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GetBackers

a.k.a. Getbackers Dakkanya

getbackers-2
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Studio DEEN
Format: 49 episodes
Dates: 10/5/2002 to 9/21/2003

Midou Ban and Amano Ginji make up one of the most successful repossessing teams in the business, the GetBackers. With a 100% recovery rate, they promise to get back whatever their clients have lost. However, recovering these possessions is not as easy as it may sound. During their jobs, the duo must put their life on the line as they face professional (and more often than not, lethal) transporters and protectors who have been hired to prevent them from completing their objective… but it’s all in a day’s work for a retrieval agent!

summary by Gatts

 

Reviewed: 09/29/2003
Grade: 80% av-Gatts

Highs: Interesting characters; great music; fair share of funny moments

Lows: Rushed ending; so many unanswered questions

GetBackers has a whole lot going for it: a diverse cast of likable characters, a wonderful score, great action scenes and a sense of humor. It all works really well… for a while. Perhaps the creators were being overly ambitious, or maybe it was just poor planning, but this anime introduces too many ideas, too many characters with too little time for any of them to fully develop. The end result is a good series with its fair share of flaws.

Before getting bogged down in the problems, it’s important to stress that GetBackers is a thoroughly enjoyable action series on many levels. The characters are really charming and have a lot of personality. The chemistry between Ban and Ginji makes watching them go out on jobs fun, and the impressive list of side characters is equally entertaining. While the plot is mostly made up of small retrieval jobs, there are a few larger story arcs that are engrossing and jam-packed with enough action to satisfy any viewer. And even though the story can be pretty serious at times, it never takes itself too seriously; it always leaves room for humor (including some hilarious super-deformed moments). Topping it all off is yet another amazing soundtrack from none other than Iwasaki Taku. As usual, his score elevates the onscreen action to new heights. All of these elements combine to make a really fun, genuinely entertaining series.

While the first 26 episodes are a joy to watch, problems start to rear their heads later on. This series simply isn’t long enough to adequately accomplish all the things it set out to do. Just about all the characters have mysterious pasts that are gradually hinted at. The problem is that many of the characters’ backgrounds are never explained despite alluding to their pasts numerous times. Towards the end, a few episodes try to shed some light on these issues, but it ends up feeling rushed. For other characters, no attempt is even made to clarify their backgrounds. It feels like a major oversight to have intentionally raised so many questions about characters without answering any of them. Adding to this problem is a hasty conclusion. The finale doesn’t resolve anything and ends up creating a new set of unanswered questions.

I must admit that I am a big fan of the GetBackers manga; it’s a really fun read full of interesting characters. The anime succeeds in capturing the essence of the manga. The characters, action and humor are all there, but it ends up feeling rushed. The ending leaves countless loose ends, but it seems to hint at the possibility of more GetBackers down the road. As it stands though, this is a good action anime even with its flaws.

 

Reviewed: 11/21/2003 by
Grade: 71% av-Eek

Highs: Interesting premise; the Mugenjou Job; Iwasaki Taku’s music

Lows: Elements of the second season; consistently returning characters; unanswered questions

Many modern anime are at a loss when possessing that certain something that makes them worth seeing repeatedly. Sadly, GetBackers fits this category.

Many other series have used the buddy cop plot, but GetBackers throws in a nice twist; instead of police or mercenaries, Ban and Ginji are retrieval agents. Their profession allows them to meet many new and interesting characters, as well as to get many jobs that range from light to downright serious. One of the more serious tasks that they take is what I call the Mugenjou Job, which comprises the latter half of the first season. The Mugenjou Job involves many aspects of Ginji’s past, as well as giving the series many chances to flesh out each and every character. This job delves deep into the midst of a bulging metropolis and packs some of the best action scenes in the series. Undoubtedly, these scenes are improved with some excellent music by Iwasaki Taku (Read or Die, Witch Hunter Robin), who seems to know no bounds when it comes to creating the perfect background score.

Unfortunately, GetBackers peaks midway instead of towards the end; this makes me suspect that it was originally intended for 25 episodes and was lengthened because the creators wanted to ride its popularity. Suffice to say, the second season does not live up to the first. Many of the jobs end up not being entertaining, self-contained episodes, and despite containing character background, they end up nothing but filler. Even a bit of the music quality took a steep dip. Something else that the second season did not handle very well was the constantly returning characters. While it is OK to have the occasional character come back to do something, they overused ones, such as Dr. Jackal and Shido, in positions that a token character could have filled. At times, I began to think that there were only a dozen people in the entire world who were in the retrieval/protector business. Further hampering this anime were quite a few unanswered questions. Even basic ones relating to Mugenjou and characters remained unclear; such blanks left at the end of a series do not help at all.

If you want something with a lot of fun and excitement, check out GetBackers. It packs quite a punch and is worth seeing once… but is not worth rewatching.

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