5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Black Jack (Osuma Tezuka manga)

Black Jack

(Kuro Hazama)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Black Jack (ブラック ジャック) is one of the classic characters from master mangaka  Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989). Tezuka — perhaps best known as the author of Astro Boy — started publishing his Black Jack stories in 1973.

Tezuka-san released hundreds of Black Jack manga stories, and there were numerous anime  adaptations of these classics.


Background

  • Real Name: Kuro Hazama
  • Marital Status: Single (although Pinoco claims that they are married)
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed Mother (deceased), Unnamed father, stepmother, and half-sister (estranged)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Southern Japan
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 165 Lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Patchwork black and white Age: Around 25-30ish


Powers and Abilities

Black Jack is said to be “a surgeon with the hands of God.” His medical knowledge and skill in the operating room are well beyond what any human could ever hope to do.

His medical feats include transplanting entire limbs and organs without rejection. He made a body for his assistant Pinoco out of spare body parts. And some of his surgeries make even these feats look mundane in comparison.

Incurable diseases and other similar ailments are nothing for the good doctor. Whether or not he chooses to treat the patient in question is entirely a different story.

His reputation for a rogue surgeon is nothing short of astounding. Despite the fact the he has never attempted to obtain a license his name is synonymous with God around the medical community. Due to his reputation and adventures he has had Black Jack has an extensive array of contacts, although he rarely uses them.

Lastly his level of perseverance and willpower are astounding. Once Black Jack accepts a patient he will do everything in his power to see to it that that patient is healed. Even if it highly illegal or puts his life in grave danger.


History

When Kuro Hazama was but a boy, he and his mother were caught in the detonation of a bomb left over from the war. Mrs. Hazama lost all her limbs and died a slow, lingering death. Meanwhile her husband left her to live with a much younger woman.

Though Kuro had suffered terrible wounds a preternaturally gifted surgeon, Dr. Jotaro Honma, rebuilt his body over the years. Through his incredible work and extensive physical therapy Kuro recovered. But he was left with physical oddities — including areas of differently-coloured skin, as the only willing skin donor had a much darker skin tone.

Black Jack character sheet

Inspired by Dr. Honma, Kuro became a surgeon. Scorning honours and status he never obtained a licence, preferring to operate in the shadows. He followed his own ethical rules – such as not charging patients who could not afford it. “Dr.” Hazama works in a secret clinic built on a cliff by the sea, but frequently travels around the world to reach his patients.

Black Jack’s adventures involve frequent sacrifice to help others for its own sake, and contempt toward those who choose not to help their fellow man.


Description

Black Jack has various patchwork scars, two-toned skin and clearly distinct black and white hair. He looks like discolored puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit together. Despite his unusual appearance most women seem to find him oddly attractive. Many of his opponents find his appearance unsettling.

His bearing is very regal and dignified. He always wears an old-fashioned almost gothic black suit with a white shirt and a red ribbon tie as well as a long black overcoat.

While in surgery he will of course don the appropriate surgical scrubs just as any other doctor would.


Personality

Black Jack is a medical mercenary, selling his skills to the highest bidder. He is a shadowy figure, with a black cloak, eerie black-and-white hair, a scar across his face and partially black skin. Black Jack cures patients indiscriminately, from common folk to presidents and yakuza leaders. To his VIP patients, he charges absurd sums.

All this has given him a reputation for callousness and greed which he gleefully cultivates.

However, to the reader it is clear that Black Jack actually is a good man. He is anti-wealth and anti-prestige, and believes he is actually doing rich people a favor by removing their material wealth. The opposition to wealth and power is a common theme in Tezuka’s work: powerful men are almost always portrayed in a negative light.

Typically Black Jack comes across as formally polite (particularly with women) and congenial if not somewhat aloof and stoic, even cold, at times. He is, however a kind and compassionate man who has many times been a friend to those who have nowhere else to turn.

Although he prefers to retain a professional distance, Black Jack has in the past become attached to certain worthy people, which can inspire uncharacteristic enotion on his part.

