fancy digital effects or eye candy here, and it’s really nothing revolutionary, but it’s good, solid anime inspired by the guy who started at all.



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