Posted by Lenlo on 16 July 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

This? Banana Fish? This right here? This is what 91 Days could have been. An intriguing crime drama, with interesting characters all around and the willingness to go all-in on its story. Lets jump in!

Banana Fish did a much better job of holding my attention compared to last week. With all the characters established, it was just on GO the whole episode. So many things happening, one after another. I loved it. Banana Fish is dedicated to its location and this crime/gang drama story. Everything just feels… different, set in a modern day New York City compared to a Japanese High-school/Tokyo. What I find most interesting though is how the story has been updated. The original manga was written back in the 80’s, and was based after the Vietnam War. I’m curious what sort of changes, if any, MAPPA will have to make to account for the time switch. Whatever they do though, I am excited, because just 2 episodes in and they are not pulling any punches. From Marvin and Ash, to Skip. There’s just so many great scenes.

Now, in the long list of hard hitting scenes… lets start with Marvin. We already knew Marvin was a bit of a creep from last episode, but boy was he worse than I thought. The most impressive thing with Marvin this episode was how little Banana Fish pulled its punches. Banana Fish committed, fully. From his disgusting behavior towards Ash to the videos/magazines the dirty cop Evanstine showed us. Most anime either dance around this kind of topic, implying it without outright addressing it, or like the Yaoi genre, revel in it. Banana Fish quite clearly shows it and says “This is bad, this man is disgusting.”, without fetishizing it. I can’t claim to know how survivors of this kind of thing feel, and I know its an uncomfortable subject for many. But from a purely story/drama-wise standpoint, it did added a lot to Ash’s character for me.

Don’t think we are done with Marvin though after just that, because that’s not the only surprise Banana Fish gave me this week. They killed Skip. I was legitimately surprised, I figured he would be like the plucky sidekick of the season, but no. They kill him, and just as surprisingly, its with little buildup and little dramatization. There’s no long lingering last words or soliloquies. Skip dies, and because they are in the middle of a gun fight, theirs no real time to stop. Ash has to keep moving if he wants to survive/catch Marvin. It’s bits like this that make me worry for characters, to feel like no one is truly safe. Skip had just enough screen time and personality that I thought, “Hey the joker to Eiji’s straight-man, cool”. And Banana Fish just tears it away. Makes you wonder about Shorter and the friendly cops, huh?

To get away from depressing, if amazing, scenes though I wanna talk about Ash and Eiji. So Banana Fish is classified as a Shoujo series, and we all know what that entails. Boy love, usually. Based on what we have seen of Eiji and Ash though, I don’t think it will be as superficial as most Shoujo series. No flowers and romance, but guns and conspiracies, so to speak. For our main two, I quite like their relationship so far, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Whether it be deep male friendship, without sex knowing Ash’s history, or delves into actual romance. There are qualities in each that the other wants/respects. Ash connects with Eiji’s naivete and general heart, something he no doubt lost on the streets, and Eiji I suspect with Ash’s ability to keep moving forward. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

As for the main story, its growing on me. I’m less interested in the drug and what it does, and more interested in Ash and its connection to his brother. That is a much more personal story to me, of a family destroyed by drugs, than some mega drug made by a crime lord. One pro of this though is that Banana Fish isn’t really restricted by location. We’ve gone from the streets of New York to a prison, and I won’t be surprised if we hit other cities on the East Coast as well. Banana Fish has a lot of wiggle room in that respect. So long as this drug running story keeps the personal touches, the parts that really connect to Ash and Eiji, I don’t think it will get in the way much. It just has to focus on our two leads to be worth watching.

Finally, (Boy lots to talk about), our antagonists. Dino is kinda eh, we haven’t seen much of him and honestly, I’m not to interested in him. He’s a rich, probably a pedophile, crime lord. Maybe he gets interesting in the future. But so far, hes just the guy making events happen. Arthur though I am more interested in. I want to know what happened between him and Ash, I want to know about the scar’s on his fingers. They look like they got off, so maybe a previous turf war of some kind? His vendetta with Ash is much more personal, and so much more interesting to me. I figure he will be one of the main antagonists that we see, that actually go face to face with Ash, since unlike Dino he can put up an actual physical fight. Gonna be awhile though, with this upcoming prison arc.

So there you go, episode 2 and Banana Fish has done… a lot. And I loved it all. First episode was slow, but I suppose that’s what the 3 episode rule is for huh? While the animation isn’t the most impressive, I do like the cinematography like in Eiji’s pole-vaulting scene, so I don’t expect any issues there. Considering its a full 24 episodes, we have all the time in the world to see the story as well, so it shouldn’t get cut short on a cliffhanger or rushed like some other one season anime. Personally, that 24 episode tag is the true marker of promise for Banana Fish for me.

What about you? What do you think of Banana Fish so far?

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Tronald says:

    This cartoon is full of deviant sinful behaviors and perverted devil-worship, shame on you all for even covering it. For a more wholesome and sensible blog you should all check out animeoutsiders instead.

    • Avatar Tayo Jones says:

      This show is NOT glamorising child porn. This anime is showing how depraved it is and the effects it has on the victims, namely our main lead. Where you even paying attention or did you stop watching half way?

      • Avatar Lenlo says:

        Im pretty sure he was referencing the general acceptance/undertones of Homosexual relationships. Checked out the site he posted, seems generally Conservative in views. Im wagering its just a general distaste for Gay relationships.

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