Friday, October 9, 2015

First Impressions: Young Black Jack

EPISODE 1: Where's the Doctor?

It's the 1960s  and all over Japan laborers are taking to the streets to demand equal pay. In the midst of all this chaos, a train accident leads to an emergency of massive proportions but the nearest hospital is understaffed because most of the doctors and staff are participating in the street rallies. Maiko, an intern, is tasked to find anyone who can help as more injured people come pouring in. Meanwhile, a young medicine student with facial scars, Kuroo Hazama, is persuaded by his classmates to join the protest but he ignores them while he mimes a complicated surgery. After they leave, Maiko arrives and, despite her misgivings, asks the student to assist at the hospital. While at the hospital, a young boy with severed limbs is wheeled in followed by his distraught parents. The ER doctor recommends amputation but Kuroo thinks he can reattach the limbs. After convincing the parents to pay 5 Million Yen for him to reattach the boy's limbs, he and Maiko take the boy to the private O.R. of an acquaintance of Kuroo who happens to be a drug-addicted surgeon who is afraid of drugs. After a tense four hours of operation, Kuroo miraculously reattaches the boy's limbs. However, the boy's father later pays him only 5,000 Yen instead of 5 Million Yen after learning that Kuroo doesn't have his medical license yet.

I know that this is a prequel to Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka. Though I am familiar with said anime, I don't think I have seen a single episode of it. This prequel would be my introduction to the franchise and I must say that I like it.
I find the character of Black Jack (here called Kuroo Hazama) before he became the iconic titular doctor interesting. It helps that his character design is bishounen with washboard abs. The show even gives us fan service of his beautifully sculpted body, scars and all. *heart eyes* In this episode, he learned a harsh lesson on how clients can be quite base when it comes to paying the fee for service already done.
The setting also provides a good background for Kuroo's story to unfold. I wonder if it will play an integral part in the formation of Black Jack's character. The way the episode was introduced with a background on the social unrest experienced by the country at the time makes me think so. But past experiences with other anime where interesting settings are barely explored instead of integrated into the plot tells me otherwise. So crossing my fingers on that one.
I'm looking forward to the next episode.