BANANA FISH fans share their thoughts on the anime (1er cour) – Part III

For the full introduction (and explanations) please refer to Part I. Since this focuses on the 1er cour of the anime, spoilers (and any sort of speculation on big events) were omitted. Some names were omitted in questions where they didn’t answers (or simply said no). Some answers were slightly edited for clarity (mostly just notable typos).

The Fans  (#31-#45)

anonymous: 18 years old, New Zealand. Identifies as female. Has read the manga.

Joseph: 17 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

Elliot: 17 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & non-binary. Anime only.

Kari: 21 years old, Chile. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

RUMI: 19 years old, Brazil. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

Rafa: 22 years old, Brazil. Identifies as LGBTQ+. Has read the manga.

Traveler: 20 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

Ally: 23 years old. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

Emily: 19 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & female. Has read the manga.

S.H. Marr: 25 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & agender. Has read the manga.

Sophie: 37 years old, Sweden. Identifies as female. Has read the manga.

Bee: 20 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & non-binary. Has read the manga.

Shell: 22 years old, U.S. Identifies as LGBTQ+ & mostly female. Anime only.

FIFI: 18 years old, U.K. Identifies as female. Has read the manga.

kelly: 21 years old, U.S. Identifies as female. Anime only.

Why are you watching this show?

anonymous: Came for the gangs of New York concept, stayed for Ash and Eiji.

Joseph: I read the premise on a site that shows the upcoming anime and binge-read the whole manga in like 3 days.

Elliot: I heard it was gay so I started watching it, and it turned out to be rather so! Also the story is so good and I love seeing all the characters interact, so I’m stuck watching it forever djchddh.

Kari: At first because it caught my attention when I saw it’s made by MAPPA (I’m a YOI fan), but I stayed because of the characters and the plot. I love stories that have a bit of drama, some nice moments and it’s even better if it deals with real-life topics like mafia and crime.

RUMI: At first I was watching just for curiosity, but once I started watching the anime and read the manga I immediately fell in love with Ash and his struggle. BF is truly incredible.

Rafa: Because someone I follow retweeted a tweet comparing Eiji’s face the moment Ash let him hold his gun to the moment Ash told him about his pubes being blond too and I got really curious.

eiji says can i

Traveler: ‘Cause it’s awesome and cruel (I’m a masochist I guess) actually I love dramatic series and this one, is a very good one (I almost cried at every episode but that’s okay I guess (it’s really not)).

Ally: I devour anything with queer content that isn’t immediately labeled BL.

Emily: I heard about it from Tumblr, watched the first two episodes, read the manga and now im a big fan!

S.H. Marr: I overly identify with Ash.

Sophie: I loved the manga.

Bee: I’m invested in some of the characters, particularly Eiji.

Shell: Good animation, heard it was LGBT+

FIFI: Because I read the manga and loved the story.

kelly: Everyone on my tl is watching it.

What’s your favorite thing about this show?

anonymous: A healthy mlm relationship inside of a really badass action crime series.

Joseph: The characters.

Elliot: I love the character interactions! It feels real and it always manages to touch my heart!! So many good characters.

Kari: The real-life topics depicted on the show. They’ve done a great job showing us a character who’s a sexual assault survivor and also was forced into prostitution and a life full of crime. I think that’s what I like most: nothing is sugar-coated on this show.

RUMI: I love the plot, it’s amazing. Also the relationship between Ash and Eiji.

ash and eiji iconic shot

Rafa: Eiji! If I’m not allowed to say characters then I have to say I love the action animation.

Traveler: The characters are so awesome (especially Yut-Lung ❤️)

Ally: The relationship between Ash and Eiji because I’m so original.

Emily: I love how delicately Eiji & Ash’s relationship is handled. Nothing about it seems forced, it’s all very natural and you can really tell they love each other, romantically or not. I also love how the plot has so much going on — it’s never boring!

S.H. Marr: The characters.

Bee: The animation is great! It’s a marvel to watch at points, and the colors are vibrant and beautiful.

