What They Say
Everyone knows the feeling. You come home and find your home broken into. Your possessions are thrown around. Dresser drawers are ransacked. Everything you own has the unmistakable feel of a stranger’s fingers on them. The only thing worse than that is what isn’t there: the things that once belonged to you that have been taken by creeps. But now is not the time to despair. There’s no time for anger. There’s only time to call Ban and Ginji, the Get Backers! No one will be refused. (At least not until that huge bar tab they’ve run up gets paid off!) Prepare to meet your new heroes. The guys who will restore order where there is only chaos and justice where crime has run free. The dudes who will bring that cute stuffed animal back to its rightful owner. They’re the Get Backers. They’re one phone call away and they’re ready to take your case!
For this viewing, I listened to the English dub, which is offered in 5.1. A 2.0 Japanese track is also available. The audio in this series is really well done. Sound comes through each channel clearly, though there were a few instances where I had to adjust the channels to find a new balance. That was a fairly minor inconvenience, though, as the adjustments were always small. There was also some nice directionality during the battle scenes with the sounds effects, which added to the atmosphere.
This release also looks really nice. The lining is clean, and the colors are clear and crisp. There are some nice light and shading effects when Ginji is using his lightning powers, especially when in the Limitless Fortress and he begins to really channel the power of the Lightning Emperor. Other effects during battle are particularly well done as well. The only flaw I found in this transfer was some minor pixilation at various moments, though I had to really be paying attention to see it. It certainly was not anything to ruin enjoyment of the show.
While the packaging for this set is fairly standard for an ADV thinpak, there is one feature that I particularly like. The art box features pictures of Ban and Ginji on each side, with one side focusing on Ginji’s lightning power and the other showing the spirit of Ban’s “Snakebite.” What I like about this set is that ADV is using double sided thinpaks, i.e. each case can hold two DVDs, one on each side. Therefore, though this set is ten discs, it only takes up the space of a five disc set. As such, both the front and back of each thinpak is actually a front cover, with all of the front covers from the individual releases represented.
This menu’s for this release are the very epitome of “bare bones.” For each disc, there is a static picture of Ban and Ginji bordering the selections, and the opening theme plays while on the main menu. There are selections for each episode and the language setup. There is absolutely nothing fancy about the menus, but they are easy to follow which is what is important.
As is the standard for most ADV thinpaks, there are no extras aside from some ADV previews.
After the ten individual releases, and box sets for each season, this release now brings both seasons of Get Backers together in one package. Get Backers is a pretty decent shonen-type show that does a lot of things well but overall does not stand out from the rest of the shonen crowd.
Get Backers tells the story of Ginji Amano and Ban Midou. Ginji and Ban run the Get Backers Recovery Service: they will get anything back that anybody has lost, and they have a 100% success rate. Their only real problem is that they can never seem to get a decent payday out of it, and therefore have a huge tab at the Honky Tonk Café where they base their operations.
Ginji and Ban are effective Get Backers because of their respective special powers. Ban is the descendent of an ancient tribe, and he has inherited two distinct powers: the Snakebite attack—which gives him a 200kg grip—and the Jagan—a special type of hypnosis that allows him to make his victims see whatever it is he wants for the span of a minute. The Jagan is Ban’s special trump card and can be activated by locking eyes with his opponent, though it can only be used three times in the span of 24 hours, and only once on a person in that same span. Therefore he has to be very careful about how he utilizes it.
Ginji’s case is a little different. Ginji was found alone in a place called the Limitless Fortress. The Limitless Fortress is an unfinished skyscraper and the surrounding neighborhoods in the middle of Tokyo where the poor try to make a decent life for themselves and the outsiders try to pretend they do not exist. Typically, the Limitless Fortress is a lawless place, where the only the strong survive, but for a number of years, a gang known as the Volts fought to protect the everyday citizens from harm and allow them to live somewhat of a normal existence.
Ginji was the leader of the Volts. During the time that he led the gang, Ginji was known as the Lightning Emperor because of his ability it generate and channel electricity through his body. As the leader of the Volts, he dedicated his powers to helping the unfortunate, and upon leaving the Limitless Fortress, he continues to do so through his work with the Get Backers.
When the Get Backers claim they can get back anything, they mean it. The first job they take on as this series starts up is to find a lost stuffed keychain animal lost by a high school girl named Natsume. As is usually the case with lost stuffed animals, finding it brings the Get Backers into a fight with the mafia. At various times they go after lost artifacts, lost treasure, lost people, and even lost happiness. No job is too big or too small for Ban and Ginji.
The early parts of each season were highly enjoyable. In the beginning, the series is mostly episodic, i.e. the buildup, climax, and denouement were contained in one show. The episodes highlighted everything I like in a typical shonen show: a nice mix of goofy characters and plot with Ginji and Ban turning into ass kickers at just the right moment. There was plenty of both goofy laughs and serious action, and both were provided with a good balance. In particular, I loved the episode in season two where Ban and Ginji are away on a break, so Natsume takes on a recovery mission for them and tries to do everything the way that Ban does, usually to hilarious results. And chibi-Ginji might just be the most adorable thing I have seen in anime in a long time.
However, like most shonen shows, Get Backers started to lose me when it delved into the longer and more serious storylines. Each season concludes with a voyage into the Limitless Fortress: the first is to recover an object called the IL from Ginji’s former subordinate Makubex, and the second is to save Makubex from the so called “Gods of the Limitless Fortress”: those who live in the area known as Babylon City, the highest levels of the tower.
The recovery of IL is spread out across fifteen episodes, or more than half of the first season, and saving Makubex takes seven. These episodes turn down the humor, and focus more on prototypical shonen action. In other words, long drawn out battles with large amounts of exposition from characters about their pasts, why ‘x’ hates ‘y’, etc. While the action in Get Backers was about as good as one can expect from these shows, I personally find these drawn out fights to get old very quickly.
For me, Get Backers has a problem with pacing. Really, the show just is not a long enough series to have half of it taken up with just two plotlines, which can both really be considered just one long one. When you add in a couple of four episode arcs and a few two episode arcs, it really felt at times that it was trying to do too much with the time it had. And when you consider that the whole set up of the show is that these two run a company that recovers lost items, long battle sequences just seem really out of place. Get Backers is a series that just works better in a single episode format.
Get Backers is a bit of an odd recommendation for me. When focused on single episode stories, Get Backers is one of the better shows I have seen in a while. It is funny, charming, and has enough action to give it some really nice balance. However, it loses its charm when it starts getting serious and introduces lengthy battles, long winded declarations of hatred, and all of the other stuff that makes a shonen show what it is. I am not always the best judge of a shonen show as all of that does not usually interest me that much, but it really seemed out of place in the context this series presents. Fans of the shonen genre will probably like this one quite a bit, but others may find that despite its brilliance in many places, it drags far too much at times. Mildly recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/a
Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: January 15th, 2008
Running Time: 1225 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System