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?”

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

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). Continue reading “BANANA FISH fans share their thoughts on the anime (1er cour) – Part V”

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

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). Continue reading “BANANA FISH fans share their thoughts on the anime (1er cour) – Part IV”