Manga: Golgo 13

Golgo 13 is a long-running action/drama manga created by Takao Saito, first published in 1968, about the titular assassin. The manga has been adapted into an animated movie by TMS Entertainment and a 60-minute OVA sequel, The Professional and Queen Bee, along with two live-action movies and several video games. A TV anime based on the series aired in Japan in 2008.

Duke Togo (codename: Golgo 13) is a mysterious Cold Sniper of indeterminate but somehow Japanese ancestry, who is notorious for never failing an assignment. He follows several rules about his assignments (for instance, he will only meet clients once, and refuses to enter long-term contracts with clients), but he will accept any job without moral compunctions. However, his clients must always tell him their reasons for the job and be honest about them — and any betrayal or double-crossing will not be forgiven.

Like James Bond, his Spiritual Ancestor, he is a successful womanizer, but he's also notorious for maintaining the same unchanging expression during sex as he does in the rest of his life.

Although many of the stories featuring Golgo 13 revolve around the current assignment, the sheer volume of installments have led to an increasing number of stories that mainly focus on his current clients or victims, with Golgo making only a token appearance (one story focused on the effect of just the threat of his presence, with Golgo never appearing in the actual story). Several other stories have had him making brushes with history: Duke Togo spent time in prison with Nelson Mandela, he was partially responsible for Princess Diana's death while assassinating a fictional counterpart of Prince Dodi Al-Fayed, and he even shot the ballots that would have won Al Gore the 2000 U.S. Presidential elections. Golgo 13's been around.

This series contains examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: The black hitman Spartacus, who fought against Duke Togo in the manga, appears as a boss in the first NES game, as well as in the TV series, making one of the few character besides Duke himself who appeared in numerous Golgo 13 media.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: The female assassins being the amazons.
  • All There in the Manual: The editor for Viz Signature's US release of Golgo 13 manga went absolutely apeshit with detail. The appendix of all 13 volumes contains everything you'd want to know about the man himself, right down to statistical analysis of his sex habits. His favorite soap? Brown Windsor.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Although Laura Dawson from The Professional is probably an exception to this.
  • Anti-Hero: Golgo 13; see Nominal Hero below. Earlier versions of him, though, have shades of Unscrupulous Hero.
  • Art Shift
  • Awesomeness by Analysis / Clock King / Crazy-Prepared: Golgo does outstanding investigative work and research for every hit he makes, and measures every little detail to make sure he strikes at the exact time. He studies his victim's habits, patterns, henchmen, and any other factor that might contribute or hinder the assassination attempt. Even more interesting is when he investigates rival assassins, whom he sometimes has to work against. He also has myriad contacts, like investigators, weaponsmiths, etc. to provide him with all the information and equipment needed for the job. If any fictional character can give Batman a run for his money in the Crazy-Prepared department, it's Golgo 13.
    • In the fifth episode of the anime, he goes against an outstanding Polish sniper, and studies his technique so intensely, he actually finds a strategy to beat him based on the fact that the sniper would compensate shots by moving the rifle a third of an inch. The video analyst that was viewing the video couldn't even tell the movement was made.
    • In the fourth episode, he startles a Mafia don's bodyguard into drawing his gun so he could measure his draw speed. He then tricks the bodyguard into taking away Golgo's client, and when he's pulling her out of the car, he makes his move. Since the bodyguard was pulling the client out of the car with his dominant hand, he had a few microseconds of advantage at the draw.
    • And in the anime episode "Dead Angle", a young sniper called Katz uses this trope to work out the only two positions Golgo can snipe from. Duke however comes from the one place the sniper insisted he wouldn't be, killing Cats as well as his target.
    • One manga story included in the Viz release had a CIA satellite photo analyst attempting to turn Duke into his own Boxed Crook with the help of a top-secret stealth spy satellite; he arranged for it to be overhead both when he met with Golgo and when Duke made the contracted hit. Because the first assassination date was overcast, the analyst rescheduled for the next window. After the new time came, the analyst looked at the photo of where Golgo was supposed to shoot from — and figured out that Duke was just standing there, looking at the camera. Just from the three times and places he was supposed to appear, Duke managed to figure out the orbit of the satellite. (See Moe Greene Special below for what happened next.)
  • Badass: He's pretty much the most badass contract killer in fictional history, period.
