Banana Fish – Ep. 23

I’ve been quite critical of Banana Fish over the course of these Episode Reviews but the one thing that I’ve consistently enjoyed a lot is the relationship between Ash and Eiji. I really can’t deny that the show wouldn’t have been as worthwhile as it is without them. And if this episode really is the last time they are seen together, I’d say the show made it count.

Goodness, I got teary eyed seeing Ash and Eiji reach out to each other at the hospital only for Eiji to stop and tell Ash to go or else he’ll get arrested by the police. Even though Banana Fish didn’t explicitly confirm that these two are a romantic couple (boy do I ship it anyway), there is something about their relationship that feels star-crossed. You want these two to be together and go on that promised trip to Japan but deep down, you know that it’s impractical. Ash probably knew that himself but he really wanted to believe it wasn’t and seeing Eiji sent to the hospital forces him to safe such a painful reality. At least their final actions speak volumes about how they feel about each other. Ash willing to risk getting arrested again shows how much he values Eiji while Eiji telling him to go demonstrates that he understands that Ash has to finish to what he started.

Somewhat surprising is that there is still one last scene between Blanca and Yut-Lung. I thought their last confrontation was good enough of an ending though this new scene does still suffice. In a way, these characters have sort of functioned as foils to Ash. All three men have gone through a hell of some kind but how they came out of it has differed. Ash still has the capacity to love, Blanca eventually learned to let go of his anger, and Yut-Lung is only able to feel hate. Perhaps that’s why Yut-Lung grew to detest Ash while feeling so drawn to Blanca. He wants to kill Eiji because he hates the fact that Ash has someone to care for while he doesn’t. He had hoped that he and Blanca could see eye to eye since Blanca too lost someone dear to him to an organization he served. In the end, this was the battle Yut-Lung was truly fighting in and it seems that he proved to be the odd one of the bunch and therefore, the loser.

As for Foxx actually turning against Golzine, I appreciate Banana Fish following through with that plot point but this is hardly the way I wanted the final battle to be set up. Of all the people to kill Golzine or become the final boss of the story, why him? Why this bland character who only showed up two episodes ago and with whom Ash has no real, long lasting history with other than an explicitly implied rape scene. God, I wish it was Yut-Lung who killed Golzine instead. Hell, I thought that was the story was going for since there was a rivalry developing between those two. Evidently, I should’ve expected this show to pull a Rian Johnson and “subvert my expectations”.

There’s also Lao to worry about. Now that he’s made it loud and clear that he hates Ash and even left Sing’s group, I suspect that the show really is planning on having him kill Ash in the finale. It’d be a bit odd for it happen though given where the final battle takes place. What, is Lao just going to appear right when the fight is over and shoot Ash? Besides, if Ash is to die, I’d really hate it to be that way. Much like Foxx, Lao is too uninteresting and too last-minute to really make whatever the story plans on having him to do feel like they matter. I really wish Banana Fish didn’t bothered introducing characters this late into the story and just used what players they still had left.

Still, there is one episode left for me to watch. It’s about time this show left the backlog for good.

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