Banana Fish, Banana Fish… sounds almost like a nursery rhyme. Or maybe a superhero of some sort. Anyways, I didn’t know much about this series going in. It’s another show locked behind Amazon Prime, so I think a lot of people have missed out on it because of that. Which is very, very unfortunate, because it’s one of the best shows i’ve seen so far this season.
Banana Fish might be… a somewhat subjective case, taste wise. Not everyone enjoys a gang/mafia type show, especially one as American as Banana Fish feels. Set in New York, it follows 17-year-old Ash Lynx, the boss of a street gang. Murder, corruption, drugs, and the seedy underbelly of the city shine through here as Ash tries to discover the cause of his older brother’s coma, and the meaning of the phrase “Banana Fish.”
In the first episode alone, Banana Fish shows great competency in storywriting, giving us an intriguing mystery, interesting characters, and a chunk of a well-crafted and dynamic setting. Ash seems like a very strong lead right from the beginning, and the plot and mystery around the mysterious Banana Fish gives a great story hook. There’s an awesome sense of foreboding, mixed with wonder, that drives this first episode forward.
As with everything, however, Banana Fish is not without fault. While the backgrounds are well-drawn and the characters look great up close, character models quickly melt into blobs at any sort of distance, leaving you wondering where the crisp, clean lines from earlier were. The OP and ED are both nice, though, and the soundtrack is jazzy and thematic in just the right ways to fit a gangster show.
The biggest issue with the show that i’ve experienced so far are the shockingly mature themes. Drugs, murder, and gang violence are pretty much a given… But there have also been hints of sex trafficking, child slavery, rape, brainwashing, and more. I try to keep the things I watch pretty tasteful, so i’ll have to keep an eye on how this progresses, for now.
I’m really enjoying this show so far, and I wish it were open to more people to watch, because it’s one of my favorites of this season so far. I hope it will continue to be enjoyable, as there were definitely some moments that made me squirm… but for now, that’s all I have to say about it. How many of you guys are watching Banana Fish, and are you enjoying it? Or are the mature themes keeping you away from it, somewhat? Let me know down in the comments, and i’ll see you all in the next post!