For the past several years, a majority of anime have been and still are aimed at the teenage demographic. As such, the stories are set in schools, or about anything relating to hobbies like video games, cooking, and sports, and the characters are often in their teens with their accompanying “Dragon Ball Hairstyles” and raging hormones. This focus on a specific demographic has made anime very synonymous with high school students, cute girls, fanservice, and everything moe, so if you ask someone what anime is, it’s very likely they’ll describe anime the same way.
There are several anime that have adult main characters, like Cowboy Bebop, Darker Than Black, and Berserk; but there’s one popular figure the majority of anime fans know by name but haven’t seen any of his anime because the target demographic is different. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to introduce you to Japan’s most iconic assassin/hitman, Golgo 13! And we’re here to tell you why the Golgo 13 series is worth a look-see!
Japan’s James Bond
The infamous professional hitman Golgo 13 is shrouded in mystery—No one knows his true identity, where he’s from or what his real name is. Some rumors suggest he once worked with the CIA or even the KGB, but all clues to his identity always hit a dead end due to many contradictions and false information. At a glance, Golgo 13 is at least of Asian descent and while he has many aliases, he is commonly referred to by his clients and informants as Duke Tougou. Golgo 13 is famously known as the deadliest assassin in the world with his superhuman-like marksmanship, and the fact that he has never once failed to fulfill a contract he accepted. With his perfect resume, everyone from desperate vagrants to corrupt politicians seeks out his services ranging from assassinating political opponents or sabotaging corporations, to simply cutting off a violin string in front of a large audience undetected. Apart from Golgo 13’s deadly proficiency with weapons, he has unrivaled talent when it comes to attracting women. Be it a random prostitute or one of Golgo’s targets, all women find Golgo 13 irresistible, even ignoring the risk of getting shot in the head.
Golgo 13’s profession has him traveling around the world in search of his targets. At any given moment he could be in the damp streets of New York planning his next move, or he could be in the humid South American rainforests hunting his target who is in hiding, or in the icy tundra of Russia preparing to land that important bullet to his target’s head. Golgo 13 doesn’t simply walk towards his target and shoot, he first plans his moves by gathering vital information from his informants stationed around the world, analyzes the behavior and habits of his targets, and plans out sniper spots where Golgo 13 can have a clear view of them, be it in their heavily guarded villas, cruise ships, or a bunker surrounded by hired militia. And once that moment arrives, Golgo 13’s skills as a marksman are second to none—he can land perfect headshots in impossible vantage points, wind conditions, and hitting targets in moving platforms. Golgo 13 was able to land a perfect headshot by firing one bullet from a lighthouse across the windy seas and to a moving cruise ship. Golgo 13 can even land a headshot when his target is falling from a skyscraper at terminal velocity. Once Golgo 13 accepts a contract, he will do whatever it takes to fulfill it and he will succeed. His services aren’t cheap but rest assured Golgo 13 will get the job done.
Sympathetic Villains and Supporting Characters
Golgo 13’s targets are perhaps the most important aspect of the series because each character has a story to tell, has their own motives why they live the life of crime as a drug lord, or a politician seeking power. While some of Golgo 13’s targets committed unforgivable sins and they deserve to die, not all of these characters are truly evil because the story gives the audience a chance to see what’s behind the scenes to sympathize with them. A powerful oil baron is hellbent on killing Golgo 13 after the hitman killed his only son and heir, but when confronted by his daughter-in-law, the oil baron refuses to say why he’s not going after Golgo 13’s contractor instead. A South American rebel leader and drug dealer is out to kill a US presidential nominee who promises to apply pressure on illegal drug distribution, but as it turns out, the rebel and the presidential nominee have a history together and that moment in the past is the true catalyst of everything that’s happening, and so the viewer begins to wonder which one is the true “bad guy.”
The Golgo 13 series (try typing his name several times without accidentally typing “Google” instead) isn’t an anime for anyone who is looking for some school comedy-drama with lots of cute girls. But if you want a more mature anime that is truly made for adults with realistic character designs, complex stories, violence, and sex, then Golgo 13 is an anime worth checking out. Watching a couple of episodes will definitely help you move past puberty, and hey, you might get a few chest hairs in the process!