Posted by Lenlo on 9 September 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Banana Fish, so consistently good that I am running out of interesting ways to start these posts. This week we have a jailbreak, miscommunication and a blond haired Rambo. Lets jump in!

General stuff first, Banana Fish was all go this week. Really, its sorta been that way for awhile, but this episode was explosions and bullets and death, oh my. There were some small issues with the animation I noticed this week. It was stilted in places, and really any scene without Ash didn’t seem to get as much attention. It’s nothing back breaking, as the entire episode still works and didn’t hurt enjoyment much, but it did catch my eye. Luckily Banana Fish’s thin line design and sort of muted colors, in contrast of normal anime’s bright and vibrant ones, makes it very hard to notice most of the time. The music also continues to be on point, really adding to every scene. Every instrumental Banana Fish puts out knocks its scene up another notch in quality. Non-spoilers out of the way, time to go into specifics.

Now before I get to the big ones, there are some smaller ones I want to touch on. For instance, I am glad that Max’s military experience with Griff came back. Banana Fish could have let this sit as just backstory for Max and Griff. Letting Ash being the man/sole combatant of the group. Instead it brought Max forward again, making use of his past to actually make him useful. I’m glad, because with Shorter gone, RIP, the group needs another frontliner. Sure, Max has held his own up until now, but we have yet to actually get a scene of him being a badass. Beyond when he was initially meeting Ash at least. I hope this revitalizes Iraq veteran gets some solo/lead scenes in the future, because Max deserves it. If only so he can die tragically in front of his son 10 episodes from now.

I am also glad that Banana Fish managed to get Dino out of the house for this jailbreak. Meeting with the politicians again, after testing the drug, is a perfectly valid reason for the final showdown not to happen yet. We also get to see more of his plot. I don’t know how happy I am that the plot is getting close to “saving the country” levels though. I like how small Banana Fish’s story has been to this point. It’s a very personal story, for the most part, focusing on Ash and his personal revenge. I often find these personal stories to be far more compelling than grand “save the world” ones as well. Ash also doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to care about saving the world. Hopefully Banana Fish stays focused on Ash’s personal revenge and doesn’t sacrifice it for some grander arc.

Lastly, before I get to the big one, Yut Lung and Sing. This 3 way war that is shaping up between Ash, Dino and the Lung’s is a recipe for great things I think. It helps that every side has a personal connection to each other. Sing wants revenge for Shorter on Ash, while Yut stole Dino’s drugs and so on. It makes the upcoming gang war much more personal for some of these characters, which is a great thing. Specifically, I am looking forward to what comes of Ash and Sing. Normally the whole “miscommunication” trope like this is a bad thing. It’s a stupid drama builder. Here though, I think it works, because its in Ash’s character. It’s been established Ash blames himself for Shorter, and he’s also currently grieving. Maybe he even wants Sing to hate him for it, and so the trope works here.

Speaking of Ash, it’s time for the big one. Banana Fish blew this one out of the park. Ash had so many emotions, so many scenes, this week it’s hard to touch on them all. So I will focus on my favorites. Like Ash getting his revenge on Abraham, the Scientist. There are a lot of reasons to love this scene. Like how Ash, after killing Abraham, finds it doesn’t cure his grief. The image right below, of him kneeling and screaming, is fantastic. But my favorite part of the episode is how Ash, without a word, just walks up and unloads an entire clip. Often a series will, to make them seem the good guy, will have a Protagonist let an enemy live. They will be “the bigger man”. But we know Ash isn’t a good guy, and so does Banana Fish. And now, so does Abraham.

The other scene I quite enjoyed with Ash was when he finds Eiji. So much was said in their rather short dialogue here. For one, Ash looks like an American Action Hero in basically every scene, with his ripped shirt, toned abs and bullet wounds. So when he busts down Eiji’s door and stands in the frame, it’s quite a sight. As far as dialogue goes though, there are 2 standouts to me. The first is Ash refusing Eiji a gun. Even after everything that has happened, Ash refuses to arm him, for one simple reason. He wants to protect Eiji’s innocence, he doesn’t want Eiji to become like him. The second though reinforces my point about Ash and Sing, blaming himself for Shorters death. I love how quickly Ash regrets yelling at Eiji, though he clearly meant the words. Really, Banana Fish’s VA’s have been doing a fantastic job.

