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Hard-up heroes Ginji and Ban specialize in getting stuff back, from a lost lucky charm to a missing teenager, in a Japan where everyone is hustling for a dime. They are aided in this by their superpowers-Ban can exert 200 kilos of grip in his fist and also has the Evil Eye, the ability to project terrifying hallucinations into the mind of anyone who meets his gaze. Ginji can generate thousands of volts of electricity from his body at will. The pair claim a 100% recovery rate for their clients, but the goods aren't always returned in the original condition. Drawing not only on the ongoing Shonen Magazine manga by Yuya Aoki and Rando Ayamine but also on the classic TV series Detective Story (*DE), Getbackers refashions hard-boiled traditions as light comedy. Cowboy Bebop may have emulated the look, but Getbackers emulates the plots-its heroes are loners with a dark past, co-opted by a vampish woman (the sultry Hevn) for missions above and below the law. In attitude, it often sails very close to Magnum P.I. (1980) or a righteous Lupin III, until a long arc that returns the characters to their clandestine roots, fighting similarly superpowered individuals who were once their allies.

Cleverly recycling many of the issues and threats of Marvel superheroes into an everyday setting, Getbackers features two protagonists who may have amazing powers but lack costumes or kit. Instead, they hang out at a restaurant called the Honky Tonk, where they lean on manager Paul for free food. Ban and Ginji's Shinjuku is dominated by the bold architectural statements of Japan's boom era, set on the steps of train stations empty of commuters and on the building sites of abandoned skyscrapers. What begins as a stylistic conceit is later revealed as an important plot point-the boys have a past association with the gangs who have occupied the Limitless Fortress, a massive complex in downtown Tokyo, left incomplete by the recession and subsequently inhabited by invincible squatters who terrorize anyone who tries to evict them.

The anime story diverges from the manga after episode 25, returning to investigative stories with a twist: an amnesiac car crash survivor who wants them to somehow retrieve his memory and the obligatory hot springs episode, where the boys mix business and pleasure while hunting for an old lady's diamond ring. Other plots drift into the art world genre of Gallery Fake, with a woman who claims to have the lost arms of the Venus de Milo statue, while others drift further toward sci-fi territory-a super drug, a missing sample of real blood, and a revolutionary superalloy. Paul's own past as a thief is revealed when he hires the boys to retrieve a vase stolen by one of his old gang members before the Limitless Fortress storyline returns for a final showdown.

Like the cursed yuppies in Petshop of Horrors, the Getbackers' clients symbolically sell their souls for material possessions; most notably, a teenage girl prepared to whore herself to a gangster if he gives her "bags, clothes, and shoes." Sadly, it's not just the cast who are impoverished-the show itself is a victim of the Japanese recession, with extremely limited animation. When the boys agree to take a job that involves an extended pastiche of the Castle of Cagliostro car chase, their fee is two million yen, which a contemporary newspaper article reported as the shockingly meager budget of a modern-day TV episode. Despite this, Getbackers had an impressively long run on TV, extending across an entire year when most similar shows barely last a season. Part of this endurance feat may be down to the flexibility of its storyline and pace, mixing long quests with short vignettes without losing sight of its big themes.

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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Getbackers
Name: ゲットバッカーズ
Romaji: Getbackers Dakkanya
Publisher Madman Entertainment
Start Year 2002
Genres
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Themes
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Aliases Getbackers Recoverers
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