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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Banana Fish (Manga)

A great manga I have just read that's about a gifted 17 year old boy; Ash Lynx. Ash was picked up from the streets as a child and sold as a child prostitute, in which he has later become Papa Dino's (the big shot owner of drugs and child prostitution in New York) personal boy toy. Later on, Ash was given his own 'turf' to rule.
Ash also happens to be taking care of his older brother, who after returning from the Vietnamese war has become brain dead for some reason.
By sheer coincidence, a pursued man falls in the hands of Ash and hands him a viral that contains "Banana Fish" shortly before he was shot to death. Curious, Ash looks into it and discovers that his brother was related to this substance "Banana Fish."
Seeking revenge against the people who have harmed his brother, he decides to investigate Banana Fish, which has led many gangs, the cops, and several mafias to chase after him.
While all of this was happening, A Japanese cameraman and his assistant Eiji have been interviewing Ash and investigating the crime scenes that happen in the streets of New York. Eiji is this typical 19 year old Japanese man, who is intrigued by Ash and has been tangled in Ash's problems. Ash and Eiji soon develop a friendship after they have been kidnapped for holding possession of the vile that contains Banana Fish.
I repeat, this is NOT a yaoi!

Ash Lynx at one of his most vulnerable moments

These twists of events create a wild and daring adventure for Ash and an opportunity to get back at "Papa Dino". For the cops, this is a chance to catch the infamous Ash Lynx and discover the reasons behind several unanswered suicides.

As a result of all of this, many alliances are formed between street gangs, many people make Ash their number one enemy and many people will lose their lives.

The manga starts a little boring at the beginning because they are explaining the past events of what happened to Ash's brother in Vietnam, but it quickly picks up the pace in volume two. It's really interesting and I recommend this to anyone interested in adventure, psychological, mystery and drama stories. It's obviously for a mature audience due to it's adult theme content, but don't worry guys, there's nothing explicit!

This is a Drama, but it is as realistic as a manga gets. many people DIE, so it's also a tragedy. It does have many hilarious moments where I burst out laughing.

Two main characters having a slap off!!

I dislike how there's only like one or two female characters in this whole manga. I mean come on! the WHOLE MANGA! they meet tons of people, cops, delinquents, mafia, assassins, doctors, researchers and journalists. I know this manga was made in the 80's but seriously?

The following is how Mangafox summarized the manga. I think they did a better job than I have, so here:
"Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A runaway brought up as the adopted heir and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, Ash, now at the rebellious age of seventeen, forsakes the kingdom held out by the devil who raised him. But the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Vietnam has suddenly fallen into Papa's insatiably ambitious hands--and it's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to make Ash Lynx's acquaintance..."

Comment below for suggestions, and follow me for more summaries on awesome kick-ass mangas.


Spoiler Alert:

Tip: If you wish to have a happy ending, pretend that volume 18 was the last volume and the ending of the story. Just DON'T read the last chapter. Do take my advice if you want closure.

It was the WORST ENDING EVER!!!!!!
I just finished reading it and I am overwhelmed with anger and frustration and hatred and sadness. How dare they! after all that has happened, after all has been solved. THEY FUCKING MURDERED HIM by a stupid hoodlum! He went through shootings, kidnappings, threats, assassins, and even almost through drugs and a 50% chance of survival surgery just so he can bleed to death?! He just took a non vital stab to the stomach and just walked back in the library, sat his butt down, took a nap on the table and BLED to death?! I just wanna say fuck you, fuck the author, fuck the artist, fuck him, fuck the stabber, and fuck the stupid librarian who saw him sleeping on the table and just kept walking. just fuck!
 If they wanted it to be realistic why not kill Ash while he was trying to save his friends? or sacrifice himself or something. Why did he just have to give in to death. It is literally as if he lost interest in life and just sat there, happy that his friends are now safe. It's as if he wanted Eiji's safety and the revenge against those who have harmed him so that he can rest in peace.

Everything, EVERYTHING was amazing, until the last 5 pages.


  1. I used to be just as upset that there weren't many female characters in this manga. I loved it to bits but I was upset by the lack of female characters.

    But then I read 'Kisshou Tennyo' which is by the same Mangaka and OMG. It is amazing in its discussion of feminism in Japan. It absolutely boggled my mind that it was made in the 80s (In my opinion, it's progressive even by today's standards). Its a story about a high school girl who slowly murders enemies throughout the manga (many of whom are violent towards women). After reading that, I kind of realized that the author, Akimi Yoshida, may find it difficult or disrespectful to include a large cast of female characters to a manga without going into the gender politics. Because of that, she decided to leave female characters out of some of her manga (This same thing has been done by a lot of female mangaka at the time. Even Hagio Moto, basically the queen of shojo manga, has excluded females from her work before because she didn't want to go into gender politics).

    Looking back, the female characters we do see in Banana Fish are pretty awesome - Shorter's sister who protects her brother and basically raised him and Lobo's ex wife who created the female version of playboy in California were two of my favorites. I should've known Yoshida would be fully capable of creating a great female centric manga just as she is able to make an amazing new york gangster manga.

    1. You bring up a good point. I haven't considered it that way, and to be honest, I haven't realized the author was female. I looked her up and was dumbfounded to realize that I have read three of her work so far and have yet to write about one of them (A Cruel god Reigns in Heaven) because the story was very difficult to address in my simple manner of writing.
      I will also look into Kisshou Tennyo later on! I love the new perspective you brought for me and hopefully other readers. I scarcely ever put into consideration the author's incentives and it's always great to know more about some of these great mangas.