Cyberpunk Review » Black Magic M-66

February 19, 2006

Black Magic M-66

Year: 1987

Directed by: Shirow Masamune

Written by: Shirow Masamune

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Sybel: Yoshiko Sakakibara
  • Ferris: Chisa Yokoyama
  • Dr. Matthew: IchirĂ´ Nagai
  • Col. Arthur: Shinji Ogawa
  • Rating: 7 out of 10



    Overview: Masume Shirow’s Black Magic M-66 is one of the best Terminator anime clones. Most know Masume Shirow from his Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell Mangas, not to mention his myriad of other hot chicks kicking butt artwork (Intron Depot Ballistics is my favorite). Black Magic M-66 is his first anime. The visuals, while quality, are definitely 80s cartoon style.




    In this “When Good Fembots Go Bad” tale, a tough and sexy journalist who likes to hang out in the buff picks up a military transmission on her scanner about an escaped weapon system. In her haste to get the story, she almost forgets to put on clothes, but finally comes back for a pair of pants. She eventually tracks the military to the woods and finds them besieged by an android weapon accidentally “turned on” after a horrible cargo plane crash.




    This android chick is ultra-tough, nearly unstoppable, and, due to it running on laboratory test data, apparently has been programmed to kill the inventor’s daughter. The reporter figures this out tries to rescue the android inventor’s daughter, but the M-66 is hot on her heels. All hell breaks lose in this anime, which is essentially a Terminator-style chase from beginning to end.




    If you’re a cyber-studies researcher in need of a good example of cyberpunk’s propensity for objectification of women, Black Magic M-66 is your movie! You get a bevy of good stereotypes here, including the tougher than tough, smarter than smart, ultra-hot reporter who doesn’t like to wear clothes, the needy and continually fainting daughter always in need of rescue, and of course the M-66 weapon system - made in a woman’s image for God knows what reason (other than the obvious, of course). Again, this movie doesn’t bother you with needless philosophies that might confuse things - its all visual.




    The Bottom Line: Black Magic M-66 does not have in-depth philosophical questions - its not that type of cyberpunk anime. This is an action-fest from the get-go. It doesn’t bother giving you lots of in-depth set-up or character rationales. The action is good though, and the pacing is consistently fast and tense, and generally goes fast enough for you to ignore plot holes and bizarre side questions like why was the inventor’s daughter in the target the “test” data. The anime is still 80s style, especially in the backgrounds, but Shirow always does fine quality products.


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review anime M-66

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, Made for TV, 7 Star Movies, Animes, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1980-1989 by SFAM.


    March 5, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    The original Black Magic manga, on which this is based, is a weird mix of technolgy, pseudo-science and magic that id just plain weird. The anime is loosely based on one of the issues of the manga where the M-66 android goes nuts. It;s Masamune Shirow’s first published work(and it shows, the art is frankly horrible), and it clearly showcases Shirow’s love of senseless technobabble(his scientific explanation for magic, for example, ugh).

    SFAM said:

    Hmmm, I’ve never read the Manga. Based on your description though, it doesn’t sound good. I do love Shirow’s artword though, especially as seen in his Intron Depot series.

    August 8, 2006

    Adam Doub said:

    The manga is an absolutely horrible Shirow attempt at Shadowrun, so I wouldn’t suggest it even for bathroom reading material. However the anime holds strong, despite it’s rather lacking animation ( this is not the best anime was producing during it’s time, and it could have been animated 1000x better )
    But putting that aside, they kept to original shirow-style art, and it’s INTENSE AS HELL (the part with in the elevator comes to mind) It’s a beautifully crafted cyber-anime flick that is quite fast-paced… sadly, I prefer this over the lacking Appleseed original animation that completely let me down.

