Popular manga comic ‘Banana Fish’ recently debuted in the UK for the first time as a TV show. Since the show aired, it has been shown as one of the most well received manga. Not only was it well received, it was also very impactful.
Written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida, ‘Banana Fish’ is a manga comic that ran from May 1985 to April 1994.
The main reason as to why it did so well in the UK was because of how the plot was handled. The story of ‘Banana Fish’ focuses on 17-year-old gang leader, Ash Lynx, and how he ends up entangled in a fall out over an object named “Banana Fish”.
Sticking completely to the original manga comic, the anime series really captured the thriller and crime genre. ‘Banana Fish’ is categorically not a light-hearted series (unlike most anime), nevertheless the way it executes graphic themes of sexual assault and child abuse is extremely respectable.
As the story unfolds, the main character Ash starts to overcome his misfortune whilst not maintaining a victim like status. Ash really starts to build as a character, making viewers fall in love with the way he handles his abusers with such confidence.
Another character who stands out is Eiji, whom is the complete opposite to Ash. As the series goes on, Eiji starts to transform from a shy and naïve character into someone who is actually incredibly courageous. Out of all of the characters in ‘Banana Fish’, Eiji is the most loveable due to his commitment to help his friends and pretty much save the day.
The series majorly focuses on the LGBT community, which allows the series to gain fans from that community as well. Akimi Yoshida perfectly executes a relationship between two men without making it sexual in the slightest, which I believe many viewers will enjoy. Ash and Eiji’s relationship most definitely grows throughout the series and I believe the anime sheds more light on their relationship even more than the manga did.
The ‘Banana Fish’ series really gathers and enthrals viewers from the outset and it brilliant executes character build in the first few episodes. As a viewer, you are able to see how the main characters are grow from watching their back stories in the beginning to the main climax in the end.
However, ‘Banana Fish’ would also show mistakes in the plot which sometimes ruined the predominant narrative it so had. Several episode plots would sound similar to previous ones which I feel made the series ‘safe’ despite the ambition of series being an awareness of dangerous and sensitive topics.
Despite the safeness of some ‘Banana Fish’ episodes, the story is still very realistic. It discusses all bad sides of the human world, especially ones where gun control is a big part of people’s lives. The show perfectly illustrates how people vary when it comes to having and not having guns, as well as covering the reaction of paedophilia and rape culture in the LGBT community which is very different to most anime. Every episode is very heavy, but the mix of humour makes it absolutely brilliant.
Looking back at the ‘Banana Fish’ series, I most definitely see why it is so popular! It is a carefully produced drama and perfectly covers sensitive topics without distress. The writing for the series seems to be even better written than the manga and I feel like the writers were fully invested in making this series the best. It is a well-made drama with emotionally powerful moments, and I would undeniably give this series an extremely high rating.