Starring Akio Ohtsuka, Masako Katsuki, Kinryuu Arimoto, Ryusei Nakao, Mugihito
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
I’m trying to think of what I can say that I didn’t already say in my review of the first Golgo 13 anime (which is not the first Golgo film; there were also two live-action films from the ’70s). The two are very similar. This is all the more impressive for the 15-year gap between the two. I could point out a certain science fiction trilogy that had a similar time gap between it and its sequel trilogy, and that one didn’t turn out so good at all, even though it too kept the original director on board. But Osamu Dezaki brings back the stoic assassin as if not a day has gone by.
As such, you’ll probably enjoy, or hate, Queen Bee as much as you did the original. It’s still filled with sex and violence. Golgo is still the silent badass that always gets the job done, and gets a few ladies done along the way. If anything, it feels even more like an ’80s film than The Professional since the second half of Queen Bee sends Golgo to duke it out with a drug cartel in a South American jungle.
Gone, too, is that astonishing ’80s CG that gave me so much joy in the original. This, however, is unquestionably a good thing. Bad ’80s CG is hilarious. Bad ’90s CG is just bad. Aside from that, the film’s visuals look very similar to the earlier film as well. The picture quality is crisper and the character designs bear a slightly more ’90s feel, but despite it all, if you put the two side by side, they wouldn’t look out of place together. This sadly also extends to the animation. This level of quality was perfectly acceptable for an early ’80s film, but by 1998 I expect more fluid movement in my anime.
It does suffer from a limited runtime though. It’s only an hour long, and that leaves it feeling a bit rushed. The more engaging plot is betrayed by its time restrictions. The strong emotional moments therefore come off as overdone melodrama rather than serious character development.
The end result of all this is a film that’s slightly better from a technical perspective, but not quite as entertaining. It is, however, an ideal sequel, one that stays true to the original while still having its own identity. So if you want some violence, badassery, and lots of sex, Golgo 13: Queen Bee is every bit as good a choice as before. Likewise, if you want compelling characters and a meaningful story, it’s every bit as a bad a choice as before.