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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated x ] Golgo 13 (The Professional)

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: X
For Adult Audiences Only

Review by Joe McCulloch

Although held in contempt by many fans and reviewers (The Anime Movie Guide called it one of the worst anime the author had ever seen), Golgo 13 is actually a deeply original action anime, due to the fact that the "hero" is totally unsympathetic and the "villian" is the major focus of the film's sympathies. Directed by the same folks behind the more recent "Blackjack" series, Golgo 13 boasts the same neat comic panel views as Blackjack. There are also some great light effects, neato camera tricks, and an interesting computer animated segmant which seems rather out of place but is still nice to look at.

Kids may be tempted to watch, due to the (fantastic) video game series on the old NES, but I would really think twice. The violence is good and juicy with lots of streaming gushes of blood, and there is some sex, though the actual nudity is limited to breasts. There is also a rape scene, which is actually executed rather artfully and delicately (compared to, say, Urotsukidoji). It IS rape, however. But the major difference from the game is not as much the sex and violence, but the way the main character is portrayed. Golgo is cold and heartless in this film; he is the best at what he does, killing people, but that is all he cares about. The way his thoughtless actions affect the supporting cast, most of whom dies by the end, is the true focus of the film. This can be a springboard for a potential discussion about the need for compassion in one's everyday life, that is, if you LET your kid see this. Oh, and Golgo's actions do come back to haunt him in the truely awesome final scene, which may disturb the kids even more if they are still attached to the gloomy but noble spy from the games.

Overall, I think this is a great movie; it really holds up well, considering it it nearly 20 years old. It is far more thoughtful and dramatic than you may expect, just watch it before you show it to your children.

Review by Akio Nagatomi

A desperate attempt to break into the western animation market, Golgo 13 is an incredibly mean-spirited re-interpretation of the North American Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry) / Charles Bronson (The Mechanic) style movies. Lots of graphic violence and sex in wrapped up in a surprisingly shallow (for a Japanese production) plot. Definitely not a movie for people under 18 years of age, and those of you who did not enjoy the un-cut theatrical versions of the 'Death Wish' series will want to stay clear.

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