Banana Fish Episode 2: In Another Country by Ernest Hemingway (Review)
Because of the messianic hysteria on shonen genre, propagandistic positivism spreading out like wild fire not only to the targeted audience, but also to shonen magazines facing economic deflation that use chart-topping themes to act as façade from its depressing reality; Banana Fish’s entrance is a breather from all of this. Its androgynous aura can be mistakenly see as shonen, but its counterpart, shojo genre, decided to differ from that ambiguity by bringing their old gems and releasing counterintuitive savior-complex, nihilism in the mix.
And with that, Banana Fish episode 2 started with a bang.
And by god, this is such a good episode.
Starting with last episode’s cliff-hanger, the intensity never once falter, giving us the perfect formula of a well-blended plot. We immediately see Skip and Eiji bounded while Ash was trying to save both of them. From the perspective of a person who only first encountered Banana Fish, the certain thick aura of Ash’s attraction to Eiji gives off a note of intensity and contriety, because come on, you just met this particular foreigner from a country that’s on the other side of the world yet his sense of defending Eiji is always constant and superior for the entirety of the episode. They immediately tackled this on the latter scenes, but they used story schemas as the narrator in contrast to last episode’s use of dialogue.
There were a lot of scenarios in this episode that I thought will turn wild (and quite r18) as the audience are being conditioned to weave a particular perplexic sequence into their imagination, but lo and behold, it always break the audience’s expectations. There were numerous of times they hinted sexual insinuation particularly between Marvin and Ash but at the perfect last second, it morphs into different path. I love this aspect of the anime. After implanting information starting from the first episode until recently, the writer used this to make their Houdini effect more plausible.And one more example of this is Eiji’s eventual ‘character development’.
(Again, from the perspective of an audience who haven’t read the manga) With the inclusion of technicalities, most of the medium and long shots Eiji was included his placement is always seen on the corner, keeping our vision on who or what is on the center — we see Eiji’s figure but never the character himself; aside from the time he asked Ash to hold his gun so it made us see this scene with importance and particularity. But on this episode, Eiji and Ash dominated most of the middle shots. And the wall scene became the exact pivot point for Eiji to have the Houdini effect. We didn’t only see that he is no side character, but this extraordinary character we would love to get invested with, better yet, a character Ash would love to know more as we didn’t see this particular scene on an audience’s perspective, but Ash’s; including the intense feeling of awe we’ve felt.
As you’ve read now, I have already deviated from telling the story but started immediately on analysing each of the elements; a debauchery of the term ‘review’. I’m directing the blame to this good adaptation of the manga, in spite of the subtle change in the 80s derivation, they gave it a new twang that you can still call Banana Fish.
Similar with the last episode’s circumstance, this one stays loyal to the manga’s plot except for some conversations that they decided not to include, it might be because of restriction issue or anything that’s beyond me; which I may put here, would be a good addition for the intensity of the plot. For the people who are thinking of reading the manga, I really advise you to do it. There’s a vague disparity between the story, but actually makes a big change even as subtle as the manga’s dark atmosphere made by the mangaka’s broad strokes contrasting the bright color spectrum of the anime.
Episode two parted with Ash’s setup incident and cliff-hanger of one of the crucial key on the life of Ash and Eiji. Starting from here, I’ll start tackling the relationship between this two — to explain the ingenious writing of Akimi Yoshida, and how other people are still trying to invalid the romance between this two. Maybe I’ll let them know about romantic relationship that exists beyond their Westernized, religion-driven, passionate romance, and romanticized Hollywood version everyone’s too familiar with.
I was planning to also review the opening and ending of the anime by Survive Said the Prophet and King Gnu, but the intensity of this episode made it hard for me to insert it so I’ll just write it in a different post or for the next episode.