Posted by Lenlo on 26 August 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Another week, another top-notch episode of Banana Fish. This week Shorter steps up, we find out what Banana Fish really is, and we head back to New York. Lots happened, so let’s dive in!

So, I have to say I love the pacing of Banana Fish. I recently learned that Banana Fish actually has one more volume than Naoki Urasawa’s epic that is Monster. Yet Monster got a 74 episode adaptation and, because of this, flagged in some parts. So with all of this content, odds are Banana Fish is going to keep this breakneck pace for its entire 24 episode run. And personally, so long as the quality of the writing is still there, I love it. My one worry is that, with 19 volumes getting compounded into a 24 episode run, the finer details will get lost or ruined. For instance, since we are going back to New York, it already feels like some sort of climax is approaching. I have no idea where Banana Fish will go after this. But I have faith. Now onto this episode’s highlight reel!

First, Shorter was a boss this episode. Even when pushed into a corner, with his sister threatened, and forced to betray his friend he still tries to do something. Banana Fish makes it very clear how far Shorter is willing to compromise his loyalties, and how much it hurts him to do so. His facial expressions when Ash asks him to protect Eiji are phenomenal, along with the use of the shades to hide his eyes. Shorters best scene though was him at the airport. Everyone is hinting at how bad what Dino does to people is, and Shorter clearly knows. But instead of info-dumping the details on us, Banana Fish communicates this through Shorter. Him being willing to kill Eiji, and himself, as a final act of kindness and loyalty of all things. Refusing to leave his side for a second. I love his character, and how its portrayed.

Now as far as small details go, Banana Fish’s handling of Ash’s intelligence is one of the best. No one has been like “Ash is super smart, smarter than anyone”. Instead Banana Fish shows it. Ash asking Michael questions, figuring out Chinatown organized the attack. Realizing that with that, and Shorter’s sister in New York, that Shorter didn’t betray them. I still doubt he should have been able to hack the computer last episode, but this sort of observation I can agree with. The other thing I liked about Ash this episode, was he and Max were showed to imperfect people. Normally, punching an old man in the face is reserved for villainous characters. That Banana Fish lets our leads give in to their anger, punch an old man in the face (justly or not, up to you), is great. They are not moral perfection, and that makes them relatable.

Speaking of villainous acts, I need a moment to talk about Jessica and Michael, Max’s family. So while originally I was happy with how open Banana Fish was to more… heinous acts of villainy. At this point it’s starting to get a bit creepy. Every single character is seemingly getting sexually assaulted. I do like the subtly Banana Fish used in this one. Not outright stating it, more implying it, meaning its possible she wasn’t but so far with the treatment of Ash, Eiji and possibly Yut, the author seems to have a thing for it. Whether or not it’s a commentary on the manga-scene back in the 80’s. when it was first made, I am not sure. Regardless, Banana Fish is starting to walk a very fine line between fetishistic and grounded. I hope it never crosses that line.

Speaking of possible sexual assault victims, I wanna talk about Yut Lung. Banana Fish has successfully made me root for the guy who just kidnapped Eiji and poisoned Ibe. I thought he would just be a generic, cool-faced villain. That was my mistake. Yut is, apparently, biding his time for the perfect opportunity to to get his revenge on his brothers. And he is willing to throw anyone, such as Shorter, Eiji and Ash, under the bus to do it. He doesn’t seem to take pleasure in it, like Arthur or Dino. I can’t wait to see where Yut’s character goes. Whether he ends up working with Ash at some point, if Ash lets him, and what his ultimate fate will be. In a single scene with his brothers Yut went from a standard, if well presented, cold collected villain to an interesting character with his own motivations. Love it.

Lastly, this week we finally learn what Banana Fish does. A mind control drug seems a bit far out of reality for such a grounded show, but Banana Fish presented it well. The fact that it’s not a mind control drug, but just open to suggestions, is a bit easier to swallow. The interesting part of this though is how Dino plans to use it. It makes more sense now why Dino was so desperate to get it back, and why he is so against Ash. The fact that Banana Fish is also drawing in the US Military and Senators also gives Dino other motivations beyond Ash. Making it so that not everything revolves around our lead, and giving the villains their own independent motivation. Best of all though, it means gang wars. Full on, Lung vs Dino, gang wars. Can’t wait to see how that goes.

So all in all, I love Banana Fish. Everything about it, really. Even in the credits segment, to end the episode, Banana Fish leaves me wanting more as it burns down a mansion to the phenomenal ED in the background. And my goodness is it a good ED. Just listen to this. Is it not great? MAPPA has just been knocking it out of the park in recent years. Yuri on Ice, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul & Genisis, Kakegurui and Inuyashiki. Some are better than others, sure, but the general quality is above average.

Suffice to say, right now, Banana Fish is my favorite of the season, and is fighting for a good spot in my top 10 for the year. What about you? Do you just enjoy it, since you wouldn’t have made it this far if you didn’t, or is up there for you as well? I know that, personally, I am going to be listening to this ED for a long time.

3 Responses

  1. I just got done watching this episode.
    Generally I can’t really say I find most anime to be an emotional rollercoaster. But this series, this episode does come close to that.
    The moments where I particularly felt something in this episode was Shorter’s expression when they went off in the car and when Max was reunited with his wife.
    More series could benefit from having intelligent action men like this does.
    Banana fish does an excellent job of making Goldzine so damn hateable.
    From what I recall, Yau-si’s mother was also horribly raped and Yau-si focuses all of his hatred onto Ash out of some kind of envy, his brothers are genuine scum.
    The modern setting will probably change the suppression of communist governments to Middle eastern ones.
    The final scene in this episode where Ash gets manhandled probably did go a bit far yes.
    I’d warn you, there will be a later scene where Yau-si beats the shit out of Ash with a whip.
    From what I remember, interestingly, Abraham’s Judaism is actually brought up as a some point in the manga.
    I do think we’re at a point where the speedy pacing is starting to feel slightly un-natural though.
    Believe it or not, this actually isn’t my favourite of the season, mine is satsuriku no tenshi, mostly for how weird the show is.

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