Halfway through Banana Fish and I think it’s safe to say this will carry over into my Fall 2018 watch list. Granted, I was keen about sticking with it back in the Summer midseason but this much father in, I suppose the decision is officially permanent. I do still think this anime is far from perfect but all things considered, it’s gotten very riveting so far. Even what I take issue with, Banana Fish has been slowly ironing them so hopefully it’ll keep doing that with time.
Onto the episode itself. For the most part, it’s largely some more of what we got in Episode 11 — more Ash enacting his plans against Golzine and more him and Eiji living together. While not a completely split dichotomy, I must admit that going back and forth between these sides of the story can feel strange. It did feel that way last episode but I think the feeling feels so much more pronounced because of Ash’s recent actions. He boldly faces some big crime leaders alone, including Golzine himself and he’s gotten quite brutal with weeding out the people who defected to Arthur. All this happens while you cut to Ash trying natto for the first time and Eiji throwing a Halloween party (with pumpkins, of course). You see what I mean? Anyone would start to wonder if they’re even watching the same show.
I perhaps take less issue with this tonal issue than I should because I think levity is really just the kind of effect Eiji brings to the table. He’s well aware he’s stuck in a world he doesn’t belong in but while he remains there, he figures he might as well brighten things up in some way. You do have one moment where Eiji confronts Ash over the latter’s ruthlessness but even that attributes to what the former can do. Only Eiji can really remind Ash of his humanity, what kinds of people he’s avenging, and that he doesn’t nor shouldn’t always stoop as low as say, Arthur or the Wangs, do achieve what he desires.
Besides, if you’re still heartbroken over Shorter’s death then I think a goofy Halloween party is a little warranted for some healing. Besides, who doesn’t want to see Eiji and Ash being cute together?
Most amusing about Eiji’s presence here is how Ash’s men react to him. Last episode showed them stunned at Eiji waking up a cranky Ash and live to tell the tale and here, some of them are again amazed that he openly criticized Ash for his actions. In a way, I think these moments do show how strong Eiji actually is. He isn’t good with a gun or a knife and he certainly can’t stand face to face with someone like Golzine but Eiji is a bold person in his own right. Surely he is if he can reel Ash back in on a consistent basis.
As for the actual crime part of Banana Fish, there’s a couple of interesting things going on. Ash confronting Golzine at the airport particularly stumped me. I’m just amazed that neither of the two didn’t just end things right then and there. I suppose this shows what a strange relationship they have; they both want to kill each other and they’re also waiting for the right moment where the death of one would be optimally satisfying for the other. That aside, the war between these men seems to be officially sealed.
Frankly, I found Ash meeting gang leader and supportive character, Cain Blood, to be a much more promising moment if only because I really like Banana Fish‘s incorporation of multiple gangs. I will admit that Cain distractedly looks like a character from an 80s story but his interactions with Ash still prove to be interesting. Evidently, the lynx has gained his respect for waltzing in alone and even hold him at gunpoint despite being severely outnumbered. I do question his neutrality though; once a new gang is introduced in this anime, they seem to affiliate with one of the two pivotal ones one way or another.
It appears that we got another big confrontation with Arthur. The way Cain and Ash talk about it, it sounds like a one-on-one but with Arthur, there must be a catch. I’m just saying, Arthur is the last person in this show (who’s still alive) that I’d attribute to “honorable”. This could be the best route for Ash to take; a chance to cripple an opposing force entirely, avoid so much violence, and (more importantly?) gain some brownie points from Eiji.
Personally, I’m way more curious if Eiji will actually go to Japan. See, Ash apparently got him and Ibe flight tickets to Tokyo and that obviously is the reddest flag to Eiji staying in the story. Despite going to such lengths, Ash hesitates to tell Eiji the news as he perhaps realizes he’ll lack his dearest friend and moral conscience if the latter leaves. At first, he was hoping his actions would disgust Eiji and convince him to leave but as explained earlier, things don’t go that way. It seems that no matter how hard Ash tries, he just can’t get Eiji out of his life.
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