Posted by Lenlo on 14 August 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Banana Fish, Banana Fish, does whatever a crime drama does. Drives a van, shoots a father-figure, lookout its Banana Fish. Simpson’s references aside, this week Banana Fish gives us a dark look into Ash’s past and both starts and completes our road trip. Lets jump in!

Starting off, this week was probably the weakest so far for me. That doesn’t mean it was bad, Banana Fish has been consistently great, so being simply ‘good’ is still praiseworthy. However I do have some issues. My big one has to be the father. He was introduced, his conflict with Ash brought out, and then resolved in a single episode. I get that was supposed to be the mini-story for the episode, but it just fell flat to me. We never really learned why he hated Ash so much, only at the end for him to come out and love him again? We had incomplete information going into that ‘finale’, and it hurt it. I think one of the reasons this feel short however comes to how this adaptation is being done. This sort of attitude, while still around today, fits much better in the original 1980’s setting.

This week started to see the cracks appear in the shift from 1980’s NY to modern day. The use of smartphones in one scene, then a background of paper map in another. The inability to find LA when they are literally right next to it. References to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, in place of Vietnam. The biggest one though was the attitude of Ash’s father, and how that all panned out. It bleeds 1980’s, yet in a modern setting it feels out of place. Odd considering the difference is a mere 40 years, but a lot has happened in that time. It leaves me concerned for the future, because let’s be frank here. This kind of gang/mafia warfare really fell apart in modern times. At the least it’s less brazen than men in suits with guns. I have faith in Banana Fish to make it work though.

Speaking of the trip to LA, can I just say I am disappointed. I was hoping for at least an episode or 2 of cross country hijinks. Something to wind us down after all the murder and gun fights. That the entire 3,000 mile trip from New York to Los Angeles was covered in a 2 minute map scene? Without any real delineator of time, or side scenes of showing Eiji the country? Banana Fish really missed out. I think Eiji is a great ‘fish out of water’ character, so they can do a lot with American culture/locations and him. Eiji is an excitable cinnamon roll to, so he would be all for it! Hopefully we get some of that in LA, because otherwise Banana Fish is criminally underusing Eiji’s dynamic with the setting.

Now, onto Ash and oooh boy did a lot happen. We already knew he was messed up because of Dino, but now this? Really, I am not sure how much I like it. It informs us as to his and his father’s relationship, which makes no sense to me but I will get to that. But it also just compounds on the earlier stuff and is starting to make Ash’s life a bit of a torture porn scenario from a writing perspective. The only thing stopping me from condemning it as that is how it was presented. Simple, matter of fact, no aggrandisement. As for the father, I don’t understand him. He felt rushed. Is he a terrible dad, pushing out his son for being raped? Is he protecting him by keeping him away from the town? Does he actually love him? It’s unclear, so I would love your opinion.

Ash wasn’t all thunder and lightning this episode though. Banana Fish does a good job with him and Eiji. My favorite example of this is that, Eiji was the only person in the entire episode that Ash was calm around. He even went outside to unwind by shooting bottles, yet when Eiji approaches, he completely changes. He starts to teach Eiji, getting rather physical like classic rom-coms. With what we know, and seen, Ash doesn’t like physical contact from anyone. Yet with Eiji he’s ok with it. It’s nice, I like these more subtle relationship building blocks. There’s no blushing, stammering, no avoided glances in a hallway between classes. Just two people enjoying their company and sticking up for each other. The relationship between these two is, so far, my favorite part of Banana Fish. I hope it keeps this up.

As for our villains, looks like our group isn’t free of Dino yet. I wasn’t expecting Dino to get Mr.Lee on his side, but I suppose offering a portion of the drug trade in Europe is a pretty big deal. Still we got the name of our new probable villain. A shame, I was hoping maybe Arthur would follow them to LA. It’s possible he will be working with Mr.Lee’s person. But I suspect that, at most, he will play a minor role. His and Ash’s main confrontation is a while away no doubt.

So, all in all, Banana Fish had another good week. Not my favorite, there were some problems, but as a whole it was an enjoyable episode. Nothing was deal breaking. The setting has become concerning because of the modernized aspects but in general it worked. I am curious what other people thought about the Father’s relationship. I am completely lost on it, myself. Regardless, I am still looking forward to where Banana Fish goes from here.

2 Responses

  1. I’d failed to mention last week that I thought the father came off as too cruel.
    Now regarding episode 7, some are going to find Yau-si-yut-lung to be too bishounen for this series, this episode reminded me of how initially un-assuming he seemed and I loved seeing the slimy smug fucker all over again.
    Shorter had his best scenes yet in this episode with his interactions with the Chinese gangsters.
    Ash and Eiji get another nice little moment together which constrasts them.
    I quite like Max as a character, none of his goofier moments in this episode ever jar with the serious tone of the show and thats genuinely refreshing.
    Two scenes set off my brain fudanshi-ometer something fierce.
    Also I’m starting to think over the modern setting in this show more positively and think it can really work.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Oh man I cant wait to finish this writeup for ep 7. I loved it, it jumped right back on the wagon.

      My favorite part of the episode was Ash and Eiji’s talk. Ash took him seriously, told it to him straight. Didnt try to piss him off and make him angry to leave, didnt lie to him. Ash straight up told him he cares and sees them as equals, and doesnt want Eiji to get hurt. I loved that straight up respect Ash gives.

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