Golgo 13

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Golgo 13
Golgo 13 vol 1 (Japanese edition).jpg
First volume of the Japanese SP Comics edition, originally published on June 21, 1973.
(Gorugo Sātīn)
Genre Action, Crime
Written by Takao Saito
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Viz Media
LEED Publishing
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Big Comic
Original run October 1968 – ongoing
Volumes 175
Original video animation
Queen Bee
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
Studio BMG Victor
Tezuka Productions
Licensed by
Released 1998
Runtime 60 minutes
Anime television series
Directed by Shunji Oga
Written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara
Junichi Iioka
Studio The Answer Studio
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run April 11, 2008March 27, 2009
Episodes 50 (List of episodes)
Video games
Anime and Manga portal

Golgo 13 (ゴルゴ13 Gorugo Sātīn?) is a manga series written and illustrated by Takao Saito, published in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine since October 1968.[1] In 1975, the manga won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award for general manga.[2] The series follows the titular character, a professional assassin for hire.

Golgo 13 is the oldest manga still in publication, and its tankōbon edition has the third highest number of volumes. It has sold over 200 million copies in various formats, including compilation books, making it the fourth best-selling manga series in history. It has been adapted into two live-action feature films, two animated films, an anime television series and five video games.


Golgo 13, also known by the pseudonym Duke Togo (デューク・東郷 Dyūku Tōgō?), is a professional assassin. His age and birthplace are unknown and there is no consensus in the worldwide intelligence community as to his true identity.[3] Most of his jobs are completed through the use of a customized, scoped M16 rifle. Besides Duke Togo, Golgo 13's other aliases include Tadashi Togo (東郷 隆 Tōgō Tadashi?) and Togo Rodriguez (トーゴ・ロドリゲス Tōgo Rodorigesu?).

The name "Golgo 13" is a reference to the death of Jesus Christ. Golgo is short for Golgotha, the place of Jesus' crucifixion.[3][4] The number 13 is considered an unlucky number because there were thirteen participants at Jesus' Last Supper before his execution. Also, Golgo 13's logo is a skeleton wearing a Crown of Thorns.

Duke Togo's past is a mystery. Although many episodes of the series have presented speculation about his origin, such episodes always cast doubt on their own theories as well — leaving the readers uncertain whether the information was even true. It is only known that he had a son with ex-PIRA terrorist Catherine McCall named Joey, who was killed in an accidental explosion after he ignited some explosives at a PIRA safehouse.[5] He also has yet another living son from a random previous sexual encounter, as seen in Episode 48.[6]

With respect to the character's age, a large number of stories are dated as they are centered around current events of the time. However, Golgo 13's age has not increased significantly to account for these events. He has also suffered multiple injuries on his body via torture.[7]

Publication history[edit]

Golgo 13 began serialization in October 1968 in the January 1969 issue of the monthly manga anthology Big Comic published by Shogakukan and is currently in serialization. The collected volumes of the stories have been published by LEED Publishing since 1989 and are available in tankōbon and bunkokan editions. As of December 2014, 175 volumes of the tankōbon edition has been published, while the bunkokan edition has 136 volumes.


In 1986, LEED Publishing Company released four Golgo 13 trade paperbacks translated by Patrick Connolly.[8]

In 1989 and 1990, LEED and Vic Tokai published two new Golgo 13 comic books, as part of the promotion for two Golgo 13 video games. The comics were released to the US public via a mail-in offer with the purchase of the games and were later even found packaged with the video games. Each issue contained one complete story and had nothing to do with the storylines of the video games themselves.

In 1991, LEED Publishing and Viz Media published The Professional: Golgo 13, a three part mini-series. The Professional was a re-printing of "The Argentine Tiger", a story where Golgo is hired by the British Government to assassinate the reportedly dead ex-president of Argentina Juan Perón.

In 2006, Golgo 13 was brought back by Viz Media as part of the Viz Signature collection. The stories are picked from the forty-year history of the manga, and do not necessarily represent the original's order of publication. A total of thirteen volumes were published, with the thirteenth volume being published on February 19, 2008. Each volume ends with an editorial commentary on Golgo 13 as a cultural phenomenon in Japan.[7]



Toei Company produced a live-action film simply titled Golgo 13 in 1973, directed by Junya Sato and starring Ken Takakura in the title role. It was followed by Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon in 1977, directed by Yukio Noda, which replaced Takakura with Sonny Chiba. In 2011, production company Davis Film obtained the American remake rights to Golgo. [9]

Golgo 13: The Professional[edit]

Golgo 13: The Professional, known simply as Golgo 13 in Japan, is a 1983 animated featured film. Golgo 13's voice is provided by Tetsurō Sagawa in the Japanese version, and Gregory Snegoff in Streamline Pictures' English dub.

Golgo 13: Queen Bee[edit]

Region 1 DVD cover of Golgo 13: Queen Bee

Golgo 13: Queen Bee is an OVA that was released in 1998. Tesshō Genda provided the voice of Golgo 13 in the Japanese version, while in the English version, he is voiced by John DiMaggio.

TV series[edit]

The Golgo 13 animated television series was produced by The Answer Studio, which aired on TV Tokyo and other stations from April 11, 2008 to March 27, 2009, lasting 50 episodes.[10] Hiroshi Tachi provided the voice of Golgo 13. The series was licensed by Sentai Filmworks, with the first DVD released on July 13, 2010.[11] In the English dub, he is voiced by David Wald.

