Prologue One - Black Magic

Kicking things off with a bang, the first few pages of the manga show a group of Federal Police in a small airship preparing to assault the home of Duna Typhon, with no idea how much they have underestimated her power. When they fire a pair of microwarp shells at her house, and it only wakes Duna up from her sleep, they realize they need to get out of there as soon as possible, only to be dropped from the sky by Duna, who finds out they were sent by Zeus. Heading over to the Onimal, to see her friend and comrade, the 3-eyed Kongoki, to get some sleep. She also retrieves some sort of holy sword that she had left in his care until the appointed time, which appears to be now.

Falling under attack again, Duna, Kongaki, and several other associates make their escape from a small force of robotic spider-like tanks, a Shirow specialty. Finally allowing them to get away, Duna uses her sword, calling upon the will of Nemesis for aid, resulting in the vaporization of the entire opposition. Cut to discussing what they were, Servobots, how they could look like pretty much anything, and given that, how the crew wanted each of their personal playmate/beefcake 'bots to look.

Chapter One - Bowman

Here things go in a completely different direction, as Duna and company make no appearance anywhere in this chapter. Starting out we have a the sole janitor boarding a huge new submarine that just arrived, built in space and designed to explore the oceanic depths. After boarding it, he quickly discovers that it's really a missile sub and gets shot by the newly introduced Chief Investigator Pandora. Meanwhile, a bureaucrat is making a speech about how they are ready to begin the terraforming of the third planet, making it inhabitable and allowing them to stop the plundering of Venus's resources for the sake of their colonies.

As the speech is rather long-winded and dull, the other players in this chapter(who happen to be the rest of the sub's crew) sneak out of the auditorium where the speech is being given and make for sub, wanting to check it out. Pandora's boyfriend(presumably) Erebus sets off to find her instead, and eventually heads to the sub to find her. As soon as he enters the ship, Pandora starts it up and leaves the quay, at which point the rest of the crew shows up and decides to give chase in some much smaller subs, because after all, its their ship.

Crewmen chase ship, Erebus finds Pandora, ship fires some interplanetary missiles and Pandora realizes she's been had. Pandora lets Erebus in on her reasoning, that she was trying to stop the terraforming because there were signs of mammalian life on the planet, and that they should halt the terraforming while the veracity of this was being examined, but the politicians all kept ignoring her. The missiles then head to the third planet and destroy the recently completed artificial sun installation, stopping the moon's rotation, causing the planet to freeze back up, killing off the dinosaurs, and setting the course for future evolution on Earth.

Prologue Two - Open Up

Readily the shortest section of Black Magic, this 6 page section basically has Duna getting everybody together on a colony ship above Venus and letting them know that she's getting ready to make go down to Venus and make some Black Magic against Zeus. It isn't even really a full 6 pages either, as some of the cast taking little potshots at each other and Duna complaining about "Wasting half a page on something that has nothing to do with the story!"

Chapter Two - Booby Trap

Taking up over a third of the book, this chapter serves as the basis for the anime(which is only loosely tied to events here), and features the Marionette combat robots rampaging about. This part opens up with a special forces squad trapping and taking down a rouge M-66 unit within a pipe-infested building, and then taking flight to go and track down a few others running loose. After the action-filled intro, We find Duna lounging around in a tree, enjoying the afternoon. Yasha, one of her cohorts, interrupts her and inquires after the rampaging bots, which we learn have been set loose by Duna to cause trouble for Zeus.

Cut back to the military people, we have another M-66 being tracked down in an abandoned city area, where it confronts a military person in a suit of powered armor that is probably a little bit bigger than Appleseed's landmates. The landmate's pilot manages to decapitate the M-66 just as it goes for his head, making the score two down, two to go. Shifting scenes, we now are in some mountains, where the military is lying in wait of the remaining Marionettes as they head for a city. Here we are introduced to the Marionette's designer/creator, who unveils the M-77, a newer model combat bot with 4 arms and overall greater fighting capability.

With quite a bit of action, and some interference on Duna's part, the M-77 destroys the M-66s, but in the fighting, it's bed is destroyed. This bed is important, because without it, the robot has no way to return to "Safe" mode, and so now *it* goes on a rampage, causing chaos among the remaining military types before it races off to the city by itself. First on the scene after it gets into the city is the local National Guard 'soldiers' with their too-big-for-the-streets tank and lousy aim. After some more wanton destruction, the Marionette heads into an office building and the real military folk show up.

