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Banana Fish Anime Review

Banana Fish is a captivating anime series that originally aired in 2018. Directed by Hiroko Utsumi, this compelling adaptation is based on the manga written by Akimi Yoshida. The anime was produced by the renowned animation studio MAPPA, known for its exceptional visual storytelling. 

Banana Fish delves into various genres, blending elements of action, crime, drama, and psychological thriller. 

Set in the gritty streets of New York City, the series follows the intense and dark tale of Ash Lynx, a young gang leader, and Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer, as they navigate through a web of conspiracies, power struggles, and personal tragedies. 

With its gripping narrative, memorable characters, and thought-provoking themes, Banana Fish has garnered a dedicated fanbase and remains a significant entry in the world of anime.

Banana Fish Synopsis

In the bustling streets of 1980s New York City, Banana Fish unfolds a gripping tale of crime, conspiracy, and the unbreakable bond between two unlikely souls. Ash Lynx, a charismatic and feared gang leader, finds himself entangled in a web of dark secrets and power struggles when he encounters a mysterious drug known as Banana Fish. 

As Ash investigates the origins of the enigmatic substance, he crosses paths with Eiji Okumura, a kind-hearted and naive Japanese photographer. Their fateful meeting sets off a thrilling journey as they navigate the treacherous underworld, evading dangerous enemies and facing their own traumatic pasts. 

Together, Ash and Eiji form an unbreakable bond as they strive to uncover the truth behind Banana Fish and protect each other from the sinister forces determined to manipulate them. 

Along the way, they encounter a diverse cast of characters, each with their own motivations and connections to the haunting past that ties them all together. As the stakes rise and the truth inches closer, Ash and Eiji must confront their deepest fears and make sacrifices in a desperate battle against the insidious forces that threaten their very existence. 

Banana Fish weaves a tale of friendship, loyalty, and redemption in the face of darkness, captivating viewers with its intense storytelling and emotionally charged narrative.

Is Banana Fish Worth Watching?

There are several reasons why Banana Fish has garnered a passionate and dedicated fanbase:

1. Gripping Storytelling: 

The anime captivates viewers with its intricate and suspenseful narrative. The plot is filled with unexpected twists, intense action sequences, and thought-provoking themes that keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

2. Complex Characters: 

The series boasts a rich ensemble of well-developed characters. Ash Lynx, in particular, is a deeply layered protagonist with a troubled past and a compelling personality. Viewers become emotionally invested in the characters’ journeys and their intricate relationships.

3. Strong Emotional Impact: 

Banana Fish tackles a range of heavy themes, including trauma, abuse, friendship, and redemption. The anime delves into the characters’ emotional struggles, evoking empathy and forging a powerful connection with the audience.

4. Realistic Setting: 

Set in the gritty backdrop of 1980s New York City, the anime portrays a realistic and immersive atmosphere. The attention to detail in recreating the urban landscape and the portrayal of social issues adds depth and authenticity to the story.

5. Diverse Themes: 

Banana Fish explores a variety of genres, seamlessly blending elements of crime, action, drama, and psychological thriller. This multidimensional approach appeals to a wide range of viewers and keeps the story fresh and engaging.

6. Strong Relationships: 

The anime highlights the importance of bonds and relationships. Whether it’s the deep friendship between Ash and Eiji or the complex dynamics between other characters, the series showcases the power of human connection and the impact it can have on one’s life.

7. Beautiful Animation: 

The visual quality of Banana Fish is highly praised, featuring detailed character designs, dynamic action sequences, and stunning cinematography. The animation brings the story to life and enhances the overall viewing experience.

8. Social Commentary: 

Beyond its thrilling plot, Banana Fish subtly addresses social issues such as corruption, power dynamics, and the consequences of trauma. This commentary adds depth and relevance to the narrative, resonating with viewers on a deeper level.

Overall, the combination of a gripping story, complex characters, emotional depth, and societal commentary has made Banana Fish a beloved anime that has touched the hearts of many fans around the world.

What You Might Not Like About Banana Fish

While Banana Fish has received widespread acclaim, it is not without its criticisms. Here are a few commonly raised concerns:

1. Pacing: 

Some viewers have expressed dissatisfaction with the anime’s pacing. They feel that certain episodes or story arcs may be rushed, while others drag on, leading to an uneven flow of the narrative.

2. Adaptation Choices: 

As an adaptation of a manga series, some fans of the original source material have voiced concerns about certain changes or omissions made in the anime. These differences can range from altered characterizations to modified plot points, which may disappoint fans seeking a faithful adaptation.

3. Graphic Content: 

Banana Fish delves into dark and mature themes, including violence, abuse, and trauma. While these elements contribute to the series’ realism and intensity, some viewers find the graphic nature of certain scenes to be disturbing or distressing.

4. Character Development: 

While many characters in Banana Fish are well-developed and memorable, some viewers have felt that certain side characters could have been further explored and given more depth. This lack of development for secondary characters may hinder their impact on the overall story.

5. Ending Interpretation: 

The series finale of Banana Fish has sparked varied interpretations among viewers. While some appreciated the bittersweet and emotionally charged conclusion, others found it ambiguous or felt that certain plot threads were left unresolved.

It is important to note that these criticisms are subjective and do not diminish the overall quality and impact of Banana Fish for many viewers. Nonetheless, these points highlight areas where individual opinions may diverge and where some fans have expressed their concerns.


Banana Fish is an anime that has left a profound impact on its audience. With its gripping storytelling, complex characters, and exploration of dark themes, the series has garnered a passionate fanbase. 

While it has received widespread acclaim, it is not immune to criticism. Concerns regarding pacing, adaptation choices, graphic content, character development, and the interpretation of the ending have been raised by some viewers. 

However, these criticisms do not overshadow the anime’s overall strengths. Banana Fish stands out for its intense narrative, emotional depth, and thought-provoking social commentary. 

It invites viewers to reflect on themes of trauma, friendship, and the resilience of the human spirit. Through its realistic setting, compelling characters, and stunning animation, Banana Fish remains a memorable and impactful anime experience.


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