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                     Black Magic and Black Magic M-66
                 by Frasco (s162462@studenti.ing.unipi.it)

                      Masamune Shirow on Black Magic
Black  Magic  was  a  "first and a last volume" published during my fanzine
years.  It  was published by Atlas Magazine, and put together with a lot of
help  from  Atlas  staff members. (Back then our workplace enviroment could
best  be  described as "small and dangerous". There was no air conditioner.
Every  sheet  of  screen  tone  was  jealously  guarded).  In December 1985
Seishinsha reprinted it with six additional pages (the M-66 appendix in the
back).  This  was  the  book  that  planted  Appleseed  in  the mind of the
president of Seishinsha.
[...]  This  book  introduced  most  of  my  favorite elements -- bioroids,
armored  combat  robots,  magic, aliens -- and they haven't changed to date
(not enough R&D?).
The  M-66  anti-personnel  droid  (also  dubbed  "anti-personnel  automatic
infantry").  This  is  a high performance robot, with hair that serves as a
cooling  unit,  and  a  left eye equipped with a laser scalpel. [...] Black
Magic  M-66  was the first original animation to involve Shirow Masamune. I
was  entrusted  with  handling  the storyboards and direction, and tried to
evoke  the  mood  of a quality B-grade SF flick. So what do you think, dear
readers?  Anyway,  it  was a long, long, loonnngg row to hoe... Let me take
this  opportunity to express my gratitude to all who worked on the original
drawings, the animation and music. You did a great job! Thanks a bunch! The
laser disk somehow managed a second pressing for whatever it's called, so I
guess  it got Mr. Bandai's blessing. Still I was so embarassed . I couldn't
watch  it  for  the first year and a half after it was released... It never
did  quite  come  together... But the staff really did do their best, and -
aahh, enough of that. The video went on sale in the spring of 1987.
Despite  its flaws, the project actually produced a finished, released work
without  dying  on  the vine-thanks to people like Mr. Bandai. Thank you! I
learned  an  awful  lot  working  on the project. A very few members of the
staff   apparently   felt  that  I  discriminate  against  North  Korea  or
something  -  I'm not quite sure what they meant - but I want to make clear
that  I  do  no such thing. I have never engaged in petty discrimination of
this  sort,  and  I do not belive in it. Conversely, I don't intend to give
special  treatment  to  Japan either. Also, as regards violence and Eros, I
don't  deny  that  these  are  important  elements  of my manga. But I were
accused  of being a violence-monger or a porn-peddler, my response would be
"Oh yeah? Well... it's too bad we had a breakdown in comunication. Really a
shame".

                       Black Magic M-66 Introduction
Thousand  of  years  ago,  life  was present only on Venus. Here the humans
built  a  supercomputer  Nemesis.  It's  mission  was to bring the Venusian
Federation to the final Utopia. All the palnet was ruled by Nemesis. But he
needed  someone  to  protect  himself and to execute orders so, he creaated
many "biodroids" and built for them a megalopoli. "biodroids" and built for
them  a  megalopoli.  Nemesis  built another computer Tantalos to teach the
biodroids , and Uranus he's mobil terminal. The first biodroid who take the
power was Chronos, but he was soon overtaken by Zeus. Than the producion of
biodriod  was  brohibited  bat  Nemesis built a last one, Typhon. Zeus knew
this after Typhon birth and kill her. Nemesis built another Typhon but gave
her  to  a human to protect her from Zeus, until she becomes teenager......
The  story  begin  with  the  fight  betwen  Zeus  and  Typhon. Meanwhile a
scientist  Dr. Matthews creates cyborg warriors called M-66. Unfortunately,
the  helicopter  carrying  two  prototypes  crashes  and the the prototypes
escape.  Even  more  unfortunately,  the  prototypes were shipped with test
target  information  programmed  into  them  - Dr. Matthews' granddaughter,
Ferris... Black Magic has been published in USA through Eclipse Comics many
years ago.

