BLACK MAGIC M-66 (1987)

 

Format: 48-minute featurette

Rating: R (AL, GV)

Type: Sci-Fi Action

American Production: Manga Entertainment

Japanese Production: MOVIC/AIC

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

C

Writing:

C+

Character Design:

C+

Mecha Design

B

Animation:

B-

Artistic Merits:

C+

English Dub:

C

Musical Score:

C

Closer:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

C

Action Content:

B+

Drama Content:

C+

 

 

DVD Presentation:

not reviewed

DVD Extras:

not reviewed

 

 

OVERALL:

C+

 

Synopsis

      In a city of the not-too-distant future, a pair of experimental military robots awaken and get free when the helicopter carrying them crashes during transport. Although one is quickly dealt with, the other seeks out its creator’s granddaughter, Ferris, with intent to kill. Sybel, an enterprising freelance camerawoman, gets wind of the story and initially tries to just document but winds up instead trying to help save the girl from the killer robot.

 

The Long View

      Black Magic M-66 is significant for being one of the early projects by Masamune Shirow, who would later go on to make a much bigger name for himself as the creator of Ghost in the Shell. It is a generic save-the-girl-from-the-killer-robot story that was obviously influenced, at least in part, by The Terminator, although this one has no time-travel element. Neither the technical merits nor the music is exceptional, and the writing and voice work are mostly unremarkable. The main reason to watch Black Magic is for the action, but I can recommend it for that alone. The scenes where the military is trying to stop the robot and Sybel is trying to save Ferris from it are taut and well-executed, especially one sequence where Sybel must use a deflector device (it keeps the robot at bay by repelling it) to defend herself and Ferris against the robot while all three are changing floors in an uncomfortably small elevator. The robot itself exudes a sufficient amount of expressionless menace to make the threat feel real.

      Although there is a significant amount of graphic violence and a scene of partial nudity early on, the rating given is primarily for foul language, which isn’t pervasive in the English dub but which is frequent enough that it would probably earn the rating kick from the MPAA.

      Also watch in the series for a couple of hidden tributes, such as the T-shirt reading “Appleseed” that Sybel wears in early scenes – a reference to Appleseed, another of Shirow’s early projects.

 

DVD Extras

      The DVD was not reviewed.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Sybel

Lia Sargent

Ferris

Melissa Charles

Professor Matthew

???

Major

Doug Stone

Slade

???

Rico

???

Richard Leiki

???

Professor Slade

Simon Isaacson

Nakamura

Mimi Woods

 

 

 

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