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.

Some things are more subtle than others. One of them is the use of rainbows, which vary in size, shape, and intensity depending on the scene. The one constant is that it only ever appears during Ash and Eiji scenes. Continue reading “Finding the rainbow–or every Ash & Eiji scene with gay ass lighting”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”