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Get Backers: Venus Interrupted Anime DVD Review

7 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).

The Arms of the Goddess arc comes to a close and a few standalone tales help flesh out this volume and the cast a bit more.

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.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Using the Japanese release artwork, it’s back to the main cast of characters as a really ticked off Ginji is powered up here as well as a shadowed face of one of the villains from this arc as it’s asset against a very black background that gives it a more ominous feeling. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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)
The Arms of the Goddess arc doesn’t last as long as one might think it would based on how the first two episodes of the previous volume set things up, but with three more episodes of it here they bring it all to a conclusion before moving on to a couple of standalone tales that work rather well but have the problem of continually bringing certain characters back together a bit more often than they should.

The goddess arc has been fairly decent but it’s felt weak overall and these episodes really do bear that out much more. The plot gets realized more as the characters decide to do exposition scenes instead of just killing those in front of them. Yukihiko has brought Ginji to where the arms themselves are but has dislocated all of his joints so he can’t move at all. Amusingly, we do get the split personality discussion about the entire thing but that all goes away when Hera arrives and Ginjia actually recognizes her. He starts going on about someone named Kait who he and Ban knew some time ago that was doing a massive mural painting of his girlfriend, which turns out to be Hera. This apparently brings back enough of a flood of memories to Hera that she starts talking about her relationship with him and how it all went downhill.

Kait’s being a master artist, the “once in a hundred years type,” plays heavily into how he’s intent on portraying Hera as his goddess to be kept in the hearts and minds of the world for centuries to come and he has that kind of focus and desire to do just that. That is until he comes into contact with the actual Venus de Milo and is simply struck down with understanding of what that really means and he’s no longer able to do anything and falls into a bad pattern that ends the relationship and pretty much his life. Apparently, the entire deal with the arms of the goddess is so she can claim revenge for what was stolen from her.

What ends up happening that throws off this arc is that the entire bit with the auction has the introduction of some super hyper drug angle that costs like a billion dollars a hit and that starts to mildly factor into things but isn’t all that important. Instead, we get lots more fighting because of it as the guy behind it wants to keep it safe from all the recovery service people that are now on the island. So between the attempts to get the arms and just trying to move forward into the island, there’s a bit of something for everybody but it really loses its focus. The balance feels like it went out the window and we end up repeating some of the same kinds of fighting scenes as we’ve seen before. All told it does end well, but thankfully it ended earlier than it could have and didn’t go on for too long. It could and should have been resolved in less than five volumes if they’d just cut down on the cast a bit sometimes.

And that’s where the problem with the series has been especially when it hits the single volumes. One episode here focuses on the recovery of some very rare blood that’s needed for a young girl who was in an accident so Ban and Ginji take on the job. There’s a scientist that’s having a batch transported to him for research and he’s backed by less-than-honest people so the duo have no issues in snatching the goods. The problem comes in that once again, Akabane is the protection service and we get the usual squaring off while on top of the transport vehicle. I love the relationship that Akabane has with Ginji and the way they act out with each other, but when it shows up in every arc it becomes far too much. Akabane was neat when he was introduced and I liked the pair of them in the Limitless Fortress arc, but he shouldn’t be used as much as he is, and that goes for most of the others as well.

In Summary:
The charm of the series is still strong in its lead characters and those that surround them but the end of the arc with the Venus de Milo was most welcome since it wasn’t as entertaining as it could be. The pair of follow-up stories work much better and are a lot of fun to watch but they suffer a bit from overuse of certain characters. The main plus is getting a bit more background for both of the leads and understanding the motivations a bit more. Get Backers continues to be a fun show though and even a weak arc is still enjoyable when you can put Akabane and Ginji together.

Features
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: June 28th, 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.