When two malfunctioning combat androids are accidentally unleashed on a "Terminate at All Costs" mission against the unsuspecting granddaughter of their creator, an entire city becomes the battleground and not even the military may be able to stop them! The girl's only hope: Sybil, a freelance journalist who's out to get the scoop of her life, if she can somehow keep both herself and her subject alive long enough to file a report. But first, she has to remember to put her clothes on! Co-directed by legendary manga master Masamune Shirow (GHOST IN THE SHELL, APPLESEED) and visionary director Hiroyuki Kitakubo (JO JO's BIZZARRE ADVENTURE, GOLDENBOY,), it's a tour de force of violence and mayhem on an epic scale as two damsels in distress and two deranged battle robots face off, girl vs. mecha style, in the all-time anime classic: BLACK MAGIC M-66!
This is around the closest anime has gotten to the "Predator" franchise, in this case with a bit of "Terminator" mixed in. The story is pretty simple, as one could imagine from that comparison, but a good story isn't a necessary element of the thriller genre. The way Black Magic M-66 goes about it is also pretty unique to anime in that the way it works is very similar to live-action thrillers of the time. There isn't any common anime tropes or symbols and the experience feels more focused, and a bit serious, because of it. This OVA also contains one of the most intense scenes I've witnessed in anime, while I couldn't say the intensity level is as consistent throughout.
The animation is also great and gets more lively as the OVA goes on. The animation isn't the best looking though as when there is a lot of motion, the shading will tend to be taken out to save on resources. That doesn't make what's here bad, but it doesn't make what's here fantastic either. Even so, there are some fantastic scenes in this anime that are done in a relatively creative manner. I found the art style nice and it treated everything in a proper way to make it all a bit believable for an anime thriller. The machines move and act like machines, and they're given a bit of an unpredictable functionality that makes them a tad eerie. There are also many moments where multiple people will move about on screen, along with vehicles and ships. The designing of the futuristic setting is also well handled, while not too original. What I found most interesting was that a number of the futuristic flying vehicles still had propellers and wings that gave the ships a moderately unique and cool look.
The direction and the sound do well to keeping the atmosphere feeling deadly with some good work on sound effects. To the music, there's a lot of fast and loud electronic beats that should be expected from an 80's thriller. I watched this OVA in english dubs, and I can report that they were better than average for the most part. However, while most actors did well, there are two stand-out bad actors that sadly have a somewhat concurrent place in the run-time. I was able to forgive that though as the other actors were doing a fine job.
The story is, again, average to what one would expect from an 80's thriller. However, the characters that occupy the story aren't bad in their interaction. There are plenty of side characters that I found myself fairly interested in, but sadly more so than the main character for much of the time. The main character has basically zero back-story to her and basically no personality. She serves as the doer and is kinda like a Ripley character with a camera. If it was just her starting out she may have been more interesting at the beginning, but she was stuck with a pointless side-character for some time whose contribution to the enjoyment was in the light negative - feeling like a talking brief-case she had to carry about with her. That character doesn't have much screen-time in reality, but so does the main character in a way as she has a close amount of time compared to some side characters. Overall, the characters serve their purposes and act reasonably for the most part, but are in no way developed or all too interesting on their own. When considering the situation around them though, there is still some interest to be had.
Black Magic M-66 is a cool thriller for anime that is one that's also actually able to pull it off well. Many thriller anime focus on gore as the eerie part, but that doesn't connect much of the time (Elfen Lied, Another, etc.). What they usually forget to do is keep the atmosphere done well and have the monster act mysteriously. It couldn't be said that the machines in this OVA act "mysteriously" though the whole time, but more so in the first half. The second half is where the relation to "Terminator" becomes more apparent than that of "Predator", and also the way in which the robot acts changes in a slightly plot-convincing way. Even so, there is a light bit of reasonability to the sudden change in the robot's abilities and even if there wasn't, it isn't really necessary to take the story too seriously in that aspect. Although, some situations do arise where you think the robot has won if it acts like it was before, but it instead acts much like a Frankenstein monster of older black and white movies. Still entertaining, and surprisingly still a bit thrilling in certain moments. Black Magic M-66 is an old anime thriller that those who want something a little different from the usual should check out.read more
A tight and tense little OVA co-directed by none other than Masamune Shirow. It focuses on just a small but interesting part of the Black Magic manga and expounds upon the basic story with some great animation and exciting action sequences. The music is pretty good, too.
