perfect score

Anime titles that managed to wring out a 10 out of 10 rating from me.

The bad-ass main title protagonist…

…and this is an apt description for him.

A few hours after Brazil was dumped out of World Cup by the Netherlands (definitely the best match to date), I finished watching yet another humongous 63-episode anime series, titled Black Jack TV. It includes 61 regular aired episodes and two extra unaired episodes. This anime was also aired in Animax some time back just like Tantei Gakuen Q, Gakkou no Kaidan and Urusei Yatsura but I didn’t watch it. This is a 2004 anime, therefore it will not compete for any of the ‘Anime of the Year’ titles. Read on for the most screenshot-laden review this blog ever have.

Just another victim of the main protagonist…

…and his price will eventually increase 10-fold as the series went on.

This anime revolves around a part-time unlicensed veterinarian, full-time genius unlicensed surgeon who performed near-miraculous surgery feats while charging outrageous fees on his weeping patients. Aided by a pseudo-loli assistant, he prowl around Japan and around the world, extorting desperate people out of their life savings, one episode at a time. Then he buys more exotic islands. The end.

The main protagonist is sweet-talking an innocent vulnerable kid into paying gazillion yen as payment to save the kid's father life. Notice the windowless van behind the main protagonist.

If the victim is a sweet young thing and she doesn't have the money to pay for the surgery, he will ask for 'something else' as payment! No prizes for guessing what he will ask as payment in such situations.

This anime is an episodic series, therefore it doesn’t have a main prevailing plot (no saving the world from aliens invaders or no saving a female protagonist from bad guys). Each episode will feature the surgery (and rip-off) of the day, but more often than not, any given episode will usually revolves around the circumstances of the surgery. The surgeries itself are rarely shown, and usually takes only 10 seconds or so of the airtime of any given episode (exceptions are very rare). Some of the plots are reused a few times throughout the series too. Due to the episodic nature of this anime, you can actually skip many of the episodes in this series, and you won’t miss anything.

Some of the reused plots involves the main protagonist operating on traffic accident victims. In this episode, he is the one who mowed down the unsuspecting victim though. And even when the accident is completely his fault, he will still ask for outrageous fees for a surgery that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

The main protagonist will also do animals. The fees are still exorbitant though. You should see how he makes the killer whale in the picture above to look for precious pearls and corals as payment for his treatment. In another episode, you can see how the main protagonist forced a bird to pay for surgery of the bird's master. The bird dies in the end, from exhaustion. The main protagonist is evil, am I right?

Nevertheless, the episodic plots around those surgery-of-the-week are the main essence of this anime, and where this anime really shine. The stories behind each surgery are largely excellent, making this anime one of the best slice-of-life title I have ever watched. The episodic plots contains various kind of stories. Heart-warming stories, ones that tugs your heart, heroic efforts from the main protagonist, or more likely, other people; sacrifices for the sake of others, some funny stories plus a few advocacy messages too from the author (the legendary Osamu Tezuka). You can watch the kind of stories that you can read from the ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul’ book series in this anime. And not all episodes has a happy ending, which also helps this anime immensely. Very immensely.

When the main protagonist feels generous, he will only charge this price. The man above is one lucky SOB.

Some of his former victims are now very wary about being double-dipped by the main protagonist.

Being an episodic anime series, the pacing within the episodes is usually fast and sometimes this caused the plot development to suffer. But only a few times within the sixty-something-episode run does that happened in this series. Characters’ development are virtually non-existent, and flashbacks are used to depict the past of the two main recurring characters. It was these kind of episodes that you should not skip when watching this anime because they are the closest thing this anime has as a substitute for a prevailing plot.

This Black Jack episode is a cross between Hikaru no Go and Midori no Hibi.

This guy even have the nerve to charge a grey alien 2 million dollars for a surgery. Thank god the aliens doesn't destroy the Earth for his greediness.

A very good example is episode 44, which deals with the past of the pseudo-loli assistant I have mentioned above. But if you ever plan to watch this anime too, make sure that you watch at least 20 episodes that precedes the 44th episode, preferably the first 10 episodes, then any random 10 from the next 33 episodes. Episode 44 contained a very powerful plot twist, in addition of one of the more controversial and outrageous surgery feats ever done by the main protagonist (which puts him in the same bracket as Victor Frankenstein). But it was the plot twist that really defines this episode. You know, in many of the preceding episodes before episode 44, the pseudo-loli assistant always make an outrageous claim when introducing herself to the new characters that she met. More often than not, her claim was dismissed as a lie by the characters that she met, and even I do think she is just overexaggerating. But only when I watched the 44th episode, I did realize that she is not lying after all and Osamu Tezuka has just managed to troll me. And this is why the pseudo-loli assistant is the best character in this series.

A talking tumor with powerful psychic abilities. Just a hazardous day in the office for the main protagonist.

The scene of a desperate victim who will pay anything to have their loved ones cured is the cue for our main protagonist to make his entrance.

