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

Welcome to what is, to me, a very contentious episode of Banana Fish. This time Blanca gets sentimental, Ash learns Japanese, and Eiji sets Ash on a Warpath through no fault of his own. Let’s dive in!

Overall, this was a good episode. It flipped everything on its head and, assuming Banana Fish doesn’t backpedal on it next week, really committed to it. With what has happened to Max and Eiji this week, it goes without saying that stake’s haven’t been higher than when Shorter was done in. Banana Fish also really slowed itself down pacing wise this week as well. For the past few episodes, we have burned through content at a breakneck pace. Freeing Ash, right into another gun-fight, into being captured again. This episode Banana Fish freed Ash and then gave the characters some much needed downtime. Establishing the final stakes and their relationships. With 2 episodes left, to clean up the series and give us some kind of epilogue with the double length finale, this is a good thing. Now, onto specifics!

The first big thing we have to talk about are the deaths, or possible ones at least. First, Max. I figured this might happen at some point, as Max hasn’t been particularly relevant lately. Yes, he has been an emotional support for Ash, but as far as the main story goes? He has mostly been passive. I am also glad that Banana Fish is being used again. For a show named after the drug, it hasn’t come up as much as you would think. Banana Fish has focused mostly on Ash’s personal vendetta, only really using the drug on Shorter and for explaining Dino’s master plan. For it to make a comeback, since it’s easily the most terrifying death in the series, is a must. And since Max isn’t a main character and Shorter has already died, there is a real sense of danger for him.

For Eiji though, I was completely surprised. I never expected Eiji to actually get shot, this late in the game. Sure, danger or kidnapping, that has become par for the course in Banana Fish. But full on shot and dying? If this sticks, if Banana Fish doesn’t roll this back next episode, this could be huge. Destroying the happy ending I was expecting. Personally, I am all for this. I have always preferred tragedies myself, so for Banana Fish to go down this road makes me very happy. A tragic ending would also work better for the series tone, in my opinion. Banana Fish is all about the seedy underworld, and the unfairness of life. For it to end on a happy note of Eiji and Ash riding off into the sunset would, on some level, undermine that I feel.

Now, the actual direction for the ending segment was fantastic. I loved everything about it. I found the setup, the building of tension to work very well. Throughout the season we have seen Eiji badgering Ash to come to Japan with him. To start a new life once all of this was over. For Ash to finally accept, for them to start learning Japanese together, and the teasing from what Ibe-San taught Ash? It was very wholesome, a great show of how close the two are. That it even managed to end on “Sa-yo-na-ra” was perfect. Even with how obvious the setup was, with the guns cocking and the goodbyes, because it was Eiji I assumed it wouldn’t work. That Ash would be the one shot and injured, or maybe Sing would get in the way. Easily my favorite scene.

Another interesting bit this week was the conflict between Blanca and Yut. I can’t decide what Blanca’s motivations here are. On one hand, I want to believe he cares about Ash and is doing it for him. On the other, far more likely hand, he is doing this as an extension of his contract with Yut. Blanca no doubt knows that if Yut has Eiji killed, Ash will come for him. So the best way to protect Yut is to stop him from doing something stupid, like ordering a hit on Eiji. There is also the question of whether or not Yut told Blanca the correct location or not. Should be interesting to find out how that goes next week and which side Blanca ends up on once the smoke clears.

The last bits worth touching on are all the small characters bits throughout the episode. From Ash pushing Cain away only to accept Eiji hugging him, Lao’s arguments with Sing. I love these small moments used to build these characters, since most of the actual action is reserved for Ash. For instance, my favorite of these was Sing and Lao’s argument about what it means to be a leader. With the quick follow up between Sing and Ash. In particular I found the framing, of Ash being on the well lit stair’s while Sing was in the dark at the base, to be well done. It’s a rather obvious directorial decision, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. If only every scene was done this well.

Now the question is, where do we go from here? With 2 episodes left, one double length and a possible epilogue, a lot has to be done. Yut needs some comeuppance, Dino needs to go down and Ash requires some closure. To cover all of that in about an hour of screen time? A bold choice. Especially with new characters like Foxx still hanging around, waiting to be cleaned up. Way I see it, next episode is going to be all about resolving Yut as the immediate problem. Then after that we get a full focus on Dino and finishing up the store. Both deserve about a full episode to resolving their plot lines, and I am hoping for minimum interweaving so both have their own space. Suppose we will have to wait and see though.

What did you think of this week? Is Eiji’s predicament permanent, or we are just being baited here? Which would you actually prefer? Let me know down below and I will see you next week! Hopefully with a much more quickly written post.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Lana says:

    Foxx doesn’t have access nor knows about Banana Fish.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Was that stated? I assumed that was what they were using, since its the central drug/syringe of the series.

    • Avatar zawa says:

      Foxx definitely knows about Banana Fish, being able to use it is a big motivation for him (for what purposes? Probably just generic bad guy purposes)
      But I think the manga made it clearer that he’s just using a regular truth serum this time. He knows about Banana Fish, but he doesn’t have access to it.

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