Golgo 13: Galinpero

March 8, 2012

Takao Saito – LEED Publishing – 1986 – 163+ volumes
this is volume 2 of a 4-volume set released by LEED in the mid-80s

For the purposes of posting them here, I’m not exactly sure how to number any of the non-2005 Viz Golgo 13 content that was translated into English, so I’m just going to use the names of the books for all of them.

I found this on the shelf at the used bookstore I work at. I thought that the only other Golgo 13 stories translated into English were a few issues released to coincide with the NES games. When I saw the title “Galinpero,” I thought this might be a Spanish translation. I was so fascinated by the fact I had never heard of there being more English volumes that I read the whole thing while I was standing there. We had two of the other volumes from this run, and I went home and ordered all of the rest of the Golgo 13 that had been translated in English. Because I realized it didn’t matter what form it was in, I absolutely needed to read more of this.

One more tangent before I get started: I ordered the third volume from one of our other locations. Enroute, apparently the envelope ripped open, and a well-meaning postal worker tried their best to fix it. When it arrived, my package contained a gun catalog. I love my life.

This book absolutely does not disappoint. I do like the format of the newer Viz volumes, where not only are we guaranteed the best of what the series has to offer, the volumes are split between an older, hardboiled 70s story and a newer, more politically-minded story. I wasn’t sure what was up with these volumes, if they were randomly selected stories or if this series started with the 60s Golgo 13 stories. I can’t really tell, but both the stories in this volume are fantastic, and both are politically-minded and equally insane/hardboiled.

The second story, the 110 Degree Angle, was my favorite. It involved the murder of a woman in a diplomat’s car in New York City. Turns out she’s the niece of the advisor to the King of Saudi Arabia. The advisor thinks that this is a CIA plot to get Saudi Arabia to reopen peace talks with Israel. He pays lip service to the investigation into her murder, but hires Golgo 13 in order to get personal vengeance. But when the investigation points the finger at his own son, he hurriedly tries to stop Duke Togo with a team of secret and very powerful assassins. I knew immediately where this was going, and it’s just as fantastic as you’d expect, but this isn’t the main event.

Actually, the main event is a spoiler. This book is super-rare, and 25 years old at this point, and Golgo 13. There’s only one way all these stories end, so I don’t know how badly I can “spoil” this. Still, if you were planning on reading this, don’t read below the cut.

No. The main event is that Golgo 13 always carries out his assignment. Despite heavy security, he sneaks into Riyadh and sets up shop on top of a building. His hit is carried out during the Islamic Call to Prayer, because he’s pinpointed the exact place where the advisor’s son will be praying inside a building, and he’ll be able to make the shot when the son sits up during the prayer ritual. But only if he ricochets the bullet off the dome of a nearby mosque.

I can’t really say anything else that will inform this. He makes his shot by pinpointing the exact place the victim’s head will be when he sits up during the call to prayer. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, he does it by ricocheting the bullet off a building.

One shot.

That’s why this series is so awesome.

The first story, Galinpero, is about Golgo 13 being paid in diamonds to avenge the death of one man’s family by the Galinperos, the oppressive gang of diamond miner overlords that terrorize the small towns in Brazil.

This has a fantastic and fiery climax as well, but the best part of this story is that Duke Togo executes a D. B. Cooper-like hijacking for unclear reasons, later revealed to be a hilarious grab for attention. A member of the U.S. Government dealing with the hijacking recognized Duke Togo, and made everyone go along with the crime after nearly wetting his pants when he realized who the criminal was.

This story also made me realize that these were probably later G13 stories, because this was too much like the D. B. Cooper hijacking to be a coincidence. Or maybe D. B. Cooper was a fan of Golgo 13 in Japan, and fiction became reality. Or maybe he was Duke Togo.

The other high point of this story was the flaming final confrontation. It involved car chases, a shootout, fake outs, and a swamp. It was spectacular.

It’s really hard to describe why you should like this series if you’ve never read it. Golgo 13 is a great character, and I love that he can be thrown into any number of outlandish situations, and stay completely true to his stoic and highly regulated personality while doing something completely insane, like the climax to the 110 Degree Angle. The stories are also really well-researched, and the art, while dated, is highly detailed and keeps the reader in the story. And it’s just fun to read. I love over-the-top, completely straight faced stories like this one.

I was surprised when, a week after I found these, Jason Thompson wrote the series up for his recent House of 1,000 Manga article. It made me that much more pumped to be reading all this new stuff I found, plus he talks about all the best parts from the Viz volumes of the series. Read that if you need to know why Golgo 13 is awesome.

2 Responses to “Golgo 13: Galinpero”

  1. Kaktrot Says:

    Aw, so happy to see someone out there loves G13 too. I remember desperately trying to track down the old-school English graphic novels, like, 15 years ago when I found out about them as a kid. Duke, like Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, is one of the stoic, manly mofos that we just don’t get enough of in manga/anime these days. Thanks for the review. ^^

  2. Harold Lawson Says:

    Let me correct that for you… “The art is timeless…” I miss the days before Japanese animation became somewhat mainstream in the west. You tourist!

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