The Ant's Legs
Season 1, Episode 2
Air date October 18 2004
Directed by Makoto Tezuka
Episode guide
Episode 01: The Vanished Needle
Episode 03: Thieving Dog

Synopsis Edit

A young boy decides to walk 400 km from Hokkaido to Osaka by himself. Black Jack, whose story unknowingly inspired the boy, decides to follow.

Summary Edit

Black Jack and Pinoko walk to Tom's for coffee and a parfait. There, Black Jack encounters a disabled individual who has difficulty walking and is reading the book "Journal of a Disabled Individual" loaned to him by Tetsu, the coffee shop owner. The individual's name is Mitsuo and he stops by Tom's Coffee Shop on his way home every time he visits the hospital to read the book as he goes for rehabilitation every month due to an accident a while back. His injuries have healed but he still cannot walk properly. Outside the shop, Mitsuo notices an ant trail and a single lone ant that is struggling to keep up with the rest and get back on its feet. Mitsuo encourages the ant and is happy to see it walk. Later, Mitsou decides to go off on a 400 km walk from Hokkaido to Osaka like the character from the book he read with nothing but a backpack, some supplies, and a cane. The media is covering his journey with people cheering him on. After seeing him on TV, Black Jack follows after him. Mitsuo is annoyed as he remembers seeing Black Jack refuse an operation because the hospital couldn't afford to pay him, causing Mitsuo to see him as a money loving greedy quack doctor. As Mitsuo rests in a hotel, he explains to a worker that he is doing the journey as he was inspired by the character in the book. As Mitsuo continues his journey, Black Jack continues to follow, much to Mitsuo's annoyance. He confronts Black Jack, asking if he pities him or wants money as he is being sponsored on his journey. Black Jack states he does not want to diagnose Mitsuo or have his name in the media and states he is just watching him, which Mitsuo thinks he wants to watch him suffer. The next day, a rude truck driver throws his lit cigarette out the window, causing a forest fire. Black Jack offers to drive Mitsuo away, but Mitsuo declines and Black Jack tells him to crawl his way out. This gives Mitsuo the idea to crawl down so the smoke can't reach him. He is then attacked by a bike gang who steals his wallet, but Black Jack fights them and takes it back. He leaves it on the sidewalk for Mitsuo to notice and take back. Pinoko binges on parfaits at Tom's coffee shop as she waits for Dr. Black Jack to return home and Mitsuo is on his final part of the journey where he must climb over a long steep upward sloped road with a tough incline. He passes by Black Jack once again and tells him to stop following but Black Jack states he will not make it to the top of the slope before sundown. He also reveals that he is the patient in the book Mitsuo read by stating the author Jotaro Honma didn't mention about the hill and also about how there used to be a big tree by the curve where he slept on his journey that is now cut down. He tells Mitsuo how he was involved in an accident and even though the surgery was successful and the bandages came off, he had to undergo extreme rehabilitation to recover the use of his arms and legs. Mitsuo, shocked and surprised, asked him what it felt like on his journey and stated he wanted to talk to him about his recovery, but Black Jack leaves, stating he no longer wishes to follow. During his climb up, Mitsuo sees an ant trying its best to make it back on its legs and continues forward. As Mitsuo reaches the top, the sun sets and he finds a blanket provided by Black Jack. The next day, Mitsuo has finished his journey and Black Jack returns home to an angry Pinoko.

Diagnosis Edit

  • Mitsuo: Difficulty using his legs due to accident despite rest of injuries healing. No operation. Goes to rehabilitation every month. Took a long journey as part of rehabilitation.

Characters in Order of Appearance Edit

Quotes Edit

  • Mitsuo: "My challenge has just begun. My legs are doing fine too. The journey will be tough. But I will complete it, just like that brave patient".
  • Nurse (To Mitsuo): He is Black Jack. He was called to this hospital for a very complex surgery". Mitsuo: Black Jack? Is he a doctor?" "He's known as a genius surgeon, but he only deals with rich people. Only those who are willing to pay lots of money."
  • Mitsuo: "I might start relying on that person if I'm with someone." Worker: "Is that so?" "Sure I think it's reckless too. But I'm doing it, and am fully aware of the consequences. This book is a journal of a disabled individual. That patient made a long journey to train his disabled legs. I was touched after reading that journal. I decided that I would do the same thing! I should be able to do it!"
  • Mitsuo: "Following the same course written in the book makes me feel like I'm walking with that patient. It's a tough and harsh journey, but it's also exciting.Anyway, that Black Jack..."
  • Black Jack: "I have no intention of diagnosing you or having my name in mass media." Mitsuo: "Then why?" "I am merely watching you".
  • Mitsuo: "Today was the worst day. I couldn't walk as much due to the rain and I only covered half as much as I had planned to. On top of that, I talked to Black Jack. He wouldn't know how people like me feel, trying their hardest".
  • Mitsuo: The fatigue is increasing. My legs are as heavy as lead. To be honest, it's tough. I want to quit right now. I wonder if that patient felt the same way. Or was he never discouraged? I could talk a lot if he was with me."
  • Mitsuo: "My challenge is almost over. I wonder how that patient in the book felt when he accomplished it? I will know myself soon

Trivia Edit

  • This is the first time we see Pinoko's sweet tooth. Tetsu, the owner of the coffee shop they frequent, has also named the extra large jumbo deluxe chocolate parfait that Pinoko often orders and is so found of as the Pinoko special.
  • It is revealed Jotaro Honma wrote a book about Black Jack's rehabilitation. The book is called "The Journal of a Disabled Individual".
  • It is revealed that as part of his rehabilitation Black Jack walked from Hokkaido to Osaka so he could learn to walk again. However, in contrast to Mitsuo who got publicity for his and was sponsored and supported, Black Jack traveled alone and did not receive any recognition. However, Dr. Honma did write his journey as a book.
  • The title refers to how Mitsuo, the disabled individual who makes the journey from Hokkaido to Osaka and the symbolic use of the scene where an ant is struggling to get back on its feet, with Mitsuo cheering the ant on, as he is in a similar position after the accident that caused his legs to not walk properly.
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