Moving on

Black Jack maintains no close ties to people he has successfully treated, or those few doctors with whom he has worked. He prefers not to be tied down. This independent streak has even caused him to refuse to join wholly beneficial medical organizations such as the Medical Soldiers for Justice.

He generally charges what people can afford to pay him. He has been known to greatly reduce, postpone, or waive fees, even accepting barter for those who cannot afford it, particularly if the case is an interesting one.

Black Jack is a stickler for hewing to the deals he makes, and expects the same form his clients. Being an honorable sort, he will return any money he has been paid if he fails, and will seek to repay any favor done him.

He truly has a soft spot for Pinoco. Although on the surface his attitude towards her can border on dismissive he cares for her deeply as if she was the daughter he never had. His “parenting” skills are debatable, though.

Social Justice

Black Jack also has a special contempt for corruption, particularly if it is in the field of medicine or something that pollutes the environment. If Black Jack comes across such corruption then his wrath knows nearly no bounds. He will go to great lengths to utterly extort from, humiliate and disenfanchise said offenders.

Although he would never go so far as to kill them, they may wish they were dead by the time he was finished. Even his own patients are not above this, as he will occasionally go out of his way to teach them a lesson for their own good.

He is a staunch environmentalist. A good deal of the money he makes from his exorbitant fees goes to purchasing large areas of land (even a couple of islands), in order to keep them from being developed.

For years, Black Jack has been systematically hunting down and punishing the men responsible for the bomb that tore his family apart all those years ago. This ranges from the men who planted the landmines to the government officials bribed into allowing the land in which they were planted to pass inspection. He is perhaps at his coldest and harshest when dealing with these people.

He only rarely refers to himself as Kuroo Hazama, preferring to use “Black Jack” unless it’s necessary for him to conceal his identity or to use his real name.


Quotes

(Black Jack’s answering machine)
“I’m not in at the moment. If you are in need of medical attention please leave a number where you can be reached, your name, the seriousness of your condition, and how much you can afford to pay me. I will return your call as soon as possible.”

“Sometimes I like to walk on the wild side !”

Black Jack: “The success rate for this procedure is 20% for the fetus, and 80% for the mother.”
Woman: “Please ! Save my baby whatever it takes !”
Black Jack: “I don’t intend to lose either of you.”

(Facing off against a corrupt drug-addicted doctor)
BJ: “Look at you…Is that heroin, cocaine or the newly available drug, Pueruto ? At the rate you’re going…you’ll end up killing a patient during a hernia operation. You’re a disgrace !”
Doctor: “Leave me alone !”
BJ: “You offered Mt. Sennin to the syndicate so they could secretly cultivate Pueruto.”
Doctor: “You don’t know anything !”
BJ: “And you tried to kill the high school girls who saw your secret nursery.”
Doctor: “I don’t know ! I don’t know anything !”
BJ: “Tough luck for you, but I’m raising my fee from 50 million to 500 million yen. I want it readied now. The syndicate will have that kind of money.”
Doctor: “Y-You’ll be killed !”
BJ: “Perhaps…but they might go down before I do.”
Doctor: “You’re crazy…”
BJ: “Being crazy is how you play the game !”

Woman: “Doctor ! We meet again. It’s been so long. It’s me, Sayuri !”
(BJ says nothing.)
Sayuri: “Have you forgotten ? Ten years ago…”
BJ: “I make an effort not to recall old case records unless it is necessary.”
Sayuri: Doctor…”
BJ: “I prefer that the patient also forgets the doctor, unless they relapse.”

“After seeing a patient in Switzerland, I was taking a vacation in Arles, only to be interrupted with an assignment. My vacations are always cut short like this. Next time I’ll go swim to the bottom of the sea, so I can’t be reached by phone.”

A nurse narrating about him:
“He was strong, gentle…As that five-year-old girl’s life drained away, no one could have loved it more or tried harder to return it. Perhaps he was holding onto it for the entire operation.”
(He does save the kid, by the way.)

