Banana Fish

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ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Jul 17, 2019

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’s the thing, every bad guy 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.

5/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
5/10 overall
captivus's avatar
Aug 10, 2018

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!

8/10 story
7/10 animation
6/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
BLAM4Lyfe's avatar
Dec 14, 2019

This show was incredibly powerful.

Before I go into this, let me just say that if you’re looking for an anime with drama that will later turn into a happy ending, then you should know that this is not that type of show. This is not a show that you can fetishize or make cute ships or pretend that everything works itself out at the end. This is a story that is gritty and horrific and so, so, so tragic. It forces you to look at the ugliest parts of humanity and realize that not every tragic person gets the ending they deserve. Not every bad guy will get the punishment they deserve. Life doesn’t end in happily-ever-afters and Banana Fish is a great example of that.

The story follows 17-year-old Ash Lynx, a runaway former sex toy of a powerful man named Golzine and a current leader of a gang. One day, he learns about a mysterious drug that’s been spreading and while he looks into it, he meets a pure-hearted young man from Japan named Eiji. Along the way, we meet other wonderful characters like Shorter, Sing, Max, Cain, Jessica and even the more complex like Yut Lung and Blanca.

I can’t recommend this anime enough. It honestly surprises me that anyone could think this story is homophobic because I never once saw it that way. Never once did I get the feeling that this anime was trying to make a point that this only happens to gay people. Guys—predators are PREDATORS. A lot of them don’t even take their sexuality into consideration when they assault someone—THEY WILL GO AFTER ANYONE THEY THINK IS ATTRACTIVE AND/OR WEAK. Sexual assault has everything to do with power and dominance and nothing to do with sexuality. So let me get that through your heads right now. Even in today’s society, people tend to overlook male victims a lot more than female victims. This anime happened to focus more on the male victims. I saw male characters put in situations that is, sadly, expected when it comes to women. Again, this story is forcing you to look at the ugly and commonly overlooked side of society. Men get raped just like women do, child abuse exists, anyone can be a predator, people in gangs can be good people just like people in office can be bad. But that’s not all.

We’re given a character like Ash who is constantly pursued, constantly objectified, constantly abused and yet, holds out because he has to. Because he needs to survive. The most tragic part of this entire story isn’t just the bad things that happen in it. It’s because of these little moments of hope, these small moments like Ash has with Eiji, that really makes us as people realize what we take for granted. Heck, even Max and Jessica realized this by the end. Ash could have tried to go for complete power and could have been taken over by his hatred like Yut Lung had, but he chose a different path for himself and that path had led him to Eiji.

Another thing I hate is when people try to fetishize Ash and Eiji’s relationship. I feel like you sort of miss the point when you simply ship them together—their relationship goes beyond something physical like being friends or lovers. What they have is incredibly special, something they’re willing to risk everything for. Ash and Eiji are polar opposites, with Ash being a killer and a sexually abused victim while Eiji is so innocent and naïve. Their paths weren’t supposed to cross but they did, and they learned and grew from each other. Eiji was Ash’s light, his escape from this ruthless hellhole he grew up in. Characters like Yut Lung noticed this and he hated it because it was something he himself didn’t have. Besides the powerful relationship between Ash and Eiji, the juxtaposition between Ash and Yut Lung was also brilliant. They are very similar to each other but they became like Yin and Yang because of the different paths they chose. They could very well have been in each other’s situation if they had chosen differently. I’ll never forget what Blanco said to Yut Lung—about needing to love in order to be loved. It can seem like such a simple thing, but when you live a life soaked in tragedy, things that should be simple are not simple at all.

I’ve never been so moved or so heartbroken for a show before. Even the opening and ending songs have this way of ripping your heart out. I want to tell everyone to watch it, both anime watchers and non-anime watchers alike. But this is not for the faint of heart. Brilliant shows like Banana Fish will leave a mark on you and whether or not that mark is good or bad, it deserves to be carried.

