The Perfect Machine of Stupid

*Well, I’m a real idiot. This will teach me to assume anything, because this time I have truly made an ass out of u and me.

You see, I reviewed the new volume of Golgo 13 yesterday. For a good long while, I’d been going on the assumption that stories included in VIZ’s 13-volume series were a combination of a pair of Japanese volumes, the Best 13 series, one collecting the 13 favorite stories of readers (released in 2001), and one collecting the 13 favorite stories of creator Takao Saito (released in 2003). Thus, 13 + 13 = 26, enough for a 13 volume series of books with two stories in each. Just like what VIZ is presenting to the US. Easy, huh?

Except, just this very morning, reader Pedro Bouça (aka Hunter) wrote in to tell me that the French-language edition of the Readers’ volume of the Best 13 series, a big, thick 1328-page monster released in 2006 by Glénat (god, I hope I at least got that right) to match the big, thick 1330-page version released in Japan, did not contain either of the stories I described in my review of Golgo 13 Vol. 7, a volume that presumably would ‘switch over’ from Saito’s favorites to the readers’ favorites.

Well, that got me thinking.

And you know what? I've been completely fucking wrong for a while now.

So now, having utilized Babelfish to navigate through Japanese publisher Shogakukan’s official pages for both the Author’s and Readers’ Best 13 volumes, plus Saito Pro’s own (incomplete) database of G-13 stories, I can say, with confidence, that VIZ’s current release of Golgo 13 is not based on either of the Best 13 collections. Indeed, it doesn’t appear that they share any stories at all, though there‘s room for error, giving what I’m working with (free translators and the official site). I’m now willing to bet that the French-language book Hunter has been reading features tales involving wild monkeys and Okinawan independence and hijacker sniping and the like. Moreover, Saito's picks should have been involving stuff like diamond bosses and people held in cages and international banking. That's not the stories we've been reading.

In addition, The Golgo 13 Gaku, which is listed in the legal indicia of most of the VIZ volumes as “First published by Shogakukan Inc. in Japan as…” appears to actually be a 344-page Official Handbook sort of thing, almost certainly the source material for the File 13 bonus materials seen in the VIZ books, rather than a compilation of stories as originally suspected. Tellingly, no mention of the Gaku is present in the indicia of the new Vol. 7, in which editor Carl Horn imparts information of specific interest to English-speaking audiences.

So where are VIZ’s stories coming from? No clue. Maybe VIZ is just picking things they think will appeal to English-speaking audiences. I don’t know. But I do know these stories aren’t being culled directly from the Best 13 series, nor is the current VIZ release a split up version of those two huge volumes. So thanks for tipping me off, Hunter.

This may seem like a minor background detail, but minor background details bug me, and I hate to think my background information led anyone astray. So there it is. Me am wrong. That's why I plopped in language like "unless I’m grievously mistaken" at the top of the review - sometimes I am.

*And, er, that's going to have to be my post for the day, since I spent all my time studying Golgo 13. See ya!

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