When I was given the task of reviewing the mega-set that is Golgo 13: Complete Collection on Blu-ray I was more than stoked to do so seeing as the 1983 anime film Golgo 13: The Professional was one of the first anime films I ever saw back in the early 90’s. It was distributed by Streamline Pictures (they also distributed Fist of the North Star) and all of us teens went crazy over it due to how violet and sexual the material was. Yeah, Golgo 13 got the whole James Bond comparisons back then, but watching him dispatch the bad guys and get the ladies seemed to be more exciting when he did it than when James Bond did it. It may have had something to do with the ultra-violence, nudity, and sex scenes, but who knows. Wink, wink.
Fast-forward to 2015 and we now have this monstrous set that chronicles the 50-episode series that was released back in 2008 and made its debut on Blu-ray & DVD in the fall of 2013. Yes, Golgo-13 gets around. Golgo-13 (real name Duke Togo) has once again begun taking contracts from clients all over the world. These assignments in fact do take him all over the place and his targets include folks from all works of life and are not just limited to criminals or criminal organizations. If the price is right then Golgo-13 is your assassin for hire.
The Complete Collection is made up of 50, generally, self-contained episodes, which leads to a bout of repetitiveness. Golgo 13 is not one of those series that can be binged, because you’ll be done 6-12 episodes in. That is one of my major complaints of the series. There are no multi-story arcs or “unique” tales that separate each assignment from the next one. The one thing that was most impressive about the stand-alone flicks is that they had a proper structure that flowed. Yes, these 50 episodes have flow too, but they start to blend into one another really quickly. There’s nothing epic about them and that saddens me.
Golgo-13 is one of the oldest characters in anime and there’s no way that this set should be his last testament, because it would be sort of a letdown. If you’re a casual fan of the show then this may be right up your alley but if you’re a hardcore fan of the anime films then there’s no way you’ll settle for this set, expansive as it may be. I’m glad that I was able to view it and I am being objective in saying that the series could have been better. I am glad that it’s here for the world to see and do hope that we get a follow up show, or better yet, another anime film.
Golgo13: Complete Collection is presented in 1.78:1, 1080i. I kind of hate to say this since I am a fan of the character and studio, but this has got to be the worst looking anime transfer that I have seen in a quite a while. The line work is completely saturated by softness and compression artifacts. Everything looks so soft and blurred that I though my contact lenses had dried out. The beauty of the character and style of the animation is that it’s hand drawn, for the most part, but these artifacts kill the painstakingly hand drawn artwork. The color palette is rather rich and we do get a fill of all of the elements, seasons, times of day, etc. The transfer can only do so much if the studio was given a weak master to work from.
Golgo 13: Complete Collection is presented in an English DTS-HD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) dubbed version that works well and in its original Japanese (DTS-HD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)) language version. Golgo-13 has always been a man of few words, but I have always preferred the English language dubs of his anime films and this series is no different. There isn’t a lot of depth to the sound field, but what we do get enhances the action beats quite a bit. This series could have very well benefited from a 5.1 lossless track due to the scope of the series but what we get is serviceable. It won’t blow the house down, so taper your expectations accordingly.
The special features are non-existent on this Blu-ray set. We get a set of clean opening and closing animation scenes and that’s pretty much it.
- Clean Opening Animation
- Clean Closing Animation
The Definitive Word
Golgo-13 is one of my favorite anime characters of all time — having been introduced to the 1983 anime film more than 20 years ago, and its subsequent sequel (Queen Bee) a few years after that I am somewhat taken aback that the complete series is not as good as the anime film features of the past. The series is quite repetitive in that the main storyline, if you can actually find it, blurs between every other episode. It all starts to look the same and the series never comes into its own. The technical specifications are what they are, but the guts of the series weigh down the overall score. In fact — a 3-star is quite generous once everything is combined, but that’s most likely my nostalgia talking. Golgo-13 is still an awesome character and we may see him again the future — if so, then I hope they get some better stories out of him.
Additional Screen Captures