A catchy plot, amazing fight scenes, tons of cool characters, and just a pinch of fanservice...yep, GetBackers had it all.
By: Nicole S. Castro on March 24, 2022 at 14:11 PHT
We. Need. To. Talk. About. GetBackers. Again. Like, 20 years after it first aired because it's still so cool.
In addition to great TV anime titles that have earned their spot in our personal anime halls of fame like Great Teacher Onizuka (1999-2000) and Fullmetal Alchemist (2003-2004), we argue that GetBackers was an anime of equally amazing magnitude that has somehow slipped into distant memory.
So, we're bringing it back. The throwback begins.
GetBackers (Japanese: ゲットバッカーズ -奪還屋-,Romaji: Gettobakkāzu Dakkan'ya, Literal English: GetBackers: Recovery Service) is a Japanese manga series written by Yuya Aoki and illustrated by Rando Ayamine. It was serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 until 2007, totaling 39 volumes. The series was licensed for English release in North America by Tokyopop.
The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Studio Deen from 2002 to 2003, totaling 49 episodes. It was also dubbed in English and broadcast by the anime television network Animax across its respective networks worldwide.
As the trailer above explains, GetBackers is the lost item retrieval service run by 21-year-old Ban Midou (CV: Nobutoshi Canna) and his partner, 18-year-old Ginji Amano (CV: Showtaro Morikubo). The capital letters G and B also stand for Ginji's and Ban's initials.
Ban and Ginji operate in the seedier areas of Shinjuku, Tokyo. For a fee, they promise to recover any lost or stolen item for a client with "an almost 100% success rate". This often leads them into bizarre and dangerous situations in order to "get back what shouldn't be gone".
The bulk of the 49-episode anime revolves around Ban and Ginji's crazy misadventures. Season 1 (episodes 1-25) ends with Ban and Ginji defeating the genius hacker MakubeX (CV: Mitsuki Saiga) in Babylon City, while season 2 (episodes 26-49) ends with Ban and Ginji saving MakubeX after the latter was kidnapped by Masaki Kurusu (CV: Hideyuki Hori), the last member of the Four Kings during the era of VOLTS and the controller of light.
What made GetBackers so great? Dive right in.
1. GetBackers had the coolest characters with the most unique abilities
You'll never tire of Ban and Ginji's misadventures because they have amazing abilities to find the most unorthodox solution to problems.
Ban was definitely the cool, mature man who made the ladies swoon. Nicknamed as "The Man with the Evil Eye," Ban inherited his powers from his grandmother, who was known as the Last Witch of the 20th Century. His primary technique is the Evil Eye (邪眼, Jagan), which allows him to force anyone he makes eye contact with watch a one-minute-long illusion. It should only be used three times per day and cannot be used on the same person again for the next 24 hours. Ban also has the Snakebite ability that grants him super strength, with a gripping force of 200kg in each hand.
Meanwhile, Ginji is able to control electricity and was the former leader of a gang called The VOLTS in the Infinity Fortress. He was known as the fearsome Lightning Emperor (雷帝, Raitei) prior to teaming up with Ban. It doesn't seem obvious with his innocent, friendly personality in the beginning, but Ginji has a dark past that comes out when his loved ones are in danger. Ginji has that classic, teenage shounen protagonist personality we all love.
But Ban and Ginji aren't the only ones who make GetBackers interesting. The rest of the cast is full of quirky characters who either greatly help Ban and Ginji or give them a hard time in battles. There's the sexy and charming negotiator Hevn (CV: Rio Natsuki), who gives Ban and Ginji their jobs, Himiko Kudou (CV: Natsuko Kuwatani) who uses deadly perfumes as her main weapon of choice, and Kuroudo Akabane/Dr. Jackal (CV: Nobuo Tobita), a callous former surgeon whose speed is unmatched by anyone other than Ban.
And let's not forget Kazuki Fuuchouin (CV: Soichiro Hoshi), who uses koto strings to slice and dice his opponents.
(For all the fans out there, we're just going to put up a bunch of Kazuki photos here because we all know he was the prettiest character in the series. Yes, he.)
Alright, fanservice moment done.
2. The Infinity Fortress arc with MakubeX as antagonist was definitely one of the best series finales
Large-scale, reality bending optical illusions, sci-fi level hacking skills, and the most powerful characters battling each other in order to stop the final boss of season 1, MakubeX? That's shounen anime on steroids.
The Infinity Fortress arc began when Ban and Ginji had to retrieve a mysterious "IL" from MakubeX which turned out to be a computer disc containing important data required for producing an atomic bomb. The string of events escalates until Ban and Ginji find themselves in Babylon City, the core of the Infinity Fortress, where they must stop MakubeX from destroying the world order.
At 14 years old, MakubeX is the youngest but also one of the most powerful members of the cast. He is a genius hacker who put the Infinity Fortess under dictatorial rule after the VOLTS' rule ended. But deep down, MakubeX's dictatorship stemmed from an immense fear of abandonment, making him a very relatable character.
3. Of course GetBackers had great music!
Back when binge watching wasn't a thing and we had to wait for TV shows to air on certain times every week, a catchy opening AND ending theme were paramount. There was no skipping it, and we're happy GetBackers themes were so good you wouldn't want to skip them.
So here's Namida no Hurrican by Bon Bon Blanco, the ending theme for episodes 14-25, which was the heart of the Infinity Fortress arc.
But the most sentimental one for fans would probably be the very first ending theme, Ichibyo no Refrain (One-Second Refrain), by Otoha. And did you know? Japanese singer Otoha was also the character voice for Natsumi Mizuki, making this ending theme perfect for Natsumi as she spent her days working at the Honky Tonk.
AniradioPlus gives GetBackers a 5/5 stars and a high ranking spot in the Top 10 list of 2000s anime that we would beg for a reboot. This anime has something for everyone. From the teenage shounen battle scenes, to the mature, gritty scenes of crime in Infinity Fortress, to the drama behind each and every client who avails of the GetBackers service, all the way to the hot male and female characters that sometimes make us wonder what our preferences are (we're looking at you, Kazuki Fuuchouin), GetBackers had it all as early as 2002.
Digest by AniradioPlus
NICOLE S. CASTRO
Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.