Characters from Black Jack:
The Main Duo
Kuro'o Hazama (alias Dr. Black Jack)
Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (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.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Media outside the manga tend to play up his kinder side, with the OAVs making him downright gallant at times.
- 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.
- Artistic License Biology: Even a full thickness skin graft (the manga specifically describes Dr. Honma using the Krause Method) from a donor of a different ethnic group would equalize to the recipient's typical melanin levels before very long. Of course, this would make for a much less visually interesting character design and downplay the Tragic Keepsake nature of his face.
- Back-Alley Doctor: Despite being an amazing doctor, he does not actually have a license.
- Badass Bookworm: Although it's downplayed outside the manga, he's capable of taking several thugs on in hand-to-hand combat, and a master at throwing scalpels.
- 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.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His rotten attitude and exorbitant prices are just as legendary as his incredible skills.
- Busman's Holiday: Can't even seem to walk down the street without running into some sort of medical emergency.
- Celibate Hero: Women fall for him all the time, but those who don't end up dead, end up brushed off or forever beyond his reach.
- Covered with Scars: Intentionally does not get plastic surgery to reduce his obvious skin grafts, because they remind him of the kindness of the (now dead) 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. Not to mention that he keeps a handgun in his desk.
- 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.
- Dark Is Not Evil: His startling appearance and funereal clothing have had people comparing him to a devil, but he's a truly good and compassionate doctor.
- 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.
- Dr. Jerk: Actively strives to look like a bad guy, especially when it's for the patient's own good.
- Good Is Not Nice: Is extremely cold and will sometimes purposely put people through trouble to teach them a lesson, but he is immensely compassionate and will almost never give up on a patient.
- 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 afterward, including months in a wheelchair.
- It Amused Me: Likes to use his skills to take particularly arrogant doctors down a peg.
- It's Personal: Has been known to take on surgeries for free in order to show up doctors who insult his skills or mock people he cares about.
- Kavorka Man: Played with: While his actual facial structure is that of a Bishōnen, his face is scarred. He's a Chick Magnet nonetheless.
- Keeping the Handicap: Though he is skillful enough to perform surgery on himself, he has never bothered to do anything about the massive number of scars that cover his own body.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Being exposed to the worst of human greed and selfishness on a regular basis has made him pretty hard-boiled.
- Locked into Strangeness: As a result of his childhood trauma surrounding the landmine incident, his hair is partially white.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Is happy to present himself as one, and more than a few of his actions are sketchy even taking the Hidden Heart of Gold into consideration.
- 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.
- Only in It for the Money: What he insists, though his tendency to find convenient excuses to waive fees or debts for patients who genuinely can't pay suggests much of this is just part of his facade.
- Only Shop in Town: A variant. No one on earth has skills like Black Jack, so he charges incredibly high fees. As he has noted, being alive and healthy is worth any amount of money.
- Papa Wolf: Extremely protective of Pinoko, as well as any child patients.
- Peek-a-Bangs: The white part of his hair tends to fall into his face a lot, usually for dramatic effect.
- Power of the God Hand: Has earned the nickname "The Surgeon with the Hands of God" for his ridiculous ability in the operating room.
- Revenge: Has devoted himself to hunting down the people responsible for the dud bomb that nearly killed him and doomed his mother to a slow miserable death and making them pay. It's one reason he won't take the Hippocratic Oath.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The cover of the first volume of the manga portrays Black Jack with blood-red eyes. His eyes are also red in Young Black Jack. While not evil, Black Jack definitely has some issues.
- 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.
- Skunk Stripe: His hair is partially white due to his childhood trauma.
- The Snark Knight: While you may be able to buy your life, no amount of money will stop Black Jack from being a cantankerous smartass while saving it.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: His real name is Kuro'o Hazama (written in Japanese as 間黒男). As he himself explains once, 黒 means black/dark and 男 means man (aka a "jack"). Thus "Black Jack" is a loose English translation of his actual name.
- Super Doc: Black Jack can basically operate on anything from humans to giant clams. The Young Black Jack prequel explains this by showing that he started teaching himself how to perform surgery before entering medical school by practicing on critically wounded animals and animal cadavers.
- Super Speed: A very downplayed example, but people are regularly astonished by the incredible speed and surety of his surgical techniques.
- Swiss Bank Account: Keeps his money from the operations he performs in one or more of these.