10/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
BFpokoBF's avatar
Jan 4, 2019

It's a must see anime. I started watching it with no expectations it would be so great but, it is. Now it's my favourite anime of all times. If you like action or comedy watch it and if you don't like comedy or action, you need to still watch it because it's too great to be real. I personally, don't enjoy watching action animes, I prefer more comedic, romance or gore animes and I have said before, I'm in love with this anime.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Kirasan8's avatar
May 4, 2019

This anime was one of the best I have ever watched. I LOVE Ash and Eiji as much as I even can! Seriously, they are so cute together. I honestly recommend this anime to all fujoshi and fudanshi in this yaoi world.

!SPOILER ALERT!

The last scene made me cry like a little baby. WHY, ASH, WHY? 

10/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
AlexStark's avatar
Jan 3, 2019

Amazing, I don't remember the last time I saw such a good anime!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Theboundwoman's avatar
Dec 31, 2018

Banana Fish has been a hidden gem for this season.

People are discounting it and wrote it off as 'YaOi' which it is not, the relationship can be viewed as one of love or friendship. I urge everyone to give Banafish a go if you enjoy street gangs, mob bosses, corrupt government, busting pedophilia rings and exploration of dark themes. This anime is not for the light-hearted it has scenes of rape, murder, torture, focus on pedophilia and drug use. The anime is set in NewYork and has a variety of black, white, Chinese and Latino characters.

Story hooks from start to finish, I think every episode ended with a 'WTF' moment and it genuinely feels like anything can happen to anyone at any moment, though I feel it suffered some pacing issues towards the middle of the 24 episodes but quickly recovers. 

Animation ranged from breathtaking to.... did a kindergartener draw this? though those moments are few and far between, the style suffers a bit from taking from the manga that was drawn way back in 1985

The sound was amazing for the most parts really catchy openings and interesting ending songs, with music that helps build and emphasize the emotion of every scene, though it's not afraid to be quiet when it needs to. Songs were by Survive Said The Prophet, BLUE ENCOUNT and King Gnu.

Characters where each fleshed out, you knew their motivations and some made you hate them for how evil they are which I think if they can make you do that they are winning in the writing department, there were plenty of genuine moments of humour and bonding despite the overall tragic vibe. 

 

10/10 story
7/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
matrixen's avatar
Apr 11, 2019

When I first began watching Banana Fish I didn't expect it to be so amazing, which it turned out to be. 

Let me first get the basics out of the way: the animation was of splendid quality, as was the sound. 

Now for the amount of depth placed within the story and the characters themselves... the characters on the show were realistic, incredibly interesting, and what I would call perfectly executed, something I rarely see. The story is the kind that hooks you like a fisherman would a tuna, slowly and then quickly reeling you in. After you get hooked, you not only continue watching because you want to know what happens next, but because you fall in love with the characters one by one. The characters that did that for me were Eiji, Ash, Shorter, Sing, and Max. And especially Eiji and Ash's relationship, which blossomed unexpectedly--it was like ying and yang or like light and dark, two opposites finding common ground and finding a way to easily love each other. Although it is stated countless times in Banana Fish that Eiji and Ash's relationship is a "friendship" and that they are simply "very good friends", it is obviously so much more than that. People who are *just* friends don't write each other letters that look suspiciously too much like love letters, or tell each other that they will never leave each other side even if it means dying and gazing into each others eyes lovingly, definitely in a more than *just* friends way. That is what I loved about Banana Fish though, Ash and Eiji's relationship was a clean pure love, untainted and unblinded by lust. Even if they did not aknowledge it themselves, their love went deeper than simply friendship. 

Something I found heartbreaking in Banana Fish was the dark path that Ash walked, as well as the disturbing past he fought so hard to escape, but what is an anime without a dark, heartwrenching, or tragic element? That kind of element specifically is mandatory if the storyline is to be immaculate! I came close to crying many times throughout watching, and I finally cried in the last few minutes of the last episode, it was just too much for me. How the writers chose to leave the ending open-ended and up to one's own interpretation also left me feeling empty because I don't want to believe that Ash is dead even though he most likely is, for all the evidence points to that. :(

All in all, Banana Fish was absolutely perfect--heartbreaking, yet beautiful at the same time, and I would highly recommend viewers to watch it. I'm serious, it's SO good, please watch Banana Fish ! 

