Posted by psgels on 4 January 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


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.

One Response

  1. Jaime says:

    Hey, I just wanted to a)wonder if you’ve by any chance seen Honey & Clover (I’m thinking probably)and if so, what you thought of it and b) say awesome job blogging a variety of anime with thoughtful and unbiased entries. Keep up the incredible work.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.

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