    • Genius Bruiser: In the 3rd episode of Golgo 13 TV series, the titular hitman is in a sniper duel with two mercenaries using advanced rifles superior to his own M16, and modified with a unique electronic "super scope". Based on their firing patterns, he deduces that the scopes have a vulnerability in that they do not take shifts in gradient into account. He then calculates the gradient necessary for their shots to be totally inaccurate, and positions himself in an area of the battlefield with that gradient, easily blowing them away. Duke Togo: international assassin, and maths nerd.
      • Given that sniping is a lot more about calculations than actual shooting, this is not surprising.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Cindy gave us plenty of topless scenes, completely uncensored, but her downstairs stay barbie.
  • Berserk Button: Do not betray him and do not stand behind him. It's dangerous for your health.
    • A one-off rival assassin's was being called a "deformity".
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows
  • Bill Clinton: One of the Golgo 13 features Bill Clinton... having smiley sex in the Oval Office
    • President Clinton is one of the few people to hire Golgo 13 more than once ("Supergun" and "Eye of God" - indirectly in the latter case).
  • Bland-Name Product: Averted with Parliament cigarettes, Marlboro, Ford and Esso in "The Professional".
  • Boom, Headshot: Golgo 13 pretty much 'always' achieves this in most of his missions. Also, in Top Secret Episode for the NES, a 'Sniper Mode' is featured in the East Berlin stage.
  • Brainy Brunette: Rita from The Professional. She helps out in modifying Golgo's M16 rifle for his missions in addition to lending him a car.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": The Golgo 13 light-gun arcade games reward/punish for accuracy instead of whether you (playing as Golgo) get hit. You start the game with 100% "reliability". Do well on a typical mission and you will gain 30% reliability up to the 100% maximum but no further. Miss the mark and your reliability goes down 80%. When your reliability goes down to 0%, you can't get a job because you're, well, not reliable, and you'll have to continue or accept a game over. All in all, it's a reasonably clever take on Calling A Hit Point A Smeerp while avoiding the Hostage Spirit Link problem: you won't take damage for hitting the wrong people, but nobody will trust you enough to hire you as a hitman.
  • The Casanova: Explored to an extent in Golgo 13. The title character tends to have sex before a job, and does have good luck at getting women to join him in bed. However, he just as often hires prostitutes, and due to his notorious blank expression not changing, a number of readers have theorized he doesn't actually enjoy it.
  • Catch Phrase: "I'll take the job."
    • "I will hear your story."
  • Cat Scare: Even the normally unshakable Golgo 13 has a moment when a cat jumps onto the balcony just as he's making a sniper shot. His Reflexive Response is to whirl to face the intruder, chambering another round as he does so...thus ejecting the cartridge case he's just fired off the balcony where it's picked up by a police patrolman on the street below. For a brief moment, Golgo actually forms an expression!
  • Characterization Marches On: The first few stories had Golgo more expressive and sloppy. These gradually faded, with annotations explaining these as being Golgo maturing into his job.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Golgo 13 has occasionally had informants walk in on him while he was screwing a random female, all the while his expression doesn't change one bit.
    • On one occasion, police officers arrested him while he was having sex. When he stood up, he didn't... how shall we put this... "lay down". One cop was surprised, the other disgusted.
  • Cool Mask: Silver from The Professional wears a creepy featureless mask made of silver, to cover his horrifically burned face.
  • Cold Sniper: And how
  • Comic-Book Time: By all rights he ought to be in his early 70s at the least, but that damn expressionless face doesn't seem much more wrinkly than it's ever been. Then again, maybe he's been spending his fees on plastic surgery.
  • Conspicuous CG: Check out this little number from The Professional.
    • Osamu Dezaki, the director of The Professional was a huge fan of CGI. That's the first use of it in animation's history; Even beating out Pixar's (which at the time was Lucasfilm's CGI unit called Graphics Group) The Adventures Of Andre And Wally B by a little more then a year.
    • The TV series uses it for automobiles in motion, Target 18 in particular.
  • Consummate Professional: He was, for a time, the page picture for a reason. You hire him, he does the job. No exceptions. His client died before he could fulfill the contract? He does the job. No exceptions. Oh, his target is a child, so it'll reveal he's actually a Hitman with a Heart, right? Nope. He does the job. No exceptions.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Although Duke Togo is strictly a freelance agent, he's frequently been double-crossed by his employers. This never ends well for them, since it's the closest to his Berserk Button. And seriously, why do they even bother? The guy's so much of a Consummate Professional that, as long as you pay him and not betray him, he'll never come after you.
