Golgo 13: The Professional

May 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm (8 Heads, Golgo 13: The Professional) (, , , , , )

Golgo 13: The Professional – 1983 – Japan

Golgo 13 is a legendary hitman with a perfect track record. Leonard Dawson is a Texas oil baron who targets Golgo 13 after he assassinates Dawson’s son. To do the job, Dawson hires the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon, and some demented assassins named Snake, Gold, and Silver. He wants Golgo 13 dead even if he must “destroy a few cities in the process”. He instructs his assassins, “Rip out [Golgo 13’s] brains and throw them on the floor!” While thwarting these killers, Golgo 13 travels to Sicily, San Francisco, and the Amazon. At various points, he is hired by a priest to kill a Mafia don, and a concentration camp survivor to kill an ex-Nazi. In the end, it is revealed that Dawson’s dead son himself hired Golgo 13 as an act of suicide. Dawson despondently leaps from a window, splattering gorily on the ground.

Golgo 13: The Professional is a lurid anime thriller full of pulpy sex, violence, and camp. Megalomaniac Leonard Dawson steals the show. He keeps an aquarium full of crocodiles, lets Snake rape his daughter-in-law, and trains his ten-year-old granddaughter to kill Golgo 13 using a doll with a gun in it. When the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon don’t acquiesce to him, Dawson threatens to destroy America’s economy. Equally ludicrous are Dawson’s assassins. Snake is a toothless dude who slithers across the floor and murders people with a garrote. Gold and Silver are ex-mercenaries who, using only their bare hands, once killed two thousand guerrillas.

Golgo 13: The Professional has a perpetual undercurrent of sex. Every woman in the film is beautiful and Golgo 13 balls nearly all of them. Women can’t get enough as he lays motionless during sex and stares stoically into space. Sex and violence combine to amusing (and disquieting) effect. In once scene, images of Golgo 13 mowing people down are intercut with a woman swimming naked. Golgo 13 later kills the woman as she charges him on horseback.

The animation in Golgo 13: The Professional is antiquated but stylish. Images are composed in dynamic and striking ways. Expressionistic techniques like split screens, extreme closeups, high contrast lighting, and freeze frames are used dramatically. One scene uses ancient computer graphics and looks terrible. Ignore this.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. Golgo is short for “Golgotha” which helps (sort of) explain why Golgo 13’s emblem is a skeleton with a crown of thorns.

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