    March 28, 2007

    David Mills said:

    I don’t know that this is a direct rip off of The Terminator. The Black Magic manga was published in 1983, whereas the Terminator movie came out in 1984- a year later. I doubt Shirow would have even heard of it in it’s pre production stages, since the only way one could be notified of a new movie would be through the paper/posters or TV commercials… no intronet remember ;)

    For a Shirow fan, this has pretty much all there is to offer- like Dominion and Appleseed, the mecha and character designs are identical to the manga, and it’s even directed by Shirow himself. Wicked.

    March 29, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi David, terrific point! I hadn’t thought of the Manga timeline.

    Rip off of Terminator?

    With regards to a timeline… everyone should remember that one of the largest single financial settlements in Hollywood legal battles came from a suit against James Cameron for lifting the whole story of Terminator from an Outer Limits episode scripted by the inimitable sci-fi author Harlan Ellison entitled Soldier?

    August 22, 2007

    Mira Firefly said:

    Shirow is an excellent artist, and has been for a long time now, but he hasn’t always been. It actually took him a while to mature; his early works, while containing faint precursors of his later and current greatness, show an irrational over-reliance on Star Wars-ish movie poster-style acrylic painting, a lack of proper detail distribution (something he still suffers from), very little in the way of mood, often awful color choices, a poor directorial eye, overall poor storytelling skills, and a propensity for fanboyishness, among other things. Black Magic was originally a fanzine publication, in the magazine Atlas (there was no M-66 in the title), and, for all its quirky and endearing qualities, it shows. A number of these qualities bleed over into the Appleseed manga, and Appleseed’s panels are even more confusing and difficult for the eye to follow, due largely to Shirow’s obsession with depicting the technology and environment of the story in as obsessive a manner as possible without preventing him from meeting deadline and getting the story done. Unfortunately, much of his more recent illustration work feels a bit *too* slick and CG-ish for my taste (although not to the extent of the Aramaki Appleseed movie remake).

    Regarding the objectification of women, I am female, and I hardly object to the admiration of the female body in which Mr. Shirow engages. My only expectation is that rational reasons are shown for any unusual erotic propensities such as nudism, and that consideration is taken for how these qualities affect the character as a whole. In short, story first, sex later. I also would prefer if women considered by most standards to be unattractive were given a bit more screen time.

    -verbosely yours,
    your local aspiring comix artist.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Mira, terrific post! I definitely agree that Shirow has gotten better over time and is wildly influential. And yes, I LOVE his stuff whether or not many (but clearly not all or perhaps even most) have issues with it. I point out the objectification thing because its rather starkly clear here. Many come to the site looking for information to help with a certain viewpoint. If you’re looking to wax poetic on the cyborg as objectification of women perspective, I would argue that this movie would be a great example for you.

    Mira Firefly said:

    The objectification of powerful women is an odd thing. It’s objectification, but in the sense that a fan objectifies a celebrity, famous actor or admired artist. It’s worshipful objectification, if you will. Of course, “objectifying” qualities such as “smarter than smart” and “tougher than tough” becomes sketchy business - is objectification just about the body, or can it extend to psychological traits and skills as well? Certainly, many people find a given hotter-than-hawt woman even hotter when she’s holding a gun, and it’s not really about the gun itself, is it? It’s the fact that she’s holding it, and the implication is that she uses it - in short, that she’s powerful and dangerous. So, is lusting after a well-muscled man on a Harley (a power symbol) any different than lusting after a large-breasted woman with a gun (also a power symbol)?
    I understand that not all women wish to be desired for their physical properties (I know I do, albeit under controlled circumstances such as a club or bedroom), but it really bugs me when a woman says “OMG DON’T OBJECTIFY ME!!11ONEONEONE” and then turns around and starts drooling at Leonardo DiCaprio or Keanu Reeves. Feminism is about equal treatment, not about having the special privilege to complain about something, then turn around and do that thing yourself.

    …bah, I’m just ranting. I’m glad you liked my post.

    January 18, 2008

    karriss said:

    wat…. ahh anime nyc ONE?

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