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”

On Your Side: Support networks in March comes in like a lion [Anifem]

March comes in like a lion is not always an easy show to watch. I’ve lost count of all the times it’s brought me to tears. The protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is probably the most relatable and moving representation of anxiety and depression I’ve ever seen. He’s the one thing that brought me to this show, but he’s not the only reason I stayed.

While it might seem like March centers on shogi, the game itself isn’t quite as a relevant as what it means to the players. Shogi works as a centerpiece that brings all these people—with their different life experiences—together, but what really sticks out is what the game does to its players. Continue reading “On Your Side: Support networks in March comes in like a lion [Anifem]”

An Unforgettable Holiday: A look at Japan’s love for Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is mostly remembered as a Golden Era Hollywood legend and a fashion icon. Her star image embodies enduring beauty, grace, and kindness–both on and off the screen. She survived World War II, which later influenced her to become a humanitarian. As a pre-teen ballerina, she helped the resistance in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, and her harsh childhood motivated her to dedicate her later years to children as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. (Fun fact: Hepburn is an EGOT, and her Grammy was for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.) Continue reading “An Unforgettable Holiday: A look at Japan’s love for Audrey Hepburn”

The Moon & The Lynx: playing with gendered character archetypes

One of the most interesting things in Banana Fish to me is how it plays with “traditional gender roles” in fiction. I’ve talked about some of the ways this is done with Eiji before, like how he’s equated to a past female love interest in a situation where Eiji’s role would usually go to a girl. In recent episodes, we also see him in “damsel in distress” situations, like when Ash’s rescues him while escaping Dino’s mansion, or when Yut-lung captures him because of his connection to Ash. However, Eiji’s not the only boy who gets roles that usually goes to women. Continue reading “The Moon & The Lynx: playing with gendered character archetypes”

Passion & Talent in Glass Mask

Perhaps the best way to start this is by saying that it all began forty-two years ago. It was 1976 when mangaka Suzue Miuchi started serializing what would become her life’s work: Glass Mask. This classic shojo bestseller survived a defunct magazine and inspired countless adaptations, including two tv anime series, a tv drama, and a three-episode OVA. The manga it’s still running to this day. Continue reading “Passion & Talent in Glass Mask”

Taking a Banana Break

I started this series of posts because, despite its flaws, I’ve been loving this adaptation as its own thing. These detailed posts mostly highlighted how the adaptation was taking advantage of the medium to tell the story (like the use of color and symbolism). I also pointed out the changes I appreciated, and enjoyed drawing connections with all those old books and movies.  Continue reading “Taking a Banana Break”

Banana Fish #13: The Snows of Kilimanjaro

I usually start these posts mentioning the novel the episode’s title reference with the possible connection it could have with the episode in question. However, Ash already explained that better than I ever could. In fact, most of the episode is very straightforward with a special focus on action–showing two gangs briefly side with Ash for the first time and culminating in the death of one of the main antagonists–so this post will be shorter than usual.

Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1936) is one of the most prominent literary references in the original material. I’ve been including the publishing dates of all the novels the show has referenced thus far because I suspect the staff might have picked them with this (among other things) in mind. After all, most episodes reference either Hemingway or Fitzgerald. As contemporaries, both have quite a history of friendship and rivalry, but I digress.  Continue reading “Banana Fish #13: The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

Review: Will I Be Single Forever?

Mami is 36 and unmarried, and the entire world seems to be telling her she must be miserable. But is she? Does she really need a ring on her finger to be happy when she has a job she loves and friends who support her? A collection of interconnected stories that explores the hazards and joys of unmarried life through the eyes of three single ladies.


Will I Be Single Forever? is a josei manga by Mari Okazaki based on an essay by Mami Amamiya.

I could rant endlessly about things like Okazaki’s expressive art and the beautiful and evocative visual metaphors. However, I want to focus on what impacted the most: the central message and how the story chooses to convey it. Continue reading “Review: Will I Be Single Forever?”