Golgo 13 11
August 25, 2009
Takao Saito – Viz – 2007 – 13 volumes
the US edition is based on a special “greatest hits” release of the manga. Golgo 13 is 148+ volumes.
Hmm. I wasn’t all that interested in the first story of the volume, which takes up about 3/4 of the pages here. It was quite slow to get started and I had trouble wrapping my brain around the politics involved, which were Japan-centric. The gist of it was pretty awesome though, which was that Okinawa had been getting the royal diplomatic shaft since WWII and a member of an old Okinawan aristocratic family, now in the military, is staging a coup to liberate the island from both the US and Japan (US military presence is apparently still very strong on the island, and apparently the majority of the Japanese SDF is also stationed there).
I can get behind crazy coups like that, and when I finally figured out what was going on, I was very interested, but by that time more than half the story had elapsed. It also doesn’t much help that Golgo 13 doesn’t appear until the end, and his role is literally a baffling mystery until the very last pages. He does take the shot though, which is really what I was looking for. He also plays a very unorthodox role, which would have been more interesting if we had seen it in more than three panels.
The second story was a riot, but very short. A traveling salesman in Chicago is mistaken for Golgo 13. He has a very similar name (it might be Dave Togo or something like that), and was waiting for a client to pick him up across the street from where Golgo 13 was waiting to rondevous with his client, so Golgo 13’s people picked up the salesman instead. He also bears a vague resemblance to Golgo 13. He is baffled by his special treatment and all the great lengths the client goes to in order to make him happy, like setting him up with a nice hotel room and an expensive prostitute and all that. His confusion about being needed as a salesman manifests itself in a few hilarious situations, like when he says “100% customer satisfaction” in response to a request for a summation of his work ethic.
And Golgo 13’s decision is pretty spectacular, too.
I wish this had been the long story instead of the one about Okinawa, but it’s probably better that it wasn’t stretched out for too much longer, because I think I would have enjoyed it much less if it had been padded out.