What other series are you going to read where one of the bad guys, who’s of course at times an ally, just keeps knives stored in his body for his convenience and it’s played totally straight? If Bleach was a step up on the maturity ladder from Naruto, Getbackers was a rung or two above that.
In Summary; Comprised of Ban Midou and Ginji Amano, the Getbackers are a dynamic duo who will rescue any missing item, person, million-dollar painting, or whatever else for the right prince. Along the way, the team up and / or do battle with a whole host of psychotic weirdos including The Jackal Akabane who keeps knives in his skin and Himiko who uses deadly perfumes as her main weapon of choice.
Often depicting actual high stakes violence with some unsettling horror vibes to boot, Getbackers set itself apart from many of its contemporary shonen manga when coming out in the mid-2000s. That’s probably what kept it from reaching Shonen Jump levels of popularity but those who know, know Getbackers was a unique entry in the world of battle anime.
Where The Original Getbackers Manga Broke Genre Ground
Getbackers was an odd Japanese manga series written by the prolific Yuya Aoki and illustrated by Rando Ayamine, who ended up creating something pretty novel.
Aoki doesn’t have too many credits to his name until you realize that’s just a pen-name used by writer Shin Kibayashi who’s an extremely prolific and often innovative creator. A fan of mystery and dark stories, he’s created many works that tout edgy lines but he’s also responsible for the famous wine manga The Drops Of God and wrote the story for Fire Emblem Fates.
No wonder Kibayashi, under the name Yuya Aoki, could create a shonen manga that defied many of the tropes and despite having out there battles and super-powers had a very realistic, gritty edge. You could argue the series touts the line between shounen and seinen making it a good gateway for those trying to graduate from Naruto but aren’t ready for Berserk.
The Getbackers Anime Was Good, Until It Wasn’t
The Getbackers anime is, unfortunately, one of those common cases where it stopped well before the manga did, ending inconclusively. This sad occasion happens less commonly in anime now, as when hit shows start catching up with the manga they tend to take breaks instead of coming up with filler arcs nobody wants to sit through.
Specifically, in the case of Getbackes, we didn’t need a second arc that brought its crazy cast back to the Limitless Fortress, which is also more commonly called the Infinity Fortress. We would have preferred Ban and Ginji to do literally anything else.
Getbackers the anime adapted the first few chunks of the manga, through the first big Infinity Fortress arc, quite successfully. Studio Deen did quite an admirable job until they had to end the 49 episode show with a giant filler arc that wiped the steam out of the series. It has some banger openings and endings though, so we would recommend the show for those who want a taste before committing to a 39 volume manga.
Getbackers Had The Coolest Characters In The Game
A common theme in these articles is how each series is largely dependent on its cast of characters. It should go without saying but with every hit series comes a, hopefully, unique cast who shines bright and wins over audiences time and again. With a more mature and ‘realistic’ take on the shonen battle genre, Getbackers is filled with plenty of memorable, curious characters equal parts edge and increase. You wouldn’t mistake these dudes for your average Konoha Ninja or happy go lucky Grand Line Pirate.
Ban Midou, The Man With The Evil Eye
Ban Midou was definitely the cool one in the Getbackers Recover Services duo, speaking to the yaoi fangirls of old times. He conceals incredible physical strength and very rarely loses a fight. However what truly sets him apart from the same thing that gave him his nickname ‘The Man With The Evil Eye’; Three times a day, Ban Midou can force someone he’s made eye contact with to see an illusion for one minute. He only uses his power as a last resort in a fight, although he’s been known to use the ‘evil eye’ to impart happy dreams on select people when he’s feeling charitable.
Ban’s past is shrouded in mystery and believe us when we say the more Getbackers you read, the less sense it begins to make until the very end of the comic. For Mido, a man born with one of a kind powers and having a particularly dark history, he spends too much of his time now recovering anything lost or stolen for often too little money. We think he could do better.
The Lightning Emperor Ginji Amano
Ginji Amano is a teen who used to lead a very powerful gang and has the power to manipulate lighting to fry up his aggressors. When he led the volts he was quite the morose young guy but after a fateful encounter with Ban Midou, he lightened up, disbanded the gang, and formed the Getbackers.
He still ends up in a lot of trouble and actually appears cowardly on the surface but when push comes to shove there’s no better comrade to have in the fight. Like Ban, There’s a lot of mystery behind Ginji Amano that unfolds throughout the series.
Kazuki Of The Threads
Arguably the fan-favorite outside the main two, Kazuki of the threads was a momentary adversary turned powerful ally. He used to roll with Ginji, and his gang the Volts, a powerful group who hung around the Infinity Fortress in Shinjuku, and still remains a good friend of the lightning emperor.
As beautiful as any princess, Kazuki doesn’t only look the part but employs a particularly elegant battle style; He uses threads and strings to slice and dice his opponents often into instant submission.
Where You Can Find The Getbackers Anime And Manga?
Unfortunately, some series fall by the wayside as the years go on, especially considering outside of Japan where the vast majority of anime and manga licenses are technically temporary. It’s been a good 15 years since Getbackers enjoyed its heyday and while it had something of a following back in the day it never developed a permanent enough fandom to keep it in hard circulation. Not all of it is lost though.
If you want to watch the Getbackers anime, there’s one service that will allow you to do it. Currently, the anime is currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, and while their most recent DVD edition of the show’s out of print they still currently stream it on their HIDIVE platform. You can subscribe to HIDIVE on its own or access their content complementary with a VRV membership!
The manga’s gone with the wind sad to say. Tokyopop had been releasing the title since the early 2000s but after the company originally folded, nobody ever picked up the comic once again. Worse off there’s no point in even hunting down the old volumes as they never even finished publishing the manga, only releasing 27 out of 39 collections before folding.
If you want the full Getbackers experience, learning Japanese is the only way to do it with a 100% success rate, consider the anime while watchable on HIDIVE only covers a smaller chunk of the manga.