GetBackers 27 (Infinity Fortress 2)

As fired up as I got about the GetBackers origin story last volume, the eventual conclusion to that flashback was a little less satisfying.  The story finishes up in this volume with how the pair meets Natsumi, which is when she asks them to retrieve her super-smart dog.  The dog is so smart, in fact, that it answers Fermat’s Last Theorem on live television.  Now there is an intelligent animal.  Anyway, some sort of missing link virus is afoot, monsters attack Ban and Ginji, Fudou shows up, it’s a pretty typical GetBackers-type story.  There’s not much remarkable about it, but it’s fun to read since all the stories lately have been very, very long.

Now, the next story gets into the Voodoo Child label for Himiko, involves a retrieval for Akabane, and Maria Noches shows up at the end to assist with knowledge of curses.  This shows every sign of being just as good as the Divine Design story arc that has been my favorite so far.  Other good signs include the fact that, if I’m lucky, only Akabane, Himiko, and Kazuki will be along for the ride this time.  Well, that’s a lie, because… some female character reappears with Akabane, I don’t remember where she was from.  But maybe she’ll be the only one.

I hope Tokyopop gets this series back on schedule soon.  It’s hard to be left hanging on a story that’s really quite good.  I’m glad the series has taken a turn for the better plot-wise since the Infinity Fortress relaunch.


GetBackers 26 (Infinity Fortress 1)

Holy crap!  This volume was amazing!  If anyone was thinking about picking up GetBackers, this is actually a really good place to start.  This does away with all the stuff that has happened so far in the series and starts things over with Ban and Ginji’s first couple missions.  At the time, the two still don’t really like each other, but even in these few stories, you can see their friendship developing fast.  By the end, they’ve (or at least Ginji) have nicknames already.

This is the stuff I’ve been waiting for.  Instead of delving into a story that introduces a bunch of new characters and incorporates 10 other characters that I don’t care about, this is just Ban and Ginji solving their cases rather quickly.  Some of the series early jokes come back (the two not having any money, Ban’s fondness for breasts), but the jokes are used infrequently, and I don’t mind them so much.  There’s one long case that I feel went unresolved since they had to cheat a little to finish it, but was good anyway.  I was surprised by how touching it was since it was only a few chapters long.  Later, the two turn down a case from what appears to be a really important client, and instead take the same case from a little girl that walks in right after them.  That leads into the next volume, and I desperately need to know what it is that makes the little dachsund so important.

I can’t stress enough how much of a new beginning this is.  It just feels like all the crap that’s accumulated for the length of the series has been swept away, and we’re just left with Ban and Ginji.  The two are discovering what it is each other can do as far as their powers go, they get to know each other… it’s just a nice thing.

I loved this volume.  I haven’t loved the series like this in a long time, but I really, REALLY liked this volume.  It’s a good place to jump back in if you haven’t been reading the series, or gave up on it awhile ago.

This was a review copy provided by Tokyopop.


GetBackers 25

With the majority of the fighting taken care of last time, I was expecting this volume to be mostly side stories, especially since it was fairly clear the next story line didn’t start until next volume.  I’m all about side stories, especially after an arc as epic as the Maruido/Kiriudo, as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with hot springs.  It didn’t.

There were a few things to wrap up in the forest, like Kabuto’s true form, the matter of Shido being… inert, and leaving things a little less grim than the last volume finished up.  I didn’t mind the happy ending too much, especially since Ban and Ginji came out okay in the end.

Let’s see, what were the side stories?  There was a really weird/awesome one that involved everyone playing a game in Infinity Fortress where the prize was one million yen.  Emishi was the target, and really, the game was more a gift to him.  This story took up two chapters and was really more about showing the characters goofing off after the seriousness of the last story.  No fanservice other than the characters bickering/joking with one another, and even I have to admit I was won over by Akabane’s lines, so it wound up being a pretty fun side story.

Another one of the side stories dealt with Ban and Ginji helping one of the Honky Tonk girls get back some money she was cheated out of.  I liked this one too, and like I said, it’s nice to see Ban and Ginji hanging out together in non life threatening situations.  This story had the added bonus of leading into what I assume is the next major plot arc, which is about the GetBackers… er, organization in general and, if I’m lucky, how Ban and Ginji got together in particular.  I’ve only been waiting, like, 25 volumes for this, so I’m all about rushing forward now.

This was a review copy provided by Tokyopop.  I’ve also got the next volume, so here’s to starting on the GetBackers origins right away!


GetBackers 24

I’m way, WAY behind on stuff that I need to talk about.  I’ve been trying to do 2 reviews a day, 5 days a week… I’ve kind of been bad about it, though.  There’s really no excuse for me not to have done anything this weekend, but I went back through and read all 14 volumes I have of Skip Beat, which kind of took all my time.

