Get Backers Vol. #03 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Release Date: Monday, May 16, 2005
What They Say
The Get Backers are back, and this time it's no toy mascot they're after. A mysterious client wants an object, so classified it can only be called by its initials IL, recovered. They'll confront Makubex and a series of minions with every kind of weapon imaginable from bionic hair to explosive metal threads. Will our heroes survive? Or will Makubex make mincemeat of them all?
The past comes back to haunt our heroes as they are forced to enter the Limitless Fortress.
I listened to the Japanese track for my main reviewing and the stereo mix comes across well,. I enjoyed the performances of the voice actors a lot too, with all the key performers putting in great efforts. I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
I also spot-checked the disc in English, and this time I noticed no issues with the 5.1 track. From what I listened to, it had some good directionality during the episodes proper, though it didn’t seem a great deal different to the stereo mix.
With five episodes on this disc plus extras, you might expect the video quality to suffer somewhat. Not so, as this anamorphic widescreen presentation looks great, with colours coming across extremely well and no noticeable artifacting during regular playback. Like many recent ADV shows, Get Backers looks very good.
Subtitles are in a nice yellow font (ADV’s usual), and I didn't notice any major grammatical or spelling errors.
The front cover has another great image, this time of Shido and Kazuki (playing with his threads). The artwork is really nice, and it’s the sort of cover that really stands out. The volume number is also on the cover, as well as the volume title, the logos and a tagline. The back contains the usual summaries and screenshots, with ADV UK’s excellent technical information boxes at the bottom.
This release continues without any inserts (not a bad thing in my book), with ADV UK instead opting to put the disc in a clear keepcase, with a clean image of the cover art behind the disc and the chapter and extras listings behind where the insert would sit. It works really well and is certainly something I won’t mind seeing more of.
The menus are simple but functional, with a brief introduction sequence continuing to the static opening menu featuring Ginji and Ban on either side. The selections in the centre are thankfully comprehensive. You have the ability to select an episode, the usual languages and special features, as well as scene selection. The only difference with this volume is that it has a blue tone to it. The opening theme plays over this menu. Submenus are simple and static, but all have different music from the show playing over them. The menus are nice and functional with quick access times.
ADV continues with a surprising amount of extras. The clean opening and ending show up again, which is nice enough. Then there’s another instalment of “Behind the Scenes”, this time with Judson Jones (Emishi), Joey Hood (Kagami), Christa Kimlicko Jones (Sakura), Brent Werzner (Juubei) and Cassie Fitzgerald (Ren). All of the participants spend a bit of time answering some questions (which appear on screen) about their past works, what they do outside of anime, how they got the parts, their performances in the show and so on. While the questions aren’t necessarily the most spectacular, it’s nice to get to know the English voice actors a bit more.
The other extra is a commentary on Episode 12 with Samantha Inoue Harte and Hector Martinez. To be honest, I turned this one off after a few minutes as neither had anything to do with the show, so I wasn’t really sure of the point of it.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With each of the previous discs of Get Backers, I’ve really enjoyed the way the producers have managed to elicit some great emotions out of the characters, and present some really interesting and well told stories, through the use of arcs that cover multiple episodes. In each of the arcs so far, we’ve also been given hints about the pasts of Ginji and Ban, and at various times the past has started to catch up with them.
But with this latest volume, the series hits a real stride as we embark on the biggest story arc yet, that melds a well-told story, all the superb recurring characters that have been introduced thus far and has the past once again come and haunt Ginji in a big way, and it doesn’t even end in the five episodes on this disc!
When Hevn is given a massive assignment that involves the Limitless Fortress – the place where Ginji grew up and once ruled as the Lightning Emperor of VOLTS, along with his Four Kings – she knows she needs a team of the very best. And that’s exactly what she assembles at the Honky Tonk, assembling not only Ginji and Ban, but also Shido and Kazuki who we met on the last disc. As if gathering all the good guys wasn’t enough, she also needs a couple of others who are excellent at their craft, namely Himiko and the one and only Dr Jackal.
Despite Ginji and Ban’s initial concern, they agree to team up, and Hevn takes her six to the clients, who are interested in recovering something called IL from within the Limitless Fortress. But there’s a new king in there, the young genius Makubex, who has assembled his own team that the Get Backers and crew will have face at every turn. With deception just around the corner, suspicions run wild and things go from bad to worse when the group is split off into three pairs as soon as they enter the Limitless Fortress. Clearly this isn’t going to be the smoothest mission.
In truth, I only had one real disappointment with this disc, and it’s that this story isn’t concluded on it! Instead we get a cliffhanger that will lead in to the fourth volume, but any wait will seem excruciating because once again the story is so well told and engrossing that it’s hard to pull yourself out when it’s all over. It’s really the only shame here, because the episodes themselves are a lot of fun.
Once again the writers pull out all the stops, and it works a treat. Going into the Limitless Fortress now, having whetted our appetites with glimpses on the previous discs, is a good move as it doesn’t drag things out right to the end. And what’s more, making the mission so grand that it requires so many people to be gathered, not just Ginji, Ban, Shido and Kazuki, but also Himiko and in particular Dr Jackal just goes to reiterate how difficult it will be. It sets things up nicely as it adds an element of the unknown, as though entering the Fortress could literally see anything happen to the group, and with a couple of the “bad guys” in the mix it also has you looking for some double-crossing.
Returning to the place he left to join Ban brings out some really interesting emotions for Ginji, and it’s great to see a bit more range and depth to his character. It has a knock on effect for Ban, too, as we see his reactions to things. The other real masterstroke in this story though is splitting the group up into pairs early on, as it allows us to see more of each character, and in the case of those we haven’t seen as much of, that really helps flesh them out.
Ginji and Dr Jackal was perhaps the obvious pairing, but it’s definitely an interesting one as you know him turning on Ginji would be a bit too obvious, since Ginji is constantly worrying about that himself. But there’s a lot of funny stuff in their interactions, although surprisingly we probably see the least of this particular pair in over the course of the disc. The comedy provides a bit of relief at times from the rest of the story, and suits the two characters to a tee, because they have history and they play off each other really well.
Ban ends up with Shido, which probably shouldn’t be surprising since they had a fair bit of banter on the last disc and the characters are very much alike in many ways. They play off each other well too, especially during their battles with some of the other people, at which point they’re still willing to bicker like children. I also really liked how the situation on the last disc played out, with the deception and the double bluff as they nearly got caught out.
The most interesting pairing for me though was Himiko and Kazuki, because they’re both characters we haven’t seen so much of, so getting to see more was always going to be interesting. It certainly showed a lot of new aspects to their characters, with Himiko showing a surprising amount of loyalty and a lot of intelligence (and deviousness), while Kazuki also shows how loyal he was to Ginji and how much he is capable of.
All told, it’s a really good story that I can’t wait to see the conclusion of. It’s told in a really fun and interesting way to keep the pace up, and we get some great character moments throughout the disc. With regards to the production values, they do take a bit of a dip again here as there are a few more still pans than I’d like, especially during fights, but it’s not really distracting when you’re engrossed in the action.
If you thought the first two volumes were good, this one is even better. The characters in the series are a really interesting bunch, and you can really see that here. The story is a lot of fun and each episode had me itching to see the next, which is never a bad thing at all. While it’s a long series, with each disc having five episodes it’s really good value. If you can’t afford to commit to it, then I’d strongly suggest a rental, as this is a series that I recommend highly.
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Commentary,Behind the Scenes,Clean Opening and Closing
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Get Backers