The character list for Banana Fish. Be warned for spoilers, especially if you didn't read the manga first.
Voiced by: Yuuma Uchida (Anime), Toru Furusawa (Drama CD)
One of the main characters of Banana Fish. He is a seventeen year old teenager who is in charge of a gang in New York City.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: While generally maintaining an unflappable facade in front of his enemies when his own life is on the line, it's a different story when Eiji's life is the one threatened. Once he found out Blanca was sent after Eiji, Ash manages to have a few moments alone with the assassin and heartbrokenly begged the man to not go through with the contract and spare Eiji's life.
- Animal Motif: He's often compared to a lynx by other characters. His alias has the surname "Lynx". Additionally, the author drew Ash surrounded by leopards in one of her drawings◊.
- Badass in Charge: He's the leader of a gang, and is pretty tough to beat.
- Bad Dreams: Ash is sadly plagued by them, something which Eiji finds out, due to hearing Ash cry in his sleep.
- Berserk Button: Anything involving bringing up his past and any threat towards his friends, especially Eiji.
- Best Friend: For Eiji and Shorter.
- Big Brother Instinct: With his gang in general (even when some are older than him) and especially with Skip.
- Bi the Way: Yoshida Akimi stated in an interview that Ash had sex with both men and women. In Volume 8, Ash confesses to Eiji that when he was fourteen, he thought he was in love with a girl before she was murdered by people who assumed they were together. It is also implied that he has romantic feelings towards Eiji, which is confirmed in the short story of Garden of Light in Vol. 19, Sing stated that their relationship may not have been sexual but that they loved each other as lovers would and that they were soulmates.
- Bittersweet Ending: He dies while reading Eiji's letter.
- Child Prodigy: While employed as one of Ash's teachers in Private Opinion, Blanca takes note of how well Ash understands the advanced curriculum he is being taught, and the intelligence of his questions concerning the material.
- Cooldown Hug: He has these moments with Eiji several times.
- Continuity Cameo: With Eiji in Yoshida Akimi manga, Lovers' Kiss◊.
- Deadpan Snarker: His interactions with most people are based on this.
- The Dreaded: Halfway down the story, everyone knows not to mess with him unless you want to be utterly destroyed.
- Disguised in Drag: He disguised himself as Nurse Barbara at one point.
- Distracted by the Sexy: While trying to escape the mental hospital with Max and Shunichi, Ash dresses as a Nurse, which a perverted doctor finds very attractive along the way. Max too.
- Everyone Can See It: It comes to a point where, with just watching one small interaction between them, anyone can understand just how important and valuable Eiji is to him. Which, in this setting, is a very dangerous thing.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: He attracts almost everyone who comes across him with his golden-blonde hair, with Dino as an example.
- Fake Aristocrat: While disguised as Christopher Winston.
- Foil: To Eiji and Shorter, but especially, Yut-Lung. Both of them are exceptionally bright and cutthroat young men, who were used and abused by the people around them. However, while Yut-Lung became increasingly isolated and emotionally distant, Ash did have connections that mattered the world to him and that he would do anything to protect, at the risk of his own life.
- Fille Fatale: A rare male example, Ash learns to become this early on as a child, and learns how to use this to get what he wants. Sadly, it works altogether too well, further hurting Ash in the process.
- Frame-Up: He gets framed for Marvin's death.
- Friend to All Children: He's surprisingly good with kids, as shown during moments with both Skip and Michael, and seems to have a soft spot for them.
- Go Out with a Smile: He's shown to be smiling as he dies in the library after getting stabbed while trying to reach Eiji.
- Genre Savvy: Even lampshaded in-universe. He knows New York and the underground world like the back of his hand, managing to be several steps ahead of his enemies.
- Had To Be Sharp: Many times over the course of the series, his resources are very limited, so he makes use of what he has surrounding him to get out of sticky situations. This can be anything from every day objects, to the design of his environment, to people.
- The Hero Dies: At the very end of the story. Just when he was about to take up Eiji's proposal of going to Japan with him and leave the life of violence he led, Lao takes advantage of Ash's lack of awareness and stabs him.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Shorter and Skipper.
- Homoerotic Subtext: With Eiji Okumura also in one of Yoshida Akimi's drawings◊ it looks like Ash and Eiji are suited for a wedding with the red roses possibly symbolizing their romantic love for each other.