But on to something much less interesting.  I’m glad this series is popular enough to continue, and I’m also kind of glad to see it’s getting a relaunch as “Infinity Fortress,” though that doesn’t bode very well for the setting of the rest of the volumes in the series.  I don’t particularly care for the Infinity Fortress plots.

The beast/bug feud is winding down nicely, though.  The last few spats are worked out, we find out the phenomonal cosmic powers at work in the masters of the beast clans, Ban and Ginji are reunited, Kabuto is confronted, lots of awesoem things happen.  I’m actually kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed this volume, because usually GetBackers is a lot harder to read than this.

The close of the volume was especially great.  It’s hinted that the characters have a traitor in their midst, and it’s almost immediately obvious who it is… until it’s not that person, because that person is dead.  The second candidate is also obvious, because their name is mentioned outright, but when it happens, it’s still pretty shocking.  And what’s even more shocking is what Kabuto winds up doing when… he does what he does to that person.  There’s one volume left of this story, but this is really the climax.  One volume for the aftermath sounds about right.

All the characters are back, though people like Lady Poison and Akabane don’t really play much of a role here.  Actually, almost everyone is left behind except for the beastmasters, Ginji, and Ban, which is sort of nice because then you know you don’t have to sit through a matchup for each of the side characters.  Ginji and Ban’s reunion is pretty awesome, as always.  Their relationship, take it as you will, is pretty interesting, and one of the stronger parts of this series.  To know that Ban and Ginji will always be together is an interesting thing to keep in mind through a lot of these parts, and I would still love to know what it is that draws the two of them together.

I’m a bit behind.  I know volume 25 is out now (but out of stock where I want to get it), and the first volume of Infinity Fortress may be out, too.  Like I said, I’m not really looking forward to anything that takes place at Infinity Fortress, but I’ve been with it this long, what’s 17 or so more volumes?


GetBackers 23

…Man.  I almost quit when I got to the part where Ginji defeated his enemy by convincing him not to fight.  That part was so goddamn lame I don’t even have the words.  The rest of the volume isn’t too fantastic either.

Mostly this is just fight after fight after fight after fight between different characters in different places.  We do get an explanation as to what’s up with Amon Natsuki and why the two clans are fighting, but other than that it feels like the plot doesn’t advance AT ALL.  I mean, obviously several opponents are defeated, so everyone’s that much closer to… whatever the hell it is they’re going to do here, but other than completing several battles, nothing happens and nobody meets up with one another.  In fact, several characters split up, thus ensuring things will take even longer since they have to meet back again.

So Himeko fights alone versus a butterfly woman who uses poison powders like she does.  Akabane fights against one of the bosses he knew from when he was the real Dr. Jackal, saving lives and everything.  Ginji fights… okay, Ginji doesn’t even fight, he just gets scared, then somehow “finds his power” and easily convinces his opponent that killing is bad.  Except he doesn’t really find any power, or not anything terribly obvious.  Ban fights one of the other bosses, and his battle is actually the only one that was remotely cool.  Well, Akabane’s was kind of cool since we got the barest hints of his background, but a lot of the time I couldn’t really tell what was going on because the art isn’t very clear during these action scenes for some reason.  Also, there’s a battle at the very beginning between a couple of the Insect bosses that involves Himeko, Ban, and the Observer.  Amon and the whip guy are shown still mired in battle, but that’s just more to let you know they’re still around since they don’t really get their own chapter this time around.

Mmm.  I don’t think I’m missing anything.  If you’re reading this series, feel free to skip right over this volume.  I’m sure the only important bit of information (what’s up with Amon Natsuki) will be immediately apparent when events start moving forward again.


GetBackers 22

We got to see a great fight right off the bat with Natsuki and Haruki.  The way they interact makes the fight pretty enjoyable, not to mention the fact they both seem to do really well.  Well, Natsuki does, anyway.  We get to find out what his deal is, and Haruki even decides to stand by him once he finds out.  Aww.

Ban and Lady Poison fight.  Again.  This time, Lady Poison goes for his eyes, though.

Hm.  Akabane is defeated in combat, which is amazing.  It’s nothing permanent, but I was still totally blown away when it happened.  There’s a big brawl that involved Akabane, Ginji, and all the other characters against some of the insect soldiers, but it wasn’t all that detailed a battle.

What else… hm.  Ginji is still pretty useless in a fight, but he seems to be adapting.  This impresses Akabane.


GetBackers 21

Yeah!  The plot really gets going in this volume.  We get to see the lightening lord, a riff between Ban and Ginji, Akabane comes into play, and action, lots of glorious action.