- Matrix 

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
TallyCrow's avatar
Jun 18, 2019

The Storyline hit me in the face and wouldn’t let me rest. Trust me when I say, this ANIME had me all over the place. I was addicted to it from episode one and I needed that next episode ASAP. The wait every week for the next episode was the hardest I’ve had to wait for ANY episode for ANY Anime. My emotions went from high to low in a matter of moments. I never thought in a million year that a show with gangs and guns and so much violence from the get go would hook me in and not let me go. This show is very mature and is only for Adults; so if you are a young soul, please don’t watch this. When I saw the tags such as “Sexual Abuse” and “Physical Abuse” I was kind of torn whether I should watch this or not. I am glad I gave in and watched it because the story was so much more than those tags.  The pacing was done really well; I never felt like it was being rushed or being too slow. There most likely only one episode in the 24 Episodes that was slightly boring or not as good as the others, but having one like that is normal for any Anime. I thought Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist was good at cliffhangers but it had nothing on Banana Fish. The cliffhangers that this show flung at you were the worst yet the best ever. I was such an emotional wreck and it was mainly due to those said cliffhangers. The emotional scenes were just as good as the actions scenes and once again I really can’t fault this storyline at all, Even if the ending hurt like hell.



The Animation was actually really unique and although it’s not as SOLID as other Anime I have watched it did its job and I have to say the facial structures were done really well. The Sound was just as good as everything else in this Anime. The voice actors were amazing with their said roles, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Even though the bad guys suck, they are good at voicing their disgusting personas. The opening and ending songs were amazing. All 4 songs used were perfect for the Anime and now when I hear them; I instantly thing of this Anime and the emotions come flooding back. If I had to choose a favourite opening and ending it had to be the songs sung by Survive Said the Prophet; “Found & Lost” and “Red”.  The lyrics from the latter song; “Is this the sacrifice for the broken losing the purest of what's in your heart” just makes me feel things and it just hits me right in my heart.


The Characters in this show were some very interesting and crazy personas. I have mentioned above about bad guys and how much they suck. The worst although hard to choose between all the horrid characters was definitely Dino; the reason being what I can’t really go into detail with as I would end up spoiling so much. Let’s just get one thing out of the way; I wouldn’t save him even if I would get a million pounds. Ash, Eiji and Shorter were my three favourite characters and just so happens to be the main three characters. Shorter is just a really cool guy and even though he didn’t really know Eiji, he still went out of the way to help him and be there for him. You know that saying “Opposites Attract” that 100% sums up Ash and Eiji. Ash is a gang leader, criminal and crazy guy and Eiji is a sweet, innocent cinnamon roll and I would climb through hell to save him kind of guy. They instantly connected, whether you see it or not; I saw it right there, the moment they spoke to eachother the first time. The lengths each other would go to, to help each other out was crazy, especially for Eiji. The character development for Eiji was the best development I have seen in a really long time. I know this Anime isn’t classed as BL (Boys Love) but I know for fact the feelings Eiji and Ash had were so much more than friendship and even though they never fully announced anything it was really cute and amazing that they showed hints of it.


Overall this Anime was a rollercoaster ride and it will 100% be one of my all-time favourite Anime. The character developments and amazing soundtrack was two of the main reasons why I fell in love with this Anime more than I thought I would. I highly recommend this Anime if you love Anime such as 91 DaysYuri!!! On Ice and Durarara!! Or you just want to dive into something wild and crazy.

9.8/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9.8/10 characters
10/10 overall
Miame's avatar
Sep 10, 2018

I think it's awesome! Ash i so tough but when he opens up i can't hold my tears. His past was really hard so that's kind of sad.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9.7/10 overall
Hanabiko's avatar
Jan 5, 2020

Just wow. Probably the best Anime I've ever seen.

