This year’s 51st issue of Akita Shoten‘s Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine revealed on Thursday that the new partially generative AI-produced Black Jack manga will be a 32-page one-shot that will debut in the magazine’s next issue on November 22, and will be titled “Black Jack Kikai no Shinzō – Heartbeat Mark II” (Black Jack Mechanical Heart – Heartbeat Mark II).
Tezuka Productions is co-producing the one-shot with generative artificial intelligence. The AI is based on chatbot ChatGPT-4. The project utilizes technology developed under contract by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a research and development agency in Japan. Keio University’s Faculty of Science and Technology Professor Satoshi Kurihara and Tezuka Production’s Makoto Tezuka (also known as Macoto Tezka) are also participating in the project.
An earlier project “TEZUKA2020” launched a manga titled “Paidon” in February 2020 that used AI to learn from and imitate Tezuka’s style.
Tezuka’s original Black Jack manga centers on a brilliant maverick doctor who practices without a license. Tezuka published the manga in Akita Shoten‘s Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine from 1973 to 1984. The official Osamu Tezuka website describes the manga:
This is a medical drama in which an unlicensed but gifted surgeon, Black Jack, is the main character.
Endowed with excellent surgical technique, Black Jack always miraculously saves seriously ill patients and those on the verge of death. But he always claims an outrageous price for his surgery, which is why his presence is rejected in medical circles.
Black Jack lives quietly in a clinic out in the deserted wilderness with his assistant, Pinoko, whose life he had saved. Patients whom other doctors have given up on come to see him every today; he represents their very last hope.
The manga has inspired multiple anime adaptations, as well as spinoffs from other creators. The manga has also inspired several Japanese live-action adaptations, including a film in 1977, a series in 1981, a video in 1996, a special in 2000, and another special in 2011.
Source: Weekly Shōnen Champion issue 51 and website