The TV series is currently airing in North America on the Anime Network on Demand channel, and it is also available through instant stream service Netflix (collection 1 episodes 1-13, & collection 2 episodes 14-26).[12] Hulu also offers streaming of episodes 1-26 for free.[13] It is also currently airing on television in the Philippines by TV5 and in South Korea by Animax Korea.[14]

Theme music[edit]

Opening Themes:

  1. "Take the Wave" by Naifu (eps. 1-25)
  2. "So Far Away" by Pinc Inc (eps. 26-50)

Ending Themes:

  1. "Garasu no Haiwei (Highway of Glass)" by doa (eps. 1-12)[15]
  2. "Yume no Hitotsu" by Garnet Crow (eps. 13-25)
  3. "Sono Egao Yo Eien ni" by Kitahara Aiko (eps. 26-38)[16]
  4. "Mou Kimi wo Hitori ni Sasenai" by U-KA Saegusa in DB (eps. 39-50)

Video games[edit]

Six video games have been released: the first one, released for SG-1000, followed by Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode on the Nintendo Entertainment System, The Mafat Conspiracy and three Japan-only Arcade games, similar to the Silent Scope series, but with a few differences. The rifle only contained a magnifying lens, not a small monitor like Silent Scope. The screen itself would close up on the target only when the sensor on the underside of the rifle base was activated by the player leaning their shoulder into it. Each mission was preceded by a 8-10 panel manga briefing. The first two releases ran on Namco System 12 hardware, with the third on Namco System 10 hardware. A Golgo 13 game, Golgo 13: File G-13 o Oe, was released for the Nintendo DS on June 18, 2009 by Marvelous Entertainment.[17] From initial reports, the game appears to consist of a large quiz mode, featuring questions spanning the 40 year history of Golgo 13, as well as several mini-games, including the "Don't Stand Behind Me" game, in which the player, as Golgo 13, must punch people who walk up behind him. At the end of each episode of the anime, the tagline was "Don't stand behind him, if you value your life." The game is played holding the DS on its side, also known as "book style" and surprisingly seems to be rated the Japanese equivalent of General/All Ages, which suggests the game won't feature much or any graphic violence or adult/mature subject matter, some of Golgo 13's trademarks. A version of Golgo 13's signature weapon, the scoped M16, was released in the Japanese version of Alliance of Valiant Arms as a usable weapon. [18] There was also a LCD game based on Golgo 13 released only in Japan by Popy in 1982.

Other appearances[edit]

In addition, the title character has appeared in a number of TV commercials in Japan, including NEC[19] and Lotte Black Black.[20] There was also a radio drama featuring Masane Tsukayama as Golgo 13.

An Airsoft gun has been made by Tokyo Marui based on the rifle Golgo 13 uses.[21] A figure based on Golgo 13 was released on August 25, 2009.[22][23]


Saito's work on the series has been compared to the novels of John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth, as the stories are "dark, meticulously constructed [and] painstakingly realistic".[24] The Daily Vanguard calls Duke "a badass, something like a cross between Dirty Harry and Metal Gear Solid's Solid Snake"[7]

Jc DuBois of Dragon's Anime has criticized those who say that most of Golgo 13's hits are impossible to do since there are problems that would prevent him from shooting straight such as the wind or with the coriolis effect, saying that the "whole mystique of Golgo 13 is that he's just that damn good. He CAN make those shots – and he can do it with one shot."[25]


  1. ^ ゴルゴ13(さいとう・プロ) [Golgo 13 (Saito Production)] (in Japanese). Saito Production. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Golgo 13 profile" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. 
  4. ^ Washington, Darius. "Anime Reviews: The Professional". EX: The Online World of Anime & Manga. 
  5. ^ Director: Shunji Oga (October 26, 2008). "Cold-Hearted Catherine". Golgo 13. Episode 26. TV Tokyo. 
  6. ^ Director: Shunji Oga (March 13, 2009). "Ebony Eyes". Golgo 13. Episode 48. TV Tokyo. 
  7. ^ a b c "Japanese manga series Golgo 13 is still important after 40 years". Vanguard. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  8. ^ ゴルゴ13 英語版 (in Japanese). Saito Production. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  9. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-09-10/davis-film-gets-golgo-13-assassin-manga-film-rights
  10. ^ ‘GOLGO 13’ ANIME HITS JAPANESE TV. Retrieved on July 6, 2008.
  11. ^ "Section23, Sentai Add Golgo 13 With English Dub". Anime News Network. 2010-04-23. 
  12. ^ "Anime Network Schedule". Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  13. ^ "Golgo 13". http://www.hulu.com. [full citation needed]
  14. ^ "TV5: Napagkakaisa ang Magkaiba" [Differences Unite]. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  15. ^ "Prime Garden, Discography, Official doa page" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  16. ^ "Discography Page, official Aiko Kitahara page" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  17. ^ "Spec, Official Golgo 13: File G-13 o Oe" (in Japanese). Marvelous Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  18. ^ "AVA M16 Golgo13 Edition in GALLERY - YouTube" (in Japanese). YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  19. ^ YouTube - NEC Commercial Featuring Golgo 13
  20. ^ YouTube - Black Black Commercial Featuring Golgo 13
  21. ^ "Official Golgo 13 M16 Page" (in Japanese). Tokyo Marui. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  22. ^ "figma ゴルゴ13" (in Japanese). Amazon Japan. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  23. ^ "Golgo 13 figma 042 action figure by Max Factory". 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  24. ^ Kimlinger, Carl (2006-09-08). "Golgo 13 GN 4 - Review". Anime News Network. 
  25. ^ JC DuBois (2008-09-09). "Golgo 13 (TV, 2008)". Retrieved 2009-03-21. 

External links[edit]