- Tested on Humans: Has a bad reputation for this in the medical community, since—although he himself despises the thought of human lab rats—the strange maladies he runs into often force him to use unconventional or even wholly experimental techniques.
- Theme Naming: His nickname comes from a card game and a few supporting characters are also named so.
- 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 environmental 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.
- Two-Faced: Thanks to trauma-induced poliosis and a facial skin graft from a biracial classmate that he refuses to replace out of sentiment.
- Weapon of Choice: Scalpels are his favorite, not just in the operating room, but in the very rare times when he has to fight. He also keeps a pistol at home for emergencies.
Voiced by: 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.
- Artificial Limbs: While her limbs are organic, some of her other body parts, such as her face, neck and chest are not.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Just how bratty depends on the writer.
- Character Development: Stories set later chronologically show that she develops into a decent cook and assistant.
- 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!
- Creepy Doll: Downplayed, as the few times that Pinoko's artificial parts are present are when she's in danger and needs surgery. In the chapter, "A Visti From a Killer", when Black Jack starts removing her body parts like they're puzzle pieces, the titular assassin freaks out, and comments that she can't be anything else but some kind of doll.
- Cyborg: Started life as a mass of several human organs, which Black Jack integrated into an artificial body.
- Fun Personified: In the Darker and Edgier 90's anime.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Hates the fact that she has a little girl's body, and only wants to look her proper 18-year-old age.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Pinoko rarely, if ever, has any permanent friends in the manga. Fortunately, this is remedied in the anime with the inclusion of Sharaku, Watou and Kumiko.
- Intergenerational Friendship: In the 2004 series, there's a touching episode where she befriends an Ill Girl.
- Ironic Name: "Pinoko" is derived from "Pinocchio", except that, while Pinocchio is able to become a human boy and grow up, Pinoko can't. See also Theme Naming below.
- Kid-Appeal Character: The reason for her expanded role in the TV anime.
- Mind Control: Had this power as a tumor, forcing doctors who were going to remove her to injure themselves.
- Not Growing Up Sucks: Not so much in the anime, but in the manga she is always complaining about her size and saying that she wants to be "tall and pretty".
- Older Than They Look: Pinoko spent the first 17 years of her life as her twin sister's parasitic cyst, and then spends another year with Black Jack before her story continues. This makes her 18, and she only gets older. Her body looks young because her organs and limbs had a stunted development inside the cyst, so her synthetic body had to be small to match.
- Precocious Crush: Every love interest she's had has been much older than she, well, appears to be.
- 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.
- Theme Naming: Her name is not just inspired by Pinocchio, but also card game Pinochle, to go along with card game Black Jack.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: In no small part because she reads them by the ton.
- 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?
- Womanchild: Even if she did look her age, she'd be one of these, since all her experience with the world is second-hand.
- Younger Than They Look: Her prosthetic body looks about 7, but she's only had it for a couple of years.
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.
- Parental Substitute: It is made clear that Black Jacks great admiration for Dr. Honma was not just he was an incredible doctor, but also because he became the father Black Jack never had.
- Posthumous Character: He dies in the first story he appear in, and thereafter makes appearances in flashbacks.
- Reused Character Design: His design is that of Saruta, mostly known for being the protagonist of Phoenix.
Voiced by: 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.
- Broken Ace: He is a very skilled doctor but it's implied that the war took a toll on his mind and broke him into the cynical man obsessed with euthanasia he is today. It's especially prominent in Young Black Jack where a younger Kiriko is shown to be a capable and dedicated field medic, at one point parachuting himself and his equipment into enemy territory to respond to an injured soldier.
- Combat Medic: He doesn't get to show it much, but he is ex-military.
- 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. This is probably Kirikos biggest virtue; if a patient can be saved he will leave them be and vehemently refuse to end them no matter how much he is asked or how much money he is offered.
- To Kiriko, the only one allowed to choose if the patient should live or die is the patient. When a young boy steals a vial of toxin and uses it to attempt to euthanize his mother, Kiriko freaks out and begs Black Jack for help.
- Eyepatch of Power: Probably due to an old war injury.
- Insistent Terminology: Kiriko maintains that what he does is not assisted suicide, no matter what Black Jack may think.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He really does believe he's doing what best for his patients, although he seems to enjoy his work a bit too much.
