A new chapter in the legendary “Black Jack” manga, driven by artificial intelligence, was revealed, showcasing Osamu Tezuka’s essence while grappling with depicting human emotions.
Makoto Tezuka, director at Tezuka Productions Co. and son of the late Osamu Tezuka, expressed delight at the AI’s ability to emulate his father’s style. The project, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unlicensed genius surgeon series, unveils a 32-page episode in Shukan Shonen Champion.
Makoto Tezuka (L) introduces the latest “Black Jack” manga episode at a Tokyo press event on 20 November 2023. (Image Source: Kyodo)
A sneak peek into the latest “Black Jack” manga episode by the Tezuka2023 project. (Image Source: Kyodo)
Crafted through generative AI models learning from 200 Black Jack episodes and 200 short-form manga by Osamu Tezuka, the new episode delves into a narrative involving a female patient with an AI-made artificial heart. Makoto Tezuka highlighted its exploration of life’s sanctity and the challenges posed by cutting-edge medical technology in society.
Interacting with ChatGPT’s GPT-4 and Stable Diffusion, the team input plot ideas, refining the AI-generated text to align with their storytelling vision. Despite advancements, Makoto Tezuka stressed AI’s struggle in capturing diverse human emotions, emphasising the complexity beyond data analysis.
Satoshi Kurihara, a team member and Keio University professor, sees AI as a pathway to “mass produce” quality manga or even elevate standards. Looking ahead, he envisions AI technologies amplifying Japanese content creation beyond manga, aiming for global export.
This release echoes the “Paidon” project, an AI-designed manga in Osamu Tezuka’s style, published in 2020 in the comic magazine Morning. The fusion of AI and iconic manga marks an ongoing evolution in storytelling methods.
This fresh Black Jack venture signals a new chapter in manga creation, blending tradition with technological innovation to push artistic boundaries.
Osamu Tezuka, born on November 3, 1928, was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, and animator who founded Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. in 1968. Known for his pivotal role in the manga revolution, Tezuka earned titles like “the Father of Manga.” His diverse creations include iconic works such as Astro Boy, Princess Knight, Kimba the White Lion, Black Jack, Phoenix, and Buddha. Tezuka’s innovative storytelling techniques and prolific output left a lasting impact on the manga and animation industry.
He passed away in 1989 due to stomach cancer, leaving a notable void in the Japanese public and among fellow cartoonists. His death led to the construction of a museum in Takarazuka dedicated to his memory and life works. Tezuka received numerous posthumous awards, and at the time of his death, several animations were in production, including the final chapters of Phoenix, which, unfortunately, were never released.