- Hunk: Somehow he manages to be this and a Pretty Boy Bishōnen at the same time.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In the gritty underworld of New York City ganglife, Ash finds himself resorting to this more often than not, something which he comes to regret many a time.
- I'll Kill You!: He says this to Max Lobo in Vol.2.
- Implied Love Interest: For Eiji Okumura, though confirmed nowadays. However, whether their relationship was physical or not is left ambiguous for the audience. Adding to this is the fact that Eiji never got married at the end of the story possibly because he never got over Ash's death and they are even referred to be soulmates by Sing in Vol.19. with Yoshida Akimi drawing◊ them in◊ questionable◊ positions.
- Instant Seduction: A master of this, though it can work against him as well if people desire him too much...
- Jail Bait: To the pedophiles who lust deeply for him. Unfortunately, most don't get caught.
- The Jail Bait Wait: Horrifically averted for Ash (and the other little children caught up in the pedophile ring). This does not happen for him, as he is graphically raped from a very young age, while being photographed and recorded many a time in the process.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He might seem like a jerk at first to others around him, but is actually quite sympathetic especially after his backstory is revealed.
- Like an Old Married Couple: He bickers with Eiji sometimes, giving off this impression.
- Lust Object: Ash is this, much to his hatred, for many men across the series.
- Missing Mom: His mother took off with another man and left him when he was very small. He never sees her again, nor does anyone know what becomes of her.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His is legendary among the gangs of New York City.
- Not a Morning Person: Ash takes a while to function when he wakes up, much to the horror of his fellow gang members, and Eiji's amusement. .
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone knows and calls him by Ash or Lynx with very few knowing his birth name.
- Please Don't Leave Me: He asks Eiji to stay with him in Vol. 7, saying "Stay with me Eiji just for now" and Eiji says "forever."
- This sentiment gets repeated later on, when Ash says "I'll protect you, don't leave my side", again, to Eiji.
- Promiscuity After Rape: Yes and no. He is deeply, heartbreakingly hurt by being raped and then forced into child prostitution, but by the time he's a preteen, he learns to use his looks and sultry demeanor to lure men/adults, but only to use them for his own advantage, not pleasure. When he's older (and only when the situation has need of it), he will casually use his charms to lure those he needs information from, sometimes resorting to sex. Not that he actually enjoys this, however.
- Rape as Backstory: Raped as a child and happens again several times in the manga.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After being forced to kill Shorter, Ash lays waste to Dino's place and anyone who crosses his path.
- Sex for Services: When he has to resort to this, he will.
- Shoo the Dog: Does this to Eiji in two separate occasions to try and get him to leave for Japan but it never sticks.
- Shout-Out: His design is inspired by River Phoenix and Stefan Edberg. Akimi Yoshida has drawn◊ Ash and Eiji in positions that references the movie, My Own Private Idaho, in which River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves stars in. In "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" by the author J. D. Salinger, with BANANA FISH referencing the title of the story, Ash's death can also be a reference to the main character Seymour Glass's death at the end of the story which was foreshadowed by the title of the story. "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" a story by Ernest Hemingway is referenced in Volume 8 when Ash is talking to Eiji about the leopard's death which also foreshadows Ash's death at the end of the story.
- Sexual Extortion: The tragic victim of this, especially as a child.
- Sleeping Their Way to the Top: He had to put his own disgusted feelings aside to become Dino's favourite after all.
- Sleeping with the Boss: Forced to do this with Dino, the head of the Corsican Mafia.
- Sleight of Tongue: With a kiss. He does this to Eiji when the latter visited in prison, putting in his mouth a capsule that contained a piece of paper.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Ash has a high IQ and he often wears glasses when reading.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: A male example. His whole life, Ash has had people from both genders going ga-ga over his looks and, more often than not, has been a victim of harassment and unwanted sexual advances.
- Start of Darkness: Being raped at 8 by his baseball coach was the beginning of a horrific childhood and teenage years for him.
- This happens again when he's given the vial containing Banana Fish in a New York City alleyway at the age of 17, roping him into the main plot of the story.
- STD Immunity: Doesn't contact any sexual diseases despite being a child prostitute, and the victim of numerous rapes over the years. Considering that the manga is set during the 1980s in New York City where the AIDS crises was especially intense, Ash not having even the slightest bit of exposure to this is nothing short of a miracle.
