Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day Forty - Golgo 13: Collection 2, Episode 14, or "Macho is the Name of the Game."

Back in the 80's one of the most frustrating games to play on the NES (aside from Battletoads) was Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode.

One of the reasons for this was, back then, I had absolutely NO clue who Golgo 13 (or, Duke Togo) was. It was one of those rare tie-in properties that made it to the states with no supporting literature to provide context. On top of that, because of Nintendo's censorship of content, the game was altered from it's original state (where Duke is an assassin) and for some reason we have to help him save the world.

Now, for further information, Duke Togo is not a hero like the game implied. He's a cold-blooded killer. Even more so than popular assassin anti-heroes like Leon (The Professional) or Nikita. He would kill anyone and anything for money... even the love of his life. It is very hard to be sympathetic to this psycho.

Anyway, on to the episode.

For some strange reason the first 13 episodes of the series (the entire first season) are missing from Netflix, so you have to start with episode 14, the first of the second season (Japanese anime tend to run in 13-episode seasons to fit into a quarterly calendar where new content is shown all year round).

That's not a huge loss, though, as most Golgo 13 episodes are entirely self-contained. All you have to know is that Duke Togo is the world's top sniper assassin, there's a target in the episode, and that target will be dead/destroyed by the end of it.

Simple, predictable, and boring.

In this particular episode, the intro shows a U.S. Senate hearing in which the CIA is exposed as having created or financed (it's hard to tell) the manufacture of a super-poison against convention... and, somehow the Senate got wind of it and is going to investigate, blah, blah, blah.

Don't pay too much attention to the plot. The plot doesn't matter in Golgo 13... EVER. What does matter is silent stoicism and the calm, even callous, taking of human life.

Duke Togo is sent to destroy the plant where the super-poison is made and wipe out all witnesses, at the assumed request of the CIA. The hook in this episode is that some rogue middle-eastern state and/or organization (never really clear on this, either) ALSO got the super-poison from the plant and THEY have sent an assassin to clean house as well.

So, Duke follows just a few steps behind of this other assassin as they both stalk the island paradise where the hush-hush plant and it's criminally cautious overseers live. Both assassin's arrive on the island, proceed to kill guards and scientists (man, it does NOT pay to be an egghead), and generally stay out of each others' way until, predictably, the other assassin reports in and is given another contract... Golgo 13!

Really, the series is just an excuse for the often mute Duke Togo to get his kill on... and with absolutely no style. They try, though. There are a few shots that attempt to scream cinema, but I ended up laughing instead of being impressed.

I'm a huge anime fan, and it pains me to say that I cannot recommend this series at all. It's a weak fantasy for men who never grew up, but love ultra-violence. I'd say it was therapy for psychopaths, but that may be too harsh. Perhaps there is some artistic aspect of Golgo 13 that just flies way over my head.

Perhaps... but, I doubt it.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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