What They Say
The past can haunt you – Old foes can track you down – But nothing’s quite as terrifying as – Apes with an attitude problem! You can’t outrun the past. Whether it’s a bad memory that dogs you, a good one you’re trying to hang onto, or an old nemesis you can’t quite shake loose, the past is always right over your shoulder. Good thing the Get Backers are here, ready to turn the crud of yesterday into the cold hard cash of today! Himiko’s hot on the trail of a kidnapped child -but will her memories keep her from getting the baby back safely? Ban and Ginji hit the beach for some R&R, leaving the next recovery job up to – Natsumi?! Shido is locked in a vicious battle with an Insect Master bent on destroying him. Ginji does something really dumb and winds up in the middle of a madcap hospital farce. And a pack of monkeys harass Ban and Ginji, forcing Shido to choose who he loves more: man or beast! Crazy? Nope. Just another day on the job for our heroes, the Get Backers!
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, Ban and Akabane share the cover this time as the two are poised in a manner to make you think they’re fighting each other, something that doesn’t happen in this volume but looks neat for the cover. This is one volume too late in arriving unfortunately since it would have worked better for the last volume. 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.
Not surprising as we get close to the end of the series, the only extras included in this volume are the clean versions of the opening and ending sequences.
When you get a series like this that has numerous small arcs and a lot of standalone tales, when you get to this point in the series it can be difficult to keep up the energy or find the right kinds of tales to tell. The urge to do more original stories and move away from the still-running manga becomes stronger and you run into the possibility of the characters not acting quite as you always expect. At the same time, you also tend to get a few more silly stories in an effort to break up some of the big drama and angst that’s built up.
This volume plays it a bit seriously for a couple of episodes but then goes a long way to prove that it has a sense of humor. The serious material is fun, such as the episode that focuses on the husband and wife who’ve lost their son to the husband’s father who kidnapped him so he could raise him to take over the family business. The son didn’t have the right personality to be the cutthroat businessman his father was and didn’t want to marry into more wealth so he married for love and lived a simple life. The birth of their son though meant that the new grandfather wanted to make sure his legacy endured and had him kidnapped so he can raise him with the right sense of values his son never got. So the parents go to Hevn to get a recovery team.
Ban and Ginji are up for the job but Himiko gets involved as the transporter for it, particularly involved since she was a stolen child herself and has strong feelings for cases involving children. Due to a tie to the past, we get to see some interesting revelations about her and her brother, from when he rescued her as an infant as one of the Last Children to the time the two of them and Ban spent together as a group. Ban’s amusing to watch in these flashbacks since he’s got his hair reversed and while not subservient he definitely goes by what her brother says first. The first flashback is great since it has Himiko in an apron and being all girly, but the episode is fairly dark in its nature as she tries to make sure this child doesn’t suffer what she went through.
The comedy episodes are where it’s at for this volume though. One episode has Ginji being injured enough that they put him in a hospital which means everyone comes to visit. While there, Ban and Shido end up competing for a new job that comes their way in the form of a couple of nurses who are furious that their letters were stolen and they want them back. Since it’s for cute nurses, they’re all over the job and competing madly against each other. The rest of the arrivals all end up in equally amusing situations, such as Himiko and Ginji looking like they’re involved in the eyes of others and Kazuki ending up wearing a nurse’s uniform since they love to play up his sexuality. There are just so many little sight gags along the way that it’s humorous just from that but what really makes it work is that these characters work so well together that when they have fun, they really do have fun.
Another good comedy episode has Ginji, Ban, and Natsumi heading off to a weekend retreat area to see Madoka only to run into a problem at one of the local stops along the way. Apparently the monkeys in the area have taken over as part of their territory and they run wild throughout it. Things go badly when Natsumi’s beautiful boxed lunch gets stolen and Ban and Ginji find themselves falling into monkey traps and being abused heavily by them. So they figure for revenge they’ll bring Shido in and he’ll get them to leave. This almost works as he faces down the leader, who we had seen in a previous monkey episode, but he ends up becoming the leader and finds himself addicted to the lifestyle of the big boss of a small pond. It’s hilarious the way this just goes on, right up through the outdoor bath scene where Ginji gets to utter “horse” at the right time. This stuff isn’t serious or trying to be in the slightest but it’s exactly what’s needed at this point in the series.
After forty episodes of the show, you know whether or not you like it. Get Backers has been a lot of fun and it continues to be at this point, a place where a number of other shows have certainly lost their appeal. The characters, though sometimes overused, are still enjoyable to watch and their interactions are what really makes it work so smoothly. This volume gives us a number of really good comedic pieces but also gives us enough of the serious material and even sneaks in some interesting flashbacks that expand the characters in much more detail. This is simply good stuff here and is easily recommended to be checked out.
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
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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.