“A wounded tiger is the most dangerous beast of all,” remarks Yut-Lung. Presumably that’s proverb for “Man, those dudes are fucked.” Ash Lynx has got bullets to pop and bodies to drop, and boy ain’t taking prisoners.
Well, goddamn. The cards are in Dino Golzine’s hands now, and his favorite card game is torture-dungeon-murder. (Guess how you play.) This episode was so brutal, it transcends snarky commentary. Luckily, two can play at the game of being an asshole, so I’ll try my best.
I love the sassy title of this episode, but don’t believe it for a second. Sure, things don’t exactly go as planned for some, and for others, things go as planned but still suck. But the game is on, and the players have upped the ante. We aren’t quite finished with our Banana Fish sleuthing this episode, but we’re also rolling in a range of baddies who, for the record, are probably all out to kill one another in addition to our team of heroes, so no one’s safe and things are getting charmingly nasty.
Welcome to California! Not only has the game board expanded, so have the number of players. The most important introduction is the titular “Rich Boy”, but a few more side characters popping in to say hello make this a relatively chill episode. The cogs are definitely moving in the background, but first thing’s first: detective work and gay jokes.
Pack up, boys and girls, we’re road tripping! Banana Fish pretends to chill out for a filler episode, kicking the audience out of the vehicle in the middle of fucking nowhere (officially known as Cape Cod) for some backstory and character development. Ensue the usual hilarity of unleashing city folk into the boonies – murder, knife fights, horrifying recollections of child abuse. Weirdly, the guns don’t seem out of place, though. This is America.
Banana Fish continues to brutally launch itself through a hefty plot, no mercy and no prisoners. It’s clear we have a lot of plot to cruise through, and the ride is going be bumpy with minimal breaks for downtime. It’s a two-way pull: Ash and Eiji are simultaneously being pursued, and doing the pursuing. There’s a lot going on, but so far, the direction is smooth enough to not reduce viewers to motion sickness. For a gang drama with a growing cast, that’s no easy feat, but the main driver is Ash – though Eiji is ready to ball up and take the wheel.
If you are a gay anime fan who had never heard of Banana Fish until 2018 – join me in pretending to the smug BL connoisseurs clutching their gay 80’s shoujo manga that you totally fucking had. Because that’s what this is, in case you haven’t Wikipedia’d the shit out of MAPPA’s new series yet. A gay 80’s shoujo manga, because #diversity means that violent New York City drug smuggling crime syndicate dramas are for everyone, and that includes teen Japanese girls.
What is the elusive titular “Banana Fish”? Will gang violence irreparably destroy the very fabric of society? And is it gay?