Reviewby Luke Carroll,
Golgo 13 - Part 1 (Episodes 1-13)
His targets never see it coming and he's never caught. If there is a witness to the kill, that poor SOB winds up dead too.
People say he's a ghost. A machine. A monster
He's Golgo 13, the most feared assassin in the world, the professional's professional, the sniper of snipers. He's back with missions that will keep you glued to the screen (and away from the windows).
Load up for high-powered, bullet-riddled action!
With a franchise spanning over 40 years, Golgo 13 is certainly one of Japan's early pop cultural icons. On top of the still running manga publications, the series has also been adapted into a number of anime and live-action movies, half a dozen video games, and now recently an anime series (if you call 4 years ago recent). Those that remember watching the OVA's many years ago will know exactly what they're in for with this series (just turned the sex down a tad). For the rest of you however, there is certainly a thing or two I should tell you about Golgo 13 before you jump into the series.
Firstly, Golgo 13 is a very repetitive and predictable show. Although some of the episodes do differ in the order of events, the basic elements of Golgo 13 accepting a target, Golgo 13 navigating any obstacles in his path, and Golgo 13 successfully completing the assignment don't change. What at least keeps the series somewhat intriguing for the moment is the details behind it all and the questions it makes you ask yourself. Why did Golgo 13 choose to kill from that spot? Why does he ask for his gun to be modified like that? And how does he plan to get a gun into that building? Whilst the answers to some of these questions are easy to predict, many will leave you scratching your head until an explanation is given; but that's not a bad thing as some of the answers are surprisingly clever.
Secondly, for a series that is only four years old, Golgo 13 looks ridiculously outdated. Until I looked the series up, I honestly thought this was a series made back in the 90's. Maybe it is a clever homage of sorts to the era of Golgo's fame, or maybe the budget was tight. Either way, it certainly isn't up to any of today's standards. On the plus side, at least the animation studio tried to give the supporting cast (bad guys and cops) a more Americanized look to suit the setting. Of course it winds up looking quite awkward at times, but it probably is one of the only good points you can take out of it.
Audio wise, Golgo 13 fairs quite a bit better. Although not a winner by any means, the included dub does well to put the right type of voices into the right people. Bad guys all have deep, husky, and occasionally slightly foreign tones, and their lines keep surprisingly close to the original scripting. The rock style opener 'Take the Wave' fits well at the start of each episode, whilst the slower and more vocal 'Glass Highway' rounds out each mission wonderfully. The soundtrack in between is also adequate enough, playing quite a variety of tones without being intrusive in any way.
Extras wise, Siren have included very little with this release. All that is present is the clean opening and closing themes, as well as a few trailers for other releases. It's a little disappointing, however it is on par with the US release.
Overall, Golgo 13 is a series that is its own worst enemy. With a lead character who boasts a reputation for never failing to complete his mission, the series rarely throws a single surprise at the viewer, nor does it even attempt to put some sort of depth into Golgo 13's character. So far the only real interesting aspect in each episode is the methods Golgo 13 goes to in completing his tasks, but with the series only a quarter of the way through, I'm not sure how long even that can be kept intriguing. This is certainly a series best watched through slowly.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : C
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : B
+ Methodology in some of the mission is quite clever, dub is solid enough.
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