Generally fluid animation compliments great character and mecha design. This will not blow you away, but it's good enough not to be distracting and the visual ideas carry it above other similar stuff.
Simple and straightforward plot and not much excess. The story is a set-up for the action here, which is OK by me since it doesn't spend a lot of time dressing up as something it's not. The characters are basically fun, especially Sybil.
This was one of the most entertaining OVA's I've watched in a long time. Made by the people behind Ghost in the Shell it's obvious these guys can really pull off even a 50 minute OVA. Now when watching this, it reminded me a lot of Terminator and I really mean a lot but I didn't have a problem with that since I am a Terminator fan my self. Unit M 66 is basically a Terminator with one job. Eliminate the target. The action in this anime was overall very impressive especially for an anime approaching the age of 30. Some the scenes were designed way ahead of its time and the suspense was amazing. The art was of course, amazing. But what can you expect from the same guy who illustrated Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed.In fact there is an Appleseed reference in this show, which was kind of amusing. The sound was pretty good. It was appropiate to all of the events happening and it had the smooth 80s suspense music that fed me so much nostalgia. Music score is very similar to Terminator's music score. There really is so much a like between this and Terminator. Characters act similar to the leads in Terminator but here you don't really get to know them that well but I give it some slack since this was only 50 minutes and there is no other anime for it, which personally I think it needs a reboot. The story is rather interesting. I'm not sure if the similarities between this and Terminator are coincidental or on purpose I don't really know. If you got some time to burn, watch this. I wish there was more to this classic. It probably is a VHS and DVD copies as this was a minor hit in Japan and did receive some attention here in the states. But overall this series is very interesting and entertaining to watch.read more
This is what the Terminator would have been if it sucked shit through a crazy straw like 3, Salvation, and Genesys. Fortunately its more reputable than all three of those films put together even with an overall average of four. This is mostly because I love the style of 80's cyberpunk art. There's no difference between reporters and commandos who run around the well-painted and expansive cityscapes. The killer machines are the catalysts for interesting and over the top action sequences. It suffers from being dated but the progression of animation only separates the film's movement from the rest. But what little characterization is given to the robots comes across in their uncanny-valley creepy doll faces, and each sequence which features them is intense and, well, terrifyingly mechanical.
But a few interesting fight scenes are practically null from being thrown into this world with little to no context. The plot is all over the place and confusing. Who the robots were designed to kill is all over the place, and pretty conveniently antagonistic. While the fight sequences are choreography in animation, the film's story seems like a contrived excuse to make them. The film could have had some intrigue into the military complex society the that it looked to explore initially. But nope. We're not gonna develop the soldiers or commanders beyond cannon fodder for action scenes. Oh the reporter? We won't characterize her with motive but your motive is to see her get her clothes off right? Okay cool we'll introduce her that way right. If you can see our characters' asses that means you're invested? Cool.
But then the entire film turns into a drawn out chase scene that ends with the journalist and the granddaughter surviving FALLING OFF OF A LITERAL BUILDING. While again, the robot's presence made it redeemable, but having no investment in the characters made it seem even more contrived and difficult to care about. If cement would have crushed anyone it would be no different than when all the faceless troopers were killed. I saw this film on a whim and I would pass. It strives to be okay but its hand, dramatically outstretched for better writers and care in its plot, is quickly sucked into the quicksand of its own flawed writing. Pass.read more