I’ve been pretty critical of Banana Fish for the past few episodes and I still stand by lot of my points but I’d say, overall, I’m still enjoying the show. In fact, I’ll freely admit to really liking the fifth episode a lot. It still goes from point A to point B way too quickly but I’m loving the direction the whole story is currently taking.
Right off the bat, Ash gets a bail out of prison and as you can expect, he plans on using his reclaimed freedom to get revenge on Dino. Perhaps Max shouldn’t have spilled too many beans but then again, a confrontation such as this has long been on the horizon. Him and the lawyer freaking out though was hilarious; one of the few comedic efforts in Banana Fish that worked for me.
Something that consistently happens throughout the episode is Ash being reluctant to accept any help with his vendetta. Telling Eiji to step down is completely understandable though it was alarming that he’d initially reject Shorter’s assistance. Considering Dino’s power, Ash could use any help he can get. My take is that he is simply filled with rage and isn’t thinking straight but I also like to think that this is Ash’s way of showing compassion. He has lost Skip and Griffin at this point and the last thing he’d want is for even more of his friends dead. Even when the plan fails at the end, Ash keeps going, obviously to see his revenge come to fruition but perhaps to also put distance between him and the people he cares about. Fighting Dino sounds suicide, especially if you’re on your own but you understand where Ash is coming from with his mindset.
Clearly, there is a vulnerable side to Ash, even if he won’t freely express it. At the end of the episode, you see him alone on a rooftop. Now in his most private moment, Ash drops his toughened facade and lets his turmoil run its course, shedding tears for Griffin. Not only is this a powerful scene for Banana Fish to end an episode on, it also shows how human its protagonist is.
Even knowing that Eiji would want to help Ash, it’s still surprising to see him so persistent. I never would have thought he’d help Ash get Charlie and Ibe off his back but that this is what makes him a pretty compelling character. He stands his ground when you least expect it. I did admittedly thought him using his past to justify his desire to help Ash a bit clumsy. I’m just saying, there’s maybe a huge difference between quitting your athletic career because of an injury and backing out from the world of crime because it’s, you know, crime. Still, there’s something to admire with him wanting to see this adventure to the end, even if it’s too dangerous for him.
I’m curious how much this new world will harden Eiji. There’s an interesting scene where Ash hands him a gun to protect himself and for a bit, Eiji seems fairly comfortable holding it in his hands. During the fight against Dino and Arthur’s men though, you see him shaking once confronted by a thug and it’s ultimately Shorter who pulls the trigger for him. I think these two scenes speak to Eiji’s naivete. He knows guns can kill but the gravity of its power hasn’t quite sunk in for him. It’s an action toy for him, hence the little “bang” he says when he first wields it. The problem with Shorter helping him during the big fight scene is that it’s keeping Eiji green. Sooner or later, he’s going to need to be able fire his gun without reservations.
On a more simpler note, I think I just like seeing everyone come together as some sort of team. Ash, Eiji, and Shorter teaming up together felt triumphant and it doesn’t surprise me that Ibe and Max winds up in the mix because of their affinities with the protagonists. A shame Charlie is getting benched here. Yes, he is a cop but surely he’d be of great assistance for Ash. I’d actually hate to see him get demoted like he suggested. In general, I hope this is a mainstay for Banana Fish. This story is clearly Ash’s battle but this episode proves to me that it’s a lot more riveting when there’s others backing him up.
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