Black Magic M-66 box cover

© 1987 Masamune Shirow / Seishinsha


Available on VHS and DVD from Manga Entertainment.
45 minutes
Action/Science Fiction
Version I Watched: Subtitled in English
Objectionable Content: Violence

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Black Magic M-66

While there are a host of anime out there that focus almost entirely on action, most end up failing due to lack of plot and character development, and usually the action element isn't good enough to warrant viewing. Fortunately, Black Magic M-66 has some of the coolest action scenes in any anime that I've seen.

The story is about as simple as they come. Loosely based on Masamune Shirow's manga of same name, Black Magic M-66 begins with a pair of experimental military robots accidentally getting loose. The military quickly moves in to contain the situation, but one of the robots escapes to complete its programming; the extermination of a young girl. Add to this a female reporter looking for a scoop who ends up putting her life on the line to stop the rampaging androids.

The characters are also pretty shallow for the most part. The reporter, Sybil, is fairly tough and competent, and was at least able to take care of herself, unlike the android's target, the stereotypical helpless female. One thing I really liked were the fact that the killer robots were just that: soulless machines just following their programming. They didn't display any menacing emotion or villainy which I think enhanced their overall aptitude to generate fear.

The action is what makes this movie worth watching. It was a lot like Terminator, which is, naturally, a good thing. The sequences were well choreographed and exciting, with a good dose of suspense thrown it. There's one scene in an elevator in which the tension was just brutal. And to keep things even more interesting, the viewer never really knows when the whole saga is finally over.

Anyone familiar with Shirow's work, will no doubt notice his style here. The animation is fairly smooth, although it does look lousy it a couple scenes. The music was fairly simplistic, but was pretty suspenseful and added a lot to the atmosphere.

My only real complaints were a couple illogical and silly parts. I was kind of wondering where this reporter gained the skills to operate some of the vehicles and weapons she used. I also thought the motorcycle scene was too goofy. I guess it was meant as comic relief, but it just made me curl my eyebrows wondering why it was there.

If you are looking for some entertaining action then look no further than Black Magic M-66. Anyone who wants something deeper should give it a pass, though.

The Verdict: * * * * (good)


Black Magic M-66 image
Black Magic M-66 image
Black Magic M-66 image
Black Magic M-66 image