Golgo 13 is one of the oldest Japanese manga still in production and is written and illustrated by Takao Saito, published in Shogakukan’s Big Comic magazine since October 1968.It’s sold millions of copies of various formats and is one of the most popular and best selling manga series. The anime consisted of 50 episodes and aired from April 2008 to March 2009.
The story follows the adventures and complexities of a professional assassin, Golgo 13, who also goes by the name of Duke Togo.
His identity, age and origin are all of mystery to the audience and the intelligence community within the show. He uses a customized M16 rifle for his commission attacks. He operates under several other aliases to protect and ensure his identity isn’t revealed, they include Tadashi Togo and Togo Rodrigues. His main pseudonym, Duke Togo, is reserved and speaks only when needed.
There is a great deal of constraint, reservation of emotions when he carries out his assassinations and he is willing to kill whoever he needs to to protect himself. For the most part he has no qualifications for this line of work and will accept anyone who can pay his rate.
His jobs range from small to large, simple to dangerous, he can take out powerful crime lords and political figures. His notoriety and reputation for all kinds of killings creates a widespread amount of retaliation against Golgo 13 with at point the FBI and CIA and US military organizing to get him.
He has to be hyper vigilant of his surroundings and who he trusts and interacts with to ensure his identity, safety and work. Although he mainly executes the assassinations alone, he has many different people assisting him in researching, providing information and modifying his weapons, gadgets and vehicles.
Although the name “Golgo 13” may seem like a random and strange term, it is actually quite an intentional and impactful reference to Jesus Christ’s death. Golgo is short for Golgotha, which is the place of Jesus’s crucifixion and 13 is considered an unlucky number.
The icon or logo is a skeleton wearing a crown of thorns. His past is a mystery and he appears to be Japanese, but his various identities obscures any grasp of what is true. It is alluded that he is a father and has many different children in many different places from different lovers. The storylines are confusing at times which makes it hard to compile his age in respect to different events.
In 1973 Toei Company produced the live-action film titled Golgo 13. It was directed by Junya Sato and starred Ken Takakura as Duke Togo and Pouri Banayi as Catherine Morton. The entire film was shot in Iran with a Persian cast. The next release came out in 1977 and was directed by Yukio Noda and was titled Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon. In 2011 an American production bought the rights to remake
Golgo 13: The Professional
This was an animated feature film that was released in Japan in 1983. Golgo 13’s voice is from Tetsurō Sagawa in the Japanese version, and Gregory Snegoff in the’ English dub. In this release they incorporate CGI animation technology, which was still at its very inception. There are many popular aspects to this movie, but the scene where army helicopters circle and attack him stands out.
Golgo 13: Queen Bee
This second original anime video adaptation was released in 1998. In this version Tesshō Genda provides the voice of Golgo 13 in the Japanese version and John DiMaggio voices the English version.
In total for the Golgo 13 series, there have been 6 video games produced and released. The first one was released for SEGA’s SG-1000 console then Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode on the Nintendo Entertainment System, The Mafat Conspiracy and three Japan-only Arcade games, similar to the Silent Scope series, but with a few differences. Such as the rifle had only a magnifying lens and the screen would target the sensor on the underside of the rifle and would become activated by the player leaning into it.
Prior to the games there would be an 8-10 panel manga that introduced the plot. The first two releases ran on Namco 12 hardware and the third was on Namco System 10 hardware. Golgo 13: File G-13 o Oe was created specifically for Nintendo DS in 2009 and consisted of a quiz mode with questions that involved the entire history of the franchise as well as mini games.
At the end of each episode of the anime, the tagline was “Do not stand behind him, if you value your life.” The DS game is played via its side also known as “book style” and is appealing for all ages with no extreme graphic violence or mature language/plots, which is a lot of the actual show.
Additionally, there was a version of Golgo 13’s signature weapon, the M16 that was released with Alliance of Valiant Arms as an actual weapon available for usage.