Saturday, March 16, 2013

Get Backers

Another old series that I enjoyed enough to buy is Get Backers

Get Backers is a series that has a large cast, probably only second in size to Bleach, and like Bleach, essentially all the characters survive the series, which is something I really like in a series.   Get Backers follows the exploits of two young men, Amano Ginji and Midou Ban.  Ginji and Ban (G-B, Get Backers) run a barely-eking-out-an-existence company called Get Backers which is made up of the two of them.  For a fee they will find and return lost items, but business is slow enough that they often rely on the good will of a friend and owner of a small bar.  The series is composed of arcs, each of which is one of their various retrieval jobs, and which range in length from one episode to fifteen episodes.

Ginji and Ban also have some special “skills”.  Ginji can control and use electricity and Ban can control a person’s thoughts for a short period of time, making them experience whatever he wants them to.   In addition to their gifts, both guys are pretty good in a fight, as is demonstrated repeatedly during the various arcs.   As the series proceeds, friends and acquaintances of both guys join the cast, and character interactions are really good along the way.  Most of the joining characters have special skills of their own and add to the fun.  My two favorite characters are Fuchoin Kazuki , an ally and friend of Ginji’s,  and Akabane Kuroudo, an enemy who calls himself Doctor Jackal.  Akabane is the resident bad-guy / sometimes-ally who also provides some comic relief. 
My favorite arc in the series is the long arc in the middle which is based around Mugenjou, the Limitless Fortress.  Mugenjou is a massive conglomerate of buildings that was officially abandoned during construction and became a no man’s land for criminals, misfits and various riffraff.  In reality, Mugenjou is a huge experiment being run by denizens living at the top.  The interior of Mugenjou is also a place where reality can be controlled, a space of virtual reality.  It turns out two types of people live inside Mugenjou: people who are real and able to leave Mugenjou and live in the outside world and people who are themselves virtual reality constructs and who’s existence is limited to Mugenjo.

None of this is known by Ginji and Ban at the start of the arc when they take on a job to retrieve an item (the IL) from Mugenjou.  Because Mugenjou is not easily breached, they are joined on this job by several friends and even team up with their enemy Akabane.  During the struggles in Mugenjou and in the course of this particular job, Ginji and Ban’s background is revealed.  Ginji came from Mugenjou, having no memories prior to being there.  He was raised there and became the leader of a group of powerful misfits called the Volts.  The Volts did their best to maintain some semblance of order in their part of Mugenjou.  Ban met Ginji there and convinced him to leave Mugenjou before Ginji’s increasing and increasingly uncontrollable power destroyed him and his friends.  Ginji’s friends don’t realize that’s why he left and although most of them still support him, they resent his abandonment on some level.  Part of that resentment is because unfortunately, with Ginji gone, his friends didn’t have the strength to maintain the peace and things became bad.   A large portion of the force arrayed against Ginji-Ban-tachi and their quest are former friends and ex-members of Volts.  The struggles inside Mugenjou are filled with individual battles between various characters, often characters who were at one time good friends. 

All of this comes out as Ginji-Ban-tachi are struggling to reach the item they have been sent to find.  It turns out that one of Ginji’s former friends, a boy computer genius named Makubex, has begun to realize that he’s a construct who can only survive inside Mugenjou and he gets hold of the IL,  a final piece of an atomic bomb, with the purpose of destroying Mugenjou (and himself and everyone inside it).  Makubex’s allies don’t realize his true intentions, thinking he intends using it to blackmail the outside world.  Makubex also secretly wanted to draw Ginji back into Mugenjou, wanting things to be back like they were when Volts was together and they were all friends.

Ginji and Ban and friends manage to stop Makubex and become his friends again and retrieve the item.  They also discover the existence of the people at the top of Mugenjo who are manipulating and using it for their own purposes, although being beat up from their struggles, they decide not to go after them at this time. 

This series is a lot of fun, and mostly very satisfying to watch.   At heart it’s a series about friendship and standing by your friends.  The Mugenjou arc was by far my favorite but there are other good ones too. The plot and character interactions and various side-story lines were definitely interesting enough to keep me watching, and some of the episodes are just silly fun.  It’s a fairly long series, 49 episodes, but definitely worth watching. 

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