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At fourth-grade recess the day after CASINO ROYALE aired, we were all humming Herb Alpert's theme mightily. In truth, we thought it was pretty cool. But then in truth we also liked Mort Drucker's version of Bond as much as the real thing. I remember an epic walk across the subdivision to lay two precious dollars in the hand of a kid who owned a certain Super Special.

Your dad is pretty much right. The Soviet theater commander in the Far East, Marshal Vasilevsky, planned to land troops on Hokkaido on August 22, until the invasion was called off at the last moment by Stalin. President Truman, who had authorized the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, spared Japan the divided fate of Korea when he sent a message to Stalin on the 18th that Hokkaido was to be considered within the American sphere of influence (the Potsdam Declaration had some ambivalence on this point, and the USSR had already taken the Kurile Islands).

In this alternate history, activist Mamoru Oshii is assassinated in 1979 by the right-wing authoritarian government of Nan-Nihon, the same year Democratic People's Republic of Japan propagandist Yoshiyuki Tomino premieres BUNGEI SENSEN GUNDAM. Shorn of its Marxist-Leninist content (leaving each episode about only twelve minutes long), the show is padded out with stock footage of a humorous robot, 6-Haro-6, and aired on U.S. television as JOHNNY DESTINY.

In the novel CASINO ROYALE, published the year the Korean War ended, we learn the very first person Bond killed for the Secret Service was Japanese, a cipher expert he sniped in Manhattan at a range of three hundred yards, Golgo-style—"I got the Jap in the mouth as he turned to gape at the broken window...Patriotism comes along and makes it seem fairly all right, but this country-right-or-wrong business is getting a little out of date. Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism."

Bond concludes (and so the series begins) that he has nothing against Soviet spies as such—intelligence gatherers—regarding them as "civil servants" like himself. The moral difference for him is that England has no equivalent of SMERSH, which enforced the loyalty of Soviet spies by terror and death. When the Japanese 126th Division made its last stand in Manchuria on August 15th, 1945, five volunteers from their transport unit each rushed a Soviet tank carrying fifteen kilograms of plastic explosive. All five tanks were destroyed, together with the suicide bombers, whom the Russians called not kamikaze but smertniks.

Did Tamba reveal if, like, Golgo, his erection was so powerful that he maintained it even in the presence of Sean Connery? As for the 007 manga influence, the short answer is "yes," but we expect to learn more when the two-part Takao Saito interview appears in Vols. 10 and 11 of GOLGO 13.

Much to my chagrin, I've heard pretty unanimous word that the FRWL game is mediocre. What a waste, but it looks purdy and the Connery factor is probably going to force me to see for myself.

LICENCE TO KILL feels more like the Bond in the books to me. Bond is a cut throat killer, not some pithy hanky sniffing dandy that the movies have turned him into.
-d!

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