REVIEW: Banana Fish (Episode 5)

Episode 5: “From Death to Morning” |「死より朝へ」

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.

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REVIEW: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku

Otaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii | ヲタクに恋は難しい

This charming slice-of-life about the bumbling romances of nerdy office workers isn’t the gay you need, or the gay you deserve. But don’t write Wotaki: Love is Hard for Otaku off completely. The series is nothing if not meta and blissfully self-aware. It may not be a BL, but it is about BL fangirls and their boyfriends who are, if not fudanshi, rather good sports about the whole thing.

26-year-old Narumi Momose has a secret: she is a rotten, rotten girl (that is, a fujoshi) who spends her free time devouring anime and writing erotic yaoi doujinshi to sell at anime conventions. When this dirty secret is exposed, she quits her job, moves across Japan, and applies at a new company – this time determined not to expose her inner otaku. She is immediately exposed, however, when she bumps into Hirotaka Nifuji, a socially clueless childhood friend and hardcore gamer who is now her new colleague. This drama comes to a neat conclusion by the end of episode one when it is revealed that this office is decidedly more otaku-friendly. 27-year-old Hanako Koyanagi is a fellow yaoi-lover and famous cross-playing cosplayer, and her boyfriend and the office sempai Tarou Kabakura secretly reads moe comics. Exposed and among “her people”, Narumi, whose boyfriends have always dumped her when they have found out she’s a nerd, starts a relationship with Hirotaka, where date nights are pretty much just playing video games together.

With that little problem out of the way, the rest of the series is as free as its cast to shamelessly nerd out. From regular shopping trips to Animate, to navigating the crowds of Comiket, and playing Pokemon Go long after it stopped being cool, Wotakoi is a delightful insight into Japanese nerd culture.

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REVIEW: Banana Fish (Episode 1-4)

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.

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BANANA FISH: where “can I touch the gun in your pants” is both literal and sexy

What is the elusive titular “Banana Fish”? Will gang violence irreparably destroy the very fabric of society? And is it gay?

Continue reading REVIEW: Banana Fish (Episode 1-4)