Banana Fish – Ep. 8

You know, as a Chinese-American, I’ve been wondering if Banana Fish‘s depiction of the Chinese is maybe a bit…dated. I’m not offended but it just feels like another aspect that reminds me how 80s this story feels in spite of its updated setting. Anyway…

Right after last episode, Jessica and Michael are held at gunpoint by the Chinese and we already knew that Yue Lung planned on capturing Eiji. To my surprise, the former is used as part of bait and switch for the assassin to enact his plan and I got to admit that it was a clever moment of tension. I suppose you do have to buy Yue Lung not killing Ash while the latter is in his vicinity but there is some logic behind luring the Lynx back to New York where the odds are more heavily stacked against him.

In general, it is a little exciting to have another faction of villains in the mix. Dino is probably still the big threat but that the Triad secretly want Banana Fish all for themselves does not surprise me in the slightest. I did raise an eyebrow at the end when one of the Triad’s men captures Ash and his friends. If this gang is smart, they wouldn’t leverage Ash over as an olive branch towards Dino. Rather, I expect they plan on demanding a slice of the pie from Dino and if the latter refuses, well, they can use Ash to spill the beans or force the creator of Banana Fish, Alexis Dawson, to recreate the drug.

On a more specific note, I wonder what Banana Fish has in store for Yue Lung. With the Triad becoming more prominent and the fact that being a bad guy in this anime extends your lifespan, I doubt this assassin is a throwaway villain. A potentially important thread is brought to light as we find out that Yue Lung is actually the Wangs’ half-brother, his mother apparently having been murdered by those two. Evidently, the man is only kept in the ranks because he’s a skilled assassin and the bond of trust shared between both sides is shaky at best. How intriguing that Yue Lung deliberately keeps information regarding Banana Fish to himself. It’s probably the first thing he’s ever had as leverage and I’m curious what secret agenda he has in mind with it.

As an aside: is Banana Fish implying something between Yue Lung and one of his half-brothers? One of their conversations got pretty darn flirtatious. Man, I’m already mixed on its depiction of rape and now it’s got to throw in incest?

I always thought Shorter was fine as a character but he has been a lot more interesting these days. He’s currently walking on quite the tightrope as he’s forced to betray Ash but swears an oath to protect Eiji from Dino. Him threatening to kill Eiji, for example, was a smart way to force Arthur to abide by his demands. One has to wonder how well Shorter can keep this up though. The enemy is Dino, after all. Also, I can’t help but wonder if this guy’s time is potentially short (pun not intended). Mighty curious that Banana Fish has Dino tell the senators he’s in cahoots with that he’s got the perfect test subject for the drug and then immediately cut back to Shorter and Eiji…

If I’m being honest, the mystery surrounding Banana Fish has been a pretty pedestrian experience. It helps that the characters have been able to carry this story (even amidst other narrative issues) but it would’ve been nice if the reveals had some impact to them. Finding out that the drug reliably induces LSD nightmares really does not come as a shock at all. As a viewer, I’ve had plenty of time putting two and two together.

There’s something cartoonish about how Alexis Dawson reveals his involvement too. I thought Ash’s magical thumb drive was silly enough but this scientist one ups him with that hidden laboratory and secret computer. Furthermore, I found him explaining why he didn’t destroy his research despite acknowledging the ethical issues incredibly contrived. Summing it up with the line, “I’m a Scientist” is really just Banana Fish saying “Look, we need a reason as to why the research continued or else this story wouldn’t have happened in the first place”. Because as we all know, the hubris of man is that stinking simple.

I’m salty but to be fair, watching everyone in the room punch Alexis in the face felt satisfying. You know a man goofed badly if even Ibe wants a jab at him.

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2 thoughts on “Banana Fish – Ep. 8

  1. Yut Lung/Yue Lung’s brothers are pretty scummy; there’s a lot paralleling his character to Ash, and the anime increases this with the visual imagery (it likes those window shots with characters framed within them).

    I thought this episode was great and very well-adapted, actually. Liked the nightmarish shadow puppet visuals for showing the effects of Banana Fish as a drug, for example.

    Both of the Dawson brothers get zero points for ethics in science.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t believe I neglected to comment on the shadow imagery. That was a pretty great visual to go along with Alexis’s explanation.

      Now that you brought it up, I do see a parallel between Yue Lung (Amazon, make up your mind on how to spell the name) and Ash. Both are men trying to escape the suffocating and heavily implied sexual influence of more powerful men in the world of crime. I imagine what distinguishes the two is their sense of compassion. In the right moment, Ash shows a very caring side (I thought this episode’s scene between him and Michael is actually a really good example of that). I’m not convinced that Yue Lung shares that quality but I’ll see in the coming episodes.


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