It will take time to recover from this... Only downside: a bit redundant the very last cycle of kidnapping-saving (in the mental clinic) but... wow. Amazing characters, amazing story, great music, superlative drawings. Nothing else to say, I need to take a break from Animes now :(

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
jjcastle's avatar
Jan 2, 2020

I absolutely adore Banana Fish on a deeply personal level. The mangaka clearly had an understanding of trauma and the all encompassing qualities that come with certain kinds of corruption -- so much so, I hope she's ok and has gotten the therapy needed to get through that lol. I have never seen a character with as much development in trauma expression as Ash and it blew me away (and into therapy, yay!). I could write the whole review on Ash (or Ash and Eiji), but I don't feel like crying right now. 

Removing Ash and Eiji, I am able to see some flaws in the story that I otherwise would completely ignore. The character arcs are so compelling that it wasn't until I finished it (and finished CRYING) that I realized the story had some weird pacing and action choices. The show is very dense and filled with information -- it involves multiple levels and types of corruption and feels kind of like a puzzle that wasn't quite finished or put together with care. The story that's set up in the first third of the show doesn't quite match the last third in retrospect, and so the middle feels like a big jumble. I'm not sure if I'm explaining that well enough.... but it's fine (I also don't want to write spoilers). Let's just say there were characters and details that seemed very important and then they just.... weren't that important. 

It was fascinating to see a depiction of New York from another culture's perspective. I mean I know the US seems violent but wow... this was not a positive comparison to Japan in that lens. I adored the juxtaposition and how it framed the main characters' romance. I thought the creators navigated the different gang personalities really well and made it into a compelling and lively network of characters and settings. The animation and voice acting are beautiful and immersive. I really loved the expressions of the characters in this one in particular and how they balanced the overall somber tone with moments of lightheartedness and humor. The personality is there. The soundtrack is killer.

As for Ash and Eiji.... BIG SIGH AND BARELY REPRESSED TEARS. I love them. I have written several blog posts about them. It's too much. Just please... enjoy this beautiful relationship. I consume a lot of BL/yaoi/shounen ai and I really think this is outside the genre. I think it's just queer (I am queer myself fwiw). The influence of trauma and the pressure of the story really changes the dynamic and it doesn't follow the typical tropes of the genres. I feel a bit defensive when the fujos get a certain type of way about this particular ship. Check out the art book Angel Eyes by the mangaka, it's stunning and now hold some of my tears. :')

Listen to Prayer X by King Gnu (the credits song). I think it captures the vibe of the show really well. 

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
GetScared's avatar
Dec 2, 2019

This was & will forver be my favorite animes & yaois. The voice acting is beautiful. The characters, art style, everything about is so beautiful. The characters (suchs as Ash & Eiji) are fun, cute yet strong, they are truly some amazing characters. The art style makes you feel like you are IN the anime & it goes very nicely with the style. The whole anime is just amazing. It's cute, fun, lots of action, sad, & romantic. It's a lot, yes, but everything it has is what makes it so great. I HIGHLY suggest it. It (at the end) will leave you feeling a lot but in an amazing way.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
osofabulexo's avatar
Aug 16, 2019

This was an absolute masterpiece and holy shit I'm hurt 

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
QueenJosie095's avatar
Jan 1, 2019

I'm usually not into action animes or anything of thay nature, but this anime was the first one thay I absolutely fell in love with! Everything about this anime was on par for me, the characters, the action, the tragedy concept, just everything worked together very well in this anime....Ash and Eijis relationship was amazing even though it wasnt in the forefront, you could tell they had something there and I loved that. One thing I loved about this anime was that it was action-packed and bloody and brutal, but it was also sentimental and deep at times, especially with Ash amd Eiji. The deaths always had me in shock and on edgee for what was next, Ashs character was cold blooded and I loved him from jump! Lol I definitely recommend this anime!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Kedavrah's avatar
Dec 15, 2019

OSTs, openings and endings was really awesome and the visual style who looks like a Miyazakis movie suits very well with. Artisticly beautiful at sound and visual design, the story is really detailed and takes time to the characters developpement. The relation between Ash and Eiji will touch everybody who can looks this anime. I was attracted by the starting plot, but the end has more to offer and take off the red story line of the BananaFish drug to focus on the characters relations, so well that we forget the Ash brother. 