    • This is basically the entire main plot of The Professional. Industrialist Leonard Dawson uses every resource availible to him to kill Golgo due to him performing the assassination on his son. His daughter-in-law even Lampshades this by asking why Dawson bothers going after Golgo at all when he is just a hitman, and he should be going for the man who put out the hit. He cant because it was the SON who put out the hit, wanting to commit suicide but not having the stomach to do the deed himself. Dawson goes after Golgo 13 because he is the closest person Dawson has for someone to blame
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Not exactly conviction and not exactly counterfactual, but pretty much every time anyone hears the name "Duke Togo" in the TV series they immediately identify it as Japanese. While Togo is a Japanese last name, the idea that people wouldn't initially mistake it for Italian or Greek or something is ridiculous.
  • Cool Car: Duke likes to drive fast rides, mostly non-Japanese such as Mustangs.
  • Cowardly Lion: Duke describes cowardice as, ironically enough, part of the reason why he's so successful as it makes him a lot more alert and pragmatic.
  • Cowboy Cop: Duke uses one in a Batman Gambit in the anime; FBI men steal some items from his car to cover for an illegal search, so Duke reports the stolen items, but also including a gun he later uses in the crime. The FBI can't say he's lying without admitting to the break-in.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Earlier installments tended to have Golgo make wisecracks this way. For instance, when he's accused of eavesdropping on a meeting in the Oval Office of the U.S. White House during The Seventies:
    Golgo 13: Well, this is Washington... It happens all the time.
    Everyone else in the room: ...
  • Description Porn: In The Professional, Rita describes the modified M16 rifle to Golgo in detail:
    Rita: Everything's exactly the way you wanted it. Check the piece out. Go ahead. Please.
    Golgo 13: [Duke examines the rifle]
    Rita: The trigger is an electronic push-button. I increased the bursts to 15 rounds per second. And the change in balance from the recoil is held below decimal. And check out the silencer kit.
    Golgo 13: Rita, it's okay. I don't need to hear it. I trust you.
    • In the OVA, Mob Boss Don Roccini describes Queen Bee and his sexual experiences with her to his butler.
    • In the TV series, many episodes have this trope.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Non-Action Big Bad of The Professional, Leonard Dawson, does this at the end. Overlaps with Driven to Suicide. Golgo shoots him in the head before he hits the ground, though.
  • Distressed Dude
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: Duke is a master of this.
  • Driven to Suicide: In The Professional, Robert Dawson knew he could never live up to the high expectations his father had for him, so he decided to commit suicide by hitman.
  • Dull Surprise: Golgo's famous lack of expression. Lampshaded in the story "Telepath":
    KGB official: I would like to have seen his expression when he missed... I bet it was the first expression he ever had!
  • Dumb Blonde: Doctor Z's daughter, Cindy.
  • Elite Mook: The three commando hitsquad that attacks Duke early on in The Professional, and gives him quite a bit of trouble. Later, Snake effortlessly mutilates and kills them.
  • Exact Words: Golgo will do the job he's hired for, no more, no less. He won't shoot at anyone or anything not directly mentioned in the contract unless he believes that doing so is necessary to complete the contract or to get away after doing so. A good example of this is in an episode of the anime where a violinist hires him to snipe a string on a violin played by a rival during a major performance in the hopes of ruining it. Golgo does this, but said rival calmly retuned his instrument and continued the performance with the remaining strings. Golgo's reaction? He left. He was hired to shoot the string, and he shot the string. That it didn't have the ultimate effect his client hoped for wasn't his problem.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though he does consent to it, it's clear Leonard Dawson doesn't like the idea of Snake raping Laura and only allowed it because he was desperate for men willing to kill Golgo, and Snake wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Evil Redhead: In the OVA, Queen Bee kills a person who squealed to the cops in cold blood, even though he has a family. Averted later when Queen Bee's past is revealed. Also, after being shot by Golgo, Queen Bee, A.K.A. Joanna Hardy, has requested before her death to Golgo to kill Thomas Waltham, the man responsible for manipulating her father.
  • Evil Cripple: Gold and Silver from The Professional, due to the injuries they recieved at the hands of the guerilla soldiers in the Pacific. Gold is missing an arm and an eye, and Silver is missing a leg and is hideously burned. Both wear metal prosthetics made out of gold and silver respectively, and Silver also wears a mask.
