Directed by Shunji Oga
Featuring Voices by David Wald (English), Hiroshi Tachi (Japanese)
Golgo 13 is the greatest sniper in the world, and this series proves that with every episode. Just don’t stand behind him.
Golgo 13 follows the strong and silent Duke Togo, the world’s greatest hitman and professional sniper known as the eponymous Golgo 13, as he takes on mission after mission. No target escapes his sights. No problem fazes his stone-like demeanor. No woman is left unsatisfied (and all he does is lie there).
Each episode is a serious and dramatic self-contained story, following Golgo 13 as he takes on a new target, as well as episode-specific characters as they become involved in Golgo 13’s work (employers, targets, investigators, etc.). They are usually the ones who receive the story emphasis, while Golgo 13 acts more as a plot device, only caring about his job, which he always completes with ease. In the process, he usually and inadvertently shows the other characters their true selves and to be careful what they wish for.
Here within lies a small problem. The series is formulaic and episodic with no overarching plot. Every job Golgo 13 is given is completed with no real problem because he’s just that good. With such a repetitive format, no matter how well done each self-contained story is, it can be difficult to hold interest in all thirteen episodes of this collection, let alone the entire 50+ episode series.
Despite that, the jobs Golgo 13 takes on are captivating to watch unfold. Some of the characters he encounters are complex and interesting. Almost all episodes on their own are satisfying in their own right, not requiring any prior watching (great for jumping in on a random episode). And of course, the perfect man who satisfies every woman he meets is a good match for the male wish-fulfillment James Bond fans.
And just like every good male wish-fulfillment series, Golgo 13 is mature content with violence, murder, sexual scenes and nudity. Keep away from the kiddies.
The series is 16:9 widescreen standard definition. The video has a little bit of grain on my Tobisha flatscreen. The designs look fine, but the animation has little actual animation. However, it somewhat gets away with the little movement thanks to the slow pacing of each episode.
Decent 2.0 stereo with both Japanese and English audio track (Japanese audio with English subs is the default). One of Sentai Filmworks’ early dubs outside of ADV Films, Golgo 13 is alright. Nothing spectacular, but these aren’t grade-A acting roles. The English (and Japanese) voice casts do a good job with what they have, and their somewhat overacting fits. I do prefer the deeper and gravellier voice of Golgo 13’s own Japanese voice actor, but the English one is fine and isn’t hard to get used to.
Here’s hoping Sentai Filmworks’ other dubs keeps this up.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Standard DVD case with two discs. Standard clean openings/endings and series previews. Nothing special.
Speaking of packaging, just a tip: make sure the review copies you send out don’t have a loose disc.
Golgo 13 is a fun watch. Each episode contains a new and captivating story. The stand-alone nature of the show means you can jump into any episode and not need a commitment. And it’s got a decent dub. The otherwise lackluster collection is worth a watch for any gun-loving, hitman/spy-movie fan.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Series 8.5/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 7.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10