Takao Saito, the author best known as the creator of Golgo 13, has died. The announcement comes from publishing company Shogakukan, which runs Golgo 13 in its semimonthly magazine Big Comic. According to the announcement, Saito died due to pancreatic cancer on September 24th, 2021. He was 84 years old [Thanks, Yahoo News].
Born in 1936 in what is now Wakayama City, Japan, Takao Saito debuted his first manga work at the age of 19, with Baron Air (Kuuki Danshaku) in 1955. He launched his signature work, Golgo 13, in 1968. Since then, the series has won multiple awards and currently holds the title for the oldest manga still in publication. It has over 600 chapters and 201 volumes in print, making it also the manga with the most number of volumes for a single title.
Golgo 13 follows the adventures of the titular assassin for hire. Also known as “Duke Togo,” Golgo is a taciturn killer, speaking only when necessary and carrying out hits without remorse or emotion. He performs many of his assassinations with a customized, scoped M16 assault rifle, wielded with inhuman precision.
The series has been adapted numerous times over the years, spawning two live-action films, anime adaptations, and video games. The most recent game adaptation was 2009’s Golgo 13: Pursue File G-13 on the Nintendo DS.
Shogakukan announced that despite Saito’s death, and in accordance with his wishes, the manga will continue on. Saito Production, a group of artists, will continue to illustrate Golgo 13. New stories will be created with the help of Big Comic‘s editorial staff and others. The franchise got its first-ever spinoff series in July 2021.
Golgo 13 is available in Japan, with Viz Media handling its North America publication.