Get Backers Vol. #05 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • 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

Get Backers Vol. #05

By Dani Moure     July 05, 2006
Release Date: September 19, 2005

Get Backers Vol. #05
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
They've fought their way through the maze of the Limitless Fortress. They've done battle with old friends and new foes. They've crept closer and closer to the mastermind at the centre of all the insanity: Makubex. But can the Get Backers possibly survive the final trials he's got in store for them?

Watch as the Get Backers make their final push into Makubex's lair! Ban and Fudou face off for a death match in a Roman coliseum. But can the master of the Jagan win against a half-mad warrior bent on vengeance? Meanwhile Akabane challenges Ginji to their deadliest battle yet! And assuming the Lightning Emperor manages to survive his bout with Dr. Jackal, there's a final enemy waiting for him: a boy who can send them all to oblivion with the press of a button. When the old ruler of the Limitless Fortress clashes with the new one, will anyone survive the fallout? Find out in this thrilling volume of GetBackers!

The Review!
It's finally time for the Limitless Fortress arc to come to a close, with the end of the first season of Get Backers.

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 the only problem was a tinny effect in the opening when down-mixed to stereo. From what I listened to, the main episodes had decent directionality, 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. 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.

Once again the artwork looks good, with Kyoji and Juubei, two of Makubex's goons 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.

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.

The extras change again here, with this one switching to a commentary featuring Sarah Alys Lindholm (Translator) and Lowell Bartholomee (ADR Director). As always, if you enjoy the dubbing and translation process, you should definitely give it a listen. The clean opening and ending also appear again.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching this volume of Get Backers some time after the last volume was strange, because although I have really enjoyed the current story arc in the Limitless Fortress I can't help but feel that it's drawing on a bit too long at this point. There were a few times where I thought the show was dragging considerably as I watched, which only compounded the feeling it was strange because of the length of time it's been since I last watched the show. Nevertheless, it was easy to get back in to the story and characters, the latter continuing to be quite enjoyable.

The episodes on this disc conclude the Limitless Fortress arc, for now at least (I'm sure we'll be back here at some point). Makubex continues with his plans to destroy everything by creating the atom bomb, and he has a fair amount of help from some strong allies. Events open with Ban going at it with a man called Fudou, who has taken issue with something Ban did to him before, and transports them to a virtual coliseum, as a fitting backdrop for their fight. Ban has trouble, but ends up getting help from some of the others so he can continue on. Ginji meanwhile is faced with a man from his past, the one who found him and raised him in the Limitless Fortress.

He reveals he did it all to try and harness Ginji's power for himself, but of course it didn't pan out since Ginji made friends and formed VOLTS. It all drives Ginji over the edge and his powers escalate as he returns to his old ways as the Lightning Emperor. Akabane, having completed his delivery of plutonium to Makubex, seizes the chance to take on the Lightning Emperor in his true form. As the fight rages on, Ban appears at the crucial moment and is stabbed by Akabane. He scolds Ginji, who surmises that Ban used the jagan on him, but in fact the blow was real, and he's made Makubex think he's used his limit of three in a day, obviously to take advantage later.

And so Akabane and Ginji go on, with Ban running in to Himiko and Shido, but after running in to several virtual creations of other people, they finally find Makubex, and he and Ginji showdown. We learn exactly why Makubex is doing this, but ultimately the only thing that matters is whether they can all stop Makubex from detonating the atom bomb...

So after many twists and turns the Limitless Fortress saga is over, and looking back it probably ran a few episodes too long. I enjoyed the intensity a lot, and was really in to the arc when it was first going on, because we got to see all the cool characters who'd been built up back together in one ongoing story, but unfortunately they took a few ideas and dragged them out a bit too much. While the end result was good overall, some is a bit of a mixed bag, most notably the first couple of episodes on this disc for me.

The battle between Ban and Fudou just seemed to go on way too long, and all in all it also seemed kind of pointless. I got quite tired of yet another fight in the same vein as the rest, because you knew the outcome beforehand. There was no way that Ban would ever lose, only be a bit slowed down, and he was always going to be helped by the others in the end. This episode and the following one also showed us some of Ginji's history and how he came to be raised in the Limitless Fortress, but to be frank I also found this part of his back-story a little bland. I mean, wow, some guy found him and realised he had power, tried to "harness" it for himself but he failed and Ginji went on to bigger and better things. Not the most inspired history.

Most annoying of all was the fact that much of what was going on ended up being virtual anyway. I was really hoping they wouldn't go in this direction, and certainly not as drastically as they did. When everyone starts multiplying and being so amazing because Makubex has gathered data on them it feels a bit frustrating, as it's like that ultimate answer to everything that's gone on and it feels like it's the most simple way to explain everything away and make it easy on the characters, rather than making the events mean something, and I especially found that with the guy from Ginji's past who we actually saw for real in the bar anyway, so we knew his words weren't real.

Finally, the showdown with Makubex was a bit disappointing. The fight with Ginji didn't really do much for me, and it all got too obvious when Makubex started dreaming that Ban was using his jagan, given how clearly it'd been stated that he basically would use it earlier in the disc. Naturally, it all ended happily but the taste it left in my mouth was somewhat bittersweet, and it felt like the story kind of lost its way as it drew to a conclusion.

Maybe that all sounds quite harsh, but it's purely because I've enjoyed this show more than I ever thought I would so far that I felt let down by these episodes. It's not all bad by any means. I still enjoyed these episodes in parts, and even if I didn't like certain things like Ginji's past, it was nice to see them revealed anyway as it helps build up the characters. And they are the strongest aspect of this show, and they are still strong here. Seeing how they interact, their relationships and what they do is fun in itself, so it's not end of the world bad or anything like that. Some of the pairings were really good throughout this arc, and on this disc I really liked how Akabane stayed true to his character, effectively playing both sides but ended up help the heroes out. Seeing all the characters together, working alongside each other despite some past differences, was definitely entertaining, so with this bringing the first season to a close I'm hopeful that the second season will get back on track.

In Summary:
This volume isn't all bad, as it still has strong characters that shine through and are always entertaining to watch, but for me the story just fell off the rails a little bit and relied on too many conveniences for my liking. In this disc the Limitless Fortress arc started to feel dragged out to me for the first time, so I'm glad it's wrapped up for now and the show can move on. Those watching the series should definitely still buy this disc, as you'll definitely find it entertaining and will want to see how it all ends, and I still recommend the show overall because it's entertaining, and hopefully it'll get back to its best soon. Roll on the next disc...

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Commentary on Episode 24,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.


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