Posted by Lenlo on 23 July 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Heads up Yuri on Ice, your place as the top homosexual romance anime is being challenged. This week Banana Fish charms us with a new character, disgusts us with a glimpse of prison life and teases us with a growing relationship. Lots to love, so let’s jump in!

So general stuff first, Banana Fish is moving pleasantly fast. The pace is juuuust right. Everything feels like its happening at a reasonable time, no characters are just sitting around waiting. Even Ash, in prison, is actively making things happen. There’s not a dead moment. It makes Banana Fish a treat to watch. Like My Hero Academia, it makes a 25 minute episode feel like it past in 10, though for different reasons. Banana Fish also does a good job with the music, which I only just noticed this week. The music from so many scenes just worked, it wasn’t intrusive, and when there was no dialogue it was catchy. I don’t know what it is lately, but anime in general seem to be stepping up their music game. But, general stuff done, let’s get to what you really want to talk about this week. The meat, pun intended.

First up, Max Glenreed, aka Max Lobo. Max is an interesting guy, from Journalist to a squadmate of Griffin, Ash’s brother. With these connections its clear Max is going to be an important recurring character. I figure him and Ash will patch it up, since Arthur and Papa Dino are zeroing in on Dr. Meredith and Griffin, and something is clearly about to go down. At first I thought some kind of older-brother dynamic was going to develop, but I’m no longer sure. I like that the opening soldier’s scene keeps coming back though, first with Griffin and now Max. It’s really helping to manage just how far back/deep this whole drug thing goes. It also shows Max’s character, since we saw him away from Ash, and get to see just how long he has been looking into Banana Fish. Basically, Max is a good character, and I likem.

For the prison as a whole, I was pleasantly surprised. I figured there would be some implications of prison rape and the like. With how Banana Fish has gone till now, it was expected. I wasn’t prepared for Ash though. First off, I love his attitude. Prison isn’t the end for him, he’s lived on the streets, he knows how to survive and do so in style. The cafeteria was gold. What I wasn’t expecting was Ash to just… go with it, in the library. I get that it was a plan, get sent to the medical room, get the pill, all that. But the sheer… blase attitude of Banana Fish in how it handles these scenes makes them so much more impactful than if there was dramatic or operatic music or something playing. Banana Fish truly does take the “less is more” and “show don’t tell” approaches to heart.

Speaking of Ash, we all know there’s one scene everyone loved. At first, I was very concerned with the Ash/Eiji kiss, for a lot of reasons. I was worried Banana Fish was going to start falling down the yaoi/shoujo fanservice hole. I feared that it had ignored Ash’s character in favor of a random kiss, since I figured Ash wouldn’t be that open/inclined to physical affection, what with his history. But, Banana Fish knew all this, and so managed to work in some affection with actual narrative purpose. It managed to let Ash be proactive while stuck in a prison. It’s a sign of how disappointing anime can be at times that this simple act of competence has surprised me so much. Every scene in prison built to this decision, with not a one being fluff. Thank you Banana Fish.

And even with all of that, even with such competence, Banana Fish manages to end on a cliffhanger. Backing up for just a quick moment, Eiji is a ball of sunshine, and his choice of dress is amazing. Continue being your flamboyantly colored self Eiji. Though the chinese restaurant had some concerning racial undertones, i’ll leave that alone for now and hope its a relic of being an adaptation of an 80’s manga. Now back to the cliffhanger. Glad Arthur is back as a recurring villain. I was concerned how he was going to get brought back, with Ash in prison, but with Ash sending Eiji out to protect the doctor, it all wraps back together. Way I figure, Eiji is going to spill, probably accidentally, or Ash will spill to protect Eiji. And then, then the hammer comes down on Dr.Meredith and Griffin. Then everything hits the fan. Probably.

So to close up, I am loving Banana Fish. Everything is piecing together. There isn’t a single wasted scene. I am curious where it’s going to go, to fill up a whole 2 cour season though. Right now we have Papa Dino and Arthur as our villains, and they are contained to New York. But this drug got all the way to Iraq, or Vietnam in the manga. Clearly this goes deeper than just them. So I just have to wonder how Ash is going to get mixed up, and if he’s going to leave New York. Will we get our cross continental road trip with Ash and Eiji? Who knows. But we have plenty of time to go.

What did you think? To much boy love for you? Or is the fact that it’s not the center-piece mellow it out for you?

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