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Banana Fish

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A gem of an anime, Banana Fish is a 2018 anime adaptation of the manga. Akimi Yoshida both wrote and illustrated the manga. It ran from 1985 to 1994 in Bessatsu Shōujo Comic.

The story opens with a prologue where viewers hear the name banana fish for the first time. Ash Lynx hears the name from a dying man he encounters while roaming the streets of New York. Ash also receives a vial containing an unknown substance from the man.

He takes it to a doctor who he trusts. This same doctor is also the one whom Ash has entrusted with to look after his mentally ill brother.

Shunichi Ibe is a photojournalist who has gone to the United States to do a piece on street gangs. He takes Eiji Okumura with him on the trip since he realises that Eiji needed to escape Japan and his own inner demons.

When Ash and Eiji first meet, it is for the purpose of gathering information for the report.

This meeting sets up the beginning of an unlikely friendship that blossoms between Ash and Eiji.

As the series progresses, it becomes clear that banana fish is a very dangerous drug. This known fact is another catalyst that keeps Papa Dino hot on Ash’s trail. Ash gathers many allies in his quest to expose the drug and Papa Dino.

However, Ash’s allies face serious consequences. Death, assault and torture are the most notable forms.

In the midst of all the chaos, Ash and Eiji’s relationship blossom. What makes their relationship more special is the fact that they are both trying to protect one another. They each risk their lives for the other. Each struggle makes the love they have for one another grow stronger.

It is their struggles and pain that brings them closer together. Their love transcends hurt, time and space.

The narrative also highlights themes of power, corruption and survival. It also dealt with issues of sexual violence and rape.

Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, begging you to continue watching. The animation style is good and the situations relatable.

The music, it was exceptional! The soundtrack drew you deeper into the world of the anime. Lots of pianos and raw beats, totally suitable for the tone and feel of the series.

A tragedy brilliantly written, Banana Fish is another one of those rare classic anime you ought to watch.