Shell: Ash and Eiji’s relationship, found family relationships.

FIFI: Probably the nicely developed relationship between Ash and Eiji, also the gang warfare stuff has always interested me.

kelly: Japan does not fuck around with portraying how corrupted the United States is.

What’s your less favorite?

anonymous: It moves a little too fast at times.

Joseph: They use slurs sometimes. it just makes me uncomfortable sometimes.

Elliot: I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily bad but it’s so emotionally taxing to watch because it’s so intense. Like thats a good thing because it gets me so invested, but I have to prepare myself before I watch each episode haha.

Kari: That Eiji’s personality is a bit different from the manga. In the anime, he’s a bit softer and more innocent.

RUMI: Well, my less favorite thing is all that suffering, like, sometimes all you can do is cry while your heart is heavy and you can’t just accept what’s happening.

yau-si says i didn't want to see that

Rafa: Can I say Arthur? I’m gonna say Arthur. (Other than that, the pacing sometimes feels kind of… off, but I can’t exactly explain how…)

Traveler: Fucking emotional rollercoaster.

Ally: Conflation of queerness and being a predator, racism.

Emily: Whenever they talk about the child/sexual abuse in the show; it’s always done respectfully, but still hard to sit and listen to/read about. Also, Dino.

Sophie: The constant use of rape as a means of power.

Bee: I’m not a fan of any of the villains. I don’t find any of them interesting or compelling to watch.

Shell: The angst 😦

FIFI: Probably the slurs and the fact they updated it to modern times, also they made Eiji softer lol

kelly: It has some anime tropes in it that I just feel aren’t necessary. Like the Halloween scene or a snaggletooth character. It just makes me take it less seriously but not necessarily in a good way.

Do you have any feelings about the time change? (modernization)

anonymous: The 80s factor was what originally drew me to the series, but the anime is still good without it. It still feels very 80s.

Joseph: I’m just sad we lost a lot of the 80s aesthetic.

Elliot: To my understanding the time period is pretty important in the manga, so I wish they kept it? But the anime is still really good in my opinion, so it’s not a huge loss (for now, anyway).

Kari: Not really. Maybe their clothes lol I feel like in the 80’s, or at least from what it’s shown in the manga, fashion was different and I would dare to say that it was better. Today’s fashion is nice, but they haven’t really shown us that. In the manga, Ash is the one who’s always wearing a nice and attractive outfit. On the show, he’s almost always wearing the same plain white t-shirt, ripped jeans and a pair of Converse. I find it quite funny, though. I mean, today’s fashion is actually about going back to the 80’s-90’s and wearing all those colorful windbreakers, jackets and high-waisted jeans all over again, but they haven’t really taken advantage of that. Anyway, that would be my only complaint about the time change, because the plot has been adapted quite perfectly to present times.

RUMI: No, I’m very ok with it.

background

Rafa: I like it! I actually only realized there was a time change in episode 12 when I saw a smartphone, oops, but I think it’s good since most new fans (assuming most are around my age or younger) would have had a hard time understanding Vietnam War references and Cold War tactics, whereas we’re (unfortunately) familiarized with Middle East’s US-related crisis, I think.

I also would like to thank whoever made Shorter’s anime character design, I love it.

Traveler: Mmmh I guess it’s not a bad idea, but I still prefer the manga anyway.

Ally: I actually wish they had kept it in the eighties, and sometimes I pretend it is. The lack of proper modernization is disconcerting.

Emily: I don’t actually mind it that much! I do kind of wish it had stayed in the 80’s so they could’ve gotten really stylistic with the show.

S.H. Marr: It depresses me that so little of the plot and cultural critique had to change by making it thirty years later.

Bee: I’d prefer if there wasn’t a time change tbh? It doesn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the show but sometimes the more modern setting feels out of place with what’s happening.

Shell: I wish they’d kept it in its original time period. I think the Vietnam war is a better catalyst since it involved the draft.

