Hey all, it’s Luna here!
Summer season is in full swing by now so that means I’ve finally gotten around to doing the one thing that makes any season great: watching the newest anime’s. This season there are some pretty hyped third seasons (ex: MHA and AoT), but for the most part I’m going to be ignoring these for a bit to focus on those anime’s that are fresh out the gate.
So what better than to start with what I project will be my favorite anime of the season? Let’s get into it.
Banana Fish is a MAPPA studios adaption of a crime/shounen ai manga that ran from 1985-1994. What is the premise? Well, to figure out the mystery of “Banana Fish”. The original manga was absolutely, 100%, engaging from a storytelling point of view, and while I love the mangaka whole-heartedly—it was kind of hard to love the art style. A great story with only okay art warranted a one time read, and though it was enjoyed, it was still but the once.
As you can see, the MAPPA adaption that is currently airing drastically improves on the art and definitely brings that pretty boy vibe (which c’mon, with a sexy bad ass like Ash Lynx, that gorgeous shounen-ai typical art style is NEEDED). I’m not to say that the art of the manga was bad by any means—it was just something that I personally felt could have always been more detailed. Which is definitely something the anime does (even if that means Ash looks like a taller Yurio). Of course to be fair, the image above from the manga was taken from volume 1, and like most manga, the art got better the longer it ran. By the end, it was actually quite nice, and while still not at the standards of the anime, it’s clear from the later volumes that the anime tried it’s best to keep some of the original art style in it’s new animation. But that’s enough on the upgrade, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details aka—is it worth watching?
YES. As a fan of the previous manga, I’m clearly biased, but the anime so far is stunning. While the first episode took a bit to get the pacing right, once it got into it—IT GOT INTO IT. By the time the episode ended I was already ready for the next, which seems to be a common trait that nearly episode has. The balance of action and drama within each episode is good, and pretty much what you’d expect from an adventure-crime anime. It moves fast, but not fast enough that you get horribly disoriented to where the story is. The audience knows just about as much as what the mystery of “banana fish” is as the characters do, so we discover along with Eiji, Ash, and crew this deepening mystery as well as the unraveling of the character’s personalities. Speaking of characters, the cast of characters so far has been quite delightful. From Ash who is the bad ass, intelligent, seventeen year old gang leader, to Eiji who is a good natured, slightly stubborn, and naive ex-pole vaulter—all of the characters have unique personality traits that make them very real, and, in turn, very likeable. I’m only a few episodes in and already I feel like I would die for Eiji and kick anyone’s ass who dared lay a hand on Ash.
The relationship between the two is also already developing into something very interesting to behold. From the moment they first meet, it feels like there’s something meaningful there in their relationship—some sort of trust, or some sort of interest (beyond the boys love kind) that they find in each other. Eiji for instance, seems immediately fascinated by Ash, and in turn, Ash seems to trust Eiji, and after episode two, seems equally fascinated by him. It’s a promising start to where the story will take how they effect and view one another, and makes me giddy over the thought of how their relationship could deepen.
On other notes, the show, in true fashion of the manga, isn’t afraid to “go there” (so to speak) with just how dark the show, and these characters, are. No spoilers, but I’ll just say that a show about crime syndicates and drugs that make you break out in violent fits, kind of has to wander on the darker side of things. Not only is it fitting, I find that any show that wanders into darker and more complicated themes and stories, offer up some pretty emotional, shocking, and downright beautiful moments.
Overall, I know that there’s only five episode out as of today (the sixth airing tomorrow), but I would say definitely put it on your watch list for this season! The shounen ai tag might turn some people off to this show, but I advise you to forego the tag, watch an episode, and see how you like it. After all, Banana Fish has the potential to be the best anime of the summer season (yes, yes, yes. I DO realize all the sequel seasons) so you won’t want to miss out on it’s good animation, great story, interesting characters—and, of course, kick-ass opening.
That’s all for now, I look forward to doing a full, spoilery, review of the series when all the episodes are out, but for now these have just been my first impressions.
Til next time!
First Impression Rating:
7/10 days are Perfect for Banana Fish
P.S. Shorter is the ultimate homie