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

Welcome to another week of Banana Fish. This week it slows down, gives us some heartwarming character scenes and the beginnings of a gang war. Lets jump in!

So, starting off, the general stuff. Overall I enjoyed Banana Fish this week, but we have started to see issues with the breakneck pace it’s had until now. Banana Fish tried to cover so much this episode that the tone felt all over the place. One scene we are enjoying some light hearted banter and fun between Ash and Eiji, then the next there’s a tragic heart to heart over Shorter. Throw some serious paranoia in there and it just feels… off. Individually each of these scenes were great, I enjoyed each one. But the pacing Banana Fish has had really hurts it in these slower moments. There’s just not enough time to really soak it in before something else happens. It’s a shame because in the action segments, the pace helps everything flow, so nothing drags. But slow moments are supposed do that, at least a little.

Speaking of slow moments, before I get to Ash and Eiji’s beautiful moment of vulnerability, I want to talk about Eiji’s place in Ash’s gang. Throughout this episode we see Eiji do thing that no one else in the gang could get away with. Waking Ash up, back-talking him, and seeing him vulnerable. I think this speaks volumes of how Ash see’s Eiji, that Eiji is “outside” of the gang and its world. Eiji has no rank, he doesn’t really have authority in the gang nor is he consulted on any plans. Eiji is a novelty. I think that Ash sees him as a lifeline of sort, his one connection to a life outside Dino and the gangs, while Max and Arthur both note that this lifeline is his one weakness. The idea of a humanising factor being a character’s weakness isn’t new, but Banana Fish pulls it off well.

With Eiji’s position in the gang established, onto how he actually interacted with Ash this episode. I thought it was nice and wholesome. I was a bit miffed at first, that both were handling Shorters death as if nothing happened so quickly, but Banana Fish recognized this showed Ash was just trying to cope. I’d worried for a second that Shorters death would go unacknowledged in this slow burn first half. I also liked their banter, and just casual demeanor around each other. So far, alone with Eiji, is the only time we really get to see Ash act his age. Let down his hair and relax. We even got the first happy memory of Ash’s past, which I wasn’t sure existed until now. You have no idea how happy I was to see that Ash actually has happy memories of growing up. It’s not all tragedy! Yay!

 

There is one thing I didn’t like about Ash this episode though, and that was how he is becoming a sort of Gary Stu-light. Ash is able to do basically everything at this point. Denote wine by smell, pull off high class, fight, shoot perfectly, organize a gang and hack into computers. It just feels like to much. I recognize that Dino supposedly taught him a lot of this, to make him his perfect little doll, but let’s be real here. Ash is 17. I can get behind a lot of this, the shooting, the fighting, some of the high class aspects, because he was meant as a showpiece and grew up partly on the streets. But the wine and computers? Every time I see Ash as a computer whiz it just bugs me. I think Eiji would have been a better fit for that.

My reasoning for this is simple. Eiji grew up with a normal life, it makes sense he would have more knowledge on computers, and he probably had to use them a lot. It also would make Eiji less of a “Damsel in distress”. While I am happy that I can apply the term to a male character for once, it’s time for Eiji to start being useful again. I don’t mean he has to fight or use a gun, breaking his innocence. Banana Fish established at the start some of his skillset, with pole-vaulting over the wall to get help. It made me think Ash and Eiji would be an equal partnership of sorts, each with their skills. But for a while, Eiji has been nothing but a hindrance. A weakness. I think it’s time for our lovable Japanese cinnamon-roll to display some skills again.

 

That’s not to say the some of the computer stuff wasn’t justified. Seeing Dino get screwed over was awesome, and the fact the Ash got the password from being left in Dino’s room for… things, was good justification. I am concerned that Ash having $90 million is going to simplify things a bit though. With so much money, Ash is going to have access to a lot of resources and I am afraid that is going to trivialize this upcoming gang war with Arthur. I don’t want this to be a stomp, I don’t want Ash to just end this whole thing and take Arthur out in a single episode. I think that, with 2 episodes of this cour left, the Ash/Arthur final confrontation should be the season finale before heading into the fall season. Suppose we will have to wait and see on this front.

Speaking of Arthur, Banana Fish found a good way to get Dino out of the way again, making Arthur our main antagonist. I am consistently surprised by how Banana Fish finds good excuses for Dino to be out of the picture, because he is the end-game for Ash. Meanwhile Ash is the endgame for Arthur, for reason’s we don’t yet know. Hopefully we get that backstory soon, about the scars on his hand and why he hates Ash so much. It’s clear Arthur has an inferiority complex in regards to Ash, so much so that even Dino has noticed and is ribbing him with it. Hopefully there is some kind of backstory segment in the next two episodes that really goes into the history of these two, because so far, we only really know they were rival gang leaders. I need more, honestly, for Arthurs hatred to be believable.

So, all in all, how was the episode? Personally, it was one of highs and lows. It is the one I am the most conflicted on yet. I like the setup for this next arc, gang warfare can be a lot of fun if done right. But I am concerned about resource disparity and cracks in the show that the pacing is starting reveal. So long as this doesn’t get rushed, so basically I hope it doesn’t end next episode, I think Banana Fish can pull it off. With how strong Banana Fish has been up to this point, it has earned a little trust I feel.

What about you? Was the pacing to fast for you as well, or am I nitpicking here? Excited for a gang war, or put-off by it? Let me know below and I will see you next week!

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