FIFI: It’s okay, but I think it would have been interesting and unique to keep it in the 80s. There’s not a lot of modern anime set in that time period.

What do you think of Ash’s character? What do you like the most about him?

anonymous: How his character can change in different situations very easily, it’s very interesting.

Joseph: I love him! I love how he gets so soft around Eiji and how he’s just… so damn smart. We get to see a good mix between his softer side and his harder side.

Elliot: AUGH I really love him! He’s really interesting to watch develop. He’s got a lot to work through, and I love seeing more of his silly and vulnerable sides!! I love how caring he is towards people he loves, but I’m worried about him :’)

ash hugs and says im sorry to mike

Kari: He’s depicted as the type of person that hides pain and sadness behind a mask of rage. I know many people who do that, and I think it’s something pretty human of him. He has fears, even unusual ones that are related to his childhood. He has dreams, he wishes to get free and get out of the awful world he is in and have a normal life. He’s lived traumatic experiences and he’s dealt with a lot from a very young age. I don’t know, I think that what I like about Ash the most is that he’s still a kid and that’s no secret to anyone. He’s 17-18 years old and he’s still a teenager who hasn’t had the chance to live a normal life. He has fears, dreams, hopes. He laughs and cries. He is never shown just as a cold, heartless person who’s become a serial killer and used to be involved in prostitution against his own will.

There’s something about Ash that makes him likable, and it’s not about his good looks or because he is the protagonist. He’s human, and we are able to see that side of him.

RUMI: I love him. What I like the most about him is his fearless personality, he can be a dangerous lynx but also a lovely kitten. The boy has a golden heart, he is not perfect, but he’s very human, you know, he shows vulnerability and can be a good person even with his aching soul.

Rafa: I can’t really explain how I feel about Ash because I don’t really understand it myself… What I know for sure is that I get very frustrated when he kills for no reason in the Arthur fight arc (like Eiji), and I also get very defensive when people portray him as only a bad guy, without acknowledging the role his being abused played in what he became. (…) I don’t know, I’m mostly sad because Ash is beautiful and good and doesn’t deserve the shit that got thrown at him.

I love how he gets all Soft™ around Eiji (on a more serious note, I love how intelligent and clever he is when making his plans. Seriously, mastermind Ash is a good Ash).

Traveler: His psychology, he’s so messed up and still he’s able to lead many gangs, he’s awesome.

Ally: It’s hard to find the right words to describe Ash. He’s incredibly strong and a survivor, and he’s a kind person at heart. His distrust of adults and anger about his abuse really gets to me, too. The fact that he’s allowed to show anger and lash out (even during crucial moments) is what I like most.

ash lashin out.jpg

Emily: I LOVE Ash’s character. I like that he can be tough and intimidating one second and kind and soft the next. He’s very multifaceted and complex and I really like characters like that.

S.H. Marr: I love Ash so much. I have a weakness for justifiably angry teenagers, and every part of Ash that isn’t AngryHurtingViolent is soft and squishy and tender.

Sophie: His duality, the way he can be both weak and strong.

Bee: I’m not really a fan of him, but I still sympathize with him. I enjoy his interactions with Eiji and some of the other protagonists! When the tone is more lighthearted than normal, he has some really great moments with them. He obviously cares a lot for the people he considers his friends, and I like that aspect of loyalty to him.

Shell: I want to protect him. He didn’t deserve anything he went through. He doesn’t give up, he fights for his friends.

FIFI: I love his vulnerability, it makes him relatable even though he’s portrayed as a killer. I think he’s a very well written character with many layers.

kelly: I honestly can’t figure him out, but I think that’s a good thing. I identify with how he cares about his loved ones so much.

How do you feel about Ash’s abuse and trauma? How do you feel about the way the show is handling it thus far?

