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Get Backers: Back in Business Anime DVD Review

8 min read
Ginji Amano and Ban Midou, two chronically broke but supernaturally empowered youths who run a "recovery service" (recovering lost or stolen things for a price).

Get Backers takes it easy with a few stand-alone tales before launching into its next multi-episode arc.

What They Say
They’ve fought their way through the maze of the Limitless Fortress. They’ve done battle with old friends and new foes. They’ve crept closer and closer to the mastermind at the center of all the insanity: Makubex. But can the GetBackers possibly survive the final trials he’s got in store for them? Watch as the GetBackers make their final push into Makubex’s lair! Ban and Fudou face off for a deathmatch in a Roman coliseum. But can the master of the Jagan win against a half-mad warrior bent on vengeance? Meanwhile, Akabane challenges Ginji their deadliest battle yet! And assuming the Lightning Emperor manages to survive his bout with Dr. Jackal, there’s a final enemy waiting for him…a boy who can send them all to oblivion with the press of a button.

The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo along with an English dub. The stereo mix is a solid piece of work with plenty of directionality across the forward soundstage that brings you fully into the action during the big sequences but also hits up the dialogue pieces just as well. The English mix is done in a 5.1 upgrade and that expands well upon the original mix by giving it some greater clarity as well as more oomph during some of the big chase scenes. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2002, the series is presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. For the most part, this is a great-looking release from this period that really shows a lot of detail to the image and is generally problem-free. Colors are rich with a mix of vibrant pieces and solid real-world-style backgrounds. Cross coloration is virtually nil while there’s a touch of aliasing during some of the panning sequences. This was part and parcel of a lot of releases from the period but the majority of the show comes across with a clean and clear look and it takes you back to this time and place well.

Using the Japanese release artwork, we get a very action-oriented cover this time around with Ban, topless of course, fighting against one of the latest villains with a nice set of claws to him. There’s lots of cloak and hair flowing here that pretty much obscures most of the background though. The original logo, complete with the small Japanese text at the top right end of it, is used and the volume numbering is there as well. The artwork itself is nicely detailed and gives you a good idea of what to expect in terms of character designs and the general feel of things. The back cover has a few shots from the show wrapped around a summary of the show’s premise and the disc’s extras. Most of the important information for the technical side is listed in the information grid at the bottom just below the Japanese production information. The insert uses a variant of the front cover skewed a bit while the reverse side of it lists the episode titles and the disc’s extras. Essentially, this is a release that didn’t need an insert.

The menus for this release are simple and straightforward with just static images for the backgrounds with music playing along. The main menu features the lead duo on opposite sides of the screen while the series title and selections are between them. It’s a decent-looking menu but as a number of menus for ADV ended up being during this period, they’re becoming somewhat stale with all the static imagery. Access times are nice and fast and the submenus load quickly. The disc also properly reads our player’s language presents which continues to be a huge plus.

The extras for this release are similar to the last volume but also about right for this point in the series. The standard inclusion of the clean opening and closing sequence is a given while the only other extra is another Behind the Scenes interview session, this time with a few more of the voice actors.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the end of the rather long Limitless Fortress arc with the previous volume, I was wondering how they were going to handle things. Go back to some stand-alone tales for a while and then some small arcs or just leap into the next big thing. Thankfully, I think they took the right route here by going with a few short tales first before launching into the next piece. The downtime and more comedic-oriented light episodes help to ease off of everything that they’ve all gone through, though small parts by most of those from that arc do happen to help keep the continuity.

The stand-alone tales kind of range all over the place. The opening one has a businessman who wants them to retrieve a briefcase he had stolen from him by a bunch of high school girls he admonished in a restaurant. Ban and Ginji find one of the girls easily enough who essentially admits to what happens but she ends up extorting the hell out of them over the course of a day to get what she wants. It’s a typical setup episode where the hip and flighty young high school girl messes with older guys who lived in rough upbringing and can’t stand what’s going on. It does have a lot of cute parts, especially with Ginji defending her because she’s so cute and we get others coming to help out, including an amusing appearance by Akabane who the high school girl just finds to be so attractive and trades email addresses with. Priceless.

Even better, we get a hot springs episode where the gang heads up there to find a missing diamond ring for some old woman who lost it there when she went recently. Hevn ends up coming along as does Paul and Natsume which just drives Ban crazy but Ginji just has fun with everyone and copes like he does. While there is some minor plot about the ring and who stole it, the show plays two other areas up that are much more interesting. One is the arrival of Juubei and Kazuki who are dealing with Juubei’s vision problem. There are some interesting follow-up discussions about things from the Fortress arc and how it’s left people so it was good to see that the storyline wasn’t dropped completely. The other area this episode plays with is just the outright comedy angle that you get with most hot springs episodes, such as sneaking a peek, ping-pong battles, and drinking. Getting Natsume and Hevn in towels certainly makes this a big payoff episode in its own way.

Also, a rather good episode is the one with a man who comes to them asking them to find his lost memory, something that occurred during a car crash recently. He wants to find out who he really is before he and his girlfriend go overseas since he doesn’t want to potentially lead her into a mistake because of it. It’s a rather somber episode all told with lots of rain and gloom but it really works nicely even though it is pretty predictable. It serves as a good end to the stand-alone tales before moving into the next arc. Another nice plus to this volume is that these episodes all have the new opening and ending sequence which I think is much better looking than the original ones.

The show does go into a new arc with the last two episodes and the focus, at least early on as these things do change, is an interesting one as it deals with a woman who supposedly has the original arms to the Venus de Milo and intent on going through a ceremony that will return them to the statue itself, something that will put her name down in art history forever. Bigger issues seem to be playing into this as the woman who has them has hired Akabane to be the transporter for this during the cruise to the island where this will happen while others on the ship have their own powerful Chinese operatives there. Ban and Ginji get brought into it as well and they end up separated before the boat even gets underway, leaving Ginji to deal with things himself for a while. This is just a lot of fun since it has him getting close to Akabane again and the relationship that the two has is simply one of the best things about this series. The amount of times Ginji goes all super-deformed just never gets tiring here when he does it with Akabane.

In Summary:
The new storyline is a bit slow to get moving but that’s not terribly surprising as there’s a sizeable cast associated with it on the bad guys’ side and a lot to introduce. It does look interesting so far and it brings back some fun characters and their relationships get nicely tested – particularly between Ban and Akabane. The episodes leading up to it however are just some light fun for the most part that reminds you that these guys aren’t all serious business gung-ho adventure types all the time but rather just a pair of good friends who get by in interesting ways and have real personality to them. This second half of the series still looks to be as much fun as the first and I’m glad there’s still another big chunk of episodes to go.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Behind-The-Scenes Interviews

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: ADV Films
Release Date: May 17h, 2005
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.