Posted by Lenlo on 3 November 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Ah, finally Banana Fish is back in form. This week we have murder, intrigue and a new terrifying character. Lets jump in!

With the hospital arc done, Banana Fish seems to have found its footing again this week. The hospital, while it had its moments, was largely dull compared to what came before. This new arc of cat and mouse however is much more interesting. With Ash being this unstoppable genius, having him on the back foot provides a much better story. Banana Fish can do a lot with it, especially considering it’s a much more personal one than the last. Add on to that Yut’s current story, and Eiji’s confusion as to where he stands, it gives Banana Fish a lot to work with. All it really needs is to make good use of Sing and all the characters will be moving in a good direction.

Now, onto specifics. Blanca is great. We finally have an antagonist that can fight Ash on his level. Sure, we had Arthur before, but he was always built up as Ash’s lesser. We knew he would be defeated. Blanca, not so much. Not only is he older and more experienced, having come out of retirement, he supposedly taught Ash. So in terms of combat skill, he is clearly at a minimum Ash’s equal. And unlike Arthur, he doesn’t necessarily have to die. That’s how it will probably go, but Blanca could just have fun with Ash before backing off. As if Ash passed a test or something. Meaning its possible Ash could actually lose. I highly doubt that is what will happen, but Banana Fish has surprised me before, so I can only hope.

As far as this cat and mouse game can go, I think it has potential. We saw throughout the start that Blanca was stalking Ash, with him barely noticing. Then at the end he placed a bullet between someones eyes from 10 blocks down the street in another building. It’s a good showing of his skill. It shows that Blanca really is capable of doing anything to Ash. So it makes you wonder what he will do in the future. Will he go after Eiji? Excluding as a way to hit Ash, I don’t think so. This seems personal to him, considering he came out of retirement just to test his student. But he might leave messages to Ash/Eiji just to dile up the tension. Or make his presence known. I am sure Banana Fish will be able to do something clever with him though.

Next up I wanna talk about Yut Lung, because his story is moving forward in an interesting direction. When he said that he was going to be Ash’s enemy, I wasn’t expecting him to side with Dino. Based on his own past, and how Yut treats his brothers, I figured he wouldn’t be so quick to let Dino get away with what he has done. But it seems he doesn’t care what happens to others. His partnership to take control of his family, putting him in a position to help Dino is a clever one. But what I like the most about it, is that it isn’t the entirety of his plan. Yut is working towards reverse engineering Banana Fish on his own, possibly to continue working with Dino after all this is over. It’s a surprisingly forward looking plan, that fits well with Yut’s character.

Most of all, it fits perfectly with Dino’s plans. After last week with the death of the Baron, I figured Dino would be in for some groveling. Explaining away what happened. But Banana Fish one upped that, sticking with his character, instead having him gun for the rest of the Foundation group as well. At the least this distraction explains why Dino can’t be putting all of his effort into capturing Ash. Banana Fish once again finds a viable reason for Dino to put Ash on the back burner. I hope we get to see more of his crusade against the Foundation though, and that its less of a background thing. Perhaps tricking Ash into killing one or something. I want Dino to be more involved in the story than he has been. Considering we are nearing the finale, it’s high time Dino started stepping up for his demise.

Finally, we have Ash. Back in the streets, it took Ash no time at all to go back on the offensive. For as much of a Gary Stu as he can sometimes be, I do like this about his character. He is never just reacting to something. Every arc so far Ash has seen a problem and tried to solve it, rarely ever waiting for things to work out. It’s a problem a lot of anime MC’s have, lacking agency. It makes things dull. This time though it looks like Ash’s aggression is going to cause him problems, and I love it. With how good he is at everything, the only flaws Ash has are emotional. So I want Banana Fish to hammer those, abuse them, in this arc. Really break Ash down this arc, because it’s the last one we are going to get before the upcoming finale.

So all in all, what did I think of this episode. Well I enjoyed it and I think this arc is going to be a good one for Banana Fish. So long as it continues to portray Blanca as a threat, and actually give Ash some trouble, I think it will work. I am concerned about Eiji, since he has proactive with Yut, but seems to have returned to how he was. I hope he proves to Ash that he can be useful. I’ve said it again and again, but Eiji was introduced as a competent if naive character. Eiji needs to stop being coddled, and I think Blanca provides an opportunity for that. Finally, Sing needs to do more. His presence in the OP, and how he was introduced, made him seem a much bigger character. But I haven’t gotten that yet. Here’s hoping for more.

But what did you think? Do you enjoy Blanca, or is he a bit to contained for you? Let me know below!

4 Responses

  1. Avatar Chii says:

    This episode cut a ton of dialogue and covered about as much content as episode 12 without feeling rushed like that episode. Impressive. Here’s hoping the pacing continues being a non-issue with MAPPA making the right calls on what to cut. We did lose some character nuance though as well as screen time for Cain and Sing.

    Another thing I have to commend the anime on is streamlining Ash and Eiji’s lack of trust in each other at this stage of the game. They tend to leave each other in the dark about things because they don’t want the other doing something rash. Ash did this when he went to fight Arthur without a word and now Eiji is doing this by not voicing the whole truth behind Yut Lung’s intentions. I never quite picked up on this when I read the manga but MAPPA paced the material in a way that highlights this fact.

    • Avatar Animosh says:

      Is Yut Lung’s family feud as fast-paced in the manga as it is here, or is it mostly due to the anime’s speed? He’s my favorite villain, so I would’ve liked to see his rise to the top in some more detail – you know, see his thoughts and motivations explored. Now we only see a few brief glimpses of his vengeance (his deal with Dino, how he dispatches of his brothers, etc), which is a shame, because he’s one of the few complex villains in the story.

      I also wonder if he’s aiming for the “Dracula route” (from Castlevania) – you know, the world’s longest suicide note kind of thing. It has been stressed several times that he has a death wish (he seemed to want Eiji to kill him, and he seems resigned to Ash killing him too), and now he’s planning to end his bloodline, which of course includes him. So maybe he’s planning to kill himself and take his entire family with him? Well, obviously you already know the answer. ;)

      • Avatar Chii says:

        For the most part, the manga is just as fast-paced. We don’t get much detail on how Yut Lung feels regarding his vengeance besides for his intense hatred that leads to downright villainous acts (killing his brothers’ wives and children) and his weariness and emptiness when his eldest brother is finally gunned down (which can be compared to his initial twisted delight of using banana fish on Hua-Lung). It’s a shame that most of these events are on the back-burner but ultimately, I don’t think it takes too much away from his character since there are still things to explore with Yut Lung after his revenge.

        Only time will tell!

  2. Avatar Labingi says:

    “With how good he is at everything, the only flaws Ash has are emotional.”

    That’s a really trenchant statement about Ash, and it sums up why I like him so much despite his Stu-ishness. His emotional makeup, while not exactly 100% realistic, have realism in it and create a compelling portrait of a human being.

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