Note: Assuming there are any readers who haven’t watched the show, the videotape some answers refer to are a few seconds where you can see the abuser’s legs moving. Nothing else is shown. 

anonymous: It’s handled it pretty well, better than I’ve seen in anime before. His abuse is never sexualized or shown as a good thing/having made him gay which is good. More could be done to distance pedophilia from homosexuality with the time skip though, it was understandable in the 80s timeline but not in 2018. The fact that they showed the videotape in ep2 was pretty bold though.

Joseph: I obviously don’t like it, but this is a mature story and it adds to the plot (most of the time) I think the show handles it as well as it can. It doesn’t sugarcoat it.

Elliot: Man. It makes me really sad dude. I wanna give Ash a big ol hug with his consent.

I speak from a point without experience, but I feel like they’re handling it okay. It doesn’t seem like they’re making us sympathize with the abusers, and they’re treating Ash’s trauma seriously (ex: that scene in which he cries and Eiji comforts him). I wish they could go a little more into it is all, but it’s pretty alright.

Kari: They’ve handled the topic pretty well. It’s something serious, but they have found the way to not sugar-coat how a person who’s been through abuse and trauma might feel during, perhaps, the rest of their lives.

RUMI: It makes me very sad. This is a delicate subject and I think the show is being very cautious handling with it, I like how it’s portrayed, very real and horrifying. They’re not romanticizing such a terrible thing, and this is very important.

Rafa: Sad. Mad. Smad. I’m a very weak person when it comes to abuse in fictional media so I can only feel frustrated it happened at all.

I think the show could make it so that abuse is more frowned upon but I am very glad we haven’t seen it happen, that it’s only implied/context.

ash refuses to be touched

Traveler: This is such a sensitive subject but honestly, I think they did it the right way.

Ally: (…) Although the anime doesn’t change that, I do think it does a great job at conveying Ash’s anger and pain. The interrogation scene in episode 2 was fantastic in my opinion.

Emily: I think it’s handled well in the show. It’s never fetishized and it’s treated with the care and respect it deserves. It’s an integral part of his character and while it’s hard to sit through, it gives one a deeper understanding of who he is.

S.H. Marr: I am confused why MAPPA would add any visuals of the child porn video in episode two, but I do think overall, Ash’s trauma is well-handled.

Sophie: The manga does a better job, although it’s a bit over the top.

Bee: There is some respect with how Ash’s trauma is dealt with, and I’m grateful for that. What I don’t like is how the whole story seems to be about making Ash’s life progressively worse. (…)

Shell: It makes me sad, but I think the show is doing a pretty good job handling it. It’s a little romanticized, but not to the extent that it could be.

FIFI: I think it’s doing quite well, it’s shocking but not to the point where you’re disturbed and wanting to look away. I think it’s sad what he went through, I’ve seen a lot of people say it’s ‘“too gay” or “there’s to much rape” but that’s the word Ash lives in. The real world is like that, especially in gangs prisons etc. When people complain it’s too gay I think they misunderstand that every person who raped Ash is gay, but that’s not the case. Simply a lot of these times rape is often seen as an act of dominance or to humiliate/weaken the victim.

kelly: I think the show is handling it great. It’s not romanticized and it shows a lot of reality with how abusers often get away with crimes or are even awarded for them.

How do you feel about how the show is portraying Ash and Eiji’s relationship thus far?

anonymous: Very well, it shows them as equals which is what they view each other as. No weird creepy BL trope power difference here.

Joseph: They’re doing a great job! Obviously they’ve both been through a lot, but they’re still teenagers. It shows in how they interact with each other a lot of the time.

Elliot: Augh!!! It’s so good to me! I really really love how they interact, and the interaction between them feels really meaningful. And it certainly has a lot of romantic context I think??

ash says pull the trigger lightly

Kari: I’ve got no complaints. The connection between the two is visible. I don’t really see any changes and I’m happy they didn’t decide to portray them more like just friends or that they wanted to make Eiji seem more like some sort of “love interest”. I think Ash and Eiji’s relationship is special. Very different. It’s not all about kisses, hugs and explicit affection, nor is it about being friends and having a bromance. And the show has even made a lot of emphasis on that, which is something I’m very happy about.

