Get Backers image.

Lost and Found

You lose it, the Get Backers will get it back.

by Patrick King

Loss. It's something that we all must deal with at some point in our lives. Not all losses are necessarily permanent, however. Time and life may be two of the most significant unrecoverable items, but plenty of important things can be returned, eventually. Memories can be restored. Precious keepsakes can be found. People can be reunited. Broken relationships can be repaired.

Some things are more difficult than others to recover. Not everything you lose is simply hidden behind the couch. An unknown thief might have stolen some items, or maybe the culprit is known, but the victim is powerless to get it back.

That's where the Get Backers come in. A two-man team consisting of Ban Mido and Ginji Amano, they claim an almost 100% success rate in recovering anything their clients request of them. For the right price, the Get Backers will risk their very lives in order to return what was taken. And while Ban certainly doesn't want the word to get out, they have taken charity cases from time to time, if the cause is just.

Get Backers image.

The Recovery business requires a sharp wit, and at times, physical prowess, in case the desired item is in the hands of someone who doesn't want to easily let it be returned to its rightful owner. With Ban and Ginji, success often rides upon a modicum of luck, as well.

Fortunately, the Get Backers have more than just luck in their arsenal. Ban is known as the "jagan no otoko", or "man with the evil eye". With a single glance, he can force a larger than life illusion upon anyone who makes eye contact with him. The effect only lasts a few seconds, but it's usually more than enough for him to overcome any threat before his enemies realize they're hallucinating. In addition to his jagan, he has an unnaturally strong grip. His ability to exert 200kg of force with his hands lends power to his snake related fighting moves, such as the Snake Bite. If he gets a grip on a person's neck, the person quickly knows that Ban has control over his or her life.

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Ginji's moves aren't as diverse as Ban's, but they are as unique as his compatriot's. Like an electric eel, Ginji's body generates and stores vast amounts of bio-electric energy. He can direct its release in a variety of ways, from simple shocking attacks to a more complex sort of current control that turns his whole body into a potent electromagnet.

Ban is the logical core of the duo, with Ginji serving as a more sympathetic character. Without Ban's cold logic to negotiate, the two wouldn't be able to buy enough food to eat. Without Ginji's empathic desire to help those in need, the two wouldn't have an appetite.

Such behavior seems odd, considering the shadowy pasts of these two now-noble characters. Not much is initially revealed about the young men's histories. We're told that Ginji was a former gang leader of the most feared and respected gang in the city. It's hard to see the carefree, playful Ginji as the head of a violent gang, but he's still known in the area as the Thunder Emperor. Whatever occurred to convince him to change his ways is undoubtedly connected to his involvement with Ban, though revelations of that sort tend to surface later in the lifespan of a series.

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For Ban, this isn't the first time he's teamed up with other people to do a job. His first true friends were Himiko Kudo and her brother, Yamato. However, that relationship fell apart when Yamato was murdered. Himiko blames Ban for the deed (something which he may be guilty of) and has sought revenge against Ban ever since. Now going by the alias Lady Poison, Himiko wields seven various chemical brews that each have various detrimental effects on her chosen target. If she has any say in how events will unfold, she'll see to it that Ban dies a painful and drawn-out death at her hands.

The dark past of the two main characters only plays a minor role in the story as this anime series begins. At this point in Ban and Ginji's lives, they're more concerned with making enough cash to feed themselves than settling old vendettas. Their first mission introduces them to the perky student Natsumi Mizuki. Natsumi hires them to recover a treasured charm that was taken from her by a crooked cop. In order to pay off her debt to the two guys, she gets a part time job at Paul Wong's restaurant and bar. Paul provides the Get Backers with intelligence and sustenance - two things that they are in dire need of frequently.

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Rounding out the initial team (and that can be interpreted as a sort of nasty pun, if you're into that type of "humor") is Hevn, the mysterious and voluptuous young woman who occasionally finds jobs for the team. Most of the time, her jobs are deadly, and she frequently doesn't offer them unless there is some manner of material gain in it for herself, but as she's so darn attractive, Ginji has trouble turning them down. Typically, her jobs also include a rather appealing compensatory package, reeling in Ban as easily as the jiggle of her breasts snags Ginji.

Get Backers has a unique premise and a surprisingly deep background storyline. To date, TOKYOPOP has released the first five manga volumes (story by Yuya Aoki, art by Rando Ayamine) and ADV has made the first two DVDs of the anime series available for purchase. Studio DEEN has produced 49 episodes of the series, so it's obviously gone over quite well in Japan. I can certainly see where its popularity comes from.

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