Random Curiosity

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki – 01 »« Snapshots: Kaiba

Snapshots: Golgo 13

The rest of this year’s anime can be cancelled, all you need is Golgo 13 (ゴルゴ13), 50 rock hard episodes on Fridays at 25:23, broadcast by TV Tokyo.

Golgo 13 is not like other titles. Saitou Takao‘s manga started its publication in 1968, and now, at age 71, he’s still leading the staff working on what has become a 148 volume monstrosity. In terms of volumes published, it’s probably only rivalled by Akimoto’s Kochikame at 159, also still running. Over the years there have been two live-action movies, one animated feature film and one OVA, but now the time has finally come for an animated series. Picked to direct it is Ooga Shunji, a veteran who’s worked on a number of Soreike! Anpanman movies. The script writing is coordinated by another veteran, Iioka Junichi, who’s worked on Lupin III and Detective Conan.

The entire show revolves around Duke Tougou, an assassin for hire who goes by the codename “Golgo 13″ – a top class sniper with a heavily modified M16 as favourite weapon. His origin remains unknown to the world’s intelligence agencies, but he’s commonly believed to be oriental, with MI6, CIA and KGB assuming at least partial Japanese heritage, and he’s estimated to speak at least 18 languages. The series is of episodic nature, with each week chronicling how Golgo 13 goes through preparations and execution of his mission. Hopefully this short summary of the first episode will be helpful: Golgo 13 is hired for an assassination at a joint request by the FBI and the CIA, orders a custom made sniper rifle, fucks a hooker so hard she wants another go, kills off five mafioso on a revenge strike, picks up the modified rifle, flies over to the site in a propeller plane, then pops the target between the eyes at a distance of 2 km.

The animation is done by The Answer studio, who have only really got FLAG behind them, and they’ve produced a dark and gritty show, where the coarseness is increased through the addition of what looks like a noise filter. It isn’t pretty, but it works to the show’s advantage. Character design is particularly interesting, with Golgo 13 himself frozen in a perpetual scowl that sends chills down your spine. For the role of Duke Tougou they’ve cast established actor and singer Tachi Hiroshi, who’s played in a number of TV dramas and films, here making his debut in anime. It’s a cold voice, and the character rarely speaks unless it’s really necessary, but it’s efficient when he does. The rest of the cast is made up of veterans like Arimoto Kinryuu and Tanaka Kan, who populate the various characters the protagonist meets without standing out. Bonus points if you spot the woman Fujimura Ayumi (Nene in Touka Gettan) plays.

The emperor has arrived. Few shows can manage to be this hard-boiled, with sex and violence fitting smoothly within the setting of the series, not feeling tacked on and gratuitous. It makes it clear from the get-go that Duke is the meanest bastard you’ll ever see, and someone you’d only mess with once in your lifetime. It’s dead serious without a speck of humour, and it’s refreshing to see a production like this in a time where it seems impossible to make a thriller without splicing in a bit of comic relief. Instead testosterone oozes out of every frame, leaving me with a grin from ear to ear. Golgo 13 is a series to enjoy.

Personal note: I’ve been writing these snapshots for nearly a year now, starting with the lovely Dennou Coil, hoping to introduce TV anime Omni didn’t have time to cover. However, these past couple of weeks have made it clear that my style isn’t suited for the audience of Random Curiosity, making the section’s continued existence pointless. This will be my final entry, and I wish Omni the best of luck with the blog.

April 12, 2008 at 12:10 am
  • April 12, 2008 at 9:54 pmSeedFreedom

    Sucks that you got insulted as you did. I enjoy reading your sections instead of blindly watching anything Omni writes, and while i want you to continue, i know how hard it is to put effort in something only to be ridiculed. I hope you start your own blog someday and all the asses can leave you alone. Well, good luck in whatever you decide to do.

  • April 13, 2008 at 1:27 amewok

    Exitus Acta Probat – Dictatus Vindicare
    40k fans will know what I mean.
    Seems best criminal series since Black Lagoon. Must watch for me.

  • April 13, 2008 at 1:41 amphatmlrd

    Awwwww I really like snapshots, I’ll miss your humor and witt :(

  • April 13, 2008 at 7:06 ammin

    I liked the snapshots quite a bit, but to be honest I enjoyed the other bloggers style of writing more. :| Hope the idea sticks around regardless.

  • April 13, 2008 at 2:51 pmmiden

    aw. ive always viewed the snapshots section, was a real good read alot of times. It introduces alot of anime which i havnt though about seeing yet. i dont really ever comment but hey. good luck and have fun doingwhateva else you doin ^-^!