A minor drawback that this anime has is the outrageous surgery feats that the main protagonist performed, even with suspension of belief in place. Apparently, the main protagonist can do limbs transplant (WTF!?), brain transplant from the head to torso (holy sh*t), open surgery in total darkness (okaaay…), open surgery on grey aliens (facepalm ), open surgery on himself without anesthetic and more. The feat performed in the aforementioned episode 44 should also mentioned, but I don’t want to spoil that episode to you. Some overreactions can also be seen in this anime, where a cholera outbreak was treated as if the Black Death has just occurred again. The fansub group (or is just the broadcasters themselves?) has to made a disclaimer before an episode was played, saying that tuberculosis was usually treated with antibiotics, and not surgery as the main protagonist has done in the said episode. Seeing his skills in action, you will be forgiven if you think that the main protagonist has the ability to cure AIDS, and cancer too (he does this quite regularly).

The bad-ass main protagonist can even perform open surgery on himself without any anesthetic.

OMG! The Hell is freezing!

There are no visible ending of course, being episodic and all. But I heard that the sequel has a plot. Therefore I will have to watch it some time in the future.

The main protagonist favorite computer program: Winamp. It really whips the llama's ass!

Character Design:-
One thing you will notice about the character designs in this anime is that they are very Westernized. If the dialogues are in English and the names are changed to Caucasian ones, no one will realize that Black Jack is an anime from Japan. However, this is not a bad thing for this anime.

Thank god there are no silly card jokes being used in this anime.

Voice Acting:-
Voice acting in this dialogue-heavy anime is very good, with the two main protagonists being the best of them all. Definitely a positive point for this anime.

There's only one time where our serial blackmailer become the one who are blackmailed!

The sparse multi-genre OST is just average, but the 1st and 3rd OP as well as the 1st and 3rd Ed themes are good.

The sad past of our main protagonist: beating innocent classmates and become the big bully at his high school.

The animation quality s just average, but the little amount of fast-paced scenes in this anime doesn’t seem to be affected. Choreography is non-existent. While unspectacular, the directing is basically flawless and has no persistent weaknesses, except in the rare cases where the pacing affects the story development as mentioned above.

The manga which this anime is based upon is actually older than the CD-ROM technology itself. And Winamp for the matter.

10 out of 10
for this excellent slice-of-life anime. This anime, the second Osamu Tezuka work that I have watched, is better than the first one I have watched before, titled Metropolis, in AXN a few years back. The next anime that I will review is the long-awaited Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which alongside Winter Sonata, are probably the only anime titles out there that can dethrone Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei off its current title.

This is the main protagonist's pet. Would not be alien in Looney Tunes or Hanna & Barbera shows. Hahahaha!


The main protagonist, and also the best character in this anime.

The end of an era beckons, as the long-reigning ‘Anime of the Year 2008’ title holder Wolf and Spice has finally been deposed from its throne. After nearly two years, the wolf girl has finally been swatted away out from the baseball stadium by a part-time baseball anime, full-time psychological thriller titled One Outs. Read on to see how this anime tramples over the sport genre handicap like it is nothing as the anime obtained the elusive 10 out of 10 rating.

And this is why he is so awesome.

A legendary clean-up batter from a weak minor league baseball team is training himself in the off-season to prepare for the new season. There he meets with the main protagonist in a modified 1-vs-1 baseball game called ‘One Outs’. The batter miraculously wins the game and subsequently took the main protagonist into his baseball team, aiming for the championship (not Koshien thank god).

This is the main antagonist behind the curtains that always wanted our protagonist to fail.

No matter how you look at this anime, comparisons with the likes of Akagi and Kaiji will be inevitable. Just like Akagi, the main story is basically non-existent, but the baseball games are awesome. The games in Cross Game or Ookiku Furikabutte is nowhere as brutal as the games in here. The main protagonist doesn’t have a 160km/h fastball like the protagonist in Cross Game, but the former is so dangerous with his ability to read people minds, getting his teammates or foes to do what he wants, engaging in mind games and psychological warfare. He is even better than Akagi in that he made his own luck instead of having it handed to him.

But more often than not, or actually all the time, he will have his ass handed to him by the main protagonist.

The presentation of the baseball games are done very well; there are no games that takes too many episodes, but still allows for the awesomeness of the main protagonist to be shown. The presentation is excellent and the pacing of the games are impeccable. The arc transitions, whilst not perfect, are also better than the ones in Akagi (one of the blips in that anime IMHO). The ending is probably too tight, which has the double effect of making the ending too rushed, but also open-ended. Uhmmm… can we have a second season of this anime Japan?

And this is his face as he sees his debts increased.

Character development is the only part of this anime that is markedly inferior when compared to Akagi and Kaiji. In Akagi and Kaiji, their main protagonists started each series as n00bs who will then VERY QUICKLY learns their way in their respective high-pressure environments. Here in this anime the main protagonist is actually very good from the start, and all he has to do is to plot the downfall of his foes on the opposing team (and the high-ups in his own team). The far simpler character development strategies of our main protagonist here mean that he at the end of this anime is the same character that starts at the first episode. He wasn’t really helped by his opponents who are too weak, so far.

His teammates are in awe as they watched the main protagonist trolling another opponent.

