Golgo 13 is an assassin for hire. The best there is. His real name is Duke Togo but now that you know that he’ll probably have to kill you. Here’s some Duke Togo facts to keep you up to speed:
- Duke Togo doesn’t sleep, he waits.
- There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Duke Togo has allowed to live.
- Duke Togo created all the accents in the world by punching everybody in the throat each in a different way.
- Duke Togo is the only person on the planet that can kick you in the back of the face
- Google won’t search for Duke Togo because it knows you don’t find Duke Togo, he finds you
- If you misspell “Duke Togo” on Google it won’t correct it, it just says you have 10 seconds to live.
Get it? Good. Now all you need is to feather your hair and take out the T-Tops from the IROC you have in your garage. I hope you had a chance to get your asymmetrical bob cleaned up and took your parachute pants to the dry cleaners. You want those pleats to look fresh. We enter the hyper un-modernized world of the early 80’s. A simpler time. Rotary phones and landlines spill all over dusty wooden desks and tequila sunrises. Reaganism. Soul train. Sun reflecting off water. Golgo 13. A sniper rifle. In that order. To try to really pin this film down in any kind of narrative would be to travel the foothills of China in search of the Giant Panda or to climb Mt. St. Helen attempting to document a Yeti. It might happen but it would be like waiting up all night for Haley’s Comet. Instead it’s better to circumnavigate any plot points and describe a general zest and zeal picturesquely transcribed by the animation and art direction.
Of course there is a mission, or several. Of course Duke Togo aka Golgo 13 accepts them, no matter how hard or impossible the mission may seem. What else is there for a killing machine to do? Even during sex he lays there motionless, eyes open….waiting. The very graphic sexual descriptions have the girls basically doing somersaults and caterwauls trying everything in the book to evict some response from Duke, but there is none. Can you elicit an emotional response from stone? The films pacing is actually a thing of beauty. You expect cheesy hackneyed plot points or silly over the top action sequences followed by three perfunctory explosions. While things may indeed seem over the top, there is never a sense of boredom or eye rolling, instead a sense of impending doom and escalating suspense…and in some cases terror. This is created, again by absolutely spot on 80’s art direction an overriding sense of noir, plus the never fail element of great back stories to the films ‘monsters’. Grittiness lining the streets and the characters souls like sheets of black mold spreading on your ventilation shaft. The dialogue is slightly wooden but we can’t expect everything to be diamonds and aces when it comes to anime. I can say off-putting dialogue is the shaky table leg of about 95% of all anime.
There is something a bit shocking about this film…a bit of boundary pushing I would say and it remains one of the few anime I actually own. Perhaps it’s the eye opening last act, the evil government altered genetic mutant Snake and his nefarious designs on an innocent woman, perhaps it’s the incredibly bleak back story to the other two monsters….but there is something in these films that hasn’t been done before or since. The violence, especially centered around Duke’s apparent match Snake, is particularly base and stomach churning. If you are into chintzy, dated gratuitous anime that turns out to be well done, well rounded action fare, you have found your prize.