Masamune Shirow’s earliest OVA is an underrated classic.
In the wake of Ghost in the Shell it’s easy to pass over Shirow’s earlier works. Appleseed has continued to grow as a series over the years, its latest installment Appleseed Alpha was as recent as 2014. And the Dominion series had Tank Police Team Tank S.W.A.T. 01 only ten years ago. But one seems to have been totally left behind, his first OVA, Black Magic M-66.
Black Magic M-66 tells the story of two top-secret prototype android weapons that are accidentally turned on during transport. One, with quite a few lives sacrificed, is destroyed early on. The other is programmed to hunt down and assassinate its creator’s granddaughter, who despite full military force protecting her, is actually better aided by Sybel, a photojournalist who’s gotten caught in the middle of all this.
It’s easy to identify as Shirow’s work, given his distinct style of weapons, robots, vehicles, and strong female characters, but it’s before he really got into his reoccurring themes of what it means to be human in a robotic age. So don’t expect deep philosophical concepts, this is mostly an hour of fights and explosions. That being said, it’s an awesome hour of stunning hand drawn 1980’s cyberpunk anime fights and explosions.