Very nice and beautiful anime :thumbsup:

7/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall
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ohreaol's avatar
May 12, 2020

The amount of times this anime made me cry is unacceptable. If you're looking towards a happy ending this is not the right show. Overall, it's so powerful and really does get you thinking, it's packed with action and sometimes kind moments. There is BxB action so if you're not into that I wouldn't reccomend watching.

The storyline is very entertaining but beware there may be some triggers based on topics they talk about, such as rape and child porn.

The animation is great but it's not the best thing, the fighting scenes are beautifully done though. The way the characters are drawn at ceratin angles is a bit funny, but I didn't mind it.

The sound.... Ugh the sound in each different scene is really something else. It's carefully placed in the right areas and really gets you in your feels sometimes. 

Overall, it's a 10/10 from me. If you watch this knowing what you're getting into, trust me it's all worth it in the end. I really do reccomend watching this for someone who is into anime with action, angst and a story line that puts you on the edge of your chair. 

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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Vudoiseaki's avatar
Apr 19, 2020

[SLIGHT SPOILERS]This show isn't just some Yaoi/BL that most people thought it was. It has many different elements the yaoi or BL parts were mostly just rape or prostitution. The characters that died, well the main ones had a big impact. And to also see how the characters men or people were being killed was very upsetting. The story has some good humorous elements here and there to cut the tension and overall creates a beautiful and interesting show. I will warn you that it gets sad because to me, and a lot of others this anime felt really real. The characters would go through some pretty real stuff, and though that's true there are some things that get by that wouldn't be too normal. After all that in the end some characters are good while other are ok but this show is worth the watch!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall
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khejmilos's avatar
Feb 6, 2019

Okey~, when I saw this anime in my recommendations, I was like umm~ okeyy, seems like another BL anime, but when I was checking the rating, I thought: hmm ^^, not bad, so I watched the first episode, and I was like: omg, this is the best anime :O. Then I started to watch Banana Fish and I couldn't stop :D The story is just awesome, full of surprises and emotions. Some characters are hard to don't like, but some characters are the worst on the planet and I wish then the most painfull death. And when I watched the last episode, I literally cried all night :(. And it's shame Banana Fish isn't known as much as Tokyo Ghoul or Naruto, because Banana Fish deserves a lot more attention. 

This fanart is just to warm your hearts <3

(I do not own this beautiful fanart)

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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AmberAnimeAccount's avatar
May 30, 2020

-I started watching this anime because it was recommended to me.
-The story was very original, but sometimes too unrealistic or unbelievable.
-I liked the main characters very quickly.
-However, I can't recommend this anime to everyone,
because some scenes are really very mature and I don't think this anime is for weaker characters.
-However, if you like an action, be sure to check it out.

 

 

 

9.5/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
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Avokiddo's avatar
May 17, 2020

This anime would have to be one of my favorites. This show was packed with action and personally I was never bored. The characters and their development were also very well done. You will find yourself emotionally attached to most of these characters, at least I did. I personally would consider this show BL. Even if its not sexual, you can definitely tell that they have a deep connection. I personally loved the animation. But, if your looking for a super happy ending do not watch. Sorry but I feel like a warning is necessary. This show personally broke my heart and left me crying and not being able to sleep for a long time. But don't get the wrong idea!! It was really a fantastic show and I still do not regret watching it. This isn't a super in-depth and descriptive review but hopefully it gave you an overall idea :) (also im quite an emotional person so you may not find yourself as emotionally scarred as I was)

9.5/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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oZEROo's avatar
Apr 20, 2019

So I friggin love this show and hate it at the same time. Everytime I think about this show my heart hurts. So many horrible things happen to the main characters. To all the characters really. This show really ripped my heart out. I also love it though because it had those moments when everything was normal. The characters were what really drove this show.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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slik321's avatar
Dec 2, 2019

First of all I would like to start off by mentioning that this is my first anime review and I am writing it in the spirit of the 2019 Secret Santa game so that the person who recommended this anime to me might read this and see what I thought of one of their recommendations. 

