Golgo 13: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 14, 2013 by  

“Golgo 13: Complete Series” is an animated series that long time fans have wanted to see for decades.  An exciting anime series featuring Japan’s most-feared assassin, with all 50 episodes included on Blu-ray!  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © Takao Saito, Saito Pro/GOLGO 13 syndicate, TV TOKYO 2008. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Golgo 13: Complete Collection


DURATION: Episodes 1-50 (1250 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks


Release Date: September 17, 2013

Originally created by Takao Saito

Directed by Shunji Oga

Screenplay by Aki Kajiwara, Hiroshi Kashiwabara, Junichi Iioka, Nobuo Ogizawa, Shunsuke Machitani, Toshimichi Okawa

Music by Daisuke Ikeda

Character Design by Kazuyoshi Takeuchi

Art Director: Toshiharu Mizutani

Anime Production by The Answer Studio Co., Ltd.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Tachi/Dave Wald as Duke “Golgo 13” Togo

Mitsuo Senda/Chirs Ayres as Dave McCartney

Masafumi Kimura/Rob Mungle as Regan

Kinryuu Arimoto/T. Posthlewaite as Flannagan

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 killer of killers. And now he’s back with 50 targeted missions that will keep you glued to the screen (and away from the windows).

In Japan, there is one character that has survived generations that is neither a robot or supernatural being.

It’s the anti-hero, professional assassin known as Golgo 13.

Created by mangaka Takao Saito, “Golgo 13” was published in Shogakukan’s “Big Comic” magazine back in 1969 and in 1975, won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award.  And it’s still ongoing in Japan, receiving the distinction as the oldest manga that is still in publication.

While Golgo 13 has received a live action adaptation in 1973 and has had two animated films: “Golgo 13: The Professional” (1983) and “Golgo 13: Queen Bee” (1998), released in the United States, an actual TV animated series would not be made until 2008.  And the animation produced by The Answer Studio aired on TV Tokyo from April 2008 to March 2009 and lasted 50 episodes.

“Golgo 13” is directed by Shunji Oga (“Makatsu”, “Maju Sensen”, “Ashita no Joe 2”), music by Daisuke Ikeda (“Sailor Moon”, “Saiyuki Reload”, “Mar”), character design by Kazuyoshi Takeuchi (“Flag”, “Soccer Fever”) and art direction by Toshiharu Mizutani (“Cat’s Eye”, “Akira”, “Rose of Versailles”, “Space Adventure Cobra”).

And now, “Golgo 13: Complete Collection” featuring all 50 episodes will be released in the United States courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Golgo 13” the animated series are standalone episodes.  There is no continuing story, in fact one can watch any episode in random order.

The series revolves around Duke “Golgo 13” Togo, a hired assassin with amazing pinpoint accuracy when it comes to his sniper skills and no one can come close to his level.

The first episode features Golgo 13 being released from jail thanks to the FBI and CIA who have hired him to kill a gangster turned CIA informant named Jake Quade, a man who has hijacked a domestic flight and is threatening to detonate the plane with C-4 explosives.  Because police and no one has the skills to shoot a sniper from a long range without injuring others, there is only one man that can shoot twice the distance with pinpoint accuracy…Golgo 13.

The other episodes deal with various people who have hired Golgo 13 to assassinate someone.  For Golgo 13, if you can afford him, he’ll get the job done.  There is no good or bad side, he’s a hired assassin paid to do the job.

So, episodes feature Golgo 13 being hired by public officials, celebrities and those in the mob.  One episode features a representative of the U.S. Securites and Exchange Commission hiring Golgo 13 to target a mafia financier, a wife of a mafia leader hires Golgo 13 to assassinate her husband, another where is hired by a mobster to assassinate an anti-crime analyst and another to assassinate the Jordanian emissary to the United States and another job was to assassinate a rising American football star.

But Golgo 13 is not always hired for assassination attempts, sometimes Golgo 13 is hired to sabotage an event, sometimes to rescue a person or even to destroy property.

And sometimes Golgo 13 is the target for other assassins or even paparazzo.

But if there is one thing that Golgo 13 loves just as much as getting modified weapons and earning a money for a job are his sexual encounters aplenty.


