Posted by Lenlo on 6 October 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Hello and welcome back to Banana Fish! A new season, a 2nd Cour and the continuation of a personal favorite. This week we close out Arthur’s story, though not without some bumps along the way. Lets jump in!

So, starting off, Banana Fish didn’t quite live up to last season this episode. Banana Fish was by no means bad, I still quite enjoyed the episode. It just fell a little below Banana Fish’s average. Take for instance the animation this week. There were a lot of slips, a number of scenes that just didn’t look right or roughly drawn faces. When the animation worked, it did great things. The direction of the scenes really pulled it all together, and I have some screenshots below of some of my favorites. But many of them just felt… unfinished. It is possible that with all of the action this week, Banana Fish focused mostly on that. It makes some sense, as the actual knife fights and train scenes are some of the better looking parts of the episode. But overall it was disappointing to see Banana Fish slip up like this.

Now to avoid ragging on Banana Fish to hard this week, there were some things I liked about it. For instance I am quite happy that it actually finished Arthur’s story this week. We got some backstory for Arthur, though not near as much as I would have liked. There was more characterization and contrast between him and Ash. And their story finally wrapped up, with Arthur’s personal vendetta against Ash ending in defeat. I was a bit worried that this would drag out and not be resolved until the end of the series somehow. Like Arthur and Dino would both go down within episodes. The fact that a story plot actually got resolved half way through though? Makes me very happy. I still worry about how much time is left in the series vs the number of volumes, but at least the story quality will be good.

I also enjoyed the story of the Leopard on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Interesting enough, this is an actual real story, which I did not expect. I figured it was a useful metaphor for Ash, that makes a fun anecdote. That an actual leopard was found and the author used it to describe Ash’s desire to get out of the streets, to be something more? Well that’s just neat. Banana Fish could probably have presented it better, but I think it got across the message. Add to that Eiji’s words of wisdom “But your not a leopard, are you” or something like that. It made for a nice subject of a conversation between our two leads and gave us some good looking imagery. A decent inclusion.

The last bit I enjoyed was the actual final knife fight between Ash and Arthur. Not the one in the train station, but atop the tracks while everyone watches. There were 2 things I liked about the fight. How even it was, and Eiji’s involvement. First off, it’s nice to see Ash finally struggle a bit fighting someone, even if he was tired and injured. Ash was, for most of this episode, a Gary Stu who couldn’t lose a fight. He took down a veritable horde of goons while surrounded in a subway train. It was more than a little ridiculous. While Banana Fish isn’t meant to be a realistic crime drama, there are limits I feel to how far it can push this sort of thing without losing the audience. This time Banana Fish went over the line I feel. It was just ludicrous.

With Eiji however we got another, this time much clearer demonstration, of Eiji’s effect on Ash. Ash is this cold blooded killer this entire episode, he is what he thinks of himself as. Yet the moment Eiji shows up, Ash falters, and Eiji knows it. Ash slips up, gets cut, and is suddenly showing much more emotion than he did at any other point in the episode. And Eiji is there to see it all. Finally, this episode, Eiji is forced to acknowledge and confront how he affects Ash. I’m looking forward to how Eiji changes because of this. Up until now he has mostly been a follower, even though Banana Fish opened on Eiji leaping over a literal and metaphorical wall that Ash has built up. With Ash down for the count at the moment, it’s Eiji’s time to step up.

Now there is one section of this episode that confuses me a bit. Sing and the involvement of his gang. I am curious what their current purpose in the story is, or why Sing was there at the fight. I’m not sure if Sing wants revenge on Ash still or if he is trying to become another Shorter, to get his respect. Banana Fish is very ambiguous about this and it annoys me a bit. I have no idea what Sing wants, or why he and Cain are apparently involved in the story. Cain is fine, he is a side character meant to contextualize this fight a bit. But Sing is clearly setup to be more, with his involvement with Yut. The fact the I can’t place his motivations bothers me. Hopefully Banana Fish does something with him soon.

So, all in all, how did I like this episode. Banana Fish was alright. It had it’s up and it’s downs, there were good scenes and bad. It was definitely the weakest episode of Banana Fish so far, or one of them at least. Yet a weak episode of Banana Fish is still well above the average episode of most anime. It’s a decent enough start for the 2nd cour, and we have plenty of time to finish the story. The death of Arthur makes a clear delineation between the first and second halves of the series. I suppose it’s just time to see where it goes.

But what did you think! Let me know down below.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar qwerty says:

    I think the direction and cinematography of this episode were excellent, even though I wish the animation stepped up to the plate more. The first couple of episodes were so much more well done in that respect. But I think your worries with Sing will be assuaged as the story goes on. He’s a fan favorite for a reason.

    The Kilimanjaro story has a ton of significance for the entire series, and no one who’s read the manga forgets it. Ash needs to stop reading Hemingway.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Sometimes I feel not having read the manga hinders me in writing these. But at the same time, I enjoy not knowing whats going to come next.

      And I am glad Sing starts to step into his own. I do like him, I just worry about the volumes left vs the number of episodes left.

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