Posted by Lenlo on 20 October 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Welcome one and all to perhaps the weirdest episode of Banana Fish yet. This week we have Eiji stepping up to the plate, Dino returns and Ash… puts on a show? Lets jump in!

So startin off, this current arc of Banana Fish is in my opinion starting to drag. With Arthur dealt with and Ash basically shut down, yet very little focus on Eiji, it feels slow compared to the pacing of the first half. I am just not as interested in what is going on with this current arc, because the only character in true danger is Ash, who has plot armor. Shorter’s capture worked because he didn’t have the title of main character. Another problem with this episode is the comedy, and how it just didn’t work this week. With the story starting to drag a bit, the comedy stops being a tension breaker and becomes filler. There is a specific instance of that this week, involving a song and candy bars, which I will get to later. For now, just know that I loathed it.

Now, onto specifics. I did like that Eiji stepped up this week. He knew he couldn’t fight his way out like Ash, so he used his head. Faked escaping through a window to get a weapon and threatened Yut. I doubt he could actually do anything, but it is a start. I wish there was more, it was a short scene, but easily my favorite of the episode. We also got to see more into Yut and Ash’s relationship. Namely that Yut is apparently jealous of Eiji. What I got from that was that Yut wanted Ash’s attention, he admires Ash, and doesn’t understand why he cares about Eiji. If he can’t have him, he will stand against him and exploit the one he doesn’t like. It’s one of the more interesting relationships in the series, considering how one sided it is. Similar to Sing’s really.

Speaking of relationships, I really can’t not talk about Dino returning this week. I am glad he has returned, because he is really the only serious antagonist remaining. Yut is there, but he isn’t an active target for Ash. Now, to me Dino felt a little out of character this week. He has spent weeks hunting Ash down, instructing Arthur to catch him. And now that he finally has him, he tells him to… buck up basically. Like he refuses to accept a win when it’s handed to him, because he didn’t orchestrate it. He has to be the one to catch Ash. I get that it is a pride thing for Dino, I truly do. And I understand that he wants his position back with the Mob, so he wants this new Baron to fail. This just seems to… unplanned for Dino.

On that note, this whole thing with the Baron is a nice dive into Dino’s character. He has been the head honcho for this entire series up until now. So finally seeing that there are people above him, whom he answers to, is interesting. Now, I don’t expect this Baron to survive or be around long, so I am not even bothering to learn his name. It looks like Dino is, as I mentioned before, using Ash and others to take him down. This is made even more obvious when Dino notice’s Max in the tour but doesn’t say anything. Effectively putting his stamp of approval on whatever they are going to do. He wants the Baron to fail so he can get his position back, or maybe even break off on his own completely. I am interested in seeing where this goes.

Now, sadly, I have to get to the part of Banana Fish I loathed the most this week. Ash and his candy bar song. I hated this so much. Perhaps it is just me being uncomfortable with the whole thing and how creepy it got. But it just demeans Ash’s character to me. With his past of sexual abuse, sure he could see the acts as meaning nothing, but to me it’s just degrading. Then add the fact that it worked and apparently every single person in this show is, on some level, gay. He just so happens to get a guard willing to go through with it. The whole thing to me was just disgusting and ruined the episode for me. IT was creepy, voyeur and generally a detractor from the episode. I hope it doesn’t get that blatant again, because right now Banana Fish has disappointed me.

So, where can Banana Fish go from here. Right now we are in the middle of one of the duller arcs and I don’t see it lasting another 9 episodes to the end. That means we have to go somewhere from here, another road trip or something. But I have no idea where. I have no idea what Banana Fish can do after this because all of the major players are in New York. There is no reason to go anywhere, no reason for this series to go on at this moment past this arc. I suppose they could go after the Senators in the Government, but aside from Max, who really has any kind of personal grudge against them? Maybe to be safe, they would have to take them out just to remove some enemies. But personally? I have no idea.

