Black Magic M-66 (1987)

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black magic m-66 cover

A military transport carrying two experimental military androids crashes in the deep forest. Awakening from the crash, the two robots begin to carry out their mission from a test program: kill their creator’s granddaughter. Making their way to their target, they encounter the military and utilizing their advanced weaponry prove to be more than a match for the combined might of the armed forces. It’s up to a freelance reporter named Sybel to reach the creator’s granddaughter and warn her of the danger before it is too late!

Based on the manga by Masmune Shirow, who also directs, Black Magic M-66 will seem very familiar to fans of James Cameron’s The Terminator, the original source actually predates that work by a year. We have a short movie, only 48 minutes, but it crammed with more action and explosions than most action series coming out of Japan these days. There is a technical aspect to Shirow’s work which is instantly recognizable. From the military outfits, mechanical design, and sense of humor, there is a massively entertaining style that exists in his works.

Animation if fluid and the copy I reviewed, from Maiden Japan’s recent re-release, looks better than I’ve ever seen it. Colors pop and the details in debris and destruction add that little touch of attention that is missing in the digitally done work of today. The music is tense and truly fits in with the horror-style, it truly adds to the action on screen.

Deeply nostalgic and a hugely entertaining watch, Black Magic M-66 is a welcome revisit and worthy of the term ‘anime classic.’ While it doesn’t offer to much in terms of character development, it more than makes up for it with some of the best animated mayhem ever put on film. Older fans must make it their responsibility to introduce this to the uninitiated.

You may enjoy this if you liked: Patlabor, Venus Wars, Appleseed, and the Ghost in the Shell manga.

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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