Osamu Tezuka's classic Black Jack series is getting a new manga co-produced by Tezuka Productions and artificial intelligence (AI). The new AI manga will launch in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine this fall as part of the "TEZUKA2023" project and to commemorate Black Jack's 50th anniversary.
The AI system powering the project stems from cutting-edge technology developed under the auspices of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a prominent research and development agency in Japan. Joining forces with NEDO are Professor Satoshi Kurihara from Keio University's Faculty of Science and Technology, and Makoto Tezuka (also known as Macoto Tezka) from Tezuka Productions.
This venture follows the success of the earlier "TEZUKA2020" project, which utilized AI to learn and imitate Tezuka's distinctive artistic style in the creation of a manga titled "Paidon," released in February 2020.
The original Black Jack manga, created by Osamu Tezuka, revolves around the extraordinary exploits of a brilliant rogue physician who operates without a license. Serialized in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine from 1973 to 1984, the manga is renowned for its captivating medical drama. The official Osamu Tezuka website provides the following description:
"Black Jack is a medical drama where the protagonist, an unlicensed yet gifted surgeon, navigates through the intricacies of life-saving operations. Endowed with exceptional surgical skills, Black Jack repeatedly performs miraculous rescues on critically ill and near-death patients. However, his exorbitant fees for his services ostracize him from the medical community. In a secluded clinic located in the desolate wilderness, Black Jack leads a solitary existence alongside his assistant, Pinoko, whose life he once saved. Desperate patients, abandoned by other physicians, seek him out as their last glimmer of hope."
Over the years, the Black Jack manga has served as a catalyst for numerous anime adaptations and spin-offs by various creators. Its popularity has also translated into multiple live-action adaptations in Japan, including a 1977 film, a 1981 series, a 1996 video, a 2000 special, and another special in 2011.
Update: We appreciate ZetMoon80 for pointing out the correction regarding the magazine's title.