- Street Urchin: He used to roam the streets of New York City even before he became a gang leader.
- Strong Family Resemblance: To Griffin and his dad.
- Also to Blanca's dead wife, Natasha.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: He's both harsh and reserved many a time, but with the right people, his kinder, sweeter side comes out.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: At the end of the manga he is stabbed by Lao quickly as he tries to make it to the airport after receiving a ticket to Japan from Eiji.
- Trauma Conga Line: Ash's entire life can be considered this. Ever since he was 7 years old, he's been abused and taken advantage of with only a minuscule amount of people showing real care and affection for him without wanting anything in return. But, is during the story where he suffers the heaviest of losses in his short life with the death of Skipper, Griffin and Shorter, each one leaving him more alone and more desperate to protect the one person he views as the most precious of all, Eiji. Still, his determination in protecting him and defeating his enemies prompts Ash to commit several violent acts that further increase his self-loathing.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In the side story, Angel Eyes, it's obvious that being the victim of child prostitution and constant rape have introduced him to using sex and his beautiful face at too young an age, as Shorter notes even before learning a little bit of Ash's backstory.
- Tears of Remorse: He confesses to Eiji in Vol.7 that he killed many people (some of which used to be his friends) and also confesses that he was raped when he was eight years old, and then he killed said rapist.
- The Ace: When it comes to fighting and killing people.
- The Rival: To Fredrick Arthur.
- Tragic Bromance: With Eiji. Subverted on the bromance part, as their feelings were also romantic.
- Tragic Hero: He suffers through a whole lot of ordeals in the manga. Poor Ash...
- True Companions: He's this with his gang, Shorter, and Eiji.
- Tsurime Eyes: They go with his cold and rather unapproachable beauty.
- Undying Loyalty: To his gang and to Eiji as well.
- Violence Is the Only Option: The inevitable conclusion he comes to after Shorter's death. Up until that point, Ash has always being the one to retaliate but never instigate preferring to find some solution that'll allow the lowest amount of casualties. When that tragedy happens, he switches tactics and just begins a carnage against his enemies, attacking them on several different fronts and ways.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: He has bright jade green eyes that are admired by many for their beauty.
- Young and in Charge: He is already in charge of a gang at the age of seventeen.
- Young Gun: He's been using a gun since the age of 8.
Voiced by: Kenji Nojima (Anime), Kazuhiko Inoue (Drama CD)
He is one of the main characters in Banana Fish. He has a sister and mother back in Japan. He is a nineteen year old student in college from Japan. He's Ibe's assistant and accompanies him to New York City, where he meets Ash Lynx.
- Adorkable: He's a young and naive teen who, while serious when the situations calls for it, is still childish and playful, even managing to charm some of New York's most hardened gang members.
- Affectionate Nickname: He's often called "Ei-chan" by Ibe.
- Animal Motif: Compared to be a Japanese Bobtail by Arthur. Blanca compares him to a rabbit. He also has some bird motifs due to Ash constantly mentioning him being able to fly, his sweater from the first episode and his phone case.
- Action Survivor: Has little to no skills to survive in the seedy side of New York at the beginning, only managing to get by with an amazing amount of luck.
- Best Friend: To Ash Lynx.
- Canine Companion: His dog "Buddy" Seen with him in Garden of Light and New York Sense.
- Career-Ending Injury: When pole vaulting he ended up getting a injury making him not able to be in competitive pole vaulting anymore.
- Continuity Cameo: With Ash in Akimi Yoshida manga◊, Lovers' Kiss.
- Distressed Dude: Gets into danger quite often.
- First Kiss: With Ash Lynx It was implied by Ibe that it might possibly be Eiji's first kiss.
- Foil: To Ash Lynx.
- His Heart Will Go On: Averted hard. Eiji never recovers from Ash's death, and never marries or falls in love with someone else. He points out that it doesn't prevent him from living and being happy, but it's made pretty clear that Ash was the love of his life, and he will probably never fall for someone again as he is still in love with him many years after his death.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Kidnapped at one point.
- Homoerotic Subtext: With Ash Lynx also in one of Akimi Yoshida's drawing◊.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: He wants to be useful.
