- Escapist Character: Just like Duke's inspiration James Bond, Duke is a consummate assassin who is very, very successful with the ladies.
- Ho Yay: Robert Hardy and Thomas Waltham are quite... close to each other, to say the least. The fact that Waltham had Hardy's mistress taken away enforces this even further.
- Magnificent Bastard: Master assassin Duke Togo, better known as Golgo 13, spends most of his stories coming up with a complex gambit to fool his target and get him in a position to take his shot. A master sniper, Togo has been active decades with incredibly few failures and a sterling reputation as a professional. In one instance, he tricked a CIA traitor into leading him to her boss while wearing a red coat against the snowy background to snipe them both in one shot. In another, knowing a mobster was faster on the draw than him, Golgo fooled him into being occupied with his dominant arm holding on to a woman so Golgo could outdraw him. Throughout every story, what characterizes Golgo 13 is cold charisma and unreadable expression, always having a plan to take out his target, no matter who it is.
- Memetic Mutation: Duke's face has gone memetic much like the Yaranaika face among Japanese artists, and gets slapped on just about any character's face as a source of quick comedy due to its out-of-place 'coolness'.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- In the first anime movie The Professional, Corrupt Corporate Executive Leonard Dawson, seeking revenge for the assassination of his son Robert, crosses the horizon when he becomes desperate enough to concede to a Psycho for Hire's demand to be allowed to rape Robert's wife. And things get worse from there.
- In the series, Togo passes a potential MEH of his own when he sleeps with and later kills an innocent who makes the mistake of following him to a job. This is played around due to Togo's Pragmatic Villainy: He won't betray a client even under torture and one of the few times he failed ("Telepath") he tried to return the money (he later made good on it). However, he doesn't care who his client is, who his target is, or the reasons behind the hit. As long as he's paid and not double-crossed, eh, anything goes.
- Narm: Some of the dialogue in the movies can invoke this, such as Rita's come on line to Duke:I don't want your money. I just want you to pull my trigger lovingly and softly.
- Most of the voice acting in the 2008 series, while not great, usually served its purpose well enough and was an overall adequate experience. Some of the voices, however, were decidedly off the mark. Case in point, a group of Italian gangsters in one of the earlier episodes.
- 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.
- Special Effect Failure: The infamous CG helicopter scene in The Professional. It was the very first use of computer animation ever (beating The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. by one year), and it shows.
- Superlative Dubbing: Even Bennett the Sage, in a review that was largely critical of the film, was blown away by Dwight Schultz's performance as Robert Hardy, specifically singling out a scene where the character screams in anguish over his lost mistress and daughter.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The codename "Golgo 13" is apparently a reference to Golgotha, the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified, and Judas Iscariot, considered the 13th person at the last supper Passover meal, (though, in reality, there were AT LEAST 14 people there, it's a common association). For bonus points, the Japanese logo for the series prominently features a skeleton wearing a crown of thorns...
YMMV / Golgo 13