Posted by Lenlo on 10 November 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Ah Banana Fish, back in form this week. Ash and Eiji act like a married couple, Blanca show’s everyone whose boss and Yut continues to have no idea what’s going on. Lets jump in!

On a general note Banana Fish is really picking back up. The Gang War/Hospital were easily the weakest part of the series, excluding Arthur’s final fight at least. It just felt like a minor B plot compared to everything else that was going on. And as much as I enjoyed Arthur, an antagonist already setup as weaker than our lead is not compelling. Banana Fish seems to have realized this, because it has replaced Arthur with Blanca. A much more threatening, and charismatic lets be honest here, antagonist. It’s a fantastic move really and I can’t wait to talk about him. Before I jump in to that though, I have one question I want you to think about as you read through this. How many times has Ash been captured now? Because for such a Gary Stu, can do it all, every other arc is a rescue arc. Crazy!

Now, onto the real conversation, Blanca. Personally, I love him. There is so much going on with his character, and for the first time Ash is really out done. Previously Banana Fish put Ash on the back foot, but he was always the stronger character. Arthur, Yut, all of Dino’s thugs. You knew how that went, none of them truly threatened Ash. Blanca though is a threat. Just this episode we saw Ash give up, completely, when faced with him. And the one time he did try to fight Blanca, he got completely destroyed. It wasn’t even a fight, it a was a lesson. I enjoy Ash, but seeing him get knocked down a peg from his Gary Stu podium was nice. And the best part is that based on Blanca’s character, Ash doesn’t even necessarily have to beat him in a fight. Just sway his ideals.

What I mean by that is, I think Ash and Blanca are the same but for one single aspect. Both are cool under pressure, beautiful, and fantastic warriors. Yet I think that Ash has courage, whereas Blanca is afraid. Odd thing to say about a man like Blanca, but I mean it. Ash started afraid of connections and such, but with Eiji throughout the series they have come together. Ash is willing to give up everything for Eiji, because their relationship is real. Meanwhile Blanca is afraid to break from his role. He does whatever Dino ask’s or he is paid for, never letting his emotions sway him. Even when its someone he basically raised. Yet he reads books about escaping and finding peace far away, in the Caribbean where he retires. Blanca won’t fight for that, but wait for it to be handed to him. Where as Ash refuse’s.

I think it’s a very interesting relationship, and one that like I said before, doesn’t have to be solved by violence. You see, right now, Ash doesn’t have a chance against Blanca. Physically it’s doubtful, but psychologically Ash has given up before he even tried. Yet Blanca still clearly cares for Ash. Going so far as to offer him advice, to come back willingly, for a lighter punishment. I think that, on some level, Blanca thinks of Ash like a son. Like a weird, twisted version of how Max sees Ash. This makes me think that maybe Ash can, through enough dialogue, get Blanca to his side. Or at least to give him a shot at Dino. I would find this a lot more believable than Ash, or god forbid Eiji, taking Blanca out. Banana Fish has just played him up to much as an unscalable wall.

Speaking of twisted relationships with Ash, Yut has an even weirder one. However short it was, I loved their mutual scene together. And the gun in particular was fantastic. Really shows Ash’s devotion to Eiji, and Yut’s complete and utter ignorance of it all. You see, I think that Yut believes he and Ash are the same. Beautiful, cunning, powerful and young. Yut sees himself in Ash, which is a bit arrogant if you ask me. Yet Ash has something Yut does not. Ash has connections, Ash has someone he loves. And I don’t think Yut can understand that. How someone so similar to him can have such a weakness, something he doesn’t have. Yet still beat him. On some level I think Yut is envious of Ash and Eiji. And so in his envy, he seeks to destroy it. Really, all of Ash’s relationships are fantastic.

The last relationship I want to mention, I promise, is Banana Fish’s titular Ash and Eiji. The character relationships are the focus of Banana Fish, but this really is the lynchpin of the series. They contextualize everything and make every arc better. If only for moving their relationship forward. And what a relationship it is. The entire first part of the episode was them acting like a married couple. It’s so unusual for Ash, that Banana Fish makes it clear without outright telling us. Eiji is the only person Ash can wind down around. Relax and not put up a front around. Around who else could he sleep, naked, in a shower? Be so out of it around? In my opinion, if this relationship wasn’t as good as it was, Banana Fish would have failed by now. It brings everything together.

Which of course brings us back to Ash, and his little speech to Blanca. About Eiji and fakes. It makes sense. For the first time Ash has found someone who sees him for him, and not some gang leader. Dino sees Ash as his successor, this beautiful and cunning pet. His gang sees him as their boss, this undefeatable titan. But Eiji? Eiji has since the first episode just seen him as Ash. It started because he was naive, and just didn’t understand it all. But has evolved into actually getting to know him. I can understand why Ash values this so. Eiji is the first person to truly look at him this way. And Ash wants that, he wants more than just survival. He want’s something real. Reminds me of a better done version of Hikigaya, from My Teen Romantic Comedy. Side note: Not a bad rom-com subversion.

I do have some concerns for Banana Fish coming up though. We are really burning through plot here, with so many volumes to adapt. Because of that, it feels like Ash has been captured every other week. He just got out of the hospital after all, and before that Eiji was captured at Dino’s mansion. There is just no room between these and it is getting a bit annoying. That said, this capture seems like the last. Hopefully at least. I see no way for Ash out of this one, with Blanca around. Hopefully this means either Blanca turns, or Eiji and co start actually doing something. I have made it clear how disappointed I am with Eiji’s performance up until now. Hopefully Banana Fish fixes that in this final arc.

But what did you think? Is Blanca dull for you, or are you enjoying him to? What about the pacing of the plot? Let me know down below! We are nearing the end, so I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts! See you next week.

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