- Older Than He Looks: Admittedly this is Depending on the Artist, but while Kiriko is older than Black Jack, he's not that much older. Certain depictions of Dr. Kiriko make him look like an old man, owing in part to his white hair.
- Patricide: Surreptitiously poisoned his own father when he believed Black Jack wouldn't be able to save him...the old man died right after Black Jack found and fixed the problem.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The above-mentioned Patricide. Kiriko was able to give his father a peaceful death, but right after Black Jack was able to cure him. So, in the end, Kiriko killed his father when he could have lived... The chapter ends with Kiriko crying bitterly over his actions.
- The Rival: Black Jack's most consistent one. He and Kiriko are constantly at odds with their differing philosophies, outlooks on life, and approaches to medicine.
- 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?
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Having to euthanize so many of his fellow soldiers has definitely left a mark on him.
- 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. The first patient he euthanizes is a Vietnamese woman he falls in love with, Hoa, after she sustains severe radiation burns across her entire body and is left to slowly rot alive in a field hospital.
- White Hair, Black Heart: White-haired and morally ambiguous.
- Worthy Opponent: Regards Black Jack as one of these on some level, notably being absolutely shocked when one of his operations fails (due to circumstances outside his control, mind).
- You Can't Fight Fate: Believes that if someone's fated to die, the best thing to do would be to make it quick and dignified instead of dragging things out or giving them false hope.
Black 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 was forever changed by it.
- 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.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Black Jack; the two of them loved each other during their medical student days, but Megumi was diagnosed with uterine cancer and, after her uterus and ovaries were removed to save her, she began living as a man. Black Jack and her never got together as a result.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: One of the ship's crew falls in love with her after realizing her true gender as a woman.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Having her uterus and ovaries removed threw Megumi into early menopause and made her less physically feminine as a result. Thus she decided to live and dress as a man, as she would no longer be viewed as a proper "woman" anyway. She's perfectly pleasant and a capable doctor.
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.
- Age Lift: Was a young woman in the manga, whilst in the anime she is a teenage girl.
- 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...
- Nice Girl: She has a very sweet disposition and is always eager to help others.
- Precocious Crush: Hinted she has a crush on Black Jack. He once saved her from falling to her death.
Kumiko'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. How it happens is different on adaption but it immediately went From Bad to Worse: In the manga the gangsters cut off Tetsu's fingers and would have killed him if it weren't for a detective's timely intervention, whilst in the anime Tetsu gets away from the gangsters but as a truck tries to avoid running into him the glass it was carrying falls down onto Tetsu's hands...
- 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.
- Nice Guy: Pickpocketing history aside, Tetsu is a jolly and kind man who raises Kumiko lovingly and is quick to help his friends.
- 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.
- Canon Immigrant: Never appeared In the manga, but is a semi-major character in the 2004 anime.
- 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.
- Action Girl: Doubling as Kendo Team Captain. She is a capable fighter and quite strong for her age. In one episode Alone she manages to take out three punks all once!
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: In an episode, with the local Delinquent Jou. Whom BJ has to operate on later
- Cool Big Sister: While often stern with Sharaku, Watou is also ferociously protective of him and will move mountains to protect him. Sharaku holds his sister in high regard.
- Hot-Blooded: It isnt hard to trigger her, especially if you mess with her brother.
- Tomboy: A rough and tumble girl who loves physical activities, especially fighting.
Konomi Kuwata (alias Black Queen)
A doctor specializing in amputations, thought to be heartless by many, earning her the nickname 'Black Queen' in the medical world. She is engaged to Rock (referred to as Makube Rokuro in the TV series, probably to make up for the lack of "Carved Seal" episode), but her being infamous causes troubles for the couple. She met Black Jack, drunk, in a bar, naming herself as the Black Queen. The former is impressed by their similarities and falls in love with her, but he would eventually discover that Rock was her fiancé.
- Foil: To Kuro'o. They both nicknames associated to the color black and are both known for being very helpful but very cold.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Despite her cold exterior, she shows compassion towards those she loved as she was horrified at the aspect of having to cut off her own fiancee's leg.
- Reused Character Design: Of Zephyrus from Swallowing the Earth, where she was originally a collective disguise meant to represent the ultimate beautiful woman.
- Theme Naming: Possibly named after card game Black Lady, to go with card game Black Jack.