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Manga / Get Backers

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We get back what shouldn't be gone! The recovery service with an (almost) 100% success rate!

A manga by Rando Ayamine (original concept by Yuya Aokinote ), published in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1999 to 2007, 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 Shōnen 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 for 49 episodes, was produced by Studio DEEN, a studio known for other series that have achieved international popularity such as Fruits Basket, Ranma ˝, 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 , 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.

This manga/anime provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Akabane he cut a dimensional erosion just because he's Akabane, he can manipulate shadows, cannot die, make clones and create weapons out of his blood for this reason
  • 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 ˝, 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.
  • All Just a Dream: Evil Eye. Contrary to its name, it can also give the victim a pleasant dream.
  • The Alleged Car: Ban's Subaru 360. It's actually heavily modded and even had a nitrous engine on it, but the fact of the matter is, it's still a Subaru 360. That and it keeps getting towed no matter what the duo does.
  • 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. Notably, Atsuko Nakajima's previously-mentioned redesigns are based on Rando Ayamine's post-evolution artwork.
  • Backstory: Practically all major characters and villains have more than one flashback throughout the series, constituting to very complicated backstories.
  • Badass Longcoat: Akabane. Ban (in the anime only) would fall under the "excessively long shirt" subset.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Too many occasions to count. Ban has a lot of these, but so do Ginji, Kazuki, Juubei... everyone at some point or the other, really.
  • Big Fancy House: Various clients, including Madoka.
  • Bishōnen: Most male characters in the anime. Specifically, Kazuki, who retains his bishounen status even in the manga.
  • 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!"
  • 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 Yay up.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Divine Design: Kazuki; Lost Time: the rest of Fuuga.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Manga only—Ban and Himiko. Juubei and Sakura get to become one when they're brainwashed.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Ban is a quarter German.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ginji for being an idiot hero, Emishi for being a comedian, Ban for being a pervert, the list goes on.
  • 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.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: The anime is very much this. The manga to a much lesser extent.
  • Cast Speciation: Somewhat averted. There are multiple blind characters, doctors, string-fighters, and animal whisperers, but the last two are somewhat justified by being family skills.
  • Catchphrase: Ban's "Just one minute," and "Saw any bad/good dreams lately?" Also, Ginji's cheerful "I feel like I'm forgetting something..." (in regard to Akabane).
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Several characters in the Limitless Fortress (Mugenjou) remark that Ginji has the ability to draw people to him and make them want to follow him.
  • 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 a poor sense of humor 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.
  • Cooldown Hug: This and Cooldown Touch are Ban's primary methods of snapping Ginji out of his Psycho Electro or Brainwashed and Crazy states.
  • 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 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: This happens when Himiko and Hevn are imprisoned by Makubex's henchmen during Limitless Fortress arc. At some point, two prison guards enter their cell and start ogling them. All of sudden, Himiko opens her jacket, revealing her nearly naked body (justified because her clothes are heavily damaged by Akame and her jacket, taken from a random mook, is unbuttoned and barely covers her modesty), and asks the prison guards to scratch her itchy back. The prison guards gleefully accept her request after seeing her almost naked body. Turns out that Himiko is tricking them to inhale the puppet perfume soaked on her body, in order to force the guards to undo her handcuffs, along with Hevn's. Seen here.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: A recurring cause of debt for our heroic duo.
  • Dramatic High Perching: 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.
  • 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.
  • Elite Four: Ginji's Four Kings and MakubeX's New Four Kings.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Ren's reaction when figuring out who Kazuki is.
  • 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. This includes Ban or Ginji simply imagining it. 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.
  • The Four Gods: As guards in Divine Design.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball: None other than the intellectual badass Ban Mido for spamming his Evil Eye in the last story arc. It is because of this that he nearly dies in the climax.
  • 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 the 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. To be fair, the GB would not really approve of the drugs being sold on the market.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Fudou loves doing this to Ban.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Sakura's cloth, Akabane's scalpels, Ban's arm cursed by the Greek god of medicine...
    • 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.
  • Introdump: The first scene of the 'three transporters' is like this, as they have to call each other both by their actual names, and their professional monikers.
  • Invincible Hero: 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".
  • It Only Works Once: Ban's Evil Eye only works once on the same person per 24 hours.
  • 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Manga only. Paul
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Ginji can generate electricity, which he uses to aid him in fights. And that's about it. However, if he absorbs a sufficient amount (either from lightning or a large electrical source) he turns into the ''Lightning Lord" whose powers consist of Super Strength, Super Speed, Nigh-Invulnerability, electromagnetic powers, and a Healing Factor for good measure. He becomes a Flying Brick without the flight.
