I’ve really been enjoying Black Jack. Tezuka has created an intriguing character that truly walks the line between dark and light. With volume 8 however, I wasn’t as thrilled as I usually am. There weren’t any stories that really impressed on me. There were a few I found interesting, but mostly it just felt like more of the “same old, same old.”
By: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
Age Rating: 16+
Genre: Medical Drama
Of the fourteen stories in this volume, only two really stood out as interesting or different. “Abnormal Pregnancy” is about a woman who appears to have lost her baby. There’s no discernible heartbeat, but the placenta is still attached and healthy. The premise was very intriguing with evolutionary implications. It was pretty cool to see the science applied in a manga. In “Random Killer”, buildings and people are being damaged or killed at random, and in broad daylight. Black Jack is brought in to try to solve the problem, but gets blamed instead. Physics provides the answer this time, as well as referencing a mythological yokai, which was also cool.
The rest of the stories are the same as one can expect from Tezuka and Black Jack. His technical skills are tested as he must perform an operation so as to leave no scars to ruin a body tattoo of a Yakuza boss. And then there’s the usual fixing misdiagnosis’ from “legitimate” doctors, and of course Pinoko being a nuisance, trying to play wife to Black Jack. And then there’s the theme that sadly keeps showing up, that women are greedy and cruel. In “Swapped”, a nurse who saw a mother switch her baby with another after he had been diagnosed with a terminal problem tries to blackmail the mother, and when she doesn’t pay up, the nurse has her arrested and tried. While the mother may have been in the wrong, the nurse’s conduct is worse, as she first tries to extort the money, and then later gleefully points an accusing finger at the mother. It’s up to Black Jack to show the nurse up.
I was kinds disappointed with this volume. It’s the first time there wasn’t at least one or two stories that really intrigued me, or that I felt satisfied after completing the volume. It’s still an entertaining read. It’s just not up to par with the previous seven volumes.