RUMI: It’s one of my favorite things. The show is being very detailed about the development of their relationship. They’re keeping crucial dialogues and moments presented in the manga.

Rafa: It’s good. I’m sorry I can’t expand on that thought because I’m always too busy squealing about their interactions (the Halloween scene… gave me life…) to have critical thoughts on it. I wish the interactions were more true to the manga’s occasionally but other than that, it’s good.

Traveler: Pfff I love them, some people may think Eiji is just a burden for Ash and way too naive for this world but that’s not how it is, he totally get the situation and try his best to protect Ash. I love their relationship.

Ally: THESE TWO ARE MY REASON FOR LIVING. The more heartfelt scenes between them are beautiful, and I think it’s interesting that in the anime their relationship seems to hold more sexual tension than in the manga, which to me felt a little too desexualized to be realistic (It’s understandable why Yoshida framed it like that, though). Either way, the show’s portrayal is still very moving.

Emily: I think, as I said before, it’s handled really well and natural. It’s easy to believe they love and care about each other and it’s easy to see WHY they do, too!

S.H. Marr: FLUFF.

I’m very happy.

Sophie: It’s not lacking anything, it’s true to its original story.

Bee: It’s fine. There are some cute moments that make me smile, but overall it’s just alright.

Shell: I think it’s a pretty good rep. It’s not overt (…) but both of them get good development as a couple and on their own

FIFI: I think it’s doing well, personally I’d like to see Eiji a little more fierce like his manga counterpart but I still like soft Eiji. I love the way the show has almost heightened the romantic feeling you get from them with the music, voice acting, and camera direction.

kelly: I think with Japan’s censorship laws, it’s implying a romantic relationship as much as it can. Then again, who would want to get into a romantic relationship while trying to stop puppet governments from taking over the Middle East and not getting killed in the meantime?

BANANA FISH has characters of different races, how do you feel about the way they’re portrayed?

anonymous: Better than they’re drawn in the manga for sure. They’re handled well, nothing offensive. Cain didn’t get a page on the website though which is upsetting.

Joseph: In the manga they were a lot more…racist. the anime has made it less so. I am scared of what the dub will sound like though.

skip smiling

Elliot: I haven’t seen anything bad or anything to worry about yet in the anime, but in the manga the way black people are depicted is really really bad :// the show seemed to fix that though which is a relief.

Kari: Even though there’s a lot of diversity and representation in this story, I wish that some of these characters had a little more of development and screentime on the show.

RUMI: I like the diversity present in the show, I guess they’re doing a good work portraying all those different races and their cultures.

Rafa: I think it’s okay, it’s not perfect but it’s not bad? Honestly I’m glad that with the exception of Yue Lung all major villains are white people and non-white characters are generally allies (I love Cain and Sing) (also if i remember correctly they’ve animated Ash’s gang racially diverse? which is very good). I’m not that informed on racial stereotypes in Japan to recognize if they’re there. If I could change anything I would just put more brown (Latinx or southeastern Asian) characters.

Ally: It feels… not bad but still kind of off. I hate that the anime kept in Skip’s death for one thing, and it’s totally ridic that a white teenager would hold so much sway over all these Black and Latino men. Cain is a badass mofo and I love him, but there’s still that stereotype of the Scary Black Man to contend with. The Chinese characters are all layered and interesting to me, but here we go with the stereotypes again. Also, even in the manga we never see any Black women?? Why???

Emily: I think they’re portrayed pretty well. I’m mixed and part of that is Asian, and I think the Chinese characters are treated as actual people and not as Chinese stereotypes.

S.H. Marr: The anime has cleaned up a lot of the messiness in this regard that the anime had (the art does not rely on racist tropes and stereotypes, Shorter actually looks non-white in the anime, etc.). And they removed the Dawson’s brothers’ Jewishness, which read as very antisemitic.

Sophie: It’s a little typecasted.