“She was suffering from obvious drug withdrawl symptoms. At 16 years old, Rie Fujinami’s life was already headed toward ruin…My only thought was that I could not allow this to happen.”

(A young client’s little brother has gone missing)
BJ: “I’ll search the nearby area one more time. In the morning, I’ll check the train stations and taxis. Now get some sleep. You’re close to a nervous collapse.”
Client: “But…!”
BJ: “The missing boy is my patient, leave this to me.”

(BJ’s just saved an old man from hanging himself from his beloved tree (long story) by flinging a scalpel through the rope.)
Old Man: “Why didn’t you let me kill myself !? I don’t want to see this tree cut down !”
BJ: “Then you can try hanging yourself when I’m gone. Anyone is free to kill himself, as long as I’m not around to see it.”
(The old man doesn’t.)

(After a hostage situation, in which the power was cut off.)
Doctor 1: “I can’t believe it !”
Doctor 2: “He completed the operation in pitch darkness. Didn’t miss a stitch…all with his sense of touch !”
BJ: “Any casualties ?”
Hospital Director: “We lost five patients in intensive care because of the power outage.”
(BJ sees one of the hostage takers being taken away by the police)
BJ: (Scornfully) “Congratulations…how easy it was for you to kill five people !”
(BJ walks away)
BJ: “Do you know what it takes to save just one life ?”

(After unsuccessfully treating a patient with Disassociative Identity Disorder, who was eventually killed fighting the police)
BJ:(narrating) “Even now, I’m still thinking about what happened. No matter how earnestly one can wield a scalpel…you can’t remove something from a man’s soul. And if a scalpel existed that could cut that deep…I think I would be first in line to order several of them.”

(He’s been asked to join a committee to treat a great number of victims of heavy metal poisoning)
“I told them I’d hold off on accepting this case until I arrived at the scene… but the truth is I’d intended to accept it from the start. The sheer variety of toxicosis symptoms was intriguing, and I have always hated the massive crime of pollution, committed by a society that puts corporate profits above all else.”

“Their medical operations are totally unforgivable ! No matter what the reasons, no one has the right to experiment on living people !”


DC Universe History

Black Jack can almost certainly be inserted as is. Any time a character is seriously hurt and only the best medical attention available will do. Alternatively an entire adventure or even campaign could be based around an “incurable disease” or similar biological threat.

More specific plot hooks could include:

  • Black Jack would almost certainly be a connection of Batman’s. Both have similar pasts and attitudes. Although they would probably have great respect for one another, on the surface their approaches to many situations could lead to some conflict.
    Black Jack could have grudgingly taught Tim Drake some medicine (in the process teaching him about the importance of human life above all else) or torn a strip out of Leslie Thompkins for her actions regarding Stephanie Brown.
  • Black Jack would almost certainly be one of the folks at S.T.A.R. labs who helped heroes like Superman during his ’Death of‘ storyline… perhaps he ’failed‘ in bringing the Man of Steel back and hence could provide a sub-plot for himself in the DCU.
    If this is the case then he would probably have some connections to S.T.A.R. labs, maybe Metropolis SCU, and definitely the JLA, JSA, and Superman/Batman.
  • He could also have been the doctor responsible for Power Girl’s operation which required Superman to use his heat vision.
  • His quest to avenge himself on the people who are responsible for the dud bomb that ripped his life apart might put him in conflict with heroes.
  • Black Jack may have performed one of his trademark unusual surgeries on someone (grafting wings, x-ray eyes, etc.) who is now using their abilities as a criminal. The heroes might come to him for help dealing with them, which he’d probably part with for a fee. If the criminal’s actions have been particularly awful, he’d probably help for free.
  • He could merely be introduced as a criminal doctor, whom the heroes would naturally be inclined to stop, only to find that by delaying him they risk an innocent victim’s life.