Overview/synopsis

The story revolves around a hot-tempered gang boss named Ash Lynx. His lust for revenge against his adopted father, sexual abuser and captor coincides with his fated meeting with Eiji Okumura, a 19-year-old assistant photographer with an innocent mind and pure heart. Over the course of events that take place, Ash and Eiji maintain a close-knit brotherly love for one another, neither wanting anything from the other except friendship and a brief respite from the chaotic world of gang warfare and hidden powers that seek to seize power over America. 

First impressions

I initially decided to watch this anime because it is not something that I would have chosen to watch under my own volition in that I don't normally like anime that are set in the USA or have gangs in them. Perhaps as a consequence to this, I felt the anime was lacklustre and somewhat slow to begin with up until around episode 8. However, I am happy to admit that after this point in the story; I became increasingly more engrossed and interested in the plot and potential fate that awaited the thugs and bosses of New York City. 

Story

It is somewhat difficult to talk about the plot without giving away any spoilers but the primary driving force behind the plot is Ash Lynx's desire to free himself from the oppressive grip of his sexual abuser Papa Dino and seek the answer to why and how his brother lost his mind in the events that unfolded in Iraq prior to the time that the story takes place. After episode 8 I think the pacing of the story became a lot better. Things start to happen at a much greater pace and the viewer is constantly encouraged to think about each characters motive and how this has been affected by their often tragic past. There are no filler or recap episodes but sometimes I didn’t think there were too many shootouts, however, this did not detract from the fact that it always felt like the plot was building up and progressing. 

Animation 

Banana Fish is an anime created by Mappa. Coincidentally, I only just finished watching Dororo a few weeks ago so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that both series are made by the same studio. The animation is nothing ground-breaking, yet it doesn't seem that it wants to be. The action scenes are adequately detailed whilst the camera/scene positioning makes the viewer feel up close within both fast-paced action scenes, softer dialogue and intimate scenes. 

Sound

I was quite impressed with the soundtrack of Banana Fish. The instrumental tracks used were very fitting and stylised for the nitty gritty urban warfare and psychological rollercoaster that engulfs the series. In particular my favourite two soundtracks are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1XFOw0y5Ps

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IL4mCSC8YU

Characters

There is certainly a plethora of characters, even secondary characters sometimes act as main characters. While it never felt overwhelming, I do think that the reason for so many characters was just an easy way to drive the plot more easily. Nevertheless, this is at the cost of significantly reducing the importance and screen time of some former pivotal characters. One good example is in the case of Max Lobo. Max and Ash meet relatively early in the series and as the course of event unfold, Max is crucial in furthering the plot as he aids in helping Ash uncover what really happened in Iraq and the people that are responsible. However, in the latter stages of the series, Max helps out less and less as his character is predominantly left out of the action and confined to an office doing research. Aside from this, I really liked the differing personalities and psyches of the characters, they all felt unique and distinguishable.

Overall

Once you have settled into the story and things start to happen you are almost sure to enjoy this series. The ever-evolving circumstances that Ash finds himself in ensure that there will be little chance for boredom to strike while watching. 

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall
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wedfvfe's avatar
Mar 21, 2020

I had heard good things about this shows so i decided to give it a try. Bad choice. Its SO BOOOORING. The plot and story is all over the place and really unrealistic. The kidnapping troup is waaaay over played. Seriously judging people that actually liked it.....

1/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
3/10 overall
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Emma0000's avatar
May 19, 2020

This is my first review so I'll keep it short. I loved this. Everything about this show grabbed me and wouldn't let go. There wasn't one time that I wasn't bored. The characters were easily loved and the vilians easily hated. I really can't describe what an awesome experience it was to watch the show!! I'd like to say more but I won't cause spoilers😋.. anyways just watch it you won't regret it

10/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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0kayla0's avatar
May 4, 2020

The plot is a bit messy, and all over the place. however, the character development was so intriguing, it's what got me through the show. knowing what ash has been through and how he is still alive is amazing to me. his development, along with eiji's, was incredible. would definitely recommend it if you need a good cry.

6/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall
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