We get back what shouldn't be gone! The recovery service with an (almost) 100% success rate!
A 1999 manga by Rando Ayamine (original concept by Yuya Aoki), published in Weekly Shonen Magazine, Get Backers focuses on Ban Mido and Ginji Amano, two superpowered pals who run a repossession service to help people get their lost stuff back. Ginji's body can generate a powerful electrical current, and Ban has both a two kilo-newton grip (look it up) and the "Evil Eye", which can induce powerful hallucinations through eye contact.They inevitably run into conflicts of interest (such as an equally superpowered "delivery service"), which they deal with by kicking ass. Though it starts out as a light-hearted shonen action series, it later took a sharp right turn into Cerebus Syndrome country with the Limitless Fortress arc.The anime, which aired from 2002 to 2003 (49 episodes), was produced by Studio DEEN, a studio known for other series that have achieved international popularity such as Fruits Basket, Ranma ½, and Rurouni Kenshin. It was co-directed by Kenshin director Kazuhiro Furuhashi.The manga was licensed in North America by Tokyopop, who published the first 25 volumes before pulling a Dragonball Z and opting to release the last third of the series as GetBackers: Infinity Fortress, starting with volume 26. Unfortunately, Tokyopop lost the license just a couple months later (vol.27 was their last)*
For the uninitiated, GetBackers was one of the many unfortunate casualties of Kodansha yanking all their Tokyopop licenses at once—other manga affected included TP's first mega-hit Love Hina, which had been finished for years, and Beck, which was orphaned like GB. No one is 100% sure why Kodansha did it, but most speculation is that it was because they wanted to consolidate all their licenses in one foreign publisher, in this case Del Ray, to save time and money. Indeed, the fact that Kodansha would later buy out Del Ray's manga division & distribution channels (and take on some of their staff) and turned it into their own North American imprint, would lend credence to this theory
Art Evolution: The manga has this in spades. Himiko and Ginji have the most dramatic change, but compare any pre-Volume 9 character with a shot of them after volume 22 or so. The differences are amazing.
Boat Lights: Characters possessing the Stigma have this effect, with the notable exception of the Voodoo King, who has Stigmas in all three of his eyes!
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Emishi & Amon/Shido, Ginji & Ban. A panel of Juubei tossing a needle into Saizou is captioned "Juubei's tsukkomi level up!"
Boring Invincible Hero: What brings down the series is that both Ban and Ginji always manage to succeed in their objectives with at most minor injuries and almost never lose a fight to anyone, and the only reason they lose is that they lack something that immediately puts them back as invincible in the final arc. Their title is in fact, the "Invincible Get Backers".
Bishōnen: Most male characters in the anime. Specifically, Kazuki, who retains his bishounen status even in the manga.
Bowdlerise: The manga-to-anime transition shows this to some extent — in the anime most of the ecchi scenes were completely removed, there's barely any bloodshed even during the most heated of battles, and Ban is definitely not a pervert.
Canon Immigrant: Definitely Kaoru Ujiie and Kagenuma Sarai. Where exactly Masaki and Kanou fall on this scale is iffy: their first appearance in the Eternal Bond arc is very close to the anime's beginning.
Clothing Damage: Himiko, who gets all her clothes ripped off about five times per arc. Actually, ALL of the girls basically come under this as any time they fight, their clothes are off no matter what. To be fair, Ban occasionally suffers from this trope, too.
Combat Sadomasochist: Takuma Fudou, who seems to love the pain he receives as much as the pain he deals out.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: EVERYONE has one of these around here. Ban may use his Jagan only 3 times a day, lest he suffer fatal consequences. Ginji becomes a megalomaniac if he strains himself. Akabane's weapons are made out of his own blood.
Dysfunction Junction: Anyone who has Witch's Blood, is a Voodoo Child, or lived in The Limitless Fortress at some point... oh, wait. Basically, every single character in the series is messed up in the head in some way, even the ones that aren't.
Fanservice: Hevn and Himiko and all the other random big breasted girls who show up wearing nothing but bras for no real reason. Partially suspended in final manga arc, where winter forces Hevn to get dressed properly—but introduces Maiya Kokuchouin, who is 13 and makes Hevn look positively shy.
The Faceless: In the anime, whenever Raitei and the original Four Kings are shown in flashback, the 4th King, Masaki Kurusu is always hidden in shadow (Fridge Brilliance because he has the superhuman power to generate/manipulate light) and only his blackened silhouette is shown. This lasts until the first episode of the final story arc, where he is formally introduced.
Fermat's Last Theorem: Lucky the Wonder Dog is given a problem like this to solve. The dog answers that it's unsolveable (x = "nothing"), which is what really clues Ban into the fact that the whole "genius dog" thing isn't a parlor trick... the dog's actually been infected with the same virus that caused apes to mutate into humans, the so-called "Missing Link Virus." It... doesn't make sense in context, but there is an explanation.
