Get Backers Vol. #05 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, March 26, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, April 05, 2005
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 Get Backers possibly survive the final trials he's got in store for them?
Watch as the Get Backers 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.
Hitting the climax with lots of action and some strange revelations, the big arc in the series brings much of the past to the forefront.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. 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, Get Backers 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 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. We did note some very light blocking going on in a few scenes where some of the solid color sections didn't maintain their feel too well at 720p upconverted). For the bulk of people checking this out, it's going to be a near flawless looking transfer.
Using the Japanese release artwork, the bad boys working under Makubex get the cover this round with their intense looks and pretty style that's sure to appeal to both sides of the aisle. 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 shows premise and the discs extras. Most of the important information for the technical side is listed in the information grid along 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 discs 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 seem to be lately, 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 read our players' language presets 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 commentary, this time with the ADR writer as well as the translator for the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final episode of this volume, we get to the conclusion of the Limitless Fortress arc within the series and thankfully it does end with a nice sense of finality for the arc but not for the characters. With this being the last five episodes of a sizeable storyline, a lot of the focus is really just on the action side of things and then the big revelations that make everything crystal clear, credit scroll and end of story. Makes for great viewing but can be a bit difficult to talk about since most everything would be a spoiler.
With the way things have been going, the various smaller groups that have made up the recovery service for this mission have found themselves all over the map and dealing with their encounters that were calculated by Makubex to provide the most entertainment as well as time delays in order to let him get his project fully under way. Some of the fights that have resulted from the last round of virtual reality settings have left both sides fairly wounded but as they've ended up with Gen for some healing, the healing has spread to the intellectual level as they've been talking more and more about what led them to where they are. The understanding becomes one of the key parts to the final few episodes as the reasons each had taken up a particular side become clear and they find out just how wrong they were in what they were believing about Ginji and his abandoning of the Volts.
For Ginji, things are probably the most interesting for him for a good chunk of this as his fight gets only more intense and he loses more of himself to the Lightning Emperor persona that allows him to draw in the staggering amounts of power that are contained within the buildings that make up the Limitless Fortress. It's truly its namesake when it comes to Ginji due to just how well it's able to keep him in power and how intense that power is. Though he ends up losing himself more and more the strong her gets, the payoff is definitely there and it's a price he has to pay to be able to take down his enemy. Though the fight scenes are fairly straightforward, there are some really good pieces to it as he and Akabane really go at it.
One of the expected things with this arc and it's expected because of the nature of the series and what the characters have done before, is that they do go and make Makubex a sympathetic villain as we learn more of his own motivations for doing what he is doing. As he gets into things himself we learn more of his past from the ground up and how that's affected his life as well as the time from when he joined up with Volts and began following Ginji and admiring him for what he was able to do with the lower levels. I would have preferred a more evil or sinister villain for all that's been said or done but rescuing the old members of Volts has become a recurring theme in this arc so it wasn't surprising and it'll just leave the mysterious upper levels folks to be the real evil that's left to discover.
Bringing this arc to a close and hopefully setting the stage for some lighter stand alone episodes in the next round, Get Backers finishes things out here about as expected. The arc in general has been a lot of fun and the payoff areas for me has been the entire relationship that's grown between Ginji and Akabane and all the super deformed moments that Ginji goes through with him. It's been some of the best comedy in this series and it helped to move the flow of the show along nicely with its darker nature and long running fight style. The finale here has plenty of revelations for this arc and in the end goes a long ways towards emphasizing why Ginji and Ban simply get along so well and trust each other so much.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,Commentary
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Get Backers