“Golgo 13” is presented in 1080i High Definition.  While not a 1080p animated series, having watched the “Golgo 13” films and familiar with the manga series as well as the video games, the animated series does capture the assassin with well-shaded character designs and great attention to the weaponry.  Also, the series features one of the legendary background artists, Toshiharu Mizutani who was the art director for “Akira”, “Lupin” films, “Cat’s Eye”, “Rose of Versaille” but also modern films such as “Summer Wars”. The background art is beautifully painted and is visually beautiful.

But this is the best I have ever seen of “Golgo 13” and those who have followed this character for years or decades will no doubt appreciate the animation for the series.


“Golgo 13” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  Both are well-acted and there is no difference in terms of dynamic range, these are front-channel driven soundtracks but with one distinct difference. Profanity.  The English dub captures the world of crime bosses and deranged lunatics, so the use of profanity for the English dub does make the animated series feel gritty and dark and works well!  But both are well-acted and the voice actors for Duke, hiroshi Tachi and Dave Wald do a fantastic job!

Subtitles are in English.


“Golgo 13: Complete Collection” comes with the clean opening and closing animation.

I discovered “Golgo 13″back in 1988.   And the first video game titled “Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode” was released for the NES.

I was a teenager and the game was incredibly difficult as you had to assassinate people with a sniper while going through mazes that make no sense but I was even more surprised that his character would sleep with a woman after a long fight, it had graphic violence and even him smoking his cigarettes.  At the time, I felt that perhaps Nintendo of America had forgotten to review the whole game or were just frustrated that they were unable to evaluate the game because it was so frustratingly hard.

And interestingly enough, the next game “The Mafat Conspiracy” continued to showcase this assassin (or spy as it was changed in the U.S. release) and feature similar content.  Needless to say, I had no idea what “Golgo 13” was at the time but because the video game pushed him as a spy, I thought he was the Japanese equivalent to James Bond.

And sure enough several years later, as I became an anime fan, “Golgo 13: The Professional”, the 1983 animated film, was released in the United States on VHS and learned that he is not a spy but a hired assassin but like James Bond, Golgo 13 always has sexual liaisons with the women.  And unlike Bond films, they showcased the sexual activity but the storyline was also dark and violent.

And years later on DVD, the OVA titled “Golgo 13: Queen Bee” was released and I got a better understanding of the character and that the series was dark, sexual and quite violent.

And here I am 25-years later, after I discovered the NES video game and now reviewing the 50-episode TV series of “Golgo 13”.

The series is everything I expected “Golgo 13” to be.  From the first episode alone, you get to see Duke’s pinpoint accuracy, a sexual exploit and how this hired assassin puts fear into people’s hearts as they know he is deadly.

As much as people want to learn about his past or his motivations, even with the long running manga, these are never explored.  It’s literally about Golgo 13 to be a hired assassin or hired for some duty, while some episodes featuring him being the target and other hired assassins coming after him.

I have to admit that when I first saw the movies and OVA, because of how the video games structured him as a spy, I thought he was like James Bond, one of the good guys.  But you eventually learn that Golgo 13 is an anti-hero.  Unlike other Japanese manga or animated series where the protagonist is a hero or some sort of individual trying to achieve something in his life, may it be going after a girl or defeating an antagonist, “Golgo 13” is a storyline about him getting a job done.  There is no good, there is no bad.  He takes on jobs that he is paid for and he has no remorse.

The TV series shows some of that as we see him taking on jobs by high level politicians or government agencies to even mobsters, but it’s those episodes where he is hired by disgruntled individuals and having to kill a wife, a husband or even an athlete that has not done anything wrong, that’s where you realize that this is an amoral character.  He sees no right and wrong, to him it’s just a job.

So, it’s a series for one not to come into expecting a James Bond or Jason Bourne type of storyline.  You watch each episode and see the degree of difficulty of the jobs that Duke “Golgo 13” Tojo takes on.  There is no emotional connection of his character to the characters featured.  He could care less.  If anything, it’s that he does his job and those who hired him, make good on their agreement.

It’s not as dark or violent as the OVA but the TV series still manages to capture violence, gun shots to the head and even Duke having sex with a woman (though it’s not as visual as the OVA or animated film, or even the manga).

The episodes are well-written, some better than others but there is good research that went into weaponry and watching Golgo 13 accomplish each job and surviving for another day.  It’s an exciting anime series that will attract those into action-films involved with assassination or even rescue attempts but individual stories of Golgo 13 on missions that are full of action!

