What They Say:
He never misses his target. No one has ever seen him kill and lived to speak of it. Any witnesses – beautiful woman or stray cat – become just collateral damage, part of the job. And now Golgo 13 is back with some of his most heartless cases ever.
The targets this time? Accident survivors turned mindless terrorists. A disgraced politician’s mistress. A Trump-like CEO. Ocean pirates with a sniper of their own. And in the strangest assignment of all time, Golgo is hired to take out an 1800 Romanee-Monts Luisants. (Yes, he’s going to kill a bottle of wine.)
Contains episodes 27-38.
Golgo 13 gets a solid bilingual presentation here with the English and Japanese tracks presented in stereo encoded at 224kbps. The show has a lot going on during it but it has a fairly restrained soundtrack when taken in total as it’s not all about the huge action and explosions, though we do get some explosions here and there. Instead, it’s focused on the quiet and chilling moments along with a fair amount of dialogue. Where the soundtrack gets a decent workout is when it comes to the music as it uses the forward soundstage to very good effect to add a lot of atmosphere to the various events. The opening and closing sequences are also really good shining moments for the audio mix as it gets you moving nicely. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing from early 2008 to early 2009, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The set contains thirteen episodes spread across two discs in a six/seven format with no significant extras on either of them. The show has a very dark and gritty real world style to it and the animators chose to use a strong amount of digital grain added to it in order to increase the atmosphere of it all. While it can be distracting at times, it gives the show quite an interesting raw feeling that works well in enhancing the mood of most scenes. Colors are very dark and drab overall, owing to Golgo working in the shadows of the world, and colors generally hold up well. There are very few moments of vibrant colors to be had here and even those are fairly muted. Similar to other shows done with a strong amount of intentional grain, your mileage may vary in how much it bothers you, but I found that it works well for this show.
Golgo 13 gets another good cover as it uses a white background that has a target symbol in the middle done in red that’s covered heavily by flowing blood. Putting Golgo on top of that, this time as he stands with his gun pointing out causing the cover to “shatter” really does give it a strong impression even if it’s something you sometimes see used too often. Like the previous sets, this has a good serious look to it that stands out because of the contrasting colors. The logo is a bit tougher of a sell because of its style but it works well with the black font and the splash of red used with the skeleton on it. The back cover offers up a segmented piece with information and artwork all over the place with the central image of Golgo with one of the women from the show in his arms. There’s a lot of decent sized shots from the show used here to that highlights the character designs and overall mood and the summary, which is necessarily brief, conveys the basics well. Episode and disc count is clearly listed as are the special features. The bottom is given over to the standard technical grid along with production credits as black text on white which makes it very easy to read and easy to find out the specs. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Golgo 13 use a similar approach to the back cover of the release in that it’s made up of segmented areas, this time with clean straight lines, where we get a single piece of artwork in the right one and the logo in one of the left ones, at least the skeleton piece with the head exploding. The center strip has a good vertical episode breakdown while language and special features navigation is all kept to the lower left. There’s a lot of red here which is appropriate for the show and the music is the only thing that feels out of place, though they are just using the opening song so I can’t criticize it all that much. It works for the opening but I don’t think it sets up the mood for the show too well here. The discs are par for the course with Sentai in that they do read our players’ language presets which is always a big plus in my book.
The only extras included with the set includes the clean opening sequence and two clean closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While it’s been a bit of a gap between the second collection and this one, to put it politely, the return of Golgo 13 is definitely a cause for celebration. And it’s easy to get back into it simply because the show is episodic without an underlying storyline. Other than the strangely sheer fun of watching a cold, confident and powerful man carry out his numerous executions. That’s one of the big appeals of it since you can watch a couple of episodes, come back to it again later and just enjoying it piecemeal. Yet you can also barrel through the show without stopping and just ride the high that it can cause. Suffice to say, Golgo 13 is a title that was hugely welcome to see come in again.
The twelve episodes here continue their self contained presentation and it jumps throughout the world to all sorts of locales. From Paris to Florida and seemingly everywhere else in between with some cute nods towards some name people, such as an episode that deals with a wealthy businessman named Mr. Crump who owns Crump Tower and wields a lot of power. Golgo’s hired to kill him by a man who was wronged by him in business a decade ago but it’s the kind of job that’s more personal in a way. While Golgo often kills from afar as a proper sniper, here he’s requested to bring in a small and up close weapon that has him being in the presence of the requestor in the midst of a private play. It’s a creative approach and one that is filled with some very neat bits of preparation as well as making sure it can be pulled off cleanly.
Another episode goes in a completely different direction, as is expected, where a ship is taken over by a group of criminals and Golgo is brought in to deal with it in place of some highly trained military snipers. It’s rather amusing to see the high ranking soldier being stiffly offended but the truth of the matter does make sense to them as they need a sniper that can take out someone on the deck of a ship in the middle of a storm from a moving helicopter as the rain whips by with the heavy winds. It’s over the top but it’s so much fun to watch unfold and it again shows the way Golgo gets drawn into things that you normally wouldn’t imagine that he would with governments and military officials considering his status. But when you get to a certain level, there are things that can always be worked out.
There are a couple of episodes that deal with others trying to take down Golgo for their own reasons, and an episode that has a group trying to use him within a film they’re putting together that’s just unusual and leaves you wondering what the real truth is to it. But there’s also several episodes that involve some beautiful women that get caught up in his jobs, sometimes as collateral damage both in terms of lives and bodies, but often just as a sexual release in the cold and stern way that he operates. I do enjoy the fact that they don’t pull back from the nudity here and the sexuality of it all, mixing in some passion on their part but also some that just want to bed such a powerful man, even if they haven’t a clue who he truly is. Having these sequences of release for Golgo is important to show that he does have more to him than just the job but it also has him as someone that’s quietly intense that makes it all the more disturbing.
There is an air of elegance introduced into a couple of episodes that speaks of money, though money is a given considering what he charges. The story involving the horse racing wasn’t quite as good as it could be and it ends in a rather sad kind of way for a number of reasons. But one episode involves wine and auctions as an important winery has found its honor will be called into question, legitimately so because of what they did in order to snub a wealth Asian man that they don’t believe can truly appreciate real French wines. While it could go the route of killing the man in question, it instead focuses more on the wine itself and it was a welcome change of pace, one we’ve seen before, where the killing isn’t of a person in particular. Though there may be, once again, some collateral damage.
While Golgo 13 isn’t exactly a series that pushes itself or does things that really stand out in a huge way, it’s a show that just hits its marks so perfectly nearly every time that it’s impressive. This collection of episodes offers a lot of great episodes that showcases the man doing what he does best with cold efficiency. The stories take Golgo throughout the world to a number of different areas but it often doesn’t really glamorize the areas, even though they’re in Norway, Paris, Florida and New York City. They’re proper backdrops as seen through Golgo’s eyes where it’s dark, gray and almost black and white in a way. Though there’s been a heck of a gap between releases, it’s very easy to get back into this world and just love it. If you enjoyed the first two sets, this is more of the same which is exactly what you want with it.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.