- Implied Love Interest: For Ash Lynx. Although it's explicit, but whether their relationship was physical or not is left ambiguous and up to the interpretation of the audience, however, Sing confirms they were in love and there's the fact that Eiji never got married at the end of the story, possibly because he never got over Ash's death. And they are compared to be soulmates by Sing in Vol.19 with Yoshida Akimi drawing◊ them in◊ questionable◊ positions. It's not ambiguous anymore and according to the author, while their relationship wasn't sexual due to Ash's history in the manga, had he lived they would probably have crossed that line and cemented the fact that they were a couple properly.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: A trait everyone recognises is just how innocent and good he is and one of the reasons Ash is so damn determined in protecting him.
- Innocent Bystander: Came to New York as an assistant to a journalist to make a piece about a young gang leader and was caught in the crossfire in not only a turf war but also in a major conspiracy.
- Japanese Spirit: Showcases this several times notably when they try to escape Marvin, he uses his experience with pole-vaulting to get over the wall making him the only one to get help for Ash and Skipper beside Shorter.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Bickers with Ash sometimes
- Like a Son to Me: For Ibe.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He sports long dark hair at the end of the manga.
- The Lost Lenore: Ash becomes this for Eiji after his passing.
- Megane: He's seen wearing glasses at the end of the manga.
- Morality Pet: To Ash.
- The Mourning After: Even though he is in a far better state of mind by the time of New York Sense, and has done well in his career, Eiji is still single in his 30s, still publishing pictures about Ash, and is implied to still care for him above all else.
- Eiji did say forever after all. Clearly, he meant it.
- Nice Guy: To everyone around him.
- No Romantic Resolution: At the end of the manga he is shown not to get married or in a relationship, and it's implied that it's because he is still not over Ash's death.
- Non-Action Guy: He leads a pretty normal life with no skills in fighting compared to Ash.
- Older Than They Look: He's 19, but his youthful looks and innocent personality make other characters assume he's younger, much to his annoyance.
- Precious Photo: Eiji has a whole album of pictures of Ash from the time they lived together in New York City, which he keeps after Ash's death as a piece of remembrance as shown in the epilogue, Garden of Light.
- Protectorate: He is often the one who is most protected by the other characters, mainly Ash, Ibe, Shorter and Sing.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He is usually shown wearing all sorts of pink shades in the anime more than most characters.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: There are times where it zigzags, but he is mainly the sensitive guy to Ash's manly man.
- Shout-Out: His design is based on actor Hironobu Nomura.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Only ever show romantic feelings towards Ash Lynx. He is never shown to have romantic feelings for any other males or females. At the end of the manga it was shown that he had neither married or pursued a romantic relationship after Ash's death. It is ultimately up to the audience's interpretation of his sexuality, whether they assumed Eiji is heterosexual with an exception for Ash, homosexual, bisexual, or maybe just Ash-sexual.
- Tareme Eyes: Has brown eyes which can represents his kindful nature and innocence compared to Ash's eyes.
- Team Mom: Acts like one towards Ash and his gang with him feeding and caring for them.
- Tragic Bromance: With Ash Lynx. Subverted on the bromance partas they also had romantic feelings towards each other. Eiji could never move on after his death, something that's lampshaded in Garden of Light.
- Trauma Conga Line: A young boy from Japan who has lived a sheltered and comfortable life, in the space of one day is forced to see the worst of humanity, by being kidnapped, threatened and beaten. From that point on, things just escalate and in more than one occasion he's forced to see someone he cares about be tortured or killed.
- Virgin Power: Word of God states, in an interview, that Eiji is a virgin and compares him to taming Ash (a unicorn—known for their foul tempers).
- You No Take Candle: He tends to speak this way in the English translation of the manga, since the vast majority of the cast speaks English and with Eiji being Japanese, it isn't his first language. His English gradually gets better as the story goes on.
Voiced by: Hiroaki Hirata
A reporter that has been looking into what is Banana Fish for years. He's a friend of Shunichi.
- Affectionate Nickname: Ash calls him 'Dad' every now and then.
- Brainy Brunette: Despite his sometimes goofy demeanor, Max is a sharp, highly intelligent man who never gave up on unraveling the mysterious Banana Fish.
- Code Name: Max Glenreed is his real name; Lobo is just an undercover name. It's fitting though, as Lobo is a Spanish/Portuguese nickname meaning, and he is, after all, a Papa Wolf.
