From the publisher behind manga such as Peepo Choo, Ayako and Lychee Light Club, Vertical, Inc. comes the fifteenth volume of Osamu Tezuka’s well-known medical series starring everyone’s favorite unlicensed surgeon, Black Jack.
For those readers unsure what the series Black Jack is about, it revolves on a brilliant unlicensed surgeon named Black Jack who takes on some of the most difficult cases for insanely high prices. Being the best doctor around he asks for any price he wants and for the most part to those who can afford it he lends his vast medical knowledge to deal with a wide range of ailments that vary from difficult and nearly inoperable conditions to illnesses that seem to go the supernatural route.
In volume fifteen of the manga Black Jack deals with some interesting cases, such as a young boy who sprouts plant leaves out of his skin, treating a girl who fell during a mountain hike leading to the two being stranded with no help for days and saving a Nobel Prize winning doctor who has cancer. Not all of the chapters of the manga revolve just around the medical side though as the talented surgeon deals with a famous actress who has loved him since he performed plastic surgery on her, almost losing his ability to perform surgery and even helping the daughter of the famous Dracula family.
Aside from Black Jack being a gifted surgeon and the fact that he takes on plenty of cases for the right price along with his companion Pinoko, whom he reassembled from a mass of body parts, there isn’t a central storyline that the good doctor is working towards it seems. Even without that though each chapter serves as its own individual story for readers to enjoy and what is even better is that each one has an ending, even if they aren’t always happy readers can still get that little bit of closure. Tezuka really has a talent for telling dark stories that have just a little bit of humor and a lot of drama.
The artwork in the manga is really well done and Tezuka’s characters designs all look great. Everything from the clothes and backgrounds to the medical procedures all have a fair amount of detail and it really helps to sell the medical drama story that the internals don’t all look like a mash up of squiggly lines. The text is all clear and fit in each panel well, though some of the words are often broken up due to their length. The translations all have a nice flow to them as well and are easy to understand, even with the medical jargon. The cover art is actually pretty simple, what looks like some sort of medical procedure is actually a small island in the center diamond with white and different shades of yellow boxes around it, but it matches with previous volumes well and has a nice look to it.
All-in-all Black Jack is a great series that has a brilliant doctor and drama that could almost resemble the TV series House, with the exception that Black Jack is more likeable. This is kind of surprising actually considering his talents are often only sold to the highest paying customers. One great thing about the series not having a main focus for the story is that it can be read in short burst instead of all at once and all of the different stories have just the right blend of drama to make you want to continue on to see what happens on the doctor’s next adventure.
Fans of Tezuka’s other titles, such as Buddha and Ayako will definitely enjoy Black Jack. The series will also likely be enjoyable for fans of dramatic and medical related manga.
Black Jack GN 15
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
Story and Art by: Osamu Tezuka
Number of Pages: 298
Age Rating: Older Teen
Release Date: July 26th, 2011
(A review copy of Black Jack GN 15 was provided by Vertical, Inc.)