Get Backers Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Get Backers

Get Backers Vol. #04

By Chris Beveridge     February 16, 2005
Release Date: February 08, 2005

Get Backers Vol. #04
© ADV Films

What They Say
The minute they entered the Limitless Fortress, the Get Backers were separated from each other. After roaming endless hallways and fighting thug after thug, they're finally back together again... only to find themselves stuck in a room with six exits. Which door should they choose, and what will be waiting for them on the other side?

It's a one-on-one fight to the death as Ginji and Ban face off against both friend and foe from their past. And when the dust finally settles, who will be left standing?

The Review!
Moving deeper into the Limitless Fortress, more about this mysterious place is revealed as the challenges become more intense.

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, Makubex and Sakura get the cover this time around with a long shot of Makubex in his enveloping coat while Sakura gets a closer shot that highlights the details in her outfit and design nicely. 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 drop considerably from previous volumes though there is still material here. 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 the ADR writer Dan Dieter as well as the voice actor for Makubex, John Minnich.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Going for another five episodes, the story of the Limitless Fortress continues to be expanded upon with this volume as we get more of its nature explained to us as well as furthering the plot by Makubex that involves his implosion lens.

With the five episodes that are here, we do get a good amount of plot moving forward and it helps that there isn't a huge amount of exposition but things do get explained while everyone is moving towards their various goals so we do have a sense of progress. But with as big of a cast as we have on the good guy side right now, each of them has time for their stories to be told along the way. It doesn't feel like the storyline is being stretched out though which works in its favor. They manage to do a good job in being able to cover just about all the bases here and just about everyone gets what they're looking for here.

The journey through the fortress goes through two phases this time, one of which is to bring everyone back together at one point and then the second phase of separating them all up again to go after their final foes. The first half is fairly fun and light like most of the battles have been so far, particularly anything involving Ginji since he goes into cute-chibi mode so frequently during this that it's hard not to laugh and like how he does it. His teaming up with Akabane has been one of the best things about this entire arc and has provided a number of priceless moments. Along with everyone else, they finally make their way through the last rounds of thugs until they reach the same dead end chamber through which the next phase becomes clear.

Seven people with Hevn there, there are six numbered doors and a single die available to them. Each of them roll it and take to the door that luck draws for them and they head in to meet the next challenge. With Makubex and his followers behind the various doors and in creative settings, the fights become much more challenging to the characters and there is a greater sense of danger and urgency about all of it. There's even a neat bit of creativity to how its done as there is a powerful VR piece of gear in play that allows Makubex's guys to create different locales to fight in instead of what would be just the lower level of a building.

With a lot of characters on both sides of the fence we start to see more of their motivations and connections from the past. With each side having members of the Four Kings there's plenty of competition there and anger on the part of some about how the others left the Fortress. A lot of the anger continues to go back to Ginji's leaving of the Fortress and how it set the stage for the lower levels to become even more chaotic and unruly. The layout of the Fortress itself also starts to get covered some as we learn that there are three levels to it, the Lower Levels, the Beltline and Babylon City at the very top. With this, we start to get the idea that since nobody has seen anyone from the top level before that there are some rather powerful people roaming around up there and the hints of a few of them are really interesting to see play out here.

In Summary:
Get Backers has surprised me by having such a lengthy story arc when I was expecting more of a series of stand alone episodes. This arc in particular has been a lot of fun since it's doing a good job of providing not only really good action scenes but also for working well in establishing all the relationships of the large cast here over both the present and the past. With such histories and characters changing their lives over the course of things to where they are now, they're a bit more complex than they would be otherwise. This show is just pure fun on a lot of levels now and with good looking designs, a sense of wackiness and solid animation this show just wins on a number of levels.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,Behind the Scenes

Review Equipment
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.


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