Get Backers Vol. #06 (also w/box) (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, June 13, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2005
What They Say
After hunting down a boy genius bent on destroying the world, the Get Backers deserve a few simple, in-and-out recovery jobs, right? But with Ban and Ginji doing the recovering, “easy money” is anything but! First stop: a hot springs vacation. But between a jewelry thief and Natsumi’s demonic ping pong playing, this vacation looks more like a study in stress. Then it’s off to find a stolen briefcase with the help of a cute little high school girl…from hell! Assuming Ban and Ginji can survive her brutal put-downs, their next recovery request will be even trickier: get back a man’s memory! Finally, Clayman returns and sends them on a quest for the lost arms of the Venus de Milo.
With the first half of the series over, Get Backers takes it easy with a few stand alone tales before launching into it's next multi-episode arc.
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, 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 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 sixth volume of the series was also released in a disc + box format. The box is one of the standard soft boxes that ADV favors. While not as thick as the chipboard most people, myself included, prefer, it's not as bad as the overly thin boxes used on things like Aquarian Age. The box for this looks good with a full wraparound image that has the enemies the duo run into throughout the series on one the main panels while the lead characters give their usual happy go lucky looks on the spine. The other main panel is nicely balanced out by having the two women from the show with some great hands-on cleavage action going on. Nothing extra is included in the box which means that it's a rather pricey piece for what's generally considered low quality material, regardless of how good the actual artwork design is. This is the second of two boxes for the series as it holds the second set of five of the ten volumes it's set to run.
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 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 awhile 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 down time 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 awhile. 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.
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,Behind the Scenes interviews with Travis Dean (Ryuu); Ben Wolfe (Shakuryuu) and Jenny Larson,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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: 13 & 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