Character Design:-
While this anime is seinen just like Akagi and Kaiji, the character designs in this anime are definitely well within shounen genre territory. There are quite a lot of black hairs here too (and so are brown), even if the main protagonist is blonde (probably dyed). A positive point for this anime.

And the baseball team manager of course would want to use the best pitcher in Japan as much as he can.

Voice Acting:-
Unsurprisingly, the same voice actor for Akagi and Kaiji also voiced the main protagonist of this anime, which will automatically makes him the best voiced character in this anime. He has far more dialogues in this anime compared to Akagi too. As a whole. voice acting in this anime is flawless. A positive point for this anime.

WARNING: If he smirks, someone is going to get shafted in the ass.

Only the OST in this anime is good, but not for any of the OP/ED themes. Definitely inferior overall to Akagi and Kaiji.

Another screenshot of him, complete with an apt description of him.

The animation quality in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in this anime is just average though. I have nothing to complaint about the director here.

Another picture of him, after pulling yet another miracle.

As mentioned above, 10 out of 10 despite the sport genre handicap. And of course this anime will replace Wolf and Spice as the best anime in 2008. If I were to compare this anime with Akagi and Kaiji, this anime is better than the latter but not the former. This is mainly because the mahjong games in Akagi are more intense and exhilarating plus it has better character development strategies.

More pictures of him looking down on his opponents, and you!


Our main protagonist, now biting puppy ears.

Today when I want to write the review for this anime, only then I realized that my previous review for Needless is missing because of the server migration that happened nearly two weeks ago. Therefore it may seem that there are two reviews for today but actually there is only one of them. And that one would be for the third season of the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series, which follows the first and second season already reviewed in this blog before. Titled Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, this 2009 anime will then compete with Wolf and Spice S2 for the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title. Compared to the first two seasons, this newest installment in this series will throw a nice surprise to you.

Still the best character in this anime, even if her airtime was cut even further.

In the third season, our main  male protagonist has completely stopped being suicidal (he is afraid to die even), therefore his (mostly) female students doesn’t have to restrain him from finding the hangman noose anymore. Nowadays all he does is complaining and despairing over many things, and his (mostly) female students followed suit. I somewhat miss the more flexible main protagonist that you can see in the first season.

What you can see in the second season was carried into the third season (each episodes are divided into several chunks), but with some notable changes in presentation. In the third season, there are more long story arcs that are shown to the viewers in non-consecutive chunks (usually in different episodes). This approach was pioneered in the second season but are used far more extensively in this season. But what defines the third season over its two predecessors is that there are more good plots over bad ones. If the first season has 50:50 good:bad plots ratio and with second season may have a 40:60 ratio,  the third season has vastly improved with 80:20 ratio. The third season is definitely the best installment in this series so far.

Epson/HP/Canon/Lexmark etc. business practices thoroughfully explained and mocked in this anime.

As a consequence of that, the outstanding humor in this series (which helped the first two seasons achieves 8 out of 10 scores) has also been improved. I actually think that would be impossible to do, considering my experience of watching the first two seasons in the past. But the humor in the third season does improve over the already excellent humor in season one and two, and that’s a good thing. Parodies and references to other manga/anime/games/TV shows/political events are still there, with diverse references to AKB48 all the way to Rozen Maiden (with a not-so-veiled reference to a particular politician). This anime will surely become a hit in North Korea…

Taking a swipe at North Korea is this anime favorite pastime.

Another presentation changes that are done in the third season is the pacing of this anime. The director probably have heard my complaints about the terrifying pace this series has and toned it down in this season. It is still fast compared to other anime titles, but between the three seasons, the one here is the slowest. Therefore I do not use the MPC-HC rewind combo button as often as I do in the first two seasons. This anime can still be inaccessible to live TV watchers though, therefore time-shifting is a must.

One of the best humor scenes in the entire series.

Character developments was stalled in the second season, and little has happened in the third season that indicates that anything has changed. The only things I have seen is that the main protagonist now fears death (so far apart from the suicidal him in the first season) and the so-called class monitor has permanently become a murderous person. Our mobilephone-toting non-talking best character is still there, her airtime being cut even further. There are no actual ending I have seen in the last episode, just like it does in the second season. Will there be a fully deserved 4th season? Well, we have to just wait and see then.

I hope a new season will come, not necessarily in that timeslot.

Character Design:-
My comment in the first season and second season review still applies. The best design belongs to the main male protagonist. Generally, this series are strong in this section.

One of the many parodies in this anime.

Voice Acting:-
Another traditional stronghold for this series, my comment from first and second season still applies.


The OST is still great as it is in the second season, but only the OP theme is good. Cannot say the same thing for the 2 ED themes.

This show can be 'informative' too!

For animation quality and choreography, my comment from the review of second season still applies. The director has changed some of the presentation aspects in this anime for the better, and staying closer with the original manga probably contributes to the better stories and humor in the third season too.

Say hi to our newest ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ with its 10 out of 10 score. Simply better than Wolf and Spice S2. I never thought a despairing good-looking teacher with a huge harem he doesn’t take advantage of can take the throne from a beer-chugging wolf-girl. I do expect the third season to do well, but not THIS well.

Quoted For Truth.