  • April 13, 2008 at 9:22 pmNeo Horizon

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re leaving. I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to comment on your Snapshots posts and I really regret that now because I did read and enjoy your quick reviews on series that Omni wasn’t covering. Your writing style was more suited for this site than you think (or at least in my opinion it is), so hopefully you’ll continue making posts here. But either way, thanks for all of your hard work. I really liked reading your posts. :)

  • April 14, 2008 at 1:14 amritchan

    Whaat? I find your posts the most useful/significant of them all! Granted, this isn’t something about philosophy so it might not be saying much… but dude, you’re letting it get to you.

  • April 14, 2008 at 2:26 amrooker20

    I enjoyed your snapshots Patrik, and am sorry to see you leave. But I definitely understand why you’d be unwilling to continue.

  • April 14, 2008 at 9:20 amGrimaH

    For those who jumped to attack me:

    [Zepe]You know, GrimaH does have a point there: Despite this being an anime blog, where the blogger is fully entitled to voice his/her opinion on the show, I do think that some neutrality must be kept (yes, SOME, NOT TOTAL NEUTRALITY, I KNOW THIS IS A BLOG). Rather than saying “This show is crap”, isn’t “I don’t like this show because…” better? (yes, I am indeed talking about the entry on To Love-ru)

    By saying a certain show is crap, you are denying the effort people put into making the show, and that will certainly angry some die-hard fans who like the show for different reasons.

    This certainly will not work here, where the purpose of “Snapshots” is to introduce fans to other anime series that Omni does not blog. As far as I am concerned, if you want to rant on a show, then don’t call it “Snapshots”, because ranting certainly ISN’T introducing shows to other people.[/Zepe] (yes I know quote tags don’t work)

    What Zepe said.
    Yes I don’t expect neutrality, and I realise I’m given a privilege by getting to read and comment, but I don’t expect an extreme opinion just because the genre is not one Patrik likes. The very reason why this blog is so popular is because Omni (and Jaalin when he was around) keeps the blog tone mostly neutral, and gives a very good description of the episode or series, and offers his opinion with good observations. They don’t let the fanboy in them mess up the article at all, which is admirable in the land of shoddy anime blogs, and which Patrik unfortunately could not do. After all I’m not here to read “damn I hate fanservice, this is fanservice, ok shitsux”.

    [Washi]Think of it instead as acknowledging the effort NOT put into making the show.[/Washi]

    Certainly, despite the good animation quality in ToLoveRU and the money spent on advertising, the producers are not making any effort at all because this is fanservice and some people don’t like fanservice.
    Flawless logic there.

    I know, slowpoke reply etc.
    In before Patrik-can-do-no-wrong preachers flaming me for the non-existent flames in my post.
    BTW I do acknowledge, there are some neo-ToLoveRU idiots floating around who are now attacking Patrik at every opportunity. Though this being the internet I’d think he should have expected it.

  • April 14, 2008 at 2:40 pmAnonymooo

    This show is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. The grand majority of today’s anime fans just aren’t prepared for how things used to be–because they used to be like this.

    I like Snapshots. I like it a lot. I like that Patrik calls out shows like To Love-Ru because he doesn’t like them. I think it should be that way–when I read a movie review, I’m not expecting an unbiased, rote description–I’m expecting somebody to tell me what they thought about it, what was good and bad in their opinions. Sure, I think the blogged-here Bleach is fucking lame compared to One Piece, but I’m not writing the blog here–other people are, and their opinions are the ones that matter just a bit more.

  • April 14, 2008 at 8:49 pmDaunt

    Will Patrik be taking his blogging anywhere else? I was only here for the Snapshots.

  • April 15, 2008 at 3:27 amGod~knows

    err I don’t think the style of blogging is the problem here.Its the way its presented.Sometimes its a good informative entry by Patrik.Sometimes its pretty random.Sometimes its just plain bad.Consistency is the main issue here and level-headedness when attempting to write these entries.I think most of the blogs I prefer stalk have writers who approach anime more objectively and try to keep their personal bias in check for a more wholesome review.Just my two cents.

  • April 15, 2008 at 4:41 pmKorovyov

    I also regret your decision. Comments sections always attract the biggest idiots (as well as some great contributors). I hope you come back at some point.

  • April 15, 2008 at 11:41 pmMax

    nooooooooooo! snapshots are awesome. they gave me reason to come here! thanks for the hard work so far

  • April 24, 2008 at 3:30 amrustmark

    WOW and about time we have more tv series about legit badasses. I know the anime world now will get its fill of harem, moe and wtf ever brings in dough for studios but its cool that we get tv shows about awesome badasses from time to time. Akagi filled in for 2006. Kaiji did good holding down the fort 2007 and even though Golgo 13 TV has some QUALITY, I like the style quite a bit. Sure not everyone won’t be into it but that doesn’t mean its an awesome watch apart from the tripe thats being shown on japanese TV.

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