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Feb 13, 2014
In the near-future, the Japanese space program is rebuilding itself from the ashes of the crash of its first rocket. The deeply disillusioned have split off from the project, bitter and guilty, but there are several involved who still desperately want to go into space--even after something so horrific. And they are the ones who bear the backlash from people who think the original project was already an exercise in hubris, for which innocent people paid with their bodies. And, to their credit, hubris certainly rotted out the original project. The Lion accident, and the eventual reveal of layers of bureaucratic incompetence, are clearly inspired read more
Nov 16, 2013
This is the story of three men named Adolf. It is a story with the grand sweep of myth, something that seems to rise from the unconsciousness, as told through a Japanese observer. At the opening of this story, in the early 1930's, it was a popular given name. Two Adolfs lived in Kobe, as part of the German expat community: one the son of a Jewish baker, and one the son of a Nazi diplomat. The coincidences interweaving their lives are so profound they should seem contrived, but they play out organically in the cadence of tragedy.

This is more painful to read the second read more
Nov 27, 2011
It is a brilliant stroke to tell a story about transience through immortal cyborgs. Maybe many Westerners would even find that counterintuitive, because transience--more specifically, mono no aware, the nuances of which I will not belabor here, but if you are not familiar, look it up, it's a treat--is a particularly Japanese literary theme, and most Western works focus only on the rapid change the future brings. But there is a constant in that, change and transience, and though we have the saying "the only constant in life is change", I don't think Americans have come to understand that paradox fully. It's given token observance read more
Apr 8, 2009
I have learned to be skeptical of OVAs derived from manga. More often than not they are simplistic and do no justice to the source material. I am glad to say that Black Jack is an acceptation to that. While each story is a stand-alone with an entirely new supporting cast, humanity and depth is given to the characters and their circumstances with only forty-five minutes to tell their story. This is impressive, and I am glad for it. Black Jack and Pinoco stay true to character while showing a shockingly human adaptability and capacity for fault. This has always been one of my favorite read more
Feb 17, 2009
I've been spending a lot of time with Dr. Black Jack lately, so it is impossible for me to review this movie of its own merits and not compare it ruthlessly to the other adaptations that have been made. There is something I have always loved about Black Jack--he is such a well-developed character that he has the depth of simplicity, and yet, is genuinely far more complicated than he seems. This is a huge oxymoron, but it makes sense if you think about it. There is nothing *contrived* about him, and for such a dynamic, dark character, that is an accomplishment worthy of mention. read more
Feb 3, 2009
It's seven minutes of Pinoco fanservice a'la the Pikachu shorts that played before the Pokemon movies. Lots of cute, lots of formula, lots of gags, negligible substance. Really of zero interest to anybody who is not already a Black Jack fan.
Jan 19, 2009
This is truly a stand-alone work in terms of originality. ABe did not self-censor and allowed the full weight of his intuition and dreams to direct his hand, and the result is a beautiful, ethereal, archetypal world fully-realized and yet deep enough to retain mystery. The show does not explain everything, even the most important aspects of Gile, and that feels okay. We can see in this fantastic world what is in our innermost hearts, and our intuition fills in so many of the gaps. Few stories manage to do this so well.

The story manages to blend soft, yet interesting, aspects of slice-of-life with haunting read more
Jan 14, 2009
If you slept through high school history, and you know who you are, your appreciation of the depth of this movie will be greatly enhanced by reviewing the following things: Treaty of Versailles, Weimar Republic, rise of the Nazi party (including history in the 1920's), the Manhattan Project, the Thule Society (yes, it's real), Shambala (yes, it's real), Nazi occultism, and, if you somehow missed it, the Holocaust. Japan's opinion of nuclear weapons should be obvious to anybody with a basic grasp of the history of World War II. They're never portrayed as a Good Thing in Japanese media, and frankly, I can't blame them. read more
Jan 12, 2009
I guess my professional bias shows when the medical aspect of the show that bothers me most is the fact that researchers kept seeing viruses under a light microscope, and that these viruses were the same size as--or larger than--red blood cells. Maybe the term that was translated as "virus" can be used for multiple micro-organisms, because the B.O.P. looks more like an ameoboid or other eukaryotic organism, but that is neither here nor there. It's Black Jack, for fuck's sake; while it is more accurate than most medical dramas out there, it's still anime.

Nit-picking aside, I'm a sucker for medical dramas, and I have read more
Dec 7, 2008
So, this is what I gather happened during that half hour:

Our hero, Matsui, is a doe-eyed, innocent uke who looks just like a brunette Shirou Kamui from X. While waiting for his friend Yoshino to get them sodas after watching this guy who looks like Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi swim, said guy, henceforth Yuuji, accosts Matsui on the bench and takes him to a bar where some guys throw money in after betting on a high school swim match. Matsui is stupid enough to drink and smoke what they give him, and he eventually leaves. Good for him. Whatever. The typical long-haired tech and this read more