Golgo 13 Ep. 37: I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet on this site, but Saitō Pro’s Doll: The Hotel Detective wasn’t just another side project by the people who brought you Golgo 13 - it actually takes place *inside* Duke Togo’s world. Of course, the two characters eventually met, even though the Doll series was already on the outs by the time it happened in late 1980 - whether this was meant as a fond farewell or the natural culmination of a limited concept is unknown to me, though I’m aware the crossover occurred strictly in the Golgo 13 series proper, hence its absence from Crunchyroll’s digital release.
As luck would have it, however, “Christmas, 24 Hours” was one of the 50 stories selected for adaptation in the scintillatingly utilitarian 2008-09 Golgo 13 television anime - it’s the one where Duke is mistaken for a rapist on Christmas Eve by a hotel detective who gets up in his business for the duration of the episode. For some reason, Sentai’s English subtitles translate her name as “D’or” (pronounced ‘Dior’ in the English dub), but it’s pretty clear that the Japanese VAs are saying something closer to “Dollu” - it’s the same character.
All of this goes a ways toward explaining why #37 is seemingly a nothing episode: the intrigue is meant to come from watching two Takao Saitō creations sizing each other up. Stripped of that context, it’s just a threadbare reprise of 1971’s all-time classic “The Impossible Hit” (aka “ROOM No.909”, adapted into ep. 2 of the anime), with Duke checking into a hotel, wowing the authorities who totally know he just shot someone, and walking away scot-free under a cloud of ellipses. The typically unspectacular production values of the tv series don’t do much to enliven things, although (as usual) there’s also nothing to overtly impede consumption. Storyboards come courtesy of Masakatsu Iijima — one of the directors on Anime V Comic Rentaman back in the day who was not Shinya Ohira or Shinji Hashimoto — while the episode director/sakkan is Shinichi Suzuki, who was purportedly one of the animators (if not a segment director) on Kihachiro Kawamoto’s ‘03 anime-as-poetry project Winter Days; not unprofessional folks, but there’s little here will have you seeking out more.
But what fun can you expect if you *have* read Doll? Frankly, the heretofore unstoppable heroine spends much of the runtime knocking her head against the concrete wall of godly professionalism that is Duke Togo - she delivers not one, but two of the obligatory ‘Duke is awesome’ refrains, in which common mortals testify as to the excellence of the title man. Admittedly, though, it’s mostly a long build to a cute concluding twist: when Doll confronts G13 at the end, she thanks him for engaging his target off of hotel property, to spare them the trouble - it’s implied that Duke respected his fellow, less successful Saitō character enough to shoulder some extra difficulty. He can handle it! After all, Golgo 13 travels the world with an irresistible premise behind his comic and unerring, inhuman dedication - Doll, on the other hand, is a Hotel Detective, and good as she is, when her comic ends, she goes the fuck home.