Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – Young Black Jack

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Hello everyone and welcome to The Anime Pulse: First Reaction. Osamu Tezuka was a pioneer and legend in the manga industry. He gave us such memorable series as Mighty Atom (Astro Boy), Princess Knight and a story about a doctor who performs illegal operations. This anime takes place before the events of that manga series. This is Young Black Jack.

General Overview

The year is 1968, and the world is swept up in the Vietnam War and student protests. In this time of turmoil, a mysterious young man with white and black hair and a scar on his face is enrolled in medical school. His genius skills with a surgical knife achieve many a medical miracle and are getting noticed. This hero origin story reveals how this young man earned his medical degree and the name of Black Jack.

First Episode Impressions

Right away, we are introduced to a medical crisis. A train collides with a bus a crossing and many are injured, including a little boy who loses an arm and a leg in the accident. The hospital is short staffed as all of the interns are on strike because they feel they should get paid for their work. Maiko Okamoto is an intern who chooses not to take part in the strike and is kind of a klutz. She’s charged with searching the campus for one who can lend their aid to the hospital during this time of emergency.

She finds Kuroo Hazama sitting on a bench going through the motions of a surgery. She brings him inside and the two of them begin to stitch up patients with minor injuries. The boy who lost his limbs gets rushed in and the parents beg a doctor to save him, but the doctor says they have to amputate as his limbs cannot be saved. Not wanting to believe that, Kuroo goes through the operation in his head after inspecting the boy and his severed limbs.

Although he is just a student, he tells the parents he can save their son’s limbs for the cost of 5 million yen. They agree and Kuroo takes Maiko with him to visit Yabu, a doctor who hates the sight of blood and was in the process of getting high. Right away you are given the sense that this is going to be an underground operation. Kuroo borrows him as well to watch the child’s vitals as he begins the operation. Kuroo successfully completes the surgery, but the parents discover he’s just a student and not a doctor. They pay him 500,000 Yen with the promise that they won’t report him to the authorities… even after he went through all of that trouble to save their son and grant them their wish.

Right away we can pretty much tell that Kuroo is a medical genius. That operation was his first and it was a success. For a medical anime, the gore factor was very tame, but I guess there is a limit as to what can be shown on television these days.

The first episode of Young Black Jack did an amazing job setting up our characters. Right away we got to experience their personalities as well as get a feel for the world that they live in, which is full of turmoil. The operation scene also had you on edge as they threw in a couple of curveballs during the procedure which built up tension and drama. It definitely kept me watching and had me interested from beginning to end!

OP & ED Impressions

Opening

I am Just Feeling Alive” by UMI KUUN

There’s supposed to  be a star between UMI and KUUN, but I hate special characters!  As for the song itself, it starts of a bit upbeat and then mellows out. For a series like this, I believe this style of song is a perfect fit and is quite enjoyable to listen to. The accompanying artwork fits rather well and reminds me of an anime version of House, to an extent.

Ending

All Categorize” by Takuto

The ending is catchy, too. It’s an upbeat alternate rock song that’s not really anything special, but it’s not bad. It’s something you can definitely listen to in the background and enjoy, but it’s not a song that’s really going to go out of its way to grab your attention, but for the genre that it’s being performed for.. it fits and works well.

Worth Watching?

YES – This is one of those shows like Hajime no Ippo… where even if you’re not into boxing, it’s still a great watch. Whether you’re  into medical shows/dramas or not, I believe this has the makings of a show that’s going to be interesting to watch regardless. I believe it is definitely worth anyone’s time to at least check out once before writing this one off because of the premise.