Black Magic M66
Two of the military's top-secret android weapons, called M-66 units, are lost and go berserk. One is hunted down and destroyed at the cost of quite a few men, but the other escapes, with orders to kill the granddaughter of its creator implanted in error. It comes down to an intrepid photojournalist, Sybel, to save a girl from a situation she has very little control over. Will she be able to do what the military could not...stop the doll-like M-66 from its mistaken mission of death?
If ever there were an anime homage to Terminator 2 or Aliens this would be it. Switch the genders of good ol' Arnie and your brave hero (or think of her as Ripley with a camera) ... and this not-quite-an-hour-long feature starts to look very familiar. Surprisingly, it's quite an entertaining ride, if you're willing to forego such things as character development, plot, and logic.
As an action flick, Black Magic M-66 is pretty darn good, with several sequences that dazzle the eye, though it's kinda interesting how a reporter can use equipment only the military has access to... Still, suspense is the word here. Unlike so many action flicks which feature explosions, ki blasts, and monotonous and wanton destruction, this one has actual lulls...you never know when it's *quite* over. And when you think you do...the M-66 is there right around the corner. Helping the cause is the fact that Shirow Masamune did the original artwork, and thought this isn't exactly a direct translation of his original storyline, it's a good indicator of his ability to put together a good adventure, even with the silly comedic bits that are interspersed within the first half of the feature.
The most interesting thing about this anime is the villains, or rather, the M-66 androids. They exhibited no "evil" tendencies, but were completely emotionless, just as robots would be. Perhaps it is their complete lack of humanity that renders them as frightening as the Terminator was when I first saw that movie. The fact that they look nothing so much as human-sized female marionettes makes them even more horrific...the doll turning on its creator, so to speak.
Though it's not the head-trip (or classic) that Shirow's later work Ghost in the Shell is, Black Magic M-66 is definitely a good choice for a Jolt-and-rice-crackers anime night with the guys. Subtitled, of course.
Not a bad effort by any means. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Graphic violence and, of course, the gratuitous shower scene at the beginning (Sybel isn't exactly the most practical person in the world) limit this one to mature audiences only.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Black Magic M66 © 1987 Shirow Masamune / Seishinsha
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