    • A target from the anime series is this. He is the owner of a high class rehab center located on an island entirerly encased in bulletproof glass and only reachable by boat or helicopter. He's in a wheelchair, but spends all his time inside one of the glass buildings, the angle of which makes it impossible to shoot him... or it would be, for anyone who isnt Golgo 13.
  • Eye Scream: Snake takes out one of the three commandos by putting out his eyes via a weapon that uses razor sharp wires. Also, near the end of The Professional, after Duke finishes Gold off with his revolver, his artifical gold eye popped out afterwards.
  • Fiery Redhead: Queen Bee, A.K.A. Sonja, A.K.A. Joanna Hardy.
  • Four Is Death
  • Gainax Ending: In The Professional, Since after losing her husband Robert, and since haven't seen her daughter Emily, Laura Dawson is seen prostituting herself on the rainy streets since she was raped twice by Snake. She then sees Golgo 13. Shocked, she drew a gun against him in public. He then walks away. Whether Laura shot Golgo and missed, or that Golgo retaliated shooting back, or something else entirely is up to the viewer to decide.
  • Get Into Jail Free: This happens in one episode. Duke Togo allows himself to be arrested so he'll end up in the same ludicrously high-security prison as his target, a crook whose old companions are worried about spilling the beans on them. Needless to say, escaping a prison that makes The Alcatraz look like a cardboard box is no problem for Golgo 13!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the early days of the NES when Nintendo of America was heavily censoring all games for anything even slightly offensive, Golgo 13's game came over with all it's murder-y goodness intact, and even included several sex scenes! (Not literally shown on camera, but the dialogue makes clear what's about to happen, then the lights dim and Duke and the woman's silhouettes come together.)
    • As a matter of fact, you actually got to see the girls undress AND see boobs in the Japanese version. This makes the above trope even more amazing. After all, why not remove the scenes altogether?
    • Nintendo also forgot to remove a couple swastikas that clearly tied the "Drek" group to Nazis run by an (equally unedited) cyborg Hitler - facts mercilessly lampshaded in the Let's Play of Top Secret Episode.
    • They left in some pixel-based, almost abstract panty shots, too,
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: In his first appearance, Duke Togo, aka Golgo 13, had no scars. Over the course of the series, he's collected a great deal of them on his body. They're covered by clothing much of the time. As for morality, you pay him, he does the job, no moral issues involved unless you double-cross him.
  • Gorn: In The Professional, Snake takes out three commandos in a really grotesque way.
    • In the OVA, Queen Bee disembowls a person attempting to attack her children.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: A number of earlier stories don't even bother masking the backdrop of the Cold War. Golgo himself gets tangled in hijinks on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
  • Handicapped Badass: A once-off rival assassin is blind.
  • Heroic Mime: Duke Togo in Golgo 13, who only talks in ellipses.
  • High-Pressure Blood: In The Professional, Snake uses the third commando's hook against him by sliding his back open with blood spraying out, as well as plucking out another commandos eyes with his razor wire with the same result. Also, when Duke investigates the phone in the safe, he shoots an old guy who also drew a gun, gets shot and blood sprays out of him causing him to die.
  • Historical In-Joke: See above.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Depending on the mission. Though, he usually has no moral doubts about his assignments: you pay him and don't betray him, he'll do it.
  • Hookers and Blow: Golgo's target in San Francisco, Bernart Muller, is an ex-nazi who is partying with hookers in a penthouse sealed in bulletproof glass.
  • Hook Hand: Used by one member of the CIA hit squad employed to take down Duke in The Professional. Not that it helps him one bit against Snake, who tears it off and tears open the guys back with it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Duke has shot a man in a building on the other side of a skyscraper from him. He's also killed another person sighting through a television.
    • In an episode of the recent anime, he manages to ricochet a shot off of the small wave created by someone playing in a pool to headshot someone in a nearby building...twice.
    • It should be noted that, while he has these in spades, he does not lean on them heavily, preferring more realistic shots. If he forgoes his modded M-16 during a mission for a specialized long-range rifle, you know he's going to use them, though he is capable of doing fantastic feats with his M-16.
