Getbackers Dakkanya, “GetBackers Recovery Service/Business” (GetBackers )
• Yuya Aoki (story), Rando Ayamine (art)
• Tokyopop (2004–ongoing)
• Kodansha (Weekly Shônen Magazine, 1999–2007)
• 13+/16+ (language, crude humor, graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations)
Ginji and Ban, two teenage goof-offs in search of girls and money, have special powers: former gang boss Ginji is the “lightning lord” with electrical powers, and breast-grabbing Ban wields the “evil eye,” which can cause terrifying illusions. Despite their initially dorky appearance, they’re agents of the GetBackers, a “retrieval agency” whose members hang out in the restaurant Honky Tonk and who accept missions such as finding a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting or rescuing an old man’s long-lost daughter. GetBackers is an interesting example of a Japanese superhero story, set in the real world but starring characters with unexplained abilities. The crime cases, particularly the early ones, are cleverly plotted and the heroes make good use of their powers in over-the-top action scenes and car chases. Later on, however, the series turns into a standard fighting manga, as the heroes go to bizarre locations such as the Infinity Fortress (your typical shônen-manga tower full of enemies) and face recurring allies and villains with names like Lady Poison and Doctor Jackal. The series never entirely loses its comedy aspects, though the ghoulish gore (zombie attacks, scalpels slicing peoples to ribbons) gets more extreme. The female characters are mostly sex objects. The photorealistic backgrounds resemble the world of GTO, and with good reason; Rando Ayamine was Tohru Fujisawa’s assistant. The early volumes were initially labeled T (13+) but the rating was later retroactively upped to OT (16+).