So all in all, this week disappointed me. It had some good moments, and the return of Shorter’s brain continues to drive home how evil our villains are. But without Arthur, no one with a face that we really know is actively going after Ash. Even Dino is on his side, for the moment. It’s just sort of boring, because we already sorta did this arc with the Prison near the beginning. I hope there is more up Banana Fish’s sleeve, because this just isn’t enough.

But what did you think? Am I being to harsh or did this one rub you the wrong way to? Let me know below!

4 Responses

  1. Avatar qwerty says:

    I understand why the candy bar scene bothered you, but the initial “comedy” of the scene only serves to underline how disturbing it really is. The lead up to the guard getting killed is basically just gallows humor, especially since seeing Ash act this way is such a contrast from his normal personality. It shows how much he was groomed to act this way through his sexual abuse.

    Yut Lung is partially jealous of Eiji, but he’s also jealous of Ash. And bitter over a number of other things. He’s a ball of issues, really.

    There are still quite a few plot threads to be resolved.

  2. Avatar Chii says:

    I can understand your problems with this episode. I had similar problems with the content when I first read it in the manga but I do have some alternative takes on it after experiencing it again.

    For the convenient “gay” guard, I’m pretty sure the intention wasn’t that the guard was gay. That’s because Banana Fish frames most instances of sexual desire as assertions of power rather than relating to one’s sexual orientation. So in this instance, the guard was willing to exploit the power that Ash was “lending” him in that situation.

    I don’t think the candy bar scene is degrading or demeaning Ash, mainly because he’s in control during the situation. This is rather hard to word and I can’t say I speak from experience so I hope the interpretation isn’t presumptuous, but I think it’s important that Ash, and every CSA survivor, someday will hopefully be comfortable with their own sexuality. That’s not to say that Ash has healed up to such a point because he hasn’t (since he doesn’t see sex as an act of love, but rather a weapon). But in a way, it would be wrong to believe that such victims will be asexual or repulsive towards sex for the rest of their lives due to trauma. The scene is kinda a testament to Ash’s strength, that he has moved past the point of only being a helpless victim, even if he hasn’t recovered from the trauma.

    All in all, I don’t loathe the scene, but I don’t like it either. It’s really uncomfortable to sit through (even more so than the events in episode 9 for me) even though it can be comedic for some.

    This arc does have rather low stakes. But Banana Fish knows this and ultimately uses that fact to do something different. Not sure how the reception will be of it though since it’s definitely not something we’re used to and I think the comedy at this point is rather iffy at times.

    I’m actually surprised that MAPPA didn’t cut this arc to make space (we’re at the point that the number of volumes that need to be adapted equals the amount of episodes we have left). But I do believe that the developments of Eiji, Yut-Lung, Sing, and Dino this episode cannot be understated so that’s probably why they didn’t.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      I get the context of the candy bar scene. I just feel it was… overly sexualized? Like the strategy makes sense, get someone to come in, takem out, boom hes on his way to freedom.

      I do think I overreacted a bit when I said it degraded him. I agree I want people to be comfortable with themselves after that kind of thing. But earlier in the series we are told Ash doesnt connect to people well. He doesnt let anyone touch his gun except Eiji, all these penis metaphors. It felt odd to me.

      Eiji, Yut and Dino are the main draws to me in this arc. Ash is pretty boring, all things considered. But I think I commented on Eiji being my favorite part of the episode.

      • Avatar Chii says:

        I can see that and I think you’re perfectly justified to feel that way. Even with the viewpoint that I discussed, at best, I still have mixed feelings about the scene. Well, there’s the fact that Ash probably had to do similar routines to survive in the past. He doesn’t connect well to people normally, but if he has to, he will.

        Yeah, Ash’s side of this arc is rather “fillerish” so to speak. But this arc will be over fast. In fact, I hope the next episode begins setting up the next arc. We’re running out of time.

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