  • 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.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Some of the cuts Akabane makes are just... amazing.
  • MacGuffin: Every single plot revolves around one of these. Subverted in second half of manga. Madoka pops up as a retrieval target. In the last arc, they are to retrieve Himiko, among other stuff.
  • Manipulative Bastard: MakubeX, Kagami, and in manga, Akabane.
  • Master of Illusion: MakubeX. Also Ban, to a lesser extent. And, to an even lesser extent, Kagami.)
  • Mugged for Disguise: Two instances in the manga:
    • In the third volume, the Get Backers are tasked with retrieving a priceless violin that's currently under the possession of a mob boss. They decide to take advantage of the fact that he's hosting a party and invited a quintet of musicians to entertain his guests. They enlist the help of Paul, Natsumi and Hevn to replace the musicians. (They needed to be five, as a quintet is composed of five musicians, and they needed Natsumi and Hevn because two of the musicians were women). They trick the musicians on their way to the mob boss' house by pretending that their car is broken down and, when they pull down to help, they knock them out and steal their clothes, their instruments and their car. The real musicians are left Bound and Gagged in their undies inside the Get Backer' car. The same thing is hinted to also happen in the anime, but the stripped musicians aren't shown.
    • In the next volume, to reach the same mob boss who's playing at a concert, Ban (this time alone) mugs another musician. The man is briefly shown Bound and Gagged in his underwear.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Takuma Fudou to Ginji, over Ban. Seriously. "When you're around, Midou doesn't even notice me. Midou's eyes are not on me... because you're in the way!"
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dr. Jackal, Lucifer
  • Necromantic
  • Neutral Female: Natsumi, and later in the manga,Rena.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Played with in one of the final arcs. Alternate counterparts of a few characters appear in the Belt Line, and if they are killed, the originals die too. However, if someone attacks their own clone, the latter is instantly destroyed without affecting the former. In other words, to defeat the copies you must make the selves meet each other.
  • Non-Action Guy: MakubeX, at first. Paul seems to be this way in the beginning.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted when an item to be delivered turns out to be a key nuclear bomb component.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Ban Midou has almost preternaturally blue eyes, as well as being an actual case of association with witches, as noted above.
  • Official Couple: Shido and Madoka. Hevn and Masaki.
    • 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
  • 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.
  • Only One Name: Hevn, MakubeX
  • Orgasmic Combat: Takuma Fudou tends to have this, but only when he fights with Ban.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: In the manga, it's left up to the reader to decide whether Ginji rejected reality & went back into a virtual reality coma powered by science & magic, or if he was knocked unconscious & dreamt of a parallel universe.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In one occasion, the guys try to do peek on the girls bathing, but end up seeing some old ladies instead. When they try again, they get a view of a woman's bare back but then it turns out to be the Bishōnen Kakuzi.
  • 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 .
    • 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. Said brother, Yohan, was nearly killed by order of their father as an infant because he was born with the stigmata, and only survived because their mother begged him to be adopted by the Kokuchouin. 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.
  • The Power of Glass: Kyoji Kagami manipulates mirror fragments as his primary form of attack.
  • Razor Floss: Kazuki, also known as "Kazuki of the Strings".
  • The Rest Shall Pass: It seems to be required to pair off the heroes and villains.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Starting the IL arc? Get ready for a truckload of biblical references.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In Greek mythology, Asclepius was a famous doctor. While he is associated with snakes, he has absolutely nothing to do with the evil demon snake in Ban's arm.
  • Satellite Character: Sakura to MakubeX.
  • 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! Makubeeeex! Juubei! Toshiki! Madoka! Hevn! Himiko! GINJIIII!
  • She's a Man in Japan: Kazuki was mistakenly referred to as a woman in the Tokyopop translation, corrected later.
  • Significant Name Shift:
    • Ban has a habit of these, as he refuses to refer to anyone by their actual names until he's decided to respect them. He begins Ginji by name soon after they became partners.
      Ginji: ...That's when Ban-chan started using my name, and you know how bad he is at remembering names!
      Paul: You know that's not true—he actually remembers everyone's names. He's just not willing to use 'em.
    • Similarly, Ginji switches from "Midou-kun" to "Ban-chan" after their first recovery mission together.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Can happen quite a lot in this series.
    • 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).
  • Stalker with a Crush: Takuma Fudou towards Ban, which is even lampshaded by the latter, who calls him a "damn stalker zombie".
  • Status Quo Is God: Something always fixes it so that Ban and Ginji never make a profit.
  • 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.
  • Virtual Reality: Pretty much the entire world, but this was only in the manga.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Stacking eggs.
  • We Gotta Stop Meeting Like This:
    Akabane: [to the Get Backers] We've just got to stop meeting like this.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The vast majority of the Get Backers' clients have something shady going on.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Kazuki through and through, especially in the manga where he is seldom drawn with masculine features.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Ban's Evil Eye. Not so much using it, but Ban often needs to bluff opponents to think that he has used it when in fact he hasn't, and vice versa. The very threat of him still being capable of performing an Evil Eye illusion has forced protracted psychological warfare time and 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.