Getbackers Vol. #04 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Dani Moure
Review Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Release Date: Monday, July 18, 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 Review!
The adventures in the Limitless Fortress continue in the latest volume of Get Backers.

Audio:
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 again 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.

Video:
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. 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.

Packaging:
Once again the artwork for this series shines, with Makubex and Sakura taking the cover this time. The layout is much the same as the other volumes, with logo placement and volume number and title, and that’s no bad thing. The back cover 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.

Menu:
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 colour scheme has changed again this volume though). 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 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.

Extras:
The extras do drop a tad on this release but it’s still a good selection. The obligatory clean opening and closing are back, with the latest instalment of the Behind the Scenes featuring interviews with Dan Dietz (ADR Writer), talking extensively about the process involved in writing for the show amongst other things, and John Minnich (Makubex) talking about his character and role in the show, as well as what he does besides voice acting.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The latest volume of Get Backers continues in much the same vein as the last, as the Limitless Fortress arc that began then continues with a vengeance. And while it’s definitely still enjoyable, I can’t help but feel there’s a little something missing from these episodes, especially when you consider that at times it feels like the show has descended into your typical shonen fighting fodder. It’s not quite like that, but much of this volume is handed over to fighting.

Picking up from the last volume, Ginji and Akabane are fighting the thugs sent by Makubex, and Ginji fears he is regressing more towards the Ginji he was during his time as the Lightning Emperor of the Limitless Fortress. The pair are soon forced to fight Juubei, the man who supposedly finished of Kazuki last volume, and a man who came from Babylon City, the upper levels of the Limitless Fortress. The fight is over pretty quickly with Makubex’ men getting away.

Soon everyone, including a returning Kazuki, is reunited in a room setup by Makubex. Once the pleasantries are over, they decide to move forward. There are six doors out in the room, and a dice in the middle. Each one takes turns to roll it and, in an interesting twist, roll one through six in order. What awaits on the other side is different for everyone, but it soon becomes apparent that it’s all part of Makubex’ plan, as some of them are reunited shortly after going through and others are made to wait a while.

Kazuki and Shido are the first to be paired up again, this time facing their old friends Juubei and Emishi respectively. Before the showdown begins proper, Shido and Kazuki are whisked away to the Grand Canyon (or rather a virtual reproduction of it), where the first death match begins.

Much of the remainder of the volume is taken over by the fights, signalling that this Limitless Fortress arc is beginning to wrap up. All the characters are nicely paired with people that mean something from their history. Shido faces Emishi, who he met a long time ago before even the days of VOLTS. Their history unfolds as they fight, and it shows why Emishi is fighting Shido and gives him a little bit of sympathy. The outcome is interesting as not only does it show a nicer side to Shido, it also effectively removes him from the remainder of the battle with Makubex.

Next up to face a former friend is Kazuki as he faces off against Juubei. This battle is well played out with some good emotions as it’s the culmination of several encounters over the last few volumes. Once again the pair were friends long before the days of VOLTS (noticing a pattern there?), and Juubei had long since resigned himself to protecting Kazuki at every turn, which is why Kazuki’s actions cut him so deep. This fight unfolds quite well, integrating the backstory of the two characters with a bit more information on Makubex’ plot and exactly what he’s trying to uncover in terms of the Limitless Fortress and why they are all there, and how Babylon City fits in.

The last battle on the disc is handed over to Himiko, who faces the man from Babylon City who appeared earlier. Naturally, with the past coming into play in all these fights (making the volume’s title, “Battles With The Past” extremely apt), it’s pretty obvious who will turn up to save the day, and yet it doesn’t take away from the excitement of seeing a character like Himiko giving it everything she’s got and pulling off some great moves.

Arguably the most interesting twist in the tale during these episodes is the role of Akabane, also know as “Dr. Jackal”. He ends up meeting with Makubex in what Makubex calls a “betrayal”, though Akabane has his own reasons for what he’s doing and refuses to be pigeonholed that way. His role in this has always been questionable and the writers play up to the “wildcard” kind of persona they’ve established for him really well.

With the fights playing out well in general and being pretty enjoyable, the biggest negative that I can give against this volume is the fights themselves. As confusing as that may sound, the fact that the last three episodes, as well as most of the first, are all given over to fights means that by the last one it does get a little repetitive, especially if you watch the episodes close together. For that reason it’s probably best to spread the episode son this volume out a little, as it looks like the fighting nature will continue through on the next volume.

In Summary:
Aside from that one complaint, the story of Get Backers continues to be intriguing and the characters continue to shine. Whilst a couple of the backstories are a little similar in nature (notably Kazuki and Juubei’s in comparison with Shido and Emishi’s) for the most part there is enough personality in the characters themselves to help ensure things are kept interesting. While I do hope the Limitless Fortress arc concludes on the next volume so it doesn’t outstay its welcome, it’s generally been a strong story arc and one I am looking forward to seeing conclude. If you’ve come this far, this disc gets another recommendation.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Behind the Scenes,Clean Opening and Closing

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.



Mania Grade: B+
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
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Get Backers