Number of episodes: 50
Production Studio: The Answer Studio Co, ltd.
Fansub Release Viewed: BSS
Likelihood of US Release: Medium
Golgo 13 is an assassin and mystery man, a darker and more sexual Japanese equivalent to James Bond. The manga has been ongoing since 1969 and remains one of the longest ongoing adult manga series to date.
There’s a scuffle on a plane headed for El Paso, Texas, which results in the shooting death of on-board security. The shooter makes his way to the cabin and demands that the pilot change course for Colombia. The problem is, the domestic flight doesn’t have enough fuel for the trip, so the hijacker allows them to land and re-fuel in El Paso. The police who arrive on the scene can’t get close enough to get a good enough sniper shot. There’s only one man who can carry out the job – Duke Tougo, a.k.a. Golgo 13. A member of the FBI retrieves Golgo right after he’s released from jail for fighting. He offers Golgo 3 million dollars, who says that he’ll take it – if he can have 4 hours to prepare. He takes some of the money and goes to an underground gun manufacturer and asks the maker to modify an assault rifle to fire longer range and use bigger shells, and offers a cool 200 thousand dollars to have it finished on time.
After giving a prostitute the “ride” of her life and defending himself against some thugs who want to take revenge on him, Golgo returns to the gun dealer and retrieves his new toy. However, he also finds out that the circumstances have changed – the plane that was at first only a kilometer away has moved since the hijacker tried to take-off. Now Golgo has to snipe the target from 2 kilometers away, a nearly-impossible feat for any normal gunman. He arrives at an adjacent airstrip in a small airplane, takes his shot which miraculously hits the target, and leaves as swiftly as he arrived.
This was a very welcome change from the silly moe bullshit that seems to continually infest anime season after season. There’s no mistaking it – Golgo 13 is a manly show with guns, sexy ladies, and a mysterious, hardened antihero doing his dirty work and making it appear glamorous. The comparison to James Bond is fairly appropriate since Golgo seems to mix work and “fun” as much as the familiar super spy, though his character is much darker and a lot less of a true playboy.
As far as the format of the show goes, I hope beyond all hope that it doesn’t stay completely formulaic. It seems very likely that the show will fall into a rut of “someone needs to be shot, only Golgo 13 can do it, Golgo has sex with some chick, Golgo kills the guy”, when what I’d really like to see would be some multi-part stories that make his targets less “enemy-of-the-week” and more like real people. Since I’m not familiar with the manga, I’m not sure how much the anime would suffer from being too formulaic, but I’m hoping that there is at least a little bit of character development, since I like the basic concept of the show a lot. From what I hear, it sounds like Golgo will work for just about anyone who will hire him, so him working against a former client would be interesting to see.
It bears mentioning that Golgo’s interaction with women, at least the one woman he’s been shown with so far, seems almost humorously misogynistic. On the one had, I want to see this as more a portrayal of Golgo’s character rather than an accepted overall philosophy of the writing, but on the other hand I don’t want to see the show tiptoe around the issue. Some men are just creeps, and Golgo just might be one of them – he is an antihero after all. I’m operating under the consideration that Golgo himself may end up being less of a focus and more of a catalyst for the action later on, much like the Medicine Seller in Mononoke. The story may involve him, but may not always be about him.
The look of the show is thoroughly modern, though Golgo retains his classic and recognizable character design. There’s good integration of CG for vehicles, but otherwise everything else seems to be done traditionally. In general the show uses a darker palette appropriate to its dark and violent subject matter, though the most dramatic point in this episode was punctuated by a late-afternoon dusk color set that made everything seem much more dramatic. The end theme is stylishly done, with red and black stills of Golgo doing his various activities.
I’m definitely going to keep my eye on this one, since it feels so different from most of the cutesy and obnoxious stuff being released lately. Heck, since the character has been around so long, you wouldn’t think an anime based on it could be steered in the wrong direction unless it strays from the manga. My hope is just that the stories come in more than one variety – it’s fun to see Golgo take out his target, but if that’s all he does then he’s actually not that interesting of a character.
- Dark tone contrasts with the majority of anime
- Traditional style without seeming old or stale
- Might turn out to be too formulaic
- Golgo treats women like crap