Friday, May 31, 2013
:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Black Jack OVA
This would've been done and posted towards the end of May, but the last two weeks of work have been incredibly taxing, long, and tiring. So, let's play "pretend" and act like this was posted on May 31st and not June 11… (It'll be our little secret… ;) ) --HD
Black Jack OVA
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu, Viki
Attack on Titan is arguably this spring's--and perhaps, so far, this year's--most popular title. It is directed by Tetsuro Araki, who first rose to fame at the helm of a certain little anime called DEATH NOTE. Though his full directorial credits run small (with HD fav Highschool of the Dead, Kurozuka, GUILTY CROWN), he has quickly gained following for his stylishness & bombast.
While I am not watching AoT (I think I've reached my gore quotient with BLOOD-C…), I have kept up with comments on it and one of the more consistent ones involves the amount of still and panning images and speedlines Araki has employed in it. This immediately brought to mind what I noticed in a few of his previous works, and they are traits, among others, that are very reminiscent of legendary director (and another HD fav) Osamu Dezaki. Both men favor strong, bold artwork and character designs, the use of slow-motion and the aforementioned animation techniques (with multi-takes) in similar ways, big, distinctive facial expressions in key moments, and an even bigger flair for the dramatic, however the scene. As you would have it, their productions tend to be of high quality, and though I am unsure of what Araki's influences are, it wouldn't surprise me the least if Dezaki was one of them.
Given this, I figured that perhaps those who have been impressed by his work and M.O. on Attack on Titan and others might find a work of the late Dezaki's of interest.Co-directed with Fumihiro Yoshimura, Black Jack OVA adapts Osamu Tezuka's famed titular manga, which chronicles the assorted wild and sublime medical cases undertaken by its namesake lead, an unlicensed, genius doctor. His aid never comes cheap (like "millions-of-dollars" not-cheap), but with his level of expertise and the sheer oddity and, sometimes, danger associated with the ailments and situations he encounters, the price may be more than worth it.
To bring the similarities of Araki and Dezaki to back to recollection, both have a knack for extracting high quality work out of their productions, and Black Jack--in all of its OVA-budgeted glory--is certainly one of them. Don't let its near-20-year age and retro character designs (being a Tezuka work and all…) dissuade you: it's very well-made and solidly-animated, accentuating Tezuka's aesthetics and giving them a more "mature" edge, as well as rendering operation scenes with appropriately fine detail. Naturally, there is some mature content (including some nudity) and said operation scenes can get a bit messy, so do keep those in mind…
Black Jack OVA may not involve giant-slaying, man-eating mayhem, but those that have fallen for Attack on Titan's bold presentation or fancy themselves a fan of its director may certainly want to give it a shot. It's a very compelling series with a good dose of mystery and intrigue, and lovers of old-school-style animation, big, dramatic shows, and those of the medical variety will likely find a lot to love in it, too. Though there are only ten episodes, they run around 50 mins. each and can be viewed for free at Hulu and Viki in Japanese with English subtitles.