In the manga and anime world, anyone worth their salt knows the name Shirow Masamune (or vice versa, depending your continent). His manga Ghost in a Shell would spawn one of the most successful anime films of all time, and sequels both on the page and the big and small screens. Our subject for today, Black Magic M-66 (1987), is an animated film based on a chapter from the first Shirow manga series that gained him some acclaim.
Shirow himself directed, along with Kitakubo Hiroyuki, and it shows. The Anime Encyclopedia (Clements & McCarthy) claim that M-66 is composed of over 20,000 animation cells, and it was worth it. The action is smooth and the movements top-notch, and it makes you really lament the state of most contemporary anime productions. The painstaking attention to detail made this film, in addition to beautiful, costly and over budget. That’s the reason the film comes in at only 47 minutes and ends pretty abruptly, and presumably why so much content from the original manga’s story was cut. Because the film feels a tad incomplete, Shirow has disowned it and refuses to have anything to do with any sequels or remakes.
This, to me, is a damn shame. Given it’s troubled production, I expected Black A normal-proportioned woman in an anime? Must be from the 80’s.Magic M-66 to be quite rough, and not worth watching. It’s true that the story, indeed some of the scenes themselves, are ripped right out of The Terminator, but that’s not a bad source to cull from. The movie’s killer androids–there are two, though there were apparently six in the comic–are accidentally unleashed with prototype instructions that include killing the inventor’s beloved and sexy niece (!) Why the good
doctor, who comes complete with crazy-eyed spiral glasses, would use that as a test-program, we’ll never know.
Enter tough-as-nails reporter Sybil, who will go any length for a scoop, even if her dorky comic relief assistant Leakey would rather run for the hills. Sybil witnesses the androids demolish a military unit, the latter of which manages to destroy one of the bots in a great death scene, and then she heads to the city to warn the doctor’s niece.
The ensuing battle levels a building and has some really great moments, and you wind up wanting to follow Sybil on all of her scoops, which I’m sure likewise involve her taking a shower, blowing shit up, and winding up back at her apartment in underwear with a warm tea.
Sexy Rating: 2/5, but don’t expect much fan service.
Robot Carnage: 5/5