The Main Duo
Kuro'o Hazama (alias Dr. Black Jack)
Akio Ohtsuka (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)A brilliant unlicensed surgeon, who charges huge fees and cultivates a (partly false) Dr. Jerk persona. When he was a child, he and his mother were severely injured by a landmine. While his mother later died, Black Jack's life was saved by Dr. Honma, who inspired Black Jack to become a doctor.
Tropes associated with Black Jack:
- Amazing Technicolor M.D.: The blue-tinted side of his face in the manga, as a matter of Artistic License. In reality (as well as in all adaptations), it's dark brown, as it's a skin graft donated by a biracial childhood schoolmate of his.
- Back-Alley Doctor: Despite being an amazing doctor, he does not actually have his license.
- Badass Longcoat: Wears a black trenchcoat draped over his shoulders, letting the sleeves dangle.
- Batman Gambit: Often pulls these to teach Aesops or favor his patients.
- Belated Backstory: It's not until much later in the manga (and several episodes in the anime) that we learn Black Jack's birth name, why he became a physician, why he's estranged from the medical establishment, or how he got those scars.
- Covered with Scars: Intentionally does not get plastic surgery to reduce his obvious skin grafts, because they remind him of the kindness of the schoolmate who donated them.
- Crazy-Prepared: Always has medical equipment on hand, including all manner of scalpels and, on one occasion, fake arms to put his hands up with.
- Crimefighting with Cash: Once saves a man to whom he owes a favor by purchasing an entire hospital in order to preform a necessary operation on him.
- Deadly Doctor: Not only is he a superhuman surgeon but also a deadly marksman who could kill or, more commonly, incapacitate enemies by throwing scalpels.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Intentionally played with, Black Jack's scars are intended to be scary and lead people to think poorly of him. In reality he is often a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, although he can be self centered as well.
- Ill Boy: More exactly, Severely Injured Boy. He was a healthy normal kid until the landmine incident, and obviously had to go through extensive surgery and treatment afterwards, including months in a wheelchair.
- Jerkass Fašade: Actively strives to look like a bad guy, especially when it's for the patient's own good.
- Kavorka Man: Played with: While his actual facial structure is that of a Bishōnen, his face is scarred. He's a Chick Magnet nontheless.
- Locked into Strangeness/Skunk Stripe: As a result of his childhood trauma surrounding the landmine incident.
- Mr. Fanservice: In the OVA, Osamu Dezaki managed to turn him into this, with a good amount of upper body nudity. Young Black Jack decides to take this a step further and make him far more conventionally attractive for the New Tens audience.
- Not So Stoic: The mere sight of Dr. Kiriko will lead Black Jack to drop whatever he's doing just to bitch at him. Kiriko seems to find this amusing.
- Oedipus Complex: Dr. Black Jack has some daddy issues. Serious daddy issues.
- Omniglot: In the manga he's able to speak Spanish, and in the OVA he is shown writing in English.
- Papa Wolf: Extremely protective of Pinoko, as well as any child patients.
- Power of the God Hand: Has earned the nickname "The Surgeon with the Hands of God" for his ridiculous ability in the operating room.
- Scars Are Forever: Several of the scars (like the iconic facial one) are justified, in that he had an emotional attachment to the skin donor and doesn't mess with them despite obviously being skilled enough to do so.
- Self-Surgery: Black Jack once performed a full surgery on his own abdomen, while being circled by hungry dingos. Black Jack also talked a quack doctor through performing surgery on him, which the quack had never done before. Soon after, the quack declared his intention to go to medical school for real. Another time finds him performing surgery on his leg instead of letting another doctor amputate it.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: His real name is Kuro'o Hazama. As he himself explains once, "Kuro" means "black" while the second "o" can be short for "otoko", meaning "man". Thus "Black Jack" is a loose English translation of his actual name.
- Swiss Bank Account: Keeps his money from the operations he performs in one or more of these.
- Tragic Keepsake: The half of his face with darker skin is his last memento of a close friend named Takashi who was killed during an enviromental protest.
- The TV anime has a necklace that Black Jack's mother was wearing during the landmine incident. In the sequel series Black Jack 21, this becomes an Orphan's Plot Trinket when it's revealed that Black Jack's father hid a microchip in it detailing the purpose and methods of the Phoenix Project. It's also noted in the same show that several of his skin grafts were taken from his mother and later takes a skin graft from his recently deceased father when operating on his own leg, signifying that he's forgiven him for his betrayal.
- Weapon of Choice: Scalpels are his favorite, not just in the operating room, but in the very rare times when he has to fight.
Yuko Mizutani, Utada Hikaru (Japanese); Julie Kliewer, Kim Mai Guest (English)Black Jack's loyal assistant/surrogate daughter/wannabe wife. She spent 18 years as a parasitic twin, using psychokinetic powers (don't ask) to fend off the doctors trying to remove her. After convincing her that she wouldn't be pitched out with the medical waste, Black Jack built a synthetic body to house her organs. The first thing she did once in her new body was violently call out her twin sister for trying to have her killed. This freaked out the sister, who disappeared and left Pinoko with Black Jack.
Tropes associated with Pinoko:
- Bratty Half-Pint: Just how bratty depends on the writer.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Thinks of herself as Black Jack's wife, and resents any woman who comes within 10 feet of him.
- The Cutie: The cutest tumor ever!
- Fun Personified: In the Darker and Edgier 90's anime.
- I Just Want to Look My Age: Hates the fact that she has a little girl's body.
- Intergenerational Friendship: In the 2004 series, there's a touching episode where she befriends an Ill Girl.
- Kid-Appeal Character: The reason for her expanded role in the TV anime.
- Older Than They Look / Younger Than They Look: Confused? She's 18-22 (depending on the timeline), her prosthetic body looks about 7, and she's only had that body for less than 4 years.
- Puni Plush: Bordering on chibi in the TV anime.
- Replacement Goldfish: Black Jack once gave her up for adoption by a loving couple... and it turns out they got her to replace their dead dog. Ouch.
- Speech Impediment: Talksh with a pronounshed lishp in the manga, probably as a result of her lips being artificial.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Black Jack is a bit unnerved by the fact that, within several days of her "birth," Pinoko was not only making some pretty strong advances on him, but also knew what a virgin was. In fairness, she's technically spent 18 years as a parasite...Black Jack: Good God, where did you learn that kind of language?
Dr. Jotaro Honma
The surgeon who saved Black Jack's life when the latter was a kid, and Black Jack's role model. His daughter Kumiko makes several appearances in the 2004 series.
- My Greatest Failure: Confesses to Black Jack on his death bed that when first operating on him, he accidentally left a scalpel in his body, but adamantly refused to believe he could be so careless and therefore ignored it. When he discovered the calcium-sheathed tool in a follow-up operation, he was so disgusted with himself for putting a patient's life in jeopardy for the sake of pride that he immediately retired from practice.
Nachi Nozawa (Japanese)Black Jack's rival, a euthanasia specialist and former military doctor. Since Black Jack is against euthanizing patients, whenever the two docs cross paths the result is never pretty.
- Deadpan Snarker: Manages to be even snarkier than Black Jack.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While Dr. Kiriko has no issues with ending a patient's life, seeing the U.S. government condemn men to death when they DO have a chance of recovery in "Terror Virus" sends him into a Tranquil Fury.
- Shadow Archetype: Also to Black Jack. A doctor who served in wartime, he believes in helping patients die painlessly when there is no chance for recovery. He's not evil, as such, but where Black Jack will do anything possible to make a patient live, Dr. Kiriko will choose euthanasia rather than prolong the patient's suffering. Naturally, the physicians clash at times but must cooperate at others. To his credit, if he discovers that the patient has a chance of recovery, guess who he turns to?
- White Hair, Black Heart: White-haired and morally ambiguous.
- Start of Darkness: The newest anime Young Black Jack definitely is going this path, since it shows Kiriko's time as a war doctor in the Vietnam War, and a damn good one to boot: his skills in surgery are on par with Black Jack's (who, mind you, is still a student at the time of this anime, but is nevertheless considered a god with his abilities), and his drive to see his patient live no matter what
Megumi KisaragiBlack Jack's first love. A fellow medical student, Megumi was the only one to look past Black Jack's scariness and see his true nature. But before she could confess her love, Megumi was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She survived thanks to Black Jack, but because all of her reproductive organs had to be removed, she no longer considered herself as a woman. She changed her name to Kei Kisaragi, assumed a male identity, and became a ship's doctor.
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: The Gentle Girl to Black Jack's Brooding Boy.
- Shrinking Violet: Though once she "became a man", she adopted a more assertive personality.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: One of the ship's crew falls in love with her after realizing her gender.
The daughter of Dr. Honma, whose life was saved by a teen Black Jack when she was a little girl. She works in Black Jack's favorite café and keeps an Intergenerational Friendship with him.
- Ill Girl: In the 2004 series she has glaucoma, so she has to get a cornea transplant to save her eyesight. Then, her eye started showing her the last things that the original owner saw before dying...
TetsuKumiko's boss and the owner of a cafe where Black Jack and Pinoco stop very often. Sometimes offers an understanding ear to many people. Inspired in Tezuka's recurrent character Shunsaku Ban.
- Composite Character: A combination of Ban's role in the manga story Tetsu of the Yamanote Line, a thief who nearly lost his hands, and Kumiko's father in the manga version, who was not Honma but a completely different guy who owned a restaurant.
- Fingore: One of his hands is severely scarred. Because when young, he commited the severe mistake of stealing money from a yakuza. It immediately went From Bad to Worse.
- Five-Finger Discount: A master at it in his old days, He does it only one last time for Black Jack's sake.
- Freudian Excuse: Was once a failed magician, but found that his fast hands translated rather well to the business of pickpocketing.
- Red Baron: Tetsu of the Yamanote Line.
- Retired Badass: Used to be quite the scoundrel in his younger days. An episode of the 2004 series focuses in him and the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist who never got to catch him.
A recurrent character in several of Tezuka's works, who first appeared in the manga The Three-Eyed One (Mitsume ga Tooru). In the 2004 series he's a normal junior highschool boy, the son of an archeologist as well as one of Black Jack's first patients. He and his sister Watou become show regulars.
- Ill Boy: The first one that BJ operated in, in the TV series.
Another recurrent character from Tezuka's works, who is Sharaku's ward and Morality Pet. In this continuity she is Sharaku's older sister and Kumiko's best friend.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: In an episode, with the local Delinquent Jou. Whom BJ has to operate on later
- Precocious Crush: Hinted she has a crush on Black Jack. He once saved her from falling to her death.
Dr. TezukaAn obvious expy of Osamu Tezuka himself, from the 2004 series. He's a friend of Black Jack and owns a small clinic, often asking him for help with specially difficult cases.
- Foil: To Black Jack, as he does work inside the system.