Bee: Also fine. The designs of these characters are good, which is rare to see in anime. I hate how both Skipper and Shorter had to die for Ash, a white man, though. Skipper’s death was needlessly gruesome. No one needs to see a young black child shot in slow motion.

Shell: Pretty well. I wish they hadn’t killed Skip. It felt like a really low blow.

FIFI: In the show I think they are portrayed well, of course I am Caucasian so I wouldn’t be able to wholeheartedly say the representation is correct due to me not knowing enough about the culture or what people of that group think good rep is, but from what I’ve seen it seems tastefully done.

kelly: Some of the black characters can get a little caricature-esque (also they dont draw their hair right), but I’m happy they actually included them and gave them dialogue and personalities. I find the race relations to be very realistic (in a gang setting).

BANANA FISH has few female characters, how do you feel about the way the show portrays them thus far?

anonymous: When they’re included quite well (RIP* Nadia) Jessica is very strong and can hold her own against the boys which I’m glad they included. *Note: not actually dead.

Joseph: They deserve better. Jessica is a strong woman though and I love her character. But she’s the exception, for the most part it seems like they only exist to be abused and murdered.

Elliot: I think they are unique in their own way, which is refreshing! Like comparing Jessica to Shorter Wong’s sister is like comparing night and day. They’re not carbon copies of each other. These specific characters aren’t sexualized too, which is nice! I just wish there were more female characters.

jessica

Kari: The only thing I don’t like is how they’ve portrayed Nadia thus far. I don’t know if we’ll get to see her again like in the manga, but she was really worried about Shorter and it seems like no one ever told her about what happened to his brother. I was hoping they would show something similar to the manga.

RUMI: They’re strong women, I like this. Just the fact women aren’t objectified in BF is a good thing for me.

Rafa: I’m disappointed Nadia seems to have lost a lot of “spotlight” (is she even dating Charlie in the anime? I shouldn’t even be asking this lmao), and Jennifer’s death still pisses me off. I don’t think Banana Fish is woman-friendly at all, and while on one hand I’m glad we don’t have to see women dying in the gang wars (at least, I don’t think we do?), I also wish we had a little more representation. (…)

Ally: It could be better. I really really wanted the anime to at least spare poor Jennifer but look how that worked out. Nadia having even less to contribute to the plot than in the manga pisses me off too. As for Jessica, I appreciated the toning down of the violence towards her, but again, it feels like she had less to contribute in the anime. I hate the lack of important female characters so much that I seriously create my own and daydream about them.

Emily: I wish that they didn’t kill off Jennifer, and that Nadia had more screentime, but I love Jessica and think that the few women in this show have a lot of variation in terms of personality and all feel like real people.

S.H. Marr: I love Jessica, but I dislike that she’s raped, and I dislike that Jenny basically only exists to die.

Sophie: They are definitely victimized, but Jessica is cool.

Bee: They’re fine! Would love to see more of them.

Shell: I wish there were more, but I think they’re portrayed fine. I wish they were a little less “damsel in distress” though.

FIFI: Considering the setting of the show it’s understandable that there are fewer women. Women(especially in the 80s) don’t usually have much to do with the fighting parts of gangs and criminal activities, it would be cool to see more women but I’m fine with it. So far I think they’ve shown a good variety of women, from the androgynous Nadia to the feisty Jessica than the quiet sweet Jennifer. (…)

kelly: I don’t have much of an opinion about them simply because they arent there enough for me to analyze them. But I don’t have any complaints so far

Who’s the character/s you identify the most with?

anonymous: Shorter possibly?

Joseph: Eiji.

Elliot: I really identify with Eiji. He’s sorta soft-spoken, but speaks his mind! He’s very considerate and empathetic, which reminds me of myself a bit! I love characters like him, ones that don’t need to be outrageous to be heard or important.

Kari: Eiji.

RUMI: Yut-Lung.

