Posted by Lenlo on 15 December 2018 with categories: Banana Fish, Finished Series: Slice of Life/Drama

Welcome one and all penultimate episode of Banana Fish! This week we lose 2 antagonists, Blanca gets a history and Ash asks for help for the first time. Lets go!

Opening, I have to say, a lot happened this week and Banana Fish just nailed it. No part of it felt particularly rushed or cut. Sure, parts came as a surprise, such as Dino’s fate, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t work. If anything, the surprise of who are final villain is made it work even more. I was not expecting the episode to go down how it did. Of course, I am talking about Foxx and Dino, which I will get into deeper in just a moment. Now, I suppose this justifies Foxx’s introduction so late in the series a bit. I still think that compared to say Arthur or Yut, he is a much weaker villain. I wish he had more time to build his character and threat. But for a narrative surprise? Good enough. Now, onto the meat!

Naturally the first thing we have to talk about this week is out villains. I mentioned before that Dino’s death surprised me, and it did. I was expecting him and Ash to has it out before Ash finishes him off. That someone else put him down, completely shoving Ash’s revenge in his face? Simply fantastic, way to kick him while he is down Banana Fish. The real treat for me though was Yut, and how he was non-violently removed from the story. I do wish he got a bit more, but it makes sense. His entire relationship with Ash up till now was one of jealousy. Either his power, the loyalty people pay him or eventually his love of Eiji. Of course Ash couldn’t resolve this conflict, he barely understands it himself. So to have Blanca walk him through it, having already run the gamut himself? I liked it.

In fact, I loved everything about Blanca this episode. We saw what turned him into who is he. Why he treats Ash how he does, how he actually does care for Ash like a Father on some level. To me, his love for Ash was one of prevention. He didn’t want Ash to feel his pain, so he tried to get him to give up on love before it could occur. But once it became clear it was to late for that? Blanca went all in trying to give Ash what he had lost. Even showing Ash that he was treating his relationship with Eiji in a very one sided manner, “Eiji doesnt exist for your salvation”. I love how Blanca was this bridge between Yut and Ash, two individuals with similar histories, one who found an out and another who was still searching. It makes me want more.

On that note though, I think it’s time we talk about Ash and Eiji, and one of my biggest gripes. Last episode, Eiji got shot, and I was both surprised and happy. I thought we would get a tragic ending. Naturally, Banana Fish rolled this back a bit this week, sending him to the hospital. Not surprising, but a little disappointing. There is still the chance for a less than happy ending of course, Ash is still in a dangerous situation. And Blanca has tipped his thoughts towards leaving Eiji for good. Like Star Crossed (Blog drop!) Lovers, never to meet again. If that is how it ends, then I won’t complain. In my opinion, as much as Eiji might, Ash does not deserve a happy ending. He has lied, murdered, and in general cut his way through this series, only recently trying to leave it all behind. It’s sad.

Perhaps this is why Ash’s scene at the window and in the church work so well. Before the window, Ash almost looks like an Angel. Or a caged bird, depending on which side you are on. As a follow-up to his scene with Blanca, I quite liked it. Ash hasn’t shown a hint of religiousness up until now, so to have him pray for the first time, it being for someone else’s safety, once again reinforces how strong their relationship is. We see this once again, in a somehow even sadder scene, in the hospital. Here Ash says goodbye to Eiji, no doubt in his mind for the final time. I really liked the framing here, and how Eiji even managed to help Ash by holding back the officer, as one last act of loyalty. Something that is in short supply in Banana Fish.

Finally, speaking of loyalty, let’s talk Foxx. While I appreciate the twist coup, I am still torn on Foxx. I feel with more time to develop, less rushed scenes, he could be a legitimate villain. He has no dependency on Dino unlike Arthur, many of Blanca’s skills and more experience than Yut. He is just like what Ash could have grown into eventually, though probably not as good. But because he was introduced 2 episodes ago, his appearance and take over of the story feels like its coming out of left field. We have had Dino since episode 1 after all, so to off him that quickly, by some random new side character? I would not be surprised to hear many people felt disappointed, cheat even, by that twist. I am not one of them, not fully at least. But I can understand.

So all in all, how did Banana Fish do? Pretty good. It set the stage for the double length finish well enough that it could save it self. Assuming the ending doesn’t backtrack and get all sappy with Ash and Eiji riding off into the sunset, I think Banana Fish will pull it off. My big concern, aside from what I just mentioned, is Foxx. The man simply doesn’t strike as intimidating a figure as Blanca or as nuanced a one as Yut. I am having trouble seeing how he will make for a compelling finale. Let’s just hope that Banana Fish focuses more on the end of a relationship rather than an action set piece, eh?