I Have the High Ground: The Lightning Emperor and the Four Kings are often shown sitting or standing on large piles of rubble. A later filler episode has Emishi parody it, then Kazuki play it straight, then Emishi completely destroys Kazuki's coolness factor by bringing him into the parody as "the Beauty Warrior of love and good looks". Kazuki is not amused.
Incest Subtext: Manga-only, Himiko and Ban. There is lots of Ship Tease between them and she, who is blissfully unaware of the fact that they are actually siblings, is explicitly stated to be in love with him. Whether those feelings are mutual is up for debate.
Legacy Character: Ban and Ginji are the third generation of the Get Backers. The second gen was the trio who gave them their Subaru 360 and the "last piece" analogy. The first gen was Paul and Ban's father, der Kaiser.
108: Akabane. His scalpels number that many, to be accurate.
One Steve Limit: Averted with Kaoru Haruki. Her surname is Emishi's given name, and her given name sounds identical to Kaoru Ujiie's, although they use different kanji. There's also Rena Sendou and Ren Radou.
Orgasmic Combat: Takuma Fudou tends to have this, but only when he fights with Ban.
Overtook the Manga: The anime diverges from the manga right before the "Divine Design" arc begins. The last part of the anime to come directly from the source was "Lost Arms of the Goddess". *
Technically, Interlude 3 from Volume 14—the Hot Springs Episode—was the latest chronological chapters to be animated, occurring immediately prior to "Divine Design", but the anime moved it up to episode 26, before "Lost Arms of the Goddess"
. The majority of Season 2 is either filler or the anime staff making a good-faith attempt to end the show in a way that makes at least some sense without direction from the still-in-progress manga.
Panty Shot: As often as possible, especially for poor Himiko.
Parental Abandonment: Manga only. Lots, but somewhat mitigated by the fact that most of the characters are over 18 by the time the series starts*
Himiko is the exception; she's 16 in her first appearance
Let's see: After learning that he's a freak, Ban's mom declared him a child of the devil (and this was after his father had placed a seal on it at birth). He was then set loose at a tender age. For Kazuki, his family was killed by a rival clan, later revealed to have been helmed by his younger brother, who was given away at birth. Shido is the son of the leader of the Fuyuki tribe, but his parents were probably killed in the Kiryuudo war and he ran away to the Limitless Fortress (a.k.a Mugenjou) in his early teens because the Kiryuudo thought he was the one with the chimera. Natsumi's parents are dead. MakubeX was abandoned as a baby and adopted (yet not named) by Gen. Himiko is an aborted fetus brought back to life, raised by her brother, and he was killed by his best friend Ban (at his own request). Rena's father is dead, her mother is emotionally distant, and her stepfather raped her. Madoka's parents are either dead or don't notice that their blind seventeen-year-old daughter has a twenty-one-year-old former gang leader and his animal posse shacking up with her, or that she was kidnapped by his enemies—but hey, it's a pretty Big Fancy House! As for Ginji, he's technically a created being. His mother, after her son's death, created Ginji in the alternate dimension which houses the Limitless Fortress. Subverted by the Kakei siblings, who left home of their own free will, against the advice of their father; and Uryuu Toshiki, who's illegitimate and ran away from home after either beating the crap out of or outright killing his younger-but-legitimate brother for the right of inheritance.
Say My Name: Especially in the manga, where speech bubbles containing just names can fill up an entire page. BAAAAN-CHAAAAN!!! KAZU-CHAAAAN!!! Shido! Shido! Shido! Makubex! Makubex! Makubex! Juubei! Toshiki! Madoka! Hevn! Himiko! Ginji!
Japanese fans tend to romanize Kazuki's name as Kadzuki or Kaduki, which is technically correct given the second kanji in his given name.
Emishi's homeland has been alternatively romanized as "Rouran" and "Loulan".
Tokyopop's release of the manga had a "Blind Idiot" Translation for the first 4 volumes. Probably the most egregious mistake was transliterating Paul to "Pore". This, like most other issues, was fixed in later volumes.
And of course the ever-present question of what to do about the Japanese "long-O"; it crops up a lot in this series. "Midou" vs "Mido", "Fudou" vs "Fudo", to name a couple.
This resulted in unintended consequences in the English dub of the anime. They kept the "u" in Ban's name, but the actors screwed up the pronunciation as a result (they finally got it right halfway through the series).
Super-Deformed: Ginji, for the most part. This is lampshaded in the manga and especially the anime, with Ban remarking on it and being able to pick ChibiGinji up one-handed.
Stupid Sexy Flanders: Kazuki is this for both Ban and Ginji... as well as for other characters. There was even a part where both Ban and Ginji saw him bathing in the hot springs from the back, and tried to peek because they thought that they finally found a hot naked girl to spy on.
Year Inside, Hour Outside: While the illusions of the Evil Eye last only 60 seconds, it seems that there's no limit on how long you can make someone think something is happening, allowing for very creative scenarios to be created.