Rafa: Okumura Eiji, for sure! Besides the “used to be an athlete until injury forced him to quit” which hits very close to home, I just love how he’s a normal person who just got thrown into chaos and it’s just trying to survive, which is often how I feel, er, metaphorically speaking (thank god I’m not involved with mafia stuff and just need to survive engineering university). Also some personality aspects like occasionally being a little shit make him endearing to me.

ibe says eiji was a pole jumper with great talent

Ally: Maybe Ash, although I’m lucky enough to have never experienced sexual violence. I guess my reasoning is that I’ve never felt like a naturally happy person, and some childhood bullying and mental illness really leaves a mark. I’ve also struggled with disordered eating, so I was surprised to feel a connection with Ash over simple scenes of him being finicky about his weight, which made me wonder if that has anything to do with his own trauma. In the end, I think seeing Ash trying so hard to move forward and affirm his humanity and worth is what made me think “Oh, I relate to him more than I thought.”

Emily: Eiji and Sing!!

S.H. Marr: Ash.

Bee: Shorter……f

Shell: Shorter.

FIFI: Probably Eiji, we are both quite quiet but when around the right people our personalities shine. I’m also quite stubborn like him.

kelly: Eiji because I’m not cut out for guns and violence lol

Do you have any thoughts on how BANANA FISH is incorporating drugs, mind control and politicians into the plot thus far?

anonymous: Acceptable, the infographic in ep12? was tacky but it did the job.

Joseph: It’s scary because its something that COULD happen. They use it in a way that makes it feel real.

Elliot: Not particularly, but I think it really raises the stakes and makes it interesting!

Kari: I like the changes they made in order to adapt the plot to present time. Especially the thing about the war and politicians.

RUMI: Yes, but all I can say is that’s a genial mix of polemical subjects.

Rafa: While the mind control took me some effort to wrap my head around it, I think the show did an ok job portraying drug bosses and political corruption as Bad™. I try not to think too much about it because of my country’s drug and corruption problems though, since I use BF as a form of escapism.

Ally: Again, I wish this still took place in the eighties… I was hoping the show would do more with the switch to the Iraq War instead of Vietnam, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere significant. The incorporation of drugs into the plot is still pretty spot-on, so no complaints there. I do have a fondness for how hard BF cracks down on corrupt politicians, but overall, the political parts of the plot are still batshit crazy.

last scene

Emily: I think it’s pretty interesting to see how they incorporate these things in the modern day, because it feels like it’s something that could feasibly happen even now.

S.H. Marr: The anime is handling this better than the manga, which paused the plot significantly and bored the heck out of me. The drug BANANA FISH is not entirely realistic, but it doesn’t have to be, and the rest of it holds up, including the way people react to it.

Sophie: I think Banana Fish is a product of its time. In the eighties, those problems were the first things you thought of when hearing about the US. The creator of the manga was obviously both fascinated and appalled by the US when she made it.

Bee: It seems standard IMO. It’s not bad but I’m not blown away with it.

FIFI: I think it’s good, very entertaining. It adds another layer to the story.

kelly: It makes me sit back and think about the CIA mind control experiments in the 1960s. We could absolutely have something like this happening right under our noses as we speak. Only a foreign show would be able to portray the U.S in this kind of light.

Do you have any thoughts on the show’s villains and the way they’re portrayed?

anonymous: A good mix of pure evil characters and complex, not totally evil just on the wrong side to Ash characters.

Joseph: Good villains, bad people. Yut Lung, Arthur, and Blanca are characters you love to hate. Dino and Dawson are just characters you hate. But there’s no denying that they’re all great villains.

Elliot: Nothing specific? I haven’t thought about it much. I think the portrayal of evil politicians or people is power is realistic, which is a pity for reality, but I don’t find any problems with it.

RUMI: Golzine is a demon. I like how he is portrayed, but I hate him and Arthur. Also, Yut-Lung… I don’t consider him as a villain, he’s like Ash, just a bit more morally gray.