From this point on, the military goes through and sweeps through the building floor by floor tracking it down, vents and all. They do everything from manipulating the environmentals to using flamethrowers, ending with the squad captain taking it down in a one-on-one fight after some of its mobility was reduced from the flamethrowers melting wiring/musculature/joints. Ending the chapter, we have the injured captain lecturing a junior soldier about the difference between tools and their users and that humans are ultimately superior to any of our creations.

Chapter Three - City Light

With this final chapter in Black Magic, the story shifts the focus back to Duna and friends, taking place primarily on the Venusian colony ship S. S. Procrustes, currently orbiting Titan, one of Saturn's moons. The first couple pages set up the rest of the chapter with Kongoki and Goku talking about Zeus's new Outer Space Colonization plans, suspicions raised by the rapid schedule, and that Duna and Yasha have gone off to investigate the matter. Cut to the the ship, with the unnamed Captain talking to Commissioner Hermes about mankind's overpopulation and needing to live in harmony with the planet. As the captain heads for his cabin after the launch, Yasha greets him in the elevator with information that Hermes is a spy and that the ship is basically doomed unless he pays attention to what she has to say, with a 30-minute deadline. Being the skeptical type, the Captain begins a quick, discreet investigation into the claims and calls for a security escort for Yasha.

At this point we cut back to Hermes on the bridge, who figures out/is told that someone is onto his plans(it isn't clear if he's communicating with someone telepathically or is just thinking). Duna phases in and starts wrapping him up with some magical ribbons, but before she can complete it, Hermes brings in a 'Serbot-Model Hecatonchires' (which basically looks like a heavily armored landmate with rabbit ears similar to Appleseed's Briareos). Though not explained in the manga, I figure it to be some sort of military robot, particularly given Duna's surprise that this one is seemingly semi-autonomous. They fight for a bit, with Duna eventually getting the upper hand after trapping the Serbot in the wall it had just blasted through, forcing Hermes to teleport away so he could make his escape (and leaving behind the headgear that was allowing him to control the Serbot). Before the fighting begins, Hermes makes a comment about interfering with his father's plans, leading us to believe that he's the offspring/creation of Zeus, and so we have evidence of taking more direct action in this plan of his.

While Hermes is off making his escape, we go back to Yasha and the Captain, who is beginning to turn up evidence of sabotage in various small ways around the ship. Just after Hermes takes off from the ship in a small spacecraft, a bomb explodes, causing disruption in the ship's communications and gravity systems, probably along with a few other systems as well. Soon after the explosions the crew figures out that they are off course and not going to be able to achieve escape velocity, causing tensions to rise. Brainstorming ways to escape orbit, Yasha asks Duna for help just 'lifting' the ship out of orbit, but is turned down as she says "Up to ten tons I could probably handle. A colony ship? No way!" At worst, the ship is set to fall into an elliptical orbit around Saturn.

Yasha's already pointed out that this ship is carrying more than it's 12 million listed occupants and less food than it was supposed to have, and now the captain does some math, figuring that with the planned five ships per mission and 4 missions per year plan, at least 240 million people are slated to share a similar fate each year, bringing everyone's opinion of Zeus's grand colonization plan down. When Yasha brings up the fact that Saturn's thick atmosphere will probably cause their orbit to decay quickly, the Captain comes up with an idea to save them. Cut to some point later, the ship is close above Saturn, preparing to take in helium and hydrogen from the atmosphere to fuel its RAM(jet?) engine so they can achieve escape velocity. While risky and really bad for the engine with all the unfiltered air, it does the job and gets them out of orbit. This brings up the end of the chapter with the Captain saying "City light..." more to himself than anyone.


Huzzah, the council has voted to force Zeus to step down, allowing the humans to take control of things for the first time since Nemesis was created. Everybody is having celebratory drinks at the Onimal, but Duna's a bit on the sad side, what with her mission basically being over, with no Guardians and nothing to guard. Duna skips the planet, humans take over, and all is looking good. Unfortunately there's a bioroid uprising 8 months later that leads to massive warfare and the ruination of Venus's atmosphere, wiping out all life on the planet.

Appendix A

First off, I'm not sure why this is Appendix A, as there is no Appendix B, but hey, that's what it is called. These last few pages in Black Magic involve Shirow going into heavy detail about the M-66 Marionette's construction, from components to performance, practicality and some of the scientific and religious implications of AI. I've always found it interesting to read Shirow's theories on various things, and this is certainly one of the more interesting bits to read, and harder to summarize. So go buy the book, feast your eyes on old Shirow, and read it all yourself.