- Comedic Relief Characters: Several times during the course of the series.
- Dad the Veteran: In the manga, he fought in 'Nam; the anime updates this to Iraq.
- Determinator: No matter how many times he's hurt or threatened, he won't stop investigating or helping others.
- Good Parents: To Michael, his little boy whom he loves very much. Later on, he pretty much becomes this to Ash.
- Because he feels he missed out on Michael growing up, Max later becomes head of the PTA, as revealed in the companion book series, Memoir of Max Lobo.
- The Heart: Max provides so much support, loyalty, and affection to those he cares for, especially Ash who is like a son to him.
- Intrepid Reporter: Has no qualms in getting into the most dangerous of situations to find the truth.
- Like a Son to Me: How he comes to feel regarding Ash.
- My Greatest Failure: How he feels regarding what happened with Griffin back in the war. He felt he could have done more, which led him into researching just what Banana Fish is.
- Nice Guy: One of the kindest, most loyal characters in the entire series.
- Papa Wolf: To his son Michael, and later on to Ash.
- Pen Name: His is Max Lobo.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: Finds Ash dressed up as Nurse Barbara highly attractive.
- Team Dad: Absolutely; he's just one of those guys born to be a father. And he's a damn good one too!
Voiced by: Shinji Kawada
A photojournalist and Eiji's boss.
- Anger Born of Worry: Whenever Eiji does something dangerous, his first reaction is berating the teen while making sure he's okay. Later on, this expands to Ash, worrying about his emotional and physical wellbeing.
- Innocent Bystander: Alongside Eiji, they were only meant to be in New York for a couple of days to make a piece about Ash, yet, they got involved in a major conspiracy.
- Intrepid Reporter: He's more of a photographer than a journalist but he accompanies Max in his investigations.
- Like a Son to Me: How he feels towards Eiji and, later on, Ash.
- Papa Wolf: Really protective of Eiji, even though they're not related.
- Band of Brothers: The majority of individual gangs operate this way, though there are a few unsavory people to be found every now and then.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Kong, Alex, and Bones. In that order.
- Comedic Relief Characters: Bones and Kong, definitely.
- Funny Background Event: Bones and Kong are often this, if you look closely while reading the manga.
- Gang Bangers: This is what they all are, from Ash and Cain's streetgangs, to Shorter and Sing's group, working under the more sophisticated shadow of the Chinatown Mafia.
- Nice Guy: Alex, Cain, Bones, and Kong are all pretty likable despite being gangbangers.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bones and Kong can't possibly be their real names. Cain's last name is probably this too.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Ash's gang in particular, since they get the most focus, but essentially all of them to some extent.
Ash's good natured Lieutenant, Alex is a dependable, loyal young man.
- The Creon: Being second in command under Ash suits him just fine, but if Ash needs him to take over every now and then, he will.
- Just Following Orders: He doesn't question Ash's authority, or his darker pursuits, choosing instead to just do what he's told, regardless of what that is.
- The Lancer: To Ash, but mainly in terms of gang comradeship.
- Number Two: Ash's trustworthy Lieutenant, and the guy who is in charge when Ash is unable to be.
- The Straight Man: When surrounded by Bones and Kong.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ash, his boss.
Voiced by: Ayumu Murase (Anime)
A kid who was a close friend and member of Ash's gang.
- Cheerful Child: Yes, he was a happy and mischievous kid.
- Children Are Innocent: While he was a member of the gang, it was mostly in the capacity of errand boy or caretaker of Ash's big brother and he was definitely protected and sheltered by the other members.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. Throughout the story he's mentioned as one of the few people who Ash ever gave a damn about and how his death affected him. He also was a reason that prompted Eiji into wanting to help Ash get justice.
- Taking the Bullet: Was shot two times by Marvin as he protected Ash.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: A nice and extroverted kid who was one of the closest friends Ash had and who protected Eiji even if he only met the guy that same day. In this setting, this could only mean one thing.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: While he's never forgotten, we know next to nothing about him aside from his close bond to Ash.
- Cute Little Fangs: Thanks to Ash, this is what his smile has become.
- Overalls and Gingham: This is his favorite attire, minus the gingham.
- Short Hair with Tail: A small braided rattail.
- Those Two Guys: With Kong, sometimes with Alex.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ash, despite him smashing nearