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 Aokinote One of the many pennames of Shin Kobayashi, the same one who brought you Kami No Shizuku and Psycho Busters), 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, and the character designs redone by Atsuko Nakajima.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)note 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 Rey, to save time and money. Indeed, the fact that Kodansha would later buy out Del Rey's manga division and distribution channels (and take on some of their staff) and turned it into their own North American imprint, lends credence to this theory, so the final 12 volumes have not seen a legitimate English-language release, and most likely never will.Ban and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.This series has a character sheet. All character tropes should go there.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Both played straight and inverted. Ban and Ginji's (and for that matter nearly all male characters) attractiveness was upgraded due to the designs redone by Atsuko Nakajima (who did the adaptation to Ranma ½, amongst others). Meanwhile, the female characters, while not unattractive per se, was redone to avert the original manga's Only Six Faces, notably in Hevn's design. The aforementioned Bishonen Upgrade above is credited as singlehandedly fueling most of the Ho Yay in the series.
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The biggest plot that never was resolved in the anime happens to tie everything together, particularly the nagging question of "how come people have superpowers in this universe"? The answer is: everything is a simulation, and the central node is within Infinite Fortress.
Compressed Adaptation: This also sadly leaves out the backstories to Paul Wang except for bits and pieces in the anime.
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.
Backstory: Practically all major characters and villains have more than one flashback throughout the series, constituting to very complicated backstories.
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".
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. The artworks however, amped up the Ho YayUp to Eleven.
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.
The Comically Serious/Cannot Tell a Joke: Juubei, post Makubex arc. Makubex's comment about him having poor sense of humour greatly affected him and he's been trying to improve it ever since. Unfortunately, his source of inspiration is Emishi, king of Incredibly Lame Pun. A panel of him throwing a needle to Saizou is treated as significant in this regard, if done humorously.
Crazy-Prepared: Ban. Taking into account his Evil Eye needing to be used up early is one thing, commissioning the Clayman to make perfect inflatable replicas of him to give the illusion that he had used his Evil Eye with the help of some tape recorder? That's crazy prepared.
Par for the course as Lady Poison, Himiko has a certain perfume that only select people would know. Its function? A tracking perfume (similar in function to pheromones employed by ants for pathfinding). She used this as a Trojan Prisoner gambit, letting herself get caught and transported to the inside of the base to act as a pathfinding "guide" for the others during Makubex arc.
Creepy Cool Crosses: The Stigma is a creepy cool cross engraved on the eyeballs of certain characters.
Crossdresser: Kazuki, usually not by choice. Usually. The outfit he wore in his Fuuga days is pretty... fabulous, to say the least.
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.
Defeat by Modesty: Partial example, when Miroku 7 switches to the lone female persona, Kirara, Ginji thought she was just a facet of Natsuhiko's personality and is actually male. When Ginji started to go all-out and nearly rips Kirara's shirt in half, Miroku's body is that of a female and that gave Ginji just enough pause for Miroku to swap to another persona to deal damage.
Subverted during Himiko's fight against Kagami. Although she's practically naked by the time Kagami puts a blade on her neck, it was more of the checkmate that did Himiko in rather than any sort of modesty issues.
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.
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.
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.
In fact, if there is any contrived reason to introduce a nude woman, it will be done. The manga also never shies from depicting them in what could only be said as in the middle of an orgasm. Needless to say, this did not make it into the anime.
Fermat's Last Theorem: Lucky the Wonder Dog is given a problem like this to solve. The dog answers that it's unsolvable (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.
Gag Penis: Shido, anime only. Referenced in the manga where both Ginji and Ban accuse him, in Ban's words, "using his lower half to get jobs from Hevn". The latter accusation is also helpfully illustrated by Ban's active imagine spot of Hevn writhing in pleasure. In fact, at times Ban swaps out his nickname for Shidou from "monkey boy" to "horse boy". Subtle.
The Idiot from Osaka: Emishi, although his accent is more technically Kyoto-ben. Which is odd considering he is a descendant from a Chinese clan, and still has flashbacks to his traumatic past.
Idiot Hero: Chibi!Ginji is woefully inadequate in the brains department. To wit, he has caused the GB team to lose out on massive payments because:
He once was told that, thanks to a software to make nuclear bombs will mean that any high schooler can make one, it's like saying making a nuclear bomb is as easy as turning on a microwave oven. Ginji then tries to prove it by literally inserting the DVD into a microwave oven to see if it blows. Not only it hasn't, but the multi-billion dollar data is lost, and so is GB team's chance of having a huge pile of money (to be fair, even Ban doesn't know what to do with the DVD considering it will make them be targeted by multiple countries should they try to sell it).
Due to his curiosity getting better of him, Ginji accidentally sunk the only known existence of Venus De Milo's arms. Also, he sunk a replica of Venus de Milo itself made from a Fantastic Drug. This not only causes GB to miss out on the payment for the arms, but also Emishi and Shidou who was paid to retrieve the replica.
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.
Not to mention Makubex, who pretty much weaponizes an Alternate Reality Environment.
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.
Lovable Sex Maniac: Ban in the manga. His standard "greeting" to Hevn is to cop a feel. His accusation towards Shido also falls into this. Note that even Ginji is not immune to occasional dirty thoughts; sometimes towards Mizuki, sometimes towards Hevn.
Debatable, but Juubei and Kazuki in the manga. In other dimension, Ginji met Kazuki and Juubei having what seems like a date, and in the said dimension Kazuki is a girl
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". note 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 startsnote 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).
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. Even Ban comments that, if you blot out Kazuki's male parts, he's practically a woman.
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.
True Companions: Just about everyone Ginji knows finds their way into a large, complicated group. Ban doesn't really like any of them, though, and professional obligations come first.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Ban's Evil Eye. Not so much using it, but Ban needs to bluff opponents sometimes to think that he has used it when in fact he hasn't, and vice versa. The very threat of him still capable of performing an Evil Eye illusion has forced protracted psychological warfare time and time again.
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.