Banana Fish – Ep. 17

Oh good, Ash and Eiji reunite seconds into Episode 17. I was hoping that would be the case since we know Eiji would be safe with Sing but I was afraid Banana Fish might drag it out. And what a heartfelt reunion too. It’s been far too long since these two were last onscreen together. Even though Eiji is still bothered that Ash chose to keep his duel with Arthur a secret, he still can’t bring himself to be mad forever and the two decide to just hug it out. Ash taking a bit longer to return the hug though stood out to me. Either he’s too afraid to get even closer to Eiji or he’s still stunned that there still exists a friend who’ll stick with him through thick and thin.

A shame that Sing got the short end of the stick in that beginning scene. Not that I expected him and Ash to hug or anything but I don’t think Ash should really reject Sing’s help the way he did. I get that Ash doesn’t want more people to find out about Shorter’s death but this is starting to feel contrived to me. The more allies the better and anyone who remained loyal to Shorter deserve to know the truth and not fight against the wrong person.

It appears Banana Fish is now setting up Yut-Lung as Golzine’s new buddy. Somehow offscreen (this anime really needs to stop doing that), Yut-Lung just so happens to figure out what Banana Fish is made of and coerces Golzine to ally with him. The trade? In exchange for a slice of the pie and the deaths of some unwanted foundation members, Yut-Lung wants Golzine to kill all the Lees. I don’t just mean his abusive brothers, every single family member including children. It’s super messed up, no doubt about that. Even Golzine looked a bit taken back. For a while, I’ve been wondering what exact kind of character Yut-Lung would become and now, it seems clear that Banana Fish isn’t exactly going for a sympathetic approach.

You probably could just bank on this new alliance for the rest of the series but surprisingly, we get introduced to a new villain this late into the story. Blanca (Toshiyuki Morikawa) appears to be an assassin who has come out of retirement to help Golzine one last time. Obviously, his new target is Ash though spicing this new plot thread up is the implication that these two know each other. After sniping a senator Ash tries to interrogate, Blanca remarks how Ash still follows what he taught them. That makes sense. As absurd as Ash’s reflexes and intellect can be, he had to learn it from someone, specifically someone who once worked for Golzine. It’s also a little interesting to have a character who can put Ash on edge. Ash has generally been able to tell when an enemy is nearby but Blanca is apparently so stealthy for him to accurately detect. Admittedly, it’s a little comical how close by Blanca is. Sometimes, I think Ash just needs to squint his eyes or peer around a corner or something. However, I’d probably take Blanca’s cartoonish stealth over Arthur’s cartoonish brute force so I’m looking forward to see how Ash deals with this “new” enemy.

Other Thoughts:

  • No joke, the only spoiler I’ve saw tweeted around was Eiji saying “Fake News”. It’s still really funny to see him say it here. This anime really does take place in the 2010s.
  • It kind of says something if you have Yut-Lung just randomly explain how Banana Fish is made and yet we still have a scene where Ash is still trying to figure it out for Max. I don’t think Banana Fish is terribly interested in its conspiracy.
  • Really like the scene between Ash and Eiji on the boat. Eiji suggests to Ash that his mother must’ve loved him if she gave his name a lot of thought. Ash however then ponders why his life has been a living hell when he was named by his mother to live a long, happy life.
  • One of the Lees was running for president? A possible Asian president for the U.S.? This anime really does take place in the 2010s.
  • That senator sure is an idiot if he once banged Ash and can’t recognize him underneath his “disguise”. Maybe Clark Kent was Ash’s other mentor.

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