Hazama, Yabu, and several other men find themselves kidnapped as potential heart “donors” for a cult leader with a failing heart. All of the men owe some amount of debt to their kidnapper, and are offered freedom from their debt if they are compatible donors (of course, this means death for the chosen donor). Hazama and another man, Raymond, both turn out to be acceptable candidates, and when the aging cult leader for whom they have been kidnapped surveys both men, he chooses Hazama; however, the leader’s health is quickly failing, and the black market doctor that was hired to do the surgery goes underground to avoid pursuit. This buys Hazama a potential reprieve, as he is now expected to do the surgery; of course, failure very well could lead to his death, as well. For Raymond, the now-donor, this is actually welcome news, because it means money will be given to his daughter for needed medical treatment. As Hazama prepares for surgery, Yabu argues against his decision, stating that doing this surgery will brand Hazama a murderer and keep him from every legitimately practice medicine. Hazama wrestles with his conscience, as well as the failing health of both of his patients, and must make some very quick decisions.
Young Black Jack is enjoyable in its simplicity—from the beginning, we can pretty much determine that Hazama will be performing the heart surgery, so the only question that remains is how he will reach that point. The writers also manage to work in a potential explanation for the high rate that Hazama charged the family in the first episode. If you remember, the review for that episode questioned the morality behind Hazama’s rate; however, in this episode we find out that he is deep in debt as a result of trying to help yet another person, which means that his outrageously high rate could have been dueo to him trying to pay off that debt. It’s a minor plot point, but it is one of those things that are neat to pick up on.
Also commendable is how the writers manage to make us care about Hazama, despite the show still being in its infancy. Ultimately, the crux of the episode is the moral dilemma that Hazama faces. He wants to do the heart surgery for whatever reasons he may have—whether for the challenge or because he simply loves practicing surgery—but he also knows that what he is doing is wrong. Yabu’s added presence as a voice of reason helps to amplify this dilemma, even as Hazama prepares to cut into Raymond’s chest. The climax of the episode isn’t whether Hazama lives or dies—we knew the outcome of that before the episode even started—but how Hazama will handle the situation placed before him, which appears to be a lose-lose scenario. His solution to the problem is as novel as it is surprising, although it does leave at least one question in the viewer’s mind. Unfortunately, we can’t discuss that here, lest we spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen the episode. Instead, please feel free to sound off in the comments if you think you know what said question is.
While Young Black Jack may not be an intense medical drama like House or E.R., but it does well as a character drama focused on Hazama’s younger days and, presumably, his transformation into his alias of “Black Jack”. One cannot help but wonder if the black market doctor “Joker”, who is mentioned in this episode, has any ties to Hazama’s ultimate alias, seeing as how both names relate to cards. Perhaps we’ll find out as the drama of Hazama’s life unfolds, but only time will tell.
A Christian Perspective:
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Okay, so this is probably a pretty obvious example, but Raymond’s willingness to give his life away for the sake of his daughter’s health is a perfect example of the above verse. Raymond has nothing personal to gain from the arrangement he has made—he is clearly slated to die—yet he loves his daughter more than his own life and is willing to die if that means she can live. Perhaps the verse above can have a much deeper meaning than simply dying for others, though: one could arguably lay their life down by serving others regularly and putting the needs of others above their own. Regardless of whether this is true or not, Raymond’s sacrifice is quite obviously an example of the former interpretation.
What I find more interesting is to examine the moral implications of Hazama’s actions in regards to the Christian worldview. The dilemma that Hazama faces in this episode—to do the surgery or to not do it—seems pretty obvious, but then again the whole show is technically immoral given the fact that Hazama’s surgeries are technically illegal. True, he does what no one else is willing to do, and prodcues results, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is breaking the law in the process. So I guess if we really want to just be done with the subject, we can say that Hazama is an immoral character (or morally ambiguous, at the very best), wipe our hands, and walk away; however, that is boring, so looking past the seeming immorality of him even doing the surgery, let’s look at the result of this episode’s surgery.
As Hazama prepares to operate, Yabu interjects with words of wisdom about why Hazama shouldn’t go through with the surgery. It is interesting to see the drug addicted veteran being the voice of reason, as even Yabu sees himself as pretty much good-for-nothing, and it sparks a thought about how God can speak to us in a variety of ways. Let’s not forget that He one used a donkey to convey a message (Numbers 22:28). You pretty much know you’re doing wrong when the character who has no positive image of himself is telling you that what you’re doing is wrong. As Hazama is having this conflict both internally and externally, Raymond’s heart begins to fail, and the cult leader isn’t fairing much better. Yabu suggests just letting it be and throwing in the towel.
Some time later, we see Hazama sitting outside, and the cult leader getting out of his car. The two meet with each other, and Hazama addresses the man as “Raymond”. We find out that, rather than do a heart transplant, Hazama performed plastic surgery on Raymond to make him look like the cult leader who was supposed to receive Raymond’s heart, effectively making it look like the surgery was a success. The question of what happened to the real cult leader’s body is never addressed, but we can assume that this means Raymond’s daughter got the money she needed, and we know that Hazama did not commit murder while also appeasing the cult. Still, the question remains as to whether this was a moral action at all, because it all hinges on deception. Hazama deceived the cult by making them believe their leader was still alive, and Raymond now lives a life of deception. Of course, cults aren’t typically respectable or moral in the first place, so one could also ask if being immoral to the immoral really matters, but as Christians we are supposed to exhibit godly character all the time, which would make me think that a Christian should still do the right thing in this situation. Of course, a Christian wouldn’t likely be practicing illegal medicine or taking loans from shady loan sharks, so it’s probably a moot point to talk about what a Christian would do in this circumstance. Still, I’d like to hear your thoughts, so please sound off in the comments below!
Language: 2 “b*stard”, 3 “d*mn”, 1 “h*ll”, 4 “sh*t”, 1 “a**hole”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Hazama is shown shirtless; Yabu and some other men are also shown shirtless
Violence: Hazama is hit in the face with money; Yabu is forced to the ground
Blood/Gore: Men are shown with bloody bandages