Get Backers, Vol. 1: G & B On the Case (2001)
Review by Dindrane

Original Story by Yuuya Aoki and Rando Ayamine
Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and Keitarou Motonaga


Dindrane's Anime Warnings:

Released by: ADV
Region: 1
Rating: 15+
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Buy it and buy a copy for each of your friends, too

Tired of giant robots, magical girls, or nerds with their own harem? Then look no further than Get Backers, which manages to appeal to anime fans while still avoiding most of the clich&eactue;s that plague us. The basic story is as appealing as the execution: based on the manga by Rando Ayamine and Yuuya Aoki, Ban and Ginji are the "Get Backers" of the title; if someone steals something from you, they get it back--all for a reasonable fee, of course.

The disc begins with a client Natsumi and her trouble; the heroes make their entrance about the time food starts to appear on the screen. The viewers' initial view of Ban and Ginji is a bit less than flattering, but smoothes out quickly enough. The boys don't want to help Natsumi at first, as she only wants them to recover a mascot toy kitty a crooked policeman snapped off her bag, but when they hear that the kitty was made by Natsumi's dead mother, they agree to help. Ban is a bit more mercenary than the more innocent Ginji, but they're both on the case and ready to go.

An interesting, unexpected twist here is that the boys are not just your average nineteen-year-old ruffians. Ginji, a human elecric eel, can generate electrical attacks equaling millions of volts, and Ban has an "evil eye" that can generate dreams of either heaven or hell in anyone who meets his gaze. He also has a fighting attack called "Snakebite" and is quite strong. These talents are not overplayed, however, which is good for the show. Together, whether they like it or not, they're heroes...of a sort. Further episodes set up the rest of Ginji and Ban's world, including their foil/assistant/trouble-maker, Hevn, and Paul, the owner of the Honky Tonk Bar, who has extended the Get Backers a huge line of credit for pizza.

There are great moments of characterization in this show, such as when a grateful Ginji electrifies an old florescent tube for a homeless man to use as a light. Ginji and Ban become more than just stock anime characters--appropriate given that this is not a stock anime show. Sure, all the female characters have huge breasts and are usually on the screen only to be damsels in distress or show how smart the heroes are, but the show is good enough that even Andrea Dworkin would be tempted to forgive them their trespasses.

The audio and video are both problem-free. The video deserves a mention for what in a live-action film would be called cinematography, such as screen fades that link to each other with various stylistic elements. The show simply has great production values all around. If you switch back and forth quickly between the Japanese and English audio tracks, you can tell that the English track sounds just a little bit brighter and cleaner; but who, other than a reviewer, in their right mind would actually do that? In real world viewings, they both sound just fine, even great.

The features list is one of the best I've seen for an anime release in a while: we get commentaries! Two episodes have audio commentaries, for heaven's sake, and how often do we anime fans get those? The commentaries are with the American director, a couple of the main English voice actors, and a writer. Thank you to ADV for acting as if we anime fans matter. We also get a fantastic behind-the-scenes feature that takes the form of a visual Q&A interview with the voice actors who play Paul/Wan Pore, Akabane, Natsumi, Ginji, and Hven. Finally, we also get full DVD credits, the usual selection of ADV previews, and clean opening and closing animations, for those of us who love the art of this show.

Basically, if you like heroes who aren't afraid to break a few piddly laws to do what's right, then this is your show. If you liked shows like GTO, then you'll love Get Backers. It's funny, adventurous, creative, and has great characters. Fans who want something new will love this, a show that helps people "get their precious memories back." No matter what genre of movies or even anime you tend to prefer, you can't help but fall in love with Ginji and Ban and root for them as they try (in vain) to pay their pizza tab.

(UK!) (CAN!)

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