So with The Professional over and done with, the second movie or OVA this time takes Duke Togo in a slightly different direction in regards to its themes and story. Whereas Golgo 13: The Professional focused heavily on a never ending vengeance trip on how so much can be thrown at the main character without being 100% active in his own film, Queen Bee’s story is focused more on the themes of tragedy and corruption and how suffering can be profited from that and then silenced through the deal carried out by the hired man, yet despite that though the result of this doesn’t live up to its name or what it delivers.
Now while this isn’t a direct sequel to the 1983 follow-up, Queen Bee serves as a rather interesting film which explores rather well into the idea of political corruption all carried out by Thomas Waltman as he strings along Robert Hardy to his seat of eventual power, the tragedy of the character of Sonia but more into the support carried out by Duke Togo. What works about this is how due to a decade passing and how animation has changed and updated how the style in this is played out a little different, Golgo 13: The Professional played out exactly as it was – a vengeance driven and pitiful tale with guns blazing which didn’t rely so much on likable characters but in style was done in a way of the films or TV shows that were around at the time such as Miami Vice or The Equalizer, Queen Bee from its animation to its setting plays out much like a political thriller of the 90’s and manages to stay as close to the theme of Golgo 13 but manages to have you support Duke Togo as protagonist this time around.
The characters are as follows, you have Duke Togo himself still as stoic and quiet as can be so there is not much change in the character except with how he comes across through this where having seen much of what has happened to Sonia and how she became how she is, that by the end of the OVA he manages to settle a personal feud of the supporting cast as carried out in another assassination. The character of Sonia comes across as your typical feme-fatale lead where she appears cold, sociopathic, uncompromising and fierce but as you get to know her she is broken and damaged due to her uncomfortably shaken past where she was taken away from her family and as the film implies being sexually assaulted by Thomas Waltman at a young age for his own desire. However despite how she comes across you feel something for her by the end of the OVA once you’ve seen and heard what she has had to deal with to get this far to leading a revolution against those that have been hired to ensure the presidential campaign is a success. Upcoming President Robert Hardy & Thomas Waltman have a rather interesting relationship with eachother, as the film demonstrates there is a small tint of a homosexual engagement based on how Waltman interacts with Hardy but how Waltman does everything he can to ensure he is in power while manipulating Hardy as he is succumbing to the influence of Drugs and Alcohol to manage his stability, this makes eventual connection between Robert Hardy and Queen Bee herself a rather interesting plot twist by the end of the anime.
The Animation in this is rather good, this was done at the time when the 90’s were coming to an end and digital technology was slowly on its way to replacing traditional animation it shows here that the what was current and the time can work alongside the older method in anime. Animation production to this handled by the three studios BMG Victor, Filmlink International & Goodhill Vision directed by Osamu Dezaki with character design work provided once again by Akio Sugino, Queen Bee offers a slightly updated and low lit version of what we have seen before. Using the same clichés such as “Postcard Memories” to capture the characters in their crucial moments this OVA has a strong Neo-Noir influence which plays into its theme of being a dark political thriller, for example when characters are having sex you mostly see parts of their bodies trickling with sweat as they are in the shadows so as not to fully see the whole thing much like how this was played out in The Professional, The speed line effects used to capture the fights are what you’d expect to see in an anime from the 90’s and they manage to come in use.
From the Audio perspective everything works pretty well, the soundtrack carried out by Fujimaru Yoshino & Seiji Suzuki suits this kind of material as they use a very jazz influenced style to bring out moments in this. When the smooth jazz kicks in it works for sex scenes & character interaction but it manages to kick into a progressive and rather tense beat during the action scenes, the opening/ending song Turquoise Blue by Fujimaru Yoshino is a rather fantastic and very catchy tune which displays so much of that smooth element to make a jazz song all that memorable about this. The English dub done by Urban Vision is a rather well done dub directed by Jack Fletcher. For the cast you have John Dimaggio playing the voice of Golgo 13 and he plays him very deep, very mysterious and less like a stern action hero and more like a mysterious enigmatic character, easily the best thing about listening to the dub was hearing John Dimaggio play a character you’d almost never hear him play especially since the character has very minimal dialogue. Denise Poirier (of Aeon Flux fame) plays Sonia/Queen Bee with a very whispery and quiet tone but manages to deliver her dramatic and emotional lines rather carefully and it shows how despite Denise Poirier sounding almost too quiet she can easily go ahead and give a good performance with what she’s given. Dwight Schultz plays Robert Hardy as a character who you can tell is emotionally broken and struggling to hold it together even when he is giving his presidential speeches and Carlos Ferro plays Thomas Waltman as a smooth but very corrupted man and makes you hate the character rather well. The additional cast including names such as Alex Fernandez, John Hostetter, Joe Lala, Scott Menville, Barbara Goodson etc do a rather good job for the roles they are given, one of the reasons why this dub works so well is Jack Fletcher (being one of the most prolific voice directors in voice acting) has a meticulous way of working to where he will select specific actors for the right roles but also do an interesting job of adding additional dialogue to certain productions when he voice directed in Anime to help keep the story flowing which is why much of this plays out like an American crime drama.
So overall and sadly what can be said about Golgo 13: Queen Bee while it is a very entertaining and well written OVA it really is nowhere near as good as The Professional and partially it’s down to the story and it’s level of what went against the main lead. When you saw Duke going against so many oncoming threats such as hired assassins, the CIA & the army and you compare it to small pockets of Guerrilla troops it doesn’t pack much of a harder punch with how much one person can take and what he effect he has on the characters who are against him, with this you don’t get that much. Nonetheless the setup for this is based solely on tragedy than revenge but it’s still makes up for what can be described as a intelligently written but very depressing political thriller.
Sami Sadek is a lifelong Transformers and Anime fan, and can often be found propping up bars or appearing in the background of Auto Assembly vids. He has also talks on Youtube, Tumbls on Tumblr, doodles on Deviantart and is a regular co-host on this very site's Cyberritz. He has never had a swordfight atop a church whilst a crow watches. Honest.