But what did you think? Ready for the finale or are you afraid it’s not going to end well? Let me know below and I will see you next week for the grand finale!

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Animosh says:

    Not sure I agree with you about Ash: I think he does deserve a happy ending. To be sure, I see where you’re coming from. Ash has his good moments (his sense of justice, his loyalty towards his friends, his willingness to restrain his anger and hatred), but there is darkness in him as well. He has either severely injured or straight up murdered a crazy amount of people, and many of those without a compelling reason. There is an angry beast inside of him, and every time it comes out it leaves destruction in its wake. So I can see why you’d think an unhappy ending would be fitting: a tragic ending for a tragic character.

    But on the other hand I think it’s a bit unfair towards Ash to judge him so harshly without taking his circumstances into account. It’s like smashing a computer repeatedly with a hammer and then complaining it doesn’t work properly. Ash didn’t choose this kind of life: others forced it on him. And he didn’t want to embrace the darkness: he had to do so in order to survive. He was raped. Then his family rejected him for it. Then he was raped some more, and forced into gang warfare. His life is one long tragedy, so it is only natural that he’d be a bit broken as a result. In fact, that there is still so much kindness left in him after all his suffering is pretty damn impressive.

    So I see your point: Eiji is a good kid, Ash is more of a mixed bag. But Eiji was lucky. He grew up in a stable environment, with loving friends and family: his greatest tragedy was an accident preventing him for excelling in his hobby. Ash, on the other hand, went through hell and back, so you can’t measure him by the same yardstick. It’s like comparing a child soldier with an ordinary kid. Of course the latter would end up nicer, but that’s just because he got lucky.

    I’m not against a tragic ending. I like sad endings, and it would befit Ash’s tragic life. But I do think Ash deserves redemption: he has many flaws, but those faults are not his fault. He deserves the chance to choose his own path in life, a life where he can pursue the better angels of his nature. Alas, tragedy may strike once more.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      I get that. For me, it’s also partly a personal preference towards tragedies in general. I prefer the story structure. They tend to hit me, emotionally, more than happy endings. Because happy endings rarely happen in real life. So for me they tend to feel… more grounded.

      So the counter argument of Ash’s circumstances in life is a very powerful one. And when done right could no doubt end in a good story. There are plenty of shows about people who have done terrible things redeeming themselves. The one that comes to mind immediately, though older, is Rurouni Kenshin. The 3 episode OVA is probably one of my favorite OVA’s in existence.

      I will admit I may have come off a little harsh on Ash here. I do, personally, feel he had the option to back out multiple times and didn’t out of a personal sense of revenge. But as you said he is also fiercely loyal and he does have a sense of honor and justice. We saw that a bit with Sing this episode. Letting that go by, saving it for later knowing he might not survive to doll it out in the first place.

      Its just a question of personal story preference at this point I feel. A happy ending would in no way be a bad ending for Banana Fish. If done well, I would still enjoy it. Its just a matter of which kind of ending I personally would find more… emotionally striking. Hard time finding the right words there but I hope you get what I mean.

      I appreciate the feedback though. The fact that we can even have this disagreement shows that Banana Fish is asking/presenting some interesting questions.

      • Avatar Animosh says:

        Happy endings rarely happen in real life? Quite the cynic huh. ;) No, I see where you’re coming from, and I actually quite like tragedies myself, for much the same reasons. And putting aside for the moment what Ash deserves, I agree a tragic ending would be a fitting conclusion for this story. Even if Ash deserves a second chance in life, he’s committed so many crimes and made so many enemies that it would make sense for his past to catch up to him. And of course, it would make thematic sense too: the imagery of the leopard dying a lonely death on a mountain has been so prominent I’d honestly be surprised if we get a happy ending at this point.

        So I’m actually pretty sure we’ll get a tragic finale. Aside from the leopard metaphor, I think Chii also said that the ending is controversial among fans, and that’s exactly what you’d expect of a sad ending. So Ash will probably meet some tragic fate. And I’m fine with that. If done well, a tragic ending can be incredibly memorable. But is it what Ash deserves? In my view, no. The guy deserves a break.

  2. Avatar Hentai says:

    Happy endings rarely happen in real life

  3. Avatar kisshentaitv says:

    I’m also excited for mr. Skelly the Bookstore Clerk, I just hope someone translates it as DLE’s anime often stay unnoticed if they’re not picked up by Crunchy.

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