So, all in all, do I really need to say it? I love Banana Fish. It’s my favorite of the season and you can guarantee that, if it keeps this up, I am going to push for it as one of the best of the year. It has it’s problems, its not perfect. But if I required perfection to name something a 10/10, nothing would ever get that score. Right now, Banana Fish is a flawed Masterpiece, and I love it. I get that my constant praise of it might annoy some people, I do. But after the disappointment that Steins;Gate 0 has become, Banana Fish has saved these last 2 months of anime for me. If you haven’t go watch it.

What about you? I know last week was a tad to melodramay for some people, and I get that, though I disagree. It’s a matter of taste. But did this week rise up to fill the void? Did it make up for the melodrama of last week? Or did it continue the problem? Let me know below, and I will see you next week!

7 Responses

  1. Avatar Animosh says:

    I do think this episode suffered from some of the same problems as the last one, in that it once again portrayed Ash’s feelings with all the subtlety of a nuclear device. And where I previously complained about how over the top Ash’s tragic past is, here it’s his crazy competence that stands out. I mean, the guy is literally a one man army! Which can make him a bit hard to take seriously. He sometimes feels more like a character type (the tragic hero) than a living and breathing person.

    That being said, I did enjoy the episode! Realistic or not, Ash was a complete badass, and I’m really starting to warm up to Yut Lung. He’s a nice anti-villain to Ash’s anti-hero, and as you wrote before, he mirrors Ash in interesting ways, with both of them ruthlessly pursuing their personal revenge. I also liked Sing. He’s competent, but also a bit immature, which was nice to see. Hopefully he won’t die too soon.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      I feel that, in terms of realism of combat, some concessions have to be made. This is a drama and, realistic or not, I feel they did a good job of being dramatic.

      For Ash’s emotional outbursts, yeah I can see that. Its overdramatic in places. No doubt. I feel like though that these outbursts are more earned, than other melodramatic series. Like in Steins;Gate 0 or Clannad, the emotional nukes feel un-earned. But Banana Fish, I feel, puts in the leg work that I can let them slide, because I did actually feel something from them.

      And yeah, Yut is great. I look forward to seeing how he plays off of Sing, especially since he knows the truth of how Shorter died, but didn’t tell Sing. I suspect Yut will get Sing to act against Ash, Sing will learn Yut knew what happened to Shorter and didn’t tell him, and then Sing will get revenge back on Yut. A sort of endless cycle of Revenge between Ash, Yut and Sing.

      Should be fun to watch

      • Avatar Animosh says:

        Sure it’s a drama, but believable combat and drama are not necessarily opposites. Ash has consistently been presented as a smart guy, and he’s familiar with the lay-out of the house, so instead of him going full-Rambo, he arguably could have come up with a more subtle method of escape instead, especially with his gang providing a welcome distraction.

        That being said, it didn’t bother me all that much. It just served as a reminder that this is a shoujo drama, not a seinen, that sometimes relishes in going over the top for dramatic effect. It often works quite well, and I agree the character and story foundations are strong enough to make the emotional climaxes feel earned. But their tropishness can also detract from the characters a bit, make them feel less human.

        But again, I’m also enjoying the show a lot! These are just some critical notes that I though were worth mentioning. ;)

        • Avatar Lenlo says:

          And I am glad you do mention them! They are good points, and even if it all works together, thats not to say it couldn’t do it even better.

          Like I said above, I think Banana Fish is flawed, but not in any critically damning way. It trys to do a lot and largely succeeds.

  2. Avatar Miyachan says:

    Would you be interested in watching Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation? This is off topic, but I think if you start to follow that Chinese anime, you will be treated to the likes of something you have never seen before in Japanese anime, in terms of storyline and beautiful oriental scenery and influence. The latest episode released is ep 11, and the emotional impact was what made me want to suggest this to you, in hopes you would like it and hopefully give coverage to this beautiful anime.

    To quote someone:

    THE HECK DID I JUST WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    this show is one of the best things i have ever seen we need to get more people to watch it…. but that isn’t really going to help the official release. they need to Officialy translate this masterpiese so we can share it with more of our finds and get the word out that China can make wicked awsome anime!!!!!”

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      You know, I had never heard of that one until today. Ill check it out! If I enjoy the first few episodes, I’ll give it a writeup. I have been lookin to start covering more and this seems like a good fit.

      Thanks for throwing it my way!

      • Avatar Miyachan says:

        The first three episodes do lay the groundwork somewhat, but currently, the focus is on a huge Flashback arc (11/15), which will set things in stone for the next two seasons. Admittedly it is not everyone’s cup of tea due to it being Chinese and how it’s based on a novel, but I believe the pay off will be rewarding for those who stuck around until now.

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