Get Backers Vol. #06 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Dani Moure
Review Date: Friday, July 21, 2006
Release Date: Monday, November 21, 2005



What They Say
Does "back to normal" have to mean...back to being broke?

Finally, they're out of the Limitless Fortress and back to doing what they do best: finding stuff that's lost. And never getting paid! After hunting down a boy genius bent on destroying the world the GetBackers deserve a few simple, in-and-out recovery jobs, right? Some easy money is just what the doctor ordered. 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. Can Ban and Ginji get it all back? Will they go crazy in the process? And will they ever manage to make a buck?! Find out in the latest volume of Get Backers!

The Review!
The second season of Get Backers begins with some lighter tales after the intensity of the Limitless Fortress arc.

Audio:
I switched between the Japanese and English tracks for my main reviewing and did find myself preferring the performances in the Japanese track. The stereo mix comes across well, and I just enjoyed the performances of the voice actors a lot too, especially Ginji as Shoutarou Morikubo plays his funny side extremely well. 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 in general, except when down-mixing to stereo as the episodes just sounded really "tinny". It isn't really a great deal different to the stereo mix either.

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:
The artwork is a bit busier now, this time sporting Ban fighting Fudou with their action pose taking up most of the cover (it seems a bit inappropriate too since the enemy isn't on this disc, but never mind). 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 like to see.

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 Travis Dean (Ryuu), Ben Wolfe (Shakuryuu) and Jenny Larson (Riko) all talking about their characters and role in the show, as well as fielding some more general questions. For fans of the dub, these are good viewing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this disc marking the beginning of the show's second season, we get some more stand-alone and light-hearted tales before launching into a new multi-episode story, but the distractions of the first few episodes are fun and provide a much needed break after the intensity of the Limitless Fortress arc.

To start with, Ginji and Ban decide to take a much needed break, hitting up the hot springs, and Hevn, Natsumi and Paul tag along. Of course, there's another reason for Ginji and Ban to be there - to get back a wedding ring that supposedly went missing in the women's hot spring. There are quite a few amusing turns in this episode, such as when the pair sit in the men's side staking out, and then spot a beautiful woman, that actually turns out to be Kazuki instead! It turns out that Kazuki has brought Juubei here to fix his eyes that were damaged in the Limitless Fortress. Ginji and Ban continue to try and track down the perpetrators that stole the ring, only to discover the true culprits are... monkeys.

Yes, that's right, as ridiculous as it sounds the ones they've been tracking were monkeys all along. As amusing as it is at times, I'm beginning to realise that at times, Get Backers can try and be a little bit too silly for its own good.

The next episode takes us to school, as Ginji and Ban are hired to retrieve a stolen bag that the owner suspects was taken by a school girl, and are told that she is probably carrying a handbag shaped like a teddy bear. The pair track her down but she's pretty ignorant and only agrees to tell them where the bag is if she has some fun. So Ginji and Ban spend the day amusing her, even bringing in the other retrievers to help. This leads to some pretty hilarious situations, such as Himiko taking the girl on a motorcycle ride when she wanted to go to a theme park, only to ungratefully be called unfeminine for her troubles. Kazuki is also called in, but instead of a nightclub he meets her in the café, and thanks to Natsumi's styling gets told he looks gay. Shido's animals aren't even enough to stop her attitude. There's more in store when one of the transporters (no prizes for guessing who) turns up to spoil the party. This is another goofy episode but it is a lot of fun if you take it at face value, and again it's nice to get these episodes after the Limitless Fortress story was becoming tiresome. The Ginji super-deformed moments are a little disturbing throughout these episodes though, it has to be said!

We get a bit more serious in our next story, when a man suffering from amnesia asks the Get Backers to do something slightly more unusual " get his memories back. But his girlfriend intervenes and, without his knowledge, pleads with Ginji and Ban to drop the case. Naturally curious why his girlfriend wouldn't want him to rediscover his past, the pair uncover the shocking truths. This is quite a well told episode, with a good, interesting story that unravels slowly as you piece things together with Ginji and Ban. While it becomes a bit obvious the sort of thing that will happen, it nevertheless is an enjoyable stand-alone story.

The final two episodes then form our next arc, starting with Ban arguing with Hevn over the commission she takes for a job. They end up taking a job independent of her, so Hevn hires some others to do the next job she has. Ginji and Ban are asked to get back the arms of the Venus de Milo statue, as a woman has apparently got her hands on the originals and wants to place them back on the statue to forever be remembered in the history of art. Clayman, who hired Ginji and Ban, wants to put a stop to it though, and after Ban makes clear they only retrieve things and don't steal, the pair go for it. But it turns out that Akabane has been hired as the transporter of the arms, so it seems they are once again destined to cross paths.

While this is definitely an intriguing story in and of itself, what makes it all the better is the character interactions. It's now that we really get to see all the character building and past relationships really pay off as they can really lift a standard episode to something much better. Earlier we had amusing moments like in the high school girl episode, and here we get some wonderful moments with Ginji and Akabane. Their relationship is my favourite in the series, just because seeing Ginji go super-deformed next to a deadpan Akabane just never gets tiresome. He's the only one who always seems to look on Akabane as an ally and friend even when he's completely sinister. It's just so much fun to watch, and away from the fighting action of the past few volumes it really reminds me what I like about this series so much.

In Summary:
After the fighting frenzy that was the last disc, and the heavy arc that was the Limitless Fortress, this disc returns to a few stand-alone stories and gets back the fun (sorry). The character interactions are as enjoyable as ever, and while a couple of episodes are a bit goofy, the stories are generally well told and interesting. This volume really reminded me what I was enjoying so much about this series, which is a good thing considering we still have four more volumes left! I'm really looking forward to the next disc now.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitle,Voice Actor Interviews,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