    • In "Room 909", the second episode of the 2009 anime, the cops manage to get all the evidence they needed to incriminate him: they found him in the only hotel room the shot could be taken from, they found the custom precision rifle he used in the dust chute, they found the shell casing from the high-powered bullet(which a patrolman picked up when it was still warm, perfectly matching it to the time of death), etc. For all purposes, he was caught. Then... they did the math on the shot: 500 meters away(five football fields), through a two-foot gap between buildings(less than the length of an adult arm), at sundown with the sun shining on the window so the glare would render it all but opaque, with the wind blowing perpendicular to the line of fire requiring the shot to be off-center. Oh, and he put that Pretty Little Headshot right between the targets' eyes.
    • Final assessment; the shot was STATISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. They had to let him go, because a trial would be a waste of time - despite the reams of evidence, no jury on Earth would believe a human being could make that shot, especially one that remained at the "scene of the crime" for a full day afterwards. And he chose the room in advance solely to take advantage of this - in order to convict him, people would first have to be convinced that Improbable Aiming Skills of his caliber are even possible. The head inspector even commented "To prove that he's guilty, you'd have to prove there's a monster amongst us with the skills of a god." YEAH.
    • Another episode of the anime has him contracted to sever a single violin string in the middle of a concert, without damaging either the player or the violin. He was able to do this because he spent hours watching a tape of that performer playing that same piece in a previous concert over and over again to find the exact moment that the violinist would be holding his instrument at an angle where such a shot would be theoretically possible. This allowed him to work out the fraction of a second in which he could shoot a target less than a millimeter wide.
  • I Work Alone
  • Immune to Bullets: Many targets have bulletproof glass or something similar protecting them, though Golgo always finds a way.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Golgo doesn't rely on them, but he can use them when he needs to, like a gun designed for zero-recoil shooting in space or a special bullet-reflecting beltbuckle.
  • Indecisive Deconstruction: The Professional. Unlike most adaptations (or the original manga), they didn't even attempt to make Duke's actions somewhat justifiable. His contract on Leonard Dawson has the consequences one would expect, and the character himself is treated as something of a pathological case.
  • Intimate Healing
  • Invincible Anti-hero: Golgo 13 never fails an assignment, or for that matter misses a shot. If he did, he'd lose his reputation as an assassin and there would be no series. Later chapters solve the problem by focusing more on the people who hire him and how their situations deteriorate to the point that they need to bring in a hitman. (Infamously, he doesn't appear in one story at all; the central character merely uses Golgo 13's reputation as a weapon.) The fact that the stories are standalone and bounce around time help in this regard. For completeness sake, there have been several occasions of him missing, at least once by weapons sabotage creating a misfire, and one complete miss caused by the target's allegedly psychic bodyguard.
  • Invisible President: Averted; because they have to sign off on the hiring, whenever the US government hires Golgo 13, the president in office at the time of the story's writing will make an appearance.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Duke will go to great lengths to complete a job. Such as getting arrested just to get past the layers of security a target put around himself.
  • Kill Sat: In "The Orbital Hit", the U.S. government has a network of these in orbit, with nuclear missiles.
  • Knife Nut: One of the elite commando's in The Professional. He attempts to kill Snake with them, but has his hands cut off.
  • Last Minute Reprieve: Played with in the story "One Minute Past Midnight".
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Two to date, the more famous (and later) one being The Kowloon Assignment - where he was played by Sonny Chiba.
  • Locked Room Mystery: "The Serizawa Family Murders".
  • Loud of War: In one story, the last of a series of tortures used on Duke Togo is Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" at high volume (the Written Sound Effect being "ZUN ZUN ZUN").
  • The Mafia: The story "Wiseguy" deconstructs the romanticized aspects of this trope. For example, Michael Corleone's possible future in Congress is given a darker spin with the story's villain, a Congressman from a Mafia family who's taken gang warfare to a higher level thanks to government connections.
  • Meaningful Name: The eponymous character's codename in Golgo 13 means something, most likely, but nobody's sure what. The most popular theory is that it's a call-out to Golgotha, the hill on which Christ was crucified, and the thirteenth disciple, Judas. Given that the series has a skeleton wearing a crown of thorns as its icon, this is probably a good guess.
    • In the first chapter, it's mentioned as a nickname given to him by fellow inmates in a West German work camp (his prison number was 1214, and the above explanation regarding Golgotha is given).
  • Moe Greene Special: Duke delivers a double to a spy satellite image analyst who tried to set him up to become a Boxed Crook, just for the Karmic Death value.
