Banana Fish – Episode 1 [First Impressions]

MidnightDevont’s First Impression:

Oh god, what have I gotten myself into? The last time I watched an anime about Gangsters, I was sobbing my eyes out during the final episode.

Episode 1 of Banana Fish was a little bit of a crazy jumble, the episode starts with a scene of a war that we later discover is the war in Iraq. A regiment deployed there is sitting and talking about being shipped back to the states soon. When one of their own comes in, picks up his gun and begins shooting at them. He takes out a few, before his legs are shot and he’s incapacitated. His buddies run up and try to get him to say something, but the only words to slip from his mouth are “Banana Fish.”

I’m calling this right now. Banana Fish is the name of the drug that we see in this episode. The one that Ash steals from Dino.
Speaking of Ash. I’m fairly interested in him as a character, raised off the street by a mafia boss. Well respected leader of a street gang that is treated equal by the local mafia. A sharp shooter that has never missed a shot at anything closer then 25 feet away. At only 17? He’s got some neat stuff going on. As well as the soldier from the first scene being his brother and back home and in his care.

He’s got someone in his group, a guy named Arthur working against him. Going against the gang and the mafia leader, who told his underling to keep Ash alive. Injure him, sexually abuse him, but keep him alive. Then Arthur comes in and tells the same mafia underling to kill Ash, pays him off even.
These are two men willing to die. You don’t go against the mob and get away with it. Unless you’re planning on killing both Ash and Dino. Then you have a pretty good chance of getting away with it.


Then there is Eiji, who, is the legitmently most Japanese looking person I have seen in an anime in forever. Like, realistically Japanese. Just a normal 19 year old Japanese kid, no weird hair, no weird eyes, nothing special about him. He just looks young and is working as a assistant to a magazine photographer.
We don’t learn too much about him this episode. Just that he’s 19 years old, a assistant, a little naive and that Ash took a quick shining to him. In the fact that he let Eiji hold his gun, when the last person who had tried to touch it had his fingers shot off.

So, we have Ash. Mafia kid, boss of gangs and his investigation into the drug I am sure we’re going to find out is Banana Fish. We have the Mafia, we have the subset of Ash’s group with Arthur and we have the poor Asian Kid who got kidnapped in Arthurs attempts to kidnap the small black child that Ash cares for. We also have the cops, who are sort of on semi-friendly terms with Ash’s gang?

Also, the animation is rather interesting to me. It’s clearly modern in it’s colors and tone. Yet the character designs have a much older feel to them. It’s an interesting set up to be sure. I’m not sure where it’s headed in the long run, but i’m interested enough to give it a shot.

Possibility of Watching: High
Possibility of Blogging: High




Tsuyoku’s First Impression:

Wow. Pretty exciting start for this show! Midnight did a great job summarizing the events, so I’ll comment on a couple of extra things regarding the source material. I first learned about Banana Fish years ago, but it had always been a little under my radar because it’s 19 volumes long, which may seem a bit daunting for me who usually read shorter stories back then. Towards the beginning of the year when the anime adaptation was announced, my drive to read this manga returned, so I started it!

I also really liked the animation in the show, very crispa and with modern flair and although the designs have a bit of a 90s feel, they actually have been modernized a bit, particularly Ash’s and Eiji’s. At first I didn’t like how Eiji looked in the anime, but towards the end of the episode his look had grown on me and it’s true that he looks really Japanese. There are people from different races and heritages involved in the story, so it’s cool to see how differently they are portrayed without losing the cohesion of the art style.

The first episode was more or less, with some slight changes, pretty much half of the first volume of the manga, so it seems it may have a bit of a faster pace, but with 19 volumes, I’m assuming it should be at least a 2-cour show. Hopefully it will be a complete adaptation and not just a manga ad. I doubt the latter a little though, as this manga is really acclaimed and had tremendous commercial success, selling over 11 million copies. As it’s more thriller and action oriented, it’s one of the few shoujo manga that was a public hit with male readers in Japan and critics have celebrated it’s sensible dealing of heavy topics like depictions of homosexuality and rape. It’s also been finished for a while, so to unearth it to give it an incomplete adaptation would be a huge shame.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate


MidnightDevont. part time role-player, part time Blogger, Full time anime fan.

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2 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    Banana will be 24 episodes long and will completely cover its 19 volume source manga.
    The only major change is the present day setting, upgraded from the manga’s 1980s background.

    Banana is the first title of mangaka Yoshida Akimi to get an anime. However, her works have gotten quite a few live action adaptations over the years. The most recent one was a live movie version of Yoshida’s latest josei manga, Umimachi Diary, a slice of life story of 3 sisters who take in and raise their recently discovered younger half-sister following the funeral of their estranged father.

    Released in the West as “Our Little Sister”, it got rave reviews at the 2016 Cannes Film Fest.

    • Tsuyoku says:

      I’m glad to know the episode count is already decided! I didn’t know. Our Little Sister sounds really interesting. I like Japanese movies, so I might check it out.

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