I emphasize to people curious about the series to know that there is no continuing storyline, each episode are standalone episodes.  Like in Japan and how the manga series has been ongoing since 1969, each story is about the many missions that Duke is involved in.  Aside from a police officer or investigator investigator that suspects Golgo 13 to be involved in someone’s murder, those are the only characters that you may see show up for a second time or third time (aside from Duke’s weapon-maker Dave McCartney, who often modifies his weapons).

The Blu-ray release is no doubt the best I have seen of Golgo 13. While 1080i, the character designs and background are are well done.  And there are not any special features aside from the clean opening and closing animation but there is one major plus is that all 50 episodes are included in this set.  No breaking down to 11 or 12 episodes, all 50 episodes on Blu-ray and that is a major plus!

Overall, “Golgo 13: Complete Series” is an animated series that long time fans have wanted to see for decades.  An exciting anime series featuring Japan’s most-feared assassin, with all 50 episodes included on Blu-ray!  Recommended!

The following is from J!-ENT’s Michelle Tymon, for those wanting to read a female perspective of the “Golgo 13” animated series:

Before anything, I am going to emphasize that if you want to watch a series with at least some humor, this is not the series for you. This is a ridiculously serious, straight forward action series. So if you are looking for a humorous series, this isn’t for you. If you want to watch a series about a bad-ass assassin who gets his ish done… this is for you. Just like the series, there is pretty much no humor in Golgo 13′s face. His face is always serious and frowning… it does NOT change. Ever.

“Golgo 13″ is a classic series. There’s pretty much no one in Japan who doesn’t know about the series. Takao Saito is one of Japan’s most famous manga artists and this would be his biggest series. There have been other adaptations to this series such as live action films and anime films, but this is the first TV anime series.

I’d have to say that the target audience for this series is probably mostly going to be men. Women in this series are reduced to prostitutes, drug lord wives (who were former prostitutes), and other insignificant roles… who all have a fascination with Golgo 13 and want to sleep with him because of his irresistible charm… who could resist that face? (I could, but apparently you can’t if you’re a woman in this series). I must say he’s pretty much the man… I mean he’s a no nonsense bad-ass assassin who never fails and is a hit with the ladies…

Also, this is one of the only series I have ever seen that there pretty much is no other main character. Each episode is pretty much Golgo 13, the person who orders the hit, the hit, and some random thugs and prostitutes. The only character to make an appearance in more than one episode is the man who modifies Golgo 13′s gun. Everyone else pretty much either gets killed or doesn’t appear again anyways.

I’m someone who likes at least a little humor so this wasn’t exactly an ideal series for me… however the fact that Hiroshi Tachi played the voice of Golgo 13 was enough reason for me to watch (He’s famous enough to get his name in the opening animation, not just the ending). They probably couldn’t find a better match for Golgo 13 than him. He is a famous actor in Japan and usually plays the roles of bad-ass cops (such as from the “Abunai Deka” series). If anything, I did enjoy how much of a bad-ass Golgo 13 is but that might be it. This is the first Sentai Filmworks release that I’ve seen to have an actual English dub and not just English subtitles. As I mentioned earlier, both the Japanese and English dubs are pretty well done.

This is definitely not a series for children. It’s full of violence (mostly people being shot in the head…) and full of nudity and sexual situations (I’m not kidding, the women dig Golgo 13). That would be another reason I would think that this is definitely more intended for guys rather than girls… but of course I’m sure some girls will enjoy the series as well. This series really doesn’t have too much emotion… I mean Golgo 13 will pretty much kill whoever for the money. He doesn’t care that much about the money, he just is professional enough to get the job done no matter what it might be. He doesn’t really discriminate though (at least from what I’ve seen)… he’ll kill innocent people and he’ll kill mob bosses. I prefer series like “Hissatsu” where there’s at least some sort of conscience in killing an innocent or not… On the other hand, I think some people might find it refreshing in some way that Golgo 13 never lets any emotions get in the way of him doing his job (at least that you can see in this collection…)

In the end, I’m sure there are tons of viewers that are overjoyed that this classic has been made into an anime series finally. Those who are new to the series though, I would advise that you know a little about the series before diving into it. Overall though, a great action series!

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