  • Mukoku Seki: Very meta on this one. Golgo 13 is a worldly, adult-oriented manga sometimes incorporating world news events, where people will actually be drawn with something approaching recognizable ethnicity, especially the many portrayals of real people (Even Nelson Mandela needs Golgo, sometimes!). However, Golgo's own Mukoku Seki good looks (along with his polyglot abilities) become one of his greatest assets for being undetected, and even the other characters are confused about what ethnicity he is. Even then, however, people tend to vaguely assume he might be Japanese.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Several of the stories in the series seem to be possible origins for Golgo; however, they always end on at least a note of ambiguity.
  • Never Suicide: A rather unusual inversion in the first animated film, in which the target's father, after the assassination, spends the rest of the film sending people to kill Duke - but it turns out that his son, unhappy with his family life and too squeamish to take his own life, hired Duke to kill him in the first place - suicide by contract killing.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: That language? He speaks it. That gun? Oh yeah, he can shoot it.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Always averted.
  • Nominal Hero: Golgo 13 is a Cold Sniper and a Consummate Professional Killer who will take any job no matter how dirty it is (as long as you don't betray him), but his targets include ruthless criminals who would have rap sheets the length of a freeway if they were ever caught.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Togo probably has more cash than anyone could estimate at this point, with some assignments worth millions. But with his constant work and traveling, it doesn't seem like that half the time.
    • He owns a fricking island. One can only assume he doesn't feel comfortable when not on the job.
  • No Smoking: The TV series. Like James Bond, Golgo 13 goes from a chain-smoker to a non-smoker with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Off with His Head!: In The Professional, Duke finishes Silver off by putting an active grenade in his mouth.
  • Omniglot: Golgo 13 can speak 13 languages. Some of them include English, Japanese, French, Tagalog and Spanish.
  • One Bullet Left: After a brutal battle with Snake, the helicopters, and Gold/Silver, Duke finally meets Leonard Dawson, face to face. After expressing his final words to Duke, Leonard attempts to commit suicide, but Duke fires his revolver's last bullet, killing Leonard with a headshot.
    • In the anime Duke encounters another hitman hired to kill the same target by a different client. They team up out of Pragmatic Villainy, but as they're leaving the hitman gets a call telling him to kill Duke. He states that he's been Counting Bullets and knows both of them have only one bullet left. As they're of equal skill, the winner will be the one who breaks position first. They both move at the same time, both miss, but Duke turns out to be moving to a knife which he throws as the other hitman draws his silenced pistol. Duke wins.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch Phrase: "Do not stand behind him, if you value your life."
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Averted; Golgo's worked for the US government several times, and each time the then-current real-world president was (surprisingly accurately) drawn.
  • Overt Operative: Golgo 13 almost always uses some variant on "Duke Togo" as a cover identity. Which wouldn't apply except that Duke Togo is also the name he goes by in public. He has subverted the trope by using fairly different names, but he keeps coming back to Duke Togo.
    • But if he was caught, who would the government in question use when they needed people shot in the head?
    • The most common fan rationalization for this is that Golgo just doesn't care. People have tried to take him in before and it's never worked. He's untouchable and he knows it.
    • Notice how many of the guys who hire him are government personnel? The man is too valuable as a tool of death, to keep him in prison or get rid of him for that reason.
      • The episode "Afterglow" deals with a detective who came as close to anyone to catching Golgo, but whose case was suppressed by the State Department.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The title character of Golgo 13 fame is one of the trope's fathers.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: In an anime episode, Duke Togo finds out another hitman is also stalking his target. He teeth-pulls the pin from a grenade (presumably to show he's just as cool as Togo) and tosses it back into the room where he just kneecap-interrogated a man. Duke shows he's even cooler by calmly looking at his watch, whereupon half the buildings around them blow up.
    • This is how Golgo kills Silver in The Professional. Having already used up all his bullets killing Gold, Golgo is bum-rushed by Silver, dodges, pulls a grenade pin with his teeth, and stuffs the grenade into Silver's open mouth. Strangely enough, despite that the grenade should by all reason have painted the walls with Silver, all it does is blow his head off and set him on fire. His teeth arent even damaged.
  • Pretty in Mink: Cindy, the daughter of one of Golgo 13's targets (Dr. Z) wore a white fox coat in The Professional. The video shows her not wearing anything underneath (but we see her bare breasts, so it's not technically Nake In Mink). Lampshaded when his informant notes, "Don't ask how hard it was to get these photos."
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Virtually Golgo 13's Calling Card.
  • Professional Killer: Golgo exemplifies the Assassin archetype from this trope.
  • Rape as Drama: Laura Dawson is raped twice by Snake by request of Leonard Dawson.
    • In the OAV, Queen Bee (Joanna Hardy) was raped by Thomas Waltham as a child.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Used the first time Snake rapes Laura Dawson. A bit less discretion is used the second time.
  • Rated M for Manly: A Darker and Edgier version.
  • Rare Guns: generally averted; Golgo's favorite gun is an M-16, because it's easy to obtain, customize, and dispose of.
    • He does have access to specialized weapons, like underwater guns, that fit this trope, though.
    • At least one manga plot involves the bad-guys attempting to outfit private armies with Type 100 sub machine guns.
  • Reflexive Response: Do not stand behind Duke when he's sitting if you value your life.
  • Revealing Coverup: The key of of arms merchant Jakob Nachtbloem's plan to survive exploiting Golgo 13's reputation in the story "A Fierce Southern Current". Jakob's plan involves manipulating six nations into a war over a small set of oil-rich Pacific islands by implying Duke would invest the billions he's earned with the winner; if he followed his standard procedure by just killing Nachtbloem, the sudden death in the growing story with him already in the background would cause a stream of reporters who would be led onto the trail of the mysterious Golgo 13, and killing them as usual would just lead him into a downward spiral. However, Duke manages to figure out how to Take a Third Option.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: In The Professional, Golgo carries a BFG Revolver with him at times. He switches to it after losing his M16 in the fight with Snake, and uses it to dispatch Gold and Leonard Dawson.
  • Rich Bitch: Cindy in The Professional.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Throughout the entire film of The Professional, to avenge his son's death, Leonard Dawson sends the CIA, FBI, U.S. Army, as well as Snake, Gold/Sliver and even his own granddaughter Emily along with the butler to plot out revenge against Golgo 13. They all failed. Thus Leonard commits suicide.
  • Say My Name: In The Professional, Cindy says his name out loud as Duke found out who Dr. Z 'really' is before killing his target:
    Cindy: Who is this?
    Duke: You almost had me fooled.
    Cindy: Duke?
    Duke: I tested the phone in the safe. It's a fake. If I had more time, i'm sure I can locate the remote switch. You oughta get an oscar for that act you put on. Oh, and by the way, Cindy, I know who Dr. Z is: It's you.
    Cindy: (hesitates)...Duke! Duuuuuuke!
  • Sedgwick Speech: The Live Action Adaptation of Golgo 13 (the second one, with Sonny Chiba as Duke Togo) shows a mook spying on Golgo with binoculars see him look their way. He turns to his partner and says, "Ah, who cares? It's over 300 yards!" Anyone familiar with the series will know how short that mook's lifespan is.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: Takao Sakai originally wrote Golgo 13 as a way to continue making James Bond-style stories while bypassing any copyright issues with Ian Fleming.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The imfamous health restoration method in Top Secret Agent and Mafat Conspracy for the NES in which you have sex with many female operatives to restore your health. Although it's implied, you can clearly see them 'doin it' in a far away shot of the building in a sillouette-esque image with the background in the window flashing to black.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: In The Professional, Golgo 13 smokes a cigarette after having sex with an unkonwn female redhead with a red ribbon.
  • Sniper Rifle: Duke Togo occasionally uses one to assassinate his targets in Golgo 13. However, since he usually operates from somewhat closer range, he more often uses an M-16.
  • Sniping Mission: The NES versions of Golgo 13 have incredibly easy sniping missions, especially in comparison to the rest of the game. Of course... Golgo 13 is very, very good at it.
  • Split Screen: Used more often in the 1983 anime movie, Queen Bee and the anime TV series.
  • Statute of Limitations: Appears to expire the moment the credits roll. There are episodes where the cops have to let him go because they can't prove his involvement in the case, and episodes where it's obvious that he did it, but nobody was able to catch him at all. There is no mention of the latter incidents in any of the episodes that match the former. Given that in one episode he deliberately gets thrown into a maximum security prison and then escapes, the police could easily just lock him up again for that.
    • As noted under Overt Operative, Golgo has worked for multiple governing bodies. If the police tried to hold him, they would likely receive a phone call from a higher authority telling them to let him go.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax of The Professional has Golgo 13 storm Dawson Tower, fighting off attack helicopters, Snake, and Gold and Silver in the process.
  • Streamline Pictures: The Professional: Golgo 13 (1992) (later distributed by Urban Vision, with the Streamline dub kept)
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Lt. Bob Bragen has the National Guard blow up an entire church, which Golgo escaped from, despite being wounded in the left shoulder by the commandos.
  • Technician Vs Performer: Several Assassins Golgo meets consider themselves artists and some romanticize killing, while our protagonist just coldly executes his marks (and the other assassins).
  • The Maze: The game for the NES had horribly frustrating maze sequences scattered throughout the game, including one maze purposefully built to be unsolvable (a decoy within the context of the game.) The publisher included maps to the mazes in the manual.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Variant: Golgo 13 makes a point of not allowing anyone else to kill his target when hired for an assassination. Not even themselves. When they die, it must be by his hand.
  • The Stoic
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Gold and Silver from The Professional is a duo of psychotic killers, the only survivors of a US Army experiment where a group of expert hitmen were dropped on an island, unarmed, swarming with guerilla soldiers. Gold and Silver not only survived, but slaughtered every last soldier on the island.
  • Swiss Bank Account: A Smug Snake villain figures out how to use the very existence of the assassin's Swiss bank accounts and the fantastic sum that must be in them to run an international scam.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Well, unlucky for his targets.
  • Twist Ending: It's been revealed at the end of The Professional in voiceover, that Leonard Dawson's son, Robert, requested Golgo 13 to plan the hit on himself. This was during Leonards's suicide and long fall from the Pertrolneum bulding.
    Robert Dawson: "Father, please forgive me for having to leave my last message like this. I swear it will be my first and only opposition to you. Father, thank you for the enormous love you gave me for 29 years. I still remember my sixth birthday, and you baked the only cake you ever made me. It was delicious. I also remember my high school graduation where you cried the only tears you ever shed for me. It was very greatful. But thank you so much for you all your kindness to my wife Laura and my daughter Emily. Father, I know you have such terribly high hopes for me, and being incapable of fufilling those hopes, and having to push them away caused me terrible pain. Because you see, father, I couldn't have the courage to put an end my own life. So I decided to ask someone else to kill me. I believe that he will do a good job. To my great father, the emperor of Pertrolneum: Leonard Dawson. From your disobedient son, Robert."
  • Tykebomb: Goro Serizawa from "The Serizawa Family Murders", who may or may not have become Golgo 13.
    • In The Professional, Leonard Dawson gives his granddaughter a crash course in an attempt to ambush Duke.
  • ‹bermensch
  • Villain Cred
  • Villain Protagonist: To an extent. Generally whomever he's trying to kill (and often his employer) is even worse.
  • Visible Silence: Possibly first introduced to the West by Golgo 13; Duke Togo/Golgo 13 is quite fond of this.
  • War for Fun and Profit: "A Fierce Southern Current" revolves around an arms merchant trying to start a war in the south Pacific, with the promise of the billions Golgo's earned over the years going to the winner. Duke beats him by immediately donating the money from the accounts supposedly up for grabs to the United Nations' nature conservation efforts, making it clear to all parties that he is refusing to be a player, then putting a bullet in the arms merchant's head for good measure.
  • Weapon of Choice: A modified M-16. M-16s are generic and easy to find, so he can drop it after a mission with no problem, whereas hauling around a giant, expensive sniper's rifle would make discreet escapes nearly impossible. Also, he is the lone wolf of lone wolves, so he lacks a spotter or permanent sidekick of any kind. No one is watching his back for him. Using an assault rifle like the M-16 gives him a weapon that is equally suited for self-defense if he is attacked during a mission.
    • Technology Marches On makes this less awesome than it once was. When Saito began the series, sniping with an M-16 made about as much sense as sniping with an Uzi (Assignment: Kowloon even has Duke's scope zip-tied to the carry handle). AR platform weapons are now common bases for sniper rifles, without losing their assault rifle functionality.
      • The series even makes note of this; Duke has upgraded to each new model of M-16 a few years after it becomes commonplace - presumably because he's waiting for all the bugs to be worked out.
  • The Worf Effect: The elite commando squad that go after Golgo at the beginning of The Professional is skilled enough to defeat him. They are dispatched in seconds by the monstrous Snake, just to showcase his skill.
  • White Mask of Doom: Worn by the cultleader Gabriel in the recent anime. Underneath, hes horribly disfigured.
  • Who Shot JFK?: While it wasn't Golgo, The Professional makes it clear that it was engineered by the FBI as part of an 'unusual request' by billionaire Leonard Dawson.