Man of miracles

If you choose to include him in the DCU or MU then it may be advisable to up his already formidable Medicine skills accordingly to go along with the “ultimate doctor no matter where he is” these. Add a few APs to his medical skill and as an added bonus since there have been so many characters that have died and been brought back in the last 10 years in both universes.

The explanation of Black Jack actually bringing them back might be preferable to some of the poor writing exhibited in many “resurrection” stories.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Jack

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 13 Wil: 13 Min: 11 Occupation: Rogue Surgeon
Inf: 06 Aur: 08 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 020
Init: 023 HP: 075

Powers:
Systemic Antidote: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:
Systemic Antidote is only effective against the venom of an unnamed variety of snake found on one of the islands he owns.

Skills:
Artist (Actor)*: 06 Artist (Plastic Surgeon): 10, Charisma: 07, Detective (Clue Analysis, Legwork): 08, Gadgetry*: 13, Medicine (all but brainwashing)*: 13; Scientist: 10, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 04, Weaponry (Scalpels)*: 05

Notes:
Gadgetry is derived from Medicine and only allows Gadgetry to be made for medical purposes (i.e. prosthetics, reconstructive surgery, etc.). Other than that it follows the Gadgetry rules normally.

Advantages:
Attractive, Connoisseur; Iron Nerves, Headquarters (Expansive), Local Hero (Medical Community), Omni-Connection, Languages (Japanese, English, German, Spanish, French, Russian), Omni- Language, Omni-Scholar, Scholar (Bioengineering, Botany, Drugs, Medicine, Psychology, Surgery), Sharp Eye, Sidekick (Pinoco), Stroke of Genius (Medicine)

Connections:
Medical Community (Low), Pinoco (High), Medical Soldiers for Justice (Low), Doctor Fox (high), Aritani (High), Jotaro Honma’s family (Low), Lt. Takasugi of the Metropolitan Police Department (Low)

Note:
If Black Jack ever tries to contact Aritani then he automatically enters into a Subplot with the syndicate that was originally trying to have Aritani killed.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, CIA (welfare of his patients), Mistrust (medical world only), Dependent (Pinoco)

Genre:
Near Real

Equipment:

  • Black Jack is assumed to always carry surgical instruments and anything else that one would reasonably assume a constantly on call doctor to have. To cover this treat it as him always having 10x ABC Omni-Gadgets that can only be used for medical purposes (i.e. Sleep or Paralysis could be used to simulate the effects of tranquilizers). He also carries one general purpose 4 AP ABCD Omni-Gadget that be used for anything, as per the standard rules.
  • Several surgical scalpels [BODY 03, Claws: 01, Note: Claws are not considered Killing Combat if used for Surgery]
  • Black Sedan [STR 06 BODY 06 Flash: 03, Running: 05, R#03. Bonuses& Limitations: Flash can only be used to provide a continuous light source (headlights)]

Previous Statistics

During the latter part of the movie Black Jack: A Surgeon With the Hands of God, Black Jack was slipped a drug (Endorph-A) which enhanced his abilities to superhuman levels. His linked Medicine and INT rose to a 14-15 and he gained Microscopic Vision: 02, as well as possibly a few APs of the following powers: Detect (Disease) with Discerning bonus, Life Sense and X-ray Vision.

However, the drug endangered his life, giving him an SPR, which slowly began to develop into a CPR. He was cured of these effects by the end of the movie.


Design Notes

Black Jack has both Popularity and Mistrust in the medical world at the same time. This reflects the fact that he is both a hero (because he’s the best there is) and an outcast (because he’s unlicensed) at the same time. Deciding which one (or both when dealing with multiple characters) is in effect is best left to what the plot demands.

Keep in mind that in more strict and lawful countries such as Japan or America he’s likely to meet some resistance, but in war-torn third world countries the people are unlikely to care. Individual characters are individual characters and should be treated as such.


By Tom Eilers and Civanfan

Source of Character: Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, David Johnston, Frank Murdock, KalEl el Vigilante, Eric Langendorff

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.