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Manga / Black Magic M-66

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Shirow Masamune's short manga from 1983, adapted into an OVA by AIC in 1987, later released by Manga Entertainment.

Anti-personnel robots have escaped after a plane crash. Specialists and the military are called to the site of the crash, but they can't figure out why the robots would have torn out of their cases - unless they were programmed to hunt someone. The others at the scene are Sybil and Richard, two investigative reporters looking for a scoop. They soon find themselves more involved in the case than they'd like, protecting a young girl, Paris, the inventor's granddaughter...

This OVA is the first adaptation of one of Shirow Masamune's works, and the only one to date in which he had direct involvement in the production (writing, storyboarding and co-directing it). The OVA is notable for having a very dedicated animation quality, in large part due to the extensiveness of Shirow's storyboarding. It combines action and comedy and also takes much inspiration from Terminator.

Black Magic M-66 provides examples of:

  • A Father to His Men: After Paris has been rescued and the second M-66 neutralized, a weary and saddened Major is shown going over the names of his troops who were killed during the operation, all 18 of them. He laments their deaths and wonders what he can say to their grieving families.
  • Action Girl: Sybil is the protagonist, other most notable human female character of the film aside from Paris, and while otherwise just a reporter she is not afraid of using guns and explosives or offer herself as a Human Shield to protect Paris and get her scoop.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: The original M-66 manga takes place in Venus and the "Black Magic" is there because one of the main characters is a powerful mage.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Cluster S Bomb. Shit is apparently Sybil's favorite word, but she does get a Precision F-Strike to the police.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: When there are two M-66 robots, one of them is destroyed by the troops with a barrage of assault rifle fire and trapping it with a net forcing it to self-destruct. The remaining M-66 spends the rest of the film quite implacable.
  • Cyberpunk: There are killer robots, a military cover-up, a truth-seeking reporter and early 90s internet. That's Cyberpunk in a nutshell.
  • Damsel in Distress: The scientist's granddaughter, Paris, is really only useful in this role. Lampshaded by Sybil.
  • Determinator: The M-66 units are perfect successors of the Terminators, keeping on going regardless of what is thrown at them, taking absurd amounts of damage to take down, annihilating lots of Red Shirt troops, and even falling off buildings. The second M-66 (the one who falls off a building) only stops when it gets its off switch flipped.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The scientist who developed the M-66 robots (in the OAV) used the information of Paris (his own grand-daughter) to test the machines' target acquisition software. He had planned to wipe the memory once the units arrived to their testing facility, but the whole mess of the film occurs when an accident makes the units activate prematurely and go into "search and destroy" mode with Paris as their target.
  • Disney Villain Death: The second M-66 is blown up by an explosive charge Sybil sets on the rooftop after it gets severely damaged in the pursuit of her and Paris and then falls to the street. And even then it "wakes up" for one final scare before it gets its off switch pressed.
  • Fainting: Paris faints at the most inconvenient times.
  • Fanservice: A funny but totally gratuitous opening scene of Sybil wearing nothing but a towel around her neck as she reads the report on the escaped robots. She even almost leaves her apartment clad in just her camera case... she then leaves clad in just her camera case plus a pair of pants draped over her shoulder and a pair of black boots. Another example is the scene where Paris is introduced at her home, where she is shown wearing a rather skimpy outfit that leaves little to the imagination.
  • Immune to Bullets: The M-66 androids take an absurd amount of damage to kill, and that includes bullets and even explosives.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Sybil faces extreme danger to get the story and even saves the scientist's granddaughter from the title robot, making her a particularly badass version of the trope.
  • Killer Robot: The escaped M-66's are assassination androids and they spend the whole film on a rampage.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The M-66 androids are basically killer robot ninjas. One's a robot kunoichi for extra awesome.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: The scientist has the swirly and opaque glasses.
  • Playing Possum: The M-66 units need to open up cooling vents to use their lasers, so the military tries to make one overheat and shut down by ensaring it in wire and letting it try to shoot its way out. It's when they get close that they discover (the hard way) that it pretended to shut down.
  • Taking You with Me: When an M-66 is destroyed, it detonates its "skin", which is filled with small darts. Then it begins emitting toxic gas.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Sybil wears a tank top while kicking back and drinking a beer, like a true Lad-ette.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Supplying a final, absurd joke: after everything that the M-66 robots pull off during the film and survive to keep on attacking, the unit is finally stopped by its developing scientist pressing the "off" switch that is located in its face.
  • "X" Marks the Hero: The woman in charge of the military's got this scar on her cheek.

Alternative Title(s): Black Magic M 66