Hazama and Kiriko operate on a patient with the threat of bombing looming over their heads, determined to complete their surgery. Shortly after, the episode’s timeline rewinds to show the primary characters from this trilogy of episodes going about their lives in the village. Dr. Kiriko helps out with an old man in the village while Bob stands vigil over Steve, with Phan reassuring him that Steve will be okay. While he is alone, Steve wakes up and begins to panic, not knowing where he is, and ultimately wandering off into the fields near the village. Hazama, Bob, and Phan rush off to look for him, and when they find him Bob calls out. Steve, happy to know that everything will be okay, begins moving towards Bob, before stepping on a landmine and being blown up. This throws Bob into a state of mental decline (likely Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), causing him to initially deny Steve’s death, then to blame the Viet Cong. When an injured Viet Cong boy is brought into the village, Hazama, Kiriko, and Yabu discuss performing surgery, which angers Bob, and learning that this boy was the one who made it possible for Hazama and company to escape confinement does little to assuage Bob’s anger. While the doctors take the boy into surgery, Bob makes a call to the Army, ordering an air strike on the village. After placing Steve’s remains into a bag, Bob wanders off, and Phan works with the photographer to evacuate the village. The trio of doctors decides to continue operating, racing against the clock as the U.S. air strike looms ever closer….
As has been the case during this trilogy, this episode again exhibits the horror and unpredictable nature of war. The end of the previous episode certainly left us with an apparently false sense of security about Steve’s fate, and although the idea that Steve would die was pretty obvious when his rambling in the field begins, the manner in which he died managed to catch this reviewer off guard. Bob’s subsequent mental decline shows the effects of war on soldiers, though the accuracy of the symptoms shown are likely lost on those with no real knowledge of psychiatry and other related fields. Still, we know historically that soldiers have suffered from PTSD, and that reality seems to be accurately reflected here. While an animated show probably can’t produce the same effect that meeting a real soldier with PTSD could, it is still eye-opening and shocking to see the lengths that Bob is pushed to by his mental condition (which is possibly accelerated by racial tensions already existing from the war).
Of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of Black Jack without a surgery, and though this formula has undoubtedly gotten repetitive, the writers at least manage to make the circumstances surrounding the surgeries (and the conditions during the surgeries) diverse enough to continuously create tension, though it is the circumstances that tend to provide more entertainment than the surgeries themselves, at least in this case. Still, the banter between Hazama and Kiriko make for a moment of amusement, and it adds to the sadness of the short statement about their futures at the end of the episode. Unfortunately, the fact that this is a prequel series does manage to take away from some of the tension brought on by the doctors’ operating under a time limit before the air strike happens; after all, Hazama can’t be blown up in Young Black Jack if it’s the prequel to the Black Jack series.
At the end of the day, the fictitious aspect of the series cannot be overlooked. Even someone with no medical knowledge whatsoever can probably deduce that complicated surgeries being performed in thirty minutes or less is not realistic, but as with most medical or crime dramas a little suspension of disbelief goes a long way in enjoying Young Black Jack. Fans of the original Black Jack manga will also find this episode’s reveal of the parachuting doctor’s identity shocking. Overall, Young Black Jack manages to maintain its enjoyability due to its stellar characters and writing.
A Christian Perspective:
Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The verse above speaks to how those of us who are in Jesus are all one, and that the things that the world defines us by are not to define our true identities. Truly, a diverse background of ethnicities and cultures comprises the body of Christ, from the middle class salaryman in America to the tribesman wandering the plains of Africa, yet should the two ever meet they would see themselves on the same plane as brothers in Christ (or at least, they should). I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that when God looks at those of us who are in Christ, He no longer sees us, but Christ. Given that idea, it further drives home the idea that is expressed in the Galatians verse, as it would mean that God literally sees no difference between any of us.
Likewise, Hazama, Kiriko, and Yabu present a similar viewpoint in this episode. When Ahn is brought into the village, the three doctors immediately begin to examine him and discuss surgery. Bob, angered by the Viet Cong’s mine killing Steve, finds himself appalled by the fact that these doctors would want to help an “enemy”, especially after several of those involved had been imprisoned by the Viet Cong. The revelation that the boy before him aided in he and his comrades’ escape—and that he was probably injured because he was found out—seems to have little impact on Bob, but the doctors refuse to back down. To them, it doesn’t matter if this man is Viet Cong or American, friend or foe. He is a patient, they are doctors, and he is in need of their care. May we take such a view of our brothers and sisters in Christ, not defining them by their ethnicity, background, financial status, or any other characteristic by which the world divides us, but rather by our mutual relationship with Christ.
Language: 2 “b*stards”, 3 “b*stard”, 4 “sh*t”, 1 “h*ll”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Two men are shown shirtless
Violence: Scenes of war; Steve remembers being shot at; a man steps on a landmine and is blown up; a village is bombed; a man is punched in the episode preview
Blood/Gore: Steve’s wound is shown, and there appears to be blood around it; a blanket is shown with bloody spots on it; a man is shown with blood on his body; a doctor has blood on his glove; a bed and bag are shown with blood on them; a blood bag is shown