It’s right back into the thick of things with this week’s episode of BANANA FISH. With Ash in the big house, it’s up to Eiji to be his eyes and ears. But, when tragedy strikes, all bets are off as the cogs begin to turn on the whole Banana Fish mystery… Will finding out the truth lead to salvation or damnation? Find out as we delve into this week’s episode, This Side of Paradise.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 楽園のこちら側
While Eiji attempts to carry out Ash’s wishes, he gets caught by Arthur and his crew…again… Thankfully, Shorter is not far behind, lending a hand to the captive cutie, but not without a great loss. Meanwhile, Ash and Max have to deal with their own personal falling out while navigating the complexities of prison life.
Master of Disguise: Shorter reveals that he was disguised as the over-enthusiastic shopkeeper in last week’s episode, which given his distinctive hair is a feat in and of itself. It’s definitely one of the lighter moments in the episode, given the intense shootout preceding it.
Animation Shift: When Dr. Meredith explains the effects of the drug Ash gave him on his rat test subjects, the art and animation shifts to a minimalistic style; black background with minimal color (white and then red) for the rats. It’s an interesting stylistic choice that conveys the violence much more poignantly than a more detailed art style.
He’s Dead Jim: This week’s episode features yet another death. This time it hits a bit closer to home, as it’s the one person that holds the key to unlocking the Banana Fish mystery. As usual, I won’t spoil it for you, but, it definitely hits you hard, given how important the person is to Ash. But, the most heart-wrenching part is how Max reacts to the news…
Proper use of a fork: Ash wields a fork like a goddamned beast this episode, using the eating utensil to fend off three of Papa Dino’s men. But, the crowning moment of awesome is when he uses it to teach one of the guys a special lesson… okay… he stabs him in the junk and it is AWESOME!!!
Themes & Trivia
Meaningful Title: All of the episode titles have been references to novels and short stories by famous American authors. This week’s episode is no different, borrowing its title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (author of the The Great Gatsby) debut novel, featuring many of the themes he would later use in his well known later work, The Great Gatsby. The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a young man in his quest for love, status, and acceptance. There are a lot of similarities between the novel’s protagonist and Fitzgerald.
Navy: During his fight with Ash, Max mentions that he served in the Navy. The United States Navy is one of the seven branches of uniformed service, specializing in naval strategy and warfare.
There was a lot going on with this week’s episode, both on the surface and in the overarching story. Ash is uncovering more about Banana Fish and its connection to his brother, but, the closer he gets to the truth the more danger he faces. Meanwhile, Eiji is diving headfirst into Ash’s world despite Ibe giving him a way out. It’s only been a few days, but, he’s already in too deep, there’s no turning back now!
Max is still my favorite character and I absolutely love that despite playing the easygoing big brother type, he has his own demons that he’s dealing with: his custody battle with his wife, his guilt over shooting Griff, and his need to protect Ash from Papa Dino’s men. He is a complex character that really deserves more love than he gets, I mean, come on, he is an intelligent, capable man… it’s not his fault Mr. Perfect is always hogging all the screen time (LOL I absolutely love Ash though).
The violence was not as “heavy” this week, which I appreciated focusing more on fleshing out more of the Banana Fish mystery, which is really what this whole thing is about. But, I also want to note that we got a little bit of social commentary courtesy of Ibe this week, about the nature of freedom in America despite its penchant for injustice. Not only is this fitting within the context of the series, but, also in the current social climate of the US…
This was yet another powerful episode, with some lighthearted moments mixed in with the drama and intrigue. As always the characters are really where this story’s strengths lie and we get some genuinely great emotional performances from the entire cast. BANANA FISH hits hard, but you almost welcome the emotional rollercoaster it sends you on because every reaction and every scene is perfectly crafted to make you feel… something.
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast