- The heartbreakingly cruel Twist Ending that reveals why a hit was taken out on Dawson's son in the first place: It was Robert himself, who had grown dissatisfied with his life and chose to end it rather than try to live up to the expectations of his legendary father. It's rather tragic that so much death, destruction and sorrow could have been avoided if Robert had simply been more open with Leonard about how he felt.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, when 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. I was very grateful. But thank you so much for 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 fulfilling those hopes, and having to push them away caused me terrible pain. Because you see, father, I don't even have the courage to put an end to 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."
Nobody wants to hurt the one they lovehe couldn't see another way.He couldn't be for you the son you needoh no, he couldn't bear the shame.Day by day, in his precious wayhe just tried to find a way to growcouldn't be, your most precious dreamhe was far too proud to ever let you know...And that's love's mysterycan't you seedestinysometimes breaks your heartbecause love's mysteryneeds to begiven timetreated kindhandled tenderly...Now he's goneyou're alonethat's love's mystery...
- Adding to the above is the song "Love's Mystery" which only appears once and is very brief in the actual movie itself. The full version on the other hand... well, it gives a bit more clarity to the whole situation:
- It's even worse in the manga: Dawson senior only found out about the truth after he tried taking revenge on Golgo. This leads him to go to the place where Robert was assassinated - their favorite golf course. There he calls Golgo out to end his misery and gets what he wants.
- Oh and in passing, who was Golgo's "client" for this job? Dawson's own managing director, Fletcher, who has a son of his own. And seeing as they set Golgo up to be killed...
- In the movie, it seems he had found the truth relatively early on... and vents out his anger by smashing a photo of Robert.
- On a first-time viewing, Robert Dawson's overemotional smile can come off as Narm... until one gets to the end of the film and realizes why he was so happy.
- The deaths of each of Golgo's contacts all manage to be pretty sad:
- The Clockmaker is killed by Snake and uses his dying breath to warn Golgo of this dangerous and unknown new foe before slipping away. Afterwards Golgo, the most stoic man in anime, is briefly shown paying his respects to his fallen ally.
- Rita manages to share once last night with Golgo before he rejects her affections and tells her to leave before she meets a similar fate to the Clockmaker. Unfortunately, its all for naught and she is ambushed later by Snake and is killed in a similar way, screaming Duke's name as she dies.
- Pablo is Golgo's only contact in the movie who manages to avoid being found by Snake, though Dawson still manages to track him down and threatens to have his family murdered if he doesn't kill Golgo. Knowing he hasn't got a prayer against the legendary assassin but unwilling to let his family die Pablo pulls a gun and is coldly executed by Golgo on the spot.
- It's possible he knows he'll die anyway, but if he at least tries, then he'll know his family will be safe.
- The voice acting in both the sub and dub arguably makes these hit even more thanks to Tetsuro Sagawa and Greg Snegoff's performances: instead of a monotone, emotionless professional killer expected of a man of Golgo's caliber, their performances have more than a few flashes of humanity, sympathy, and even dry wit.
- Laura Dawson's fate: getting raped multiple times by a mutated freak of a super soldier and becoming a prostitute. Quite possibly the cruelest one of all since she never deserved what happened to her.
- Ditto for Emily Dawson. It's clear that Leonard truly loved her as much as any cheerful grandfather could be, then she gets turned into a child soldier for his private war against Golgo.
- That being said, it could have been worse: in the manga Golgo is fully capable of pulling the trigger on children if he has to, especially if they're his targets. Thankfully, as far as is known, he's only had to do this twice (see below).
- Queen Bee's backstory. The loved but secret illegitimate daughter of presidential candidate Robert Hardy, who was separated and raped by Hardy's slimy advisor Thomas Waltham, before growing up to become a feared Marxist rebel leader.
- The massacre of Queen Bee's village headquarters. Not even the children living there, Queen Bee's own included, are spared.
- The ending. Robert Hardy, consumed by guilt, commits suicide on live television when he sees Queen Bee, aka his daughter Sonja, there to kill him. Then at Hardy's grave, Queen Bee is shot by Golgo.
- Hardy's personal life. Behind the glitz and glamor of politics and his confident masquerade, he's a broken man with only drugs to comfort him.
- In "The Midnight Sun Waits For Love", Golgo makes love to a depressed woman who regains her will to live after her encounter with him. She follows him to a routine hit, where she witnesses him in the act. Golgo, knowing that there must be no witnesses to any of his jobs, puts a bullet in her as she resignedly accepts her fate. The worst part is that the last panels make it very clear Golgo hesitated on pulling the trigger.
- "Côte d'Azur" has Golgo face off against his first true rival, the blind hitman Ixion. At the end of the story, he guns him down, but notices that his loyal guard dog is extremely distressed at its master's death. In a tearjerking moment of Cruel to Be Kind, Golgo kills the dog so it can join its master in death.
- Golgo's target in "Melancholy Summer is a runaway British agent with a young wife. At story's end, Golgo, knowing that the wife is just a few meters away and might hear the shot, affixes a silencer to his M16. He makes the kill and the wife is spared from knowing of her husband's death.
- Golgo's mission at the end of "The Republic of Hunger" has him aid a band of Biafrian rebels in destroying a Nigerian oil depot at the height of the Nigerian Civil War. They almost make it out after planting an explosive charge Golgo has to shoot in order to blow the facility, but a child soilder that accompanied them is left behind to face the wrath of the guards. The commander gives Golgo the order to shoot, and he does. The resulting explosion kills the guards and the child soldier... who turned out to be the commander's only son.
- In "The Law of the Pedigree", the target is this time a prized racing horse with a false pedigree. Making matters worse is that its jockey has no intention of letting the horse get killed. She tries to make Golgo back off, but fails. In the end, she tries to snipe Golgo at the race tracks, but is outsniped herself. And her father, being Golgo's client and having told her the truth, is also killed for having broken the terms of the contract.
- In "Gravestone in Sicily", the client is a Sicilian priest whose family was killed by gunmen under a pair of brothers who run the local mafia. He could only pay Golgo for one brother's death, however. At the client's request, Golgo assists him in killing the second brother by making a customized rifle the priest would use after being snuck into the first brother's coffin. The priest does manage to kill the brother with just one shot, but is promptly gunned down by his bodyguards. The last words of the story say it all:Those last rites that I gave were for myself, knowing that when I laid down in that coffin that I was a dead man. May God forgive me my trespasses even as I did not forgive those who trespassed against me.
- Although Golgo manages to save Los Angeles from a nuclear meltdown "Wasteland", it turns out his client had witnessed an earlier hit of his, and had withdrawn the truth from Golgo in order to hire him. After the job is accomplished, the client takes off his clothes to commit suicide by rapid radiation poisoning while revealing the truth to Duke. Golgo lights him one last smoke before putting a bullet in his head off-screen.
- In "Way of the Wiseguy", an aging mafia boss gives a wannabe member one chance to enter the gang and avenging the death of the boss' son by killing a senator who was in cahoots with the gang's enemies. For one moment, it's as if the would-be mafioso would accomplish the job. It was all a set-up. He was supposed to be a distraction so Golgo could kill the senator while making it look like his bodyguards had killed him. The would-be mafioso didn't even get a single hit on the senator.
- In "The Dark-Skinned Sniper', Golgo's client, before being gunned down by NYPD cops, hires Duke to kill a corrupt racist businessman in the Deep South. The reason being is that he was complicit in the death of a sailor he'd befriended while they both in Vietnam. The soldier, unfortunately, was neighbors with the target - the richest man in town. He was so disgusted at the fact that the local war hero was associating with a colored person, he drives the sailor out as an outcast. The poor man commits suicide a week later.
- "One Minute Past Midnight" is an entire rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. Years before the story starts, a CIA agent's KGB contact is exposed by a CIA double-agent. The contact, refusing to defect on the grounds of personal honor has the agent smuggle out his brother, Yuri, instead. The elder brother later is executed while Yuri flees to the States where he gets married and lives a peaceful life. However, the death of his brother takes a massive emotional toll on both men. When the double agent, now on Death Row has his execution date come up, Yuri decides to make sure that the agent dies. Shortly before committing suicide, he leaves half his life insurance and pension to his wife, while the other half is used to pay Golgo so he can snipe the Georgia state governor, thus preventing the agent's potential commutation.
- The client in "Galinpero" hires Golgo to take out a gang of bandits who'd massacred his entire family. Unfortunately he is so poor that he can only pay Golgo with a small packet of stolen diamonds. Duke takes the job regardless, but the man dies before being given an answer.
- Leon Goldman in "Afterglow" had his last case as an FBI agent be the worst one: he had to solve one of Golgo's killings. He fails, but Duke turns up again in his life after he does a routine job in Hawaii. Leon, wanting some measure of peace and willling to bury the past, requests to Golgo that he leave the islands immediately. Golgo does not back off, and shoots Leon in order to silence a potential witness.
- However, the one incident that arguably takes the cake as the most heartbreaking moment in the entire Golgo 13 franchise is in the story "Checkmate"note : Golgo is attacked by three thugs in an airport lobby. He guns them down with ease, but is shot at in the shoulder by a fourth attacker. He kills the attacker with a headshot, but it turns out to be a young ten year-old girl who had been sent by her grandfather in an elaborate scheme to get revenge on the legendary assassin.