Apr 15, 2008 Comments Off
Takao Saito’s iconic assassin comes to TV in this 40th Anniversary series. And I’m not disappointed. Yay!
Episode 1 acts as a Duke Togo primer, focussing more on his methods than anything really resembling a narrative. Golgo 13 is hired by the US government to kill a CIA informer turned hijacker. In terms of setup, it’s plain and simple. Without a gimmicky mission, the episode introduces Golgo 13 through his preparation for the hit. Which, as a character without internal monologue for the most part (most his thought bubbles in the manga are ellipses), offers the best way of understanding the character.
The animation is like Golgo 13 – it does it’s job. The Answer Studio provide some slick, if not breathtaking visuals, with 3D CGI roughly on a par to their FLAG work. The best use of 3D is in the bullet camera which follows Golgo’s final shot, offering something you can’t get from the manga.
I mentioned in my Cinderella Boy post yesterday that Saito’s peer, Monkey Punch, often has adaptations that don’t capture his look 100%. Thankfully, unlike some Lupin III works, this doesn’t feel like Duke Togo just walked into another anime. It’s solidly the world you’d expect to find him in. In part this is due to the Saito Pro house style not being so idiosyncratic, however a number of the supporting cast characters, the CIA agent for example, do have a carved in stone look about them that makes them look like they have stepped straight off the page of a Golgo 13 manga.
I’ll be interested in how this does in the ratings, as the more general TV credits of the writing staff, and film and TV actor Hiroshi Tachi in the lead role, suggests they are aiming for a general adult audience, rather than the typical late night anime audience. There seems to be a definite market for revivals of 60s and 70s series – the Kitaro revival has been huge and Yatterman has matched that too. I think similar numbers to the recent noitaminA slot Kitaro series must be what they are hoping for.
A satisfying opener, and the episode features so many recurring elements to the Golgo 13 stories, that I’d say if you don’t like this first episode, Golgo 13 probably isn’t for you.