The insect clan seems to be cursed by their bug forms, and it seems like the majority are ready and willing to take out both the beast clan and everyone Shido hired to help him, some are seeking the help of the retrievers and transporters to break them of their curse.  Not sure if that means they’ll spare their lives, but it’ll be interesting to see if this divides the forces in any way.

Did I mention that I love both Ban and Ginji?  Because I do.  We get teased more about the relationship they share, in the non-romantic sense.  We also get to see both at the top of their game fight-wise in this volume, and I just love that sort of thing.  I go between periods of love and hate with this series, but once it gets going, it can be really good.  It’s the lame in-between parts that are tedious to read.


GetBackers 20

Umm. Here’s another shounen action series, this time aimed at an older audience. GetBackers is infinitely more tolerable than Elemental Gelade, mostly because there is plenty of action as well as… well, actual lechery (Ban does like to grab and squeeze). If it’s going to be in there, do it right. I don’t mind the fanservice as long as the stuff is up-front and the characters are willing to indulge themselves without regret.

I grabbed this volume to read on the train to work, thinking that it would be infinitely more safe to read than MPD Psycho, which is potentially horribly violent, or Garden Dreams, which may feature sex scenes (there was no sex; I didn’t realize it wasn’t a Juné title). Unfortunately, I forgot that Rando Ayamine draws HUGE breasts, and there was a rather long scene where the enemy tempts Ban Mido by surrounding him with large-breasted women. Actually, that was most of the volume. Ban Mido gratefully fell into the obvious trap, squeezing a breast in each hand all the while. It was not something I felt comfortable reading on the train, unfortunately.

It feels like things are still getting off the ground as far as the plot to this story arc goes. We learn a lot about the rivalry between the beast and bug clans, and things are set up as a rescue mission for Madoka. There is a lot of introduction for the bug clan (apparently we had already met two of them, I do remember the bee guy from the last story arc, but I do not remember the son of the spider lady), and a lot of time dedicated to the bug clan’s analysis of the main character’s fighting abilities. There’s still plenty of fighting amid all the exposition, though. Lady Poison gets into a scuffle, and Ban and Ginji each get into light fights of their own. Ginji almost turns lightening lord, and Ban is just plain cool.

I’m not generally fond of the plots to the stories in this series, and I’m not really looking forward to the fight between the two clans. As I mentioned some time ago, I would much prefer backstory for Ban, Ginji, or someone, instead of introducing a new cast of characters each time where some are destined to become allies eventually. While I feel MakubeX is an important enough character to warrant his brief appearances every so often, I just don’t think we need to keep involving the whip guy and the needle guy, and it seems like eliminating either Kazuki or Shido would make things a lot simpler. But alas.

The series does action well, though, which is about all I can ask of it. As a bonus, I also really love Ban, Ginji, and a lot of other characters as well even though most of them are pretty shallow. They’re just so cool.


GetBackers 19

Marine Red was short and sweet, for some reason I thought it was going to be some big, long affair that drug up Ban’s past. Maybe that’s up next.

I liked story line a lot in comparison to some of the massive affairs we’ve got lately that involve about 50 characters each. This plot involves Ban and Ginji facing off against Dokubachi and Captain Blood. There is vampirism and wine involved. It was pretty cool.

I liked this volume a lot because not only do we get to see Ban in action (no one seems to even put up a fight against him here), but we also get to see Ban in action trying to save Ginji. It was very cute. And for once, the plot was actually pretty straightforward. They tried to retrieve something, there was an altercation, they got the something back, queue comedic ending. A breath of fresh air, and really, quite preferable to any hot spring episode.


GetBackers 18

Yay! The card story arc continues and concludes in this volume. It was pretty cool. The ending wasn’t particularly notable, except that we got to see Ban in ceremonial witch garb, which was the coolest thing that ever happened to this series.

Another plus: we got to see Akabane. Twice.

Negative: there was a chapter FULL of stupid jokes and comic relief, presumably to add a bit of levity between two rather serious-minded arcs. The characters all get into countless senseless arguments in the middle of a hospital. There was a bonus in this, though. Akabane showed up to wish Ginji well, and when Ginji passed out, someone shouted to get the doctor, to which he replied “No need, I’m a doctor.” Funniest joke in the volume, you see. Aside from the numerous and extremely odd references that will only encourage the female audience to slash Ban and Ginji.

I’m not sure how I feel about this Marine Red arc yet. So far, there’s a TON of action happening in a small space. We get both Hishiki (who I completely forgot about) and Maguruma, who I’ve been waiting to come back as “Mr. No-Brake.”

Um. And… I hear there might be vampires later? Maybe? If I’m lucky? This could also just not be true, too.


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