Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A runaway brought up as the adopted heir and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, Ash, now at the rebellious age of seventeen, forsakes the kingdom held out by the devil who raised him. But the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Iraq has suddenly fallen into Papa's insatiably ambitious hands--and it's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to make Ash Lynx's acquaintance...
Banana fish is a show that I would normally like, since it’s an action adventure / mystery detective type of deal, set in the 1980s. As someone who grew up with buddy cop movies and is a fan of the 90s action flicks, this should be right up my alley. But it wasn’t because it was gay. The bad kind of gay. And it’s not just me who disliked it for being a homophobe; most actual gays dislike Banana Fish as well. For a group that keeps demanding more representation in media, saying they hate a show that is filled with homosexuals can only mean something went terribly wrong. In fact the only people who liked it are the fujoshis, and only because they are messed up women who love anything that has abusive relationships and they think rape is very hot. Let me explain what is going on. Unlike something like Yuri on Ice, a show that is praised for its gay inclusiveness (and is otherwise completely passable), Banana Fish is insulting. Its depiction of homosexuals is that of 80s stereotyping. Although it makes sense, since the manga was made at that time and follows the clichés of the era, gays in the show are presented as man-whores, unlike Yuri on Ice where they are average people who are into dick and nobody around them minds it. Basically, the former depicts homosexuals as something dirty and sexy, while the former as something normal and positive. The gay audience who demands inclusiveness is not willing to use that crap as part of what they are going for. The show kinda tries to excuse this by having Ash being forced into male prostitution by getting dragged into a child sex slavery ring. There, see, it’s not his fault he and many others are man-whores. Well, that’t the thing, every bad guyj in the show is inexplicably into dick. Where are the straight people? Or women? Or those who are into any other deviance? It’s ridiculously one-sided, as if 90% of mankind is into young boys and spends most of its day in talking about all the creepy things they will do to them.The whole thing quickly becomes gay bondage porn for fujoshis. Throughout the series you get the exact same scene. Homos get imprisoned by cops or get captured by thugs. And they always manage to escape by seducing the guards, who always happen to be gay. It gets very predictable very fast and it’s only pointing out how much of an 80s stereotype they all are. It seems like I am focusing too much on the gay part, but honestly it’s what sticks out the most. It’s not an 80s action-heavy flick about druglords. I would love it if it was. It’s a character-driven drama about criminal organizations at war, and even that gets constantly overshadowed by the exact same gay bondage scene. The whole mystery about the mind-controlling drug is also bullshit since it strips people of free will. Plus, the pacing is extremely slow and you will often forget what the characters are supposed to be struggling for. Add to all that the average production values. The animation is dry and fairly unimpressive compared to what they were making in OVAs at the time the manga was made. It doesn’t even have the groove of the 80s, since the animators decided to make it seem like the story takes place in recent times. And that causes the gay stereotyping to come off as even more awkward and dated. So basically, to hell with Banana Fish. It’s gay.
This show is a must-see for any anime fan that likes gangster stories sprinkled with some action and drama. As a warning, I must mention that if You don't like yaoi you might dislike parts of the series. I'd like to add though that there is no fan service and yaoi parts are done tastefully so ... it's your choice. I don't like this kind of stuff but I enjoyed the show immensely. First - the story. The plot revolves around drugs, crime, crime families etc. and the show grounds it with its two main protagonists and their involvement with the titular banana fish. The pacing of the story is done very well. It lets us know a little bit about each character without getting boring or forcing the viewer to watch unnecessary flashbacks. Also: some of the characters do die during the course of the show, so each episode has some tension to it. You will not know if the plot will allow the protagonists to get a happy ending. Overall the story is great but since the mystery is one of its themes I don't want to spoil it to You any more than I have to. Second: the animation and artwork. The animation is decent and the direction of the action sequences is done quite well. Overall both the art and the animation is not spectacular but well above the average. Third: the sound. The sound is ok. I can't really say anything more about it. Fourth: the characters. The characters are the strong part of the show. Both of its main protagonists are interesting and feel like real people. They as well as the supporting characters have their own motives and their actions do not feel forced or irrational. Speaking of the supporting characters: we get a lot of them and they're fleshed out quite nicely. The show gives us enough time to get to know the important ones and even side characters get some exposition making the world of the series more realistic. My only complaint is that one of the main protagonists Jade Callenreese feels a little too perfect and cool. This is explained by the plot but ... I just don't like characters that feel flawless. Verdict: It's great. Go watch it already!
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