One thing that I’ve been noticing with Osamu Tezuka’s works is that whenever it’s adapted by someone else, the result turns out great, but when he directs a movie of his own work himself, the result turns out much less spectacular. Metropolis was awesome and Hi no Tori turned out brilliant, while Unico had a lot of potential, but its major villain made no sense at all. The Marine Express also had some great storytelling, but the plot-twist in the middle was just entirely ridiculous. The second Black Jack movie shows the same. While it’s level of quality is nowhere near that of Metropolis or Hi no Tori, it remains a very enjoyable movie.
Anyway, The Two Doctors of Darkness is basically the first thing I’ve seen from the Black Jack-franchise, which consists out of two movies, two tv-series (totalling a staggering amount of 78 episodes), an OVA and a tv-special. After watching it, I can understand why the premise caught on so much: it’s been a while since I saw an anime that toys so much with morals as this one. It’s really one of Osamu Tezuka’s many trademarks.
This movie looks at death at a totally different perspective compared to the usual. Black Jack is basically an incredibly talented surgeon, who can cure almost anything that’s curable with ease. And yet he doesn’t spend his days into a hospital like most other doctors and charges ridiculous fees for his clients. I like how, even though this isn’t the first Black Jack-movie, it does a fine job of introducing the viewer to the concept and main-characters, although I guess I need to watch the television-series for the development of the side-characters, which were just too bland and pointless, making me wonder why they were included in the movie in the first place.
It seems that the one who was given the task to direct this movie was Osamu Tezuka’s son, Makoto Tezuka. For the job, he did a very fine job, like expected of his father. The movie feels complete, it doesn’t drag on and it makes fair use of its ninety minutes. If there weren’t numerous surgical-scenes, I’d recommend this for the younger audiences to watch as well. The fact remains that Makoto does have a lot to learn. The major problem for this movie that it gets a bit too far-fetched at times, and there are a few convenient coincidences at times that spoil the mood that the movie has been building up for. Yet, while knowing nothing about the source-material, I can imagine how the guy could have done far worse than he’s shown now.