Black Magic (ブラックマジック M-66, Burakku Majikku Mario Shikkusuti Shikkusu?) is a cyberpunk manga written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. It was first published as a dōjinshi in 1983, and was later reprinted in tankōbon format by Seishinsha in 1985.
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A military transport aircraft is brought down due to bad weather conditions. On the aircraft, two fully equipped androids dubbed M-66 are being transported. During the crash, the androids escape and are loose in the woods. It's revealed that they're programmed to neutralize a person. The military are soon called to capture the robots, but a news reporter named Sybel also involves herself in the affair.-summary
Black Magic M-66 is a short OVA that was released in 1987 and directed by Masamune Shirow. The OVA is also based on the 1983 manga, which is written by Shirow as well. Shirow is best known for the popular manga Ghost in the Shell(GITS). The only similarities between this and GITS are that they're both of the cyberpunk and sci-fi genres, and in anime form, Black Magic M-66 is nowhere near on the visual level as the film Ghost in the Shell.
The OVA is a simple story on the puppet master losing control of his puppets. The two androids are suppose to be the perfect robots and at times they seem to be, by utilizing stealth tactics and later on, displaying a wide range of all out attacks. They quickly make short work of the military forces. The story begins to develop more of a plot when the target is finally revealed.
The main character Sybel, a journalist who was captured by the military learns who the target is, and decides to protect the person. Surprisingly, even for a short film(48mins.) character development is present. Sybel is well developed, and she eventually puts her personal goal aside, to try and save the very possible victim, so it's pretty easy to cheer for her. However, the androids are the standouts to me, despite having no dialogue.
The characters of the M-66's are developed and greatly enhanced by their robotic demeanor. They fit my vision of a true robot; a being who happens to be cold, emotionless, and cannot be reasoned with. They are cold blooded killing machines with cruel tactics, who will accomplish their mission by any means. It doesn't take the action long to begin, and it delivers once it gets there. The action scenes are pretty cool during the first half. There's a good amount of violence with minimal gore, but it never becomes over the top. Later, the action scenes lose a small amount of appeal when the plot turns into just another chase.
The animation is pretty fluid during the battles. Some of the close in battles and shootouts are pretty good with well animated choreography, which switches between swift fisticuffs and weapon use. I really like the character designs of the two robots, because they come off really creepy looking. Their facial expressions tells the story completely.
The soundtrack may not be spectacular but it's well used. I really enjoyed how the soundtrack was put to work. Before the androids make their full appearances; the BGM enhanced the androids menacing nature, by speeding up to a more sinister tone, when they were in pursuit of their possible victims via first person view. In this area, the BGM was also well assisted by the camera work.
I don't quite understand the deal when it comes down to older anime. But a majority of the time the dubs aren't really up to standard. The sub clearly outshines it in terms of better voice acting. The dub has a small amount of foul language though. There's also a small amount of fan service but it doesn't get out of hand.
Black Magic M-66 also has a pretty good ending and surprisingly it doesn't feel rushed. Those out there who truly believe that Blood: The Last Vampire can be excused for having a phantom story due to length should see this. This movie managed to pack quite a bit in its short run time. It's actually scary to think what this could be should it ever be remade, with the production values of Blood. I recommend this title only to the most die hard anime fans, fans of older anime, and fans of Shirow. But I recommend getting it cheap. It's not worth the insane prices I've seen.
Pros: -Good action, good animation for its time, and nice character designs