Rafa: I hate them guts, so I think they’re doing a good job portraying them as villains. (…)

Traveler: I wanna smash them in the face (Shorter 😭😭😭). But for answering properly, the way they’re portrayed is so real and that’s so awful cause their acts are so cruel, we wanna cry every second 😭😭

Ally: Well they’re all definitely trash. Although I do love Yut-Lung and sympathize with him quite a bit despite his actions. There’s honestly a kind of catharsis to his villainy where it feels more like a victim taking matters into his own hands and doing whatever it takes to protect himself and live to see another day. Doesn’t mean I think that he’s handling the situation in a healthy way, but the poor kid’s been shaped by his circumstances.

yausi says its all in the past

Emily: I kind of wish that the villains weren’t the only openly gay characters in the show. Like, it’s pretty implied that Ash and Eiji are, but the only confirmed ones are Dino and Marvin, who were both pedophiles and abusers. Something about it rubs me the wrong was as a bi person myself.

S.H. Marr: I tend to be far less forgiving of the show’s antagonists than many of the fans I’ve seen–I dislike all of them, and I’m happy the show shows this. I also appreciate that Golzine’s strange possessiveness over Ash is actually a character trait of his that occasionally causes him problems, instead of a simple way to victimize Ash.

Sophie: They are horribly exaggerated and one dimensional.

Bee: Boring. I’m not interested in any of the villains that aren’t Yau Si. A villain doesn’t need to be overly complex or deep to be entertaining, but IMO none of these villains are compelling enough to follow. I find Arthur to be annoying at best, and while Dino is obviously a horrible person and I hope he dies, whenever an episode cuts back to him I get bored.

Shell: I like that they’re mostly unsympathetic. There are a few that are kind of in between good and bad (they’re more self-serving than good or bad) but I’m glad that the people who do evil things are not given the chance to squeeze sympathy out of the viewers.

FIFI: They are so amazing! All of them being so two dimensional. I must say the least interesting villain for me is probably (…) Arthur but they are still good characters. For me Yut-lung is an amazing villain because I’ve never really thought of him as a villain. He does questionable things and can sometimes do cruel things (…) but he is still very human and thinks about a lot of his consequences. I love how at first I couldn’t tell if he was good or evil then when he helped Ash escape Golzine’s mansion, I thought he was good only for him to do other things that showed him in a bad light. I never actually think he’s good or evil, a lot like Ash actually. I feel he’s just fighting his own battles with his brothers. (…)

kelly: I absolutely abhor them so it means the writers are doing a great job.

Any additional thoughts? Feel free to talk about anything I haven’t asked about the show that you would like to share

Elliot: It’s a good show, and I hope it encourages more people to read the manga! And I’m excited to see the results of this poll! (Thx for that btw!)

RUMI: I can’t wait to see Blanca in the anime. That’s it! Lol jk, I’m so excited for the second part of BF, but I feel like I can’t deal with is coming.

Traveler: Besides this series killed me so many times no I don’t think so.

Ally: Yes I do have my own OC that I like to insert into the story. She’s great and I love her. That’s embarrassing but eh whatever.

Emily: I wish that sexuality was dealt with differently, like I said above I wish the villains weren’t the only openly gay characters.

S.H. Marr: The opening and ending themes (at least as far as cour one is concerned) are fantastic representations of Ash’s storyline, and I’m very impressed by them.

Bee: All in all I think the show is just kind of average? It’s fun but it’s not the best thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t keep up with it weekly, as I prefer to binge a bunch of episodes after a couple of weeks, but I always enjoy my time when I watch it!

FIFI: I really wanted to add how lovable the anime made Shorter. In the manga, I wasn’t particularly attached to him so his death didn’t affect me much, but the anime made me cry. I feel they made his character much more visible.

kelly: I didn’t expect to like this show as much as I did!! now I want to buy the manga too. I also love the connections with the gay media of the 80s in its drawings. the drawing style itself is to die for. I’m so tired of eyes that take up half the characters head in modern manga and anime.

PART I

PART II

PART IV

PART V

 


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4 thoughts on “BANANA FISH fans share their thoughts on the anime (1er cour) – Part III

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