More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love

(Note: if you’re coming from the anime, you can find more words on its portrayal of their relationship in this tag)

When I have to describe the nature of Ash and Eiji’s relationship in just a couple of words, what usually comes to mind is “platonic romance.” It might sound like a silly contradiction, but stay with me.

In some ways, Ash and Eiji are unlike anything I’ve seen. In others, they remind of romantic tropes I’ve seen in my years watching and reading (hetero) romances.

Banana Fish is a notable queer shojo classic, however, in some ways–not unlike other queer works–its male leads can be both be a product and fall victims of the time in which they were conceived. For this reason, things like the main character’s sexualities can be a delicate and complicated discussion. Still, Ash and Eiji’s relationship remains remarkably touching… and notably romantic. Continue reading “More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love”

Eiji: cuteness & innocence through design

A few weeks ago I talked about art related trends in shojo manga. When I mentioned how the same character can go from somewhat bulky to slender and refined as an example, I actually had Ash in mind. Much can be said about Banana Fish being a perfect example of capturing a mangaka’s style evolution as much as its decade trends, and how that’s reflected in the considerable changes in the main character’s design. Continue reading “Eiji: cuteness & innocence through design”

Finding the rainbow–or every Ash & Eiji scene with gay ass lighting

Here it is, a post no one asked for but I wrote anyway because it was quick, easy, and this is how I have fun! (I already had this documented!)

Banana Fish does interesting things with lighting–like providing Ash shadows to hide when he wants to, framing Eiji as the light in Ash’s life or some Cain Blood’s scenes with lighting (and tones) that pays attention to black skin. Continue reading “Finding the rainbow–or every Ash & Eiji scene with gay ass lighting”

Eiji’s the sun: staying by his side

Not talking about the direction Banana Fish‘s going right now is honestly just self-care. Ash and Eiji never fail to bring me joy though, so!… Let’s talk about love instead.

Whenever Eiji tells Ash that he wants to be with him, there’s a constant: Ash’s shock. It’s there as a close-up when Eiji tells Ash he’ll “stay by his side” (if he doesn’t mind) or that he’ll “go crazy if he loses him too” (after what happened with Shorter). It’s also there in Ash’s shielded eyes and the way he pauses when Eiji asks him to come back safely, and that “he’ll wait forever” for him. Continue reading “Eiji’s the sun: staying by his side”

Banana Fish #12: To Have and Have Not

There have been so many Fitzgerald references lately that for a moment I thought this was yet another one, but after double checking, I realized that it’s actually referencing our other Very Happy friend, Ernest Hemingway!

In short, “To Have and Have Not” is a 1937 novel that tells the tale of a good man who’s forced into questionable activities by circumstances beyond his control. Continue reading “Banana Fish #12: To Have and Have Not”

Banana Fish #11: The Beautiful and Damned

“The Beautiful and Damned” is a 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Among all its themes, what’s most relevant here is the marriage and the many hardships the couple faces. Curiously enough, it’s also set during the World War I. It’s not the focus, but considering how this episode ends with a declaration of war between Ash and Arthur–and the first few episodes referenced novels that were involved with the world wars in one way or another–it’s still worth to mention.

Episode 11 dedicates a considerable amount of time to show us how Ash and Eiji settle into living alone together. When Max offers to take Eiji away, Ash refuses, and we know that Eiji will be moving in with him in the apartment he buys towards the end of the episode.  Continue reading “Banana Fish #11: The Beautiful and Damned”

Banana Fish #3 Across the River and Into the Trees

Last week I said that introduction time was over, and in a way, it was. Banana Fish‘s premiere is a compelling hook that introduces practically all major players (and banana fish) and gives you the first taste of its world. However, I should clarify that we’re still in the introductory phase of the story. Fundamental positions and dynamics are still being established and strengthened on both sides. Continue reading “Banana Fish #3 Across the River and Into the Trees”

Banana Fish: the negotiations of a show, a love story & things that hurt

Few series have made me feel as much and as strongly as Banana Fish–a work that’s full of things I love dearly, just as it has things that I either dislike or downright hate. It can be described as an action thriller, a crime drama, a story of cultural connections, abandoned children and new-found families, and many things more. At its heart, there’s a love story. Continue reading “Banana Fish: the negotiations of a show, a love story & things that hurt”