              Masamune Shirow on the M66 robot design and AI
Since  this  is  a bioroid-level civilization (whatever that means!), let's
suppose  that  boitechnology  permits  production  of robots that otherwise
would  be  prohibitively  expensive  and  impossibly difficult to repair or
fine-tune  if  made  of  purely  mechanical parts. Since the goal is not an
exact  copy  of  a  human  (bioroids are for military purposes, after all),
photoelectronics   and   limited  bio-brain  applications  provide  optimun
movement  and spatial perception. The result is a "killer robot." But since
this  robot  is  no  more  that  a  byproduct of the human race, and is not
recognized  as an independent species, Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" do
not apply.
Take  the jungles of Panama, with their 100-degree temperatures, 90 percent
humidity,  and  torrential  rains. The M-66 must be able to operate in this
severe  enviroment  as  well  as in deserts, glaciers, swamps, water... You
name it.
In  short,  an all-weather robot. This means there are likely to be as many
different  models  as there are military operations. And not only humanoid,
either: trees, rocks, animals are all possible variants. The 66, considered
more  useful as a scout than as a combatant, can pass through booby-trapped
areas,  accurately  and efficiently obtain information, fight if necessary,
and  return  to base. If capture appears imminent, the 66--cognizant of the
potential  loss to the enemy of important intelligence--will unhesitatingly
self-destruct  to  maximum  effect...Such booby-trapping brings to mind the
Vietnam  War  which  established  the  reputation  of booby traps as cheap,
vicious weapons requiring no support. Booby traps have been employed in all
shapes  and  sizes  for  wars,  crimes,  and acts of terrorism. There is no
standard model.
Throughout  history,  regardless  of  place  or  time, the first battle has
always  been  a  cruel,  grisly  experience for untested recruits. If green
troops  served  among  the  Ottoman  soldiers  who stormed the Translyvania
castle  of  Vlad Vaslav, or among the young warriors who entered the castle
of  Elizabeth I, they may as well have gone mad. M-66 attacks, on the other
hand, are not delayed by fear: they do not waver in the face of the enemy.
The 66 can endure bamboo stakes and metal spikes, and in fact, by advancing
through such obstacles, can clear the way for the rear guard. One advantage
to  the M-66's humanoid form is that it has the same bulk, and moves in the
same  manner,  as  a human. If it were designed with four or eight legs, it
could  not  follow  routes  that  require  human  footing. But might it not
explode  in  an  accident? If it's shot, what happens to its fuel? And what
about  malfunctions...? One imagines warehouses, once full of mass-produced
robots, now emptied; cities crawling with the same pale feminine faces--and
every  one  a  ticking  time bomb (no,no, this isn't a put-down of women!).
But, of course, its power plant determines how easily an M-66 can blow up.
The  model  presented  here  is female for two reseaons: to provide a lower
center  of  gravity, and to make this manga more attractive. Besides, among
humans,  women  have superior survival skills... not that this has anything
to  do  with  the 66. The female form also induces tension in enemy troops,
making  them  slower to action (use of a rougher-looking character like the
Hecatonchires  would  run the risk of intimidating even friendly troops). A
make  enemy  meeting  the  66  in  the  bush  might  be  just a little less
triggerhappy.  And a real lecher could put his own life at risk. The rubber
covering  of  the face and skin enhances this effect, while preventing bits
of  shrapnel  or dust from penetrating the joints. Clothing serves the same
purpose.
The  skeleton  comprises carbon fiber around a metal core. Adding strips of
reinforced  kevlar  may  improve  the  skeleton's  resistance  to attack. A
standard  66  weighs  between  100 and 200 kilograms, I'd guess. This could
pose  difficulties  in  swamps  and  quagmires,  so any 66 deployed in such
terrain  should  be equipped with rocket-propelled hook and winch--reducing
its  weight  is  not  advisable  as  this  would  reduce  its  advantage in
hand-to-hand combat. Even with new materials available to keep weight down,
other  factors  must  be  considered:  reactor  heat,  strength,  center of
gravity,  weight  distribution, the relationship of basal joint strength to
peripheral   weight  during  high-speed  movement,  and  so  on...  As  for
dynamics--that's another complex issue we won't even try to address here.
Bullet-proof  armor  is  yet  another concern linked inseparably to weight.
Armor  should  be  inpervious  to  the 10mm bullets common to infantry. The
upper  limit is probably +P+.45ACP, but even that would allow rifle bullets
to  inflict  considerable  damage.  Maybe  the  best  approach  would be to
dispense  with  bullet-proofing  systems  altogether,  and instead minimize
weight for improved maneuverability. That would make it easier to transport
, too...
And  then there's the problem of differential heating. Even with a built-in
anti-condensation   heater,   dew   may  still  form  on  lenses,  filters,
photoelectric  parts  and  the  like. Thus, producing all-weather models of
percision   machines   is  no  easy  task.  No  doubt,  such  machines  are
susceptibles to magnetism, not to mention vibration, shock, electromagnetic
pulse,  torsion-induced load, etc, etc... An interesting characteristic the
66 shares with humans is that it stops moving when intake and exhaust ports
(i.e., nose and mouth) are closed.
An  expressionless  killer  (it  might  even  be  smiling) with super-human
fighting  power--sounds  like  the stuff of horror stories! Many precedents
come   to  mind:  the  artificial  man  in  Mary  Woolstonecraft  Shelley's
Frankenstein,   or--pointing   up   the   difference   between   magic  and
science--the  more  modern  horror  of  the zombie, a walking corpse. But a
killer  robot  is just an extension of modern weaponry. Even if it moves on
its  own  outside  deliberate  tests,  it's  not the work of the Devil, but
simply  a  type  of  industrial  accident.  This  is a technological (i.e.,
Western)  sort  of  horror,  arising  precisely  because  living people are
dragged  off  to their graves by a supposedly inanimate object--like a doll
or  a  corpse--with no power or life of its own. If I had studied this type
of  horror  story  more  thoroughly,  I  might  have  come  up  with a more
interesting  66.  It's something I'd like to pursue when my drawing ability
has improved.
Treating the 66 as a type of weapon opens up possibilities for its use as a
prop  in an infinite number of scenarios; ultimately, however, the drama is
a  human  one.  In  a  medieval setting, the 66 could be knights pledged in
fealty to a king (actually, it would more closely resemble a slave soldier,
but  we'll  call  it a knight since it's so high-priced). This hardly bears
repeating,  but  the  artifical  intelligence  represented  by  bioroids or
androids  draws  from  the  mechanical  side  of  humanity. Nonetheless, it
effuses  the  smell  of death, which may be why some say technology is evil
incarnate.  If  artificial  intelligence  is  brought  as  close  to  human
intelligence  as  possible,  then  perhaps  the remaining difference is the
fundamental  essence  of  humanity.  Thus, numerous aspects of humanity are
revealed:  life  and  death,  mind  and  machine,  the  determinate and the
indeterminate, etc., etc...
Sorcery  and  religious  ritual  manipulate  as their technology mechanical
systems  within  the  human  mind.  What  is  left  after that? How far can
humans  climb  toward a higher order? Death in life, life in death--is that
really  all  there  is?  Are  we  sealed  up like the Eternal Golden Braid?
Sleepless  nights  are  not brought on by horror stories alone. The 66 is a
"Beautiful  Captive"* or the last Gauguin: "Where did we come from? Who are
we? Where are we going...?"**
To  broaden  the  vision  of the System, to become one with the Universe...
these  are  just  dreams upon dreams, not to be comprehended by a simpleton
of  the  TV generation like myself. I'm just a monkey, my Inner Universe is
made  of  bones.  That's  why  I  like truly barbaric, bloody, messy, noisy
tumult.  I  want to evolve quickly into a real human being. But to be urged
on  by  the  likes of Nemesis, and evolve into some Substance X? That would
lack class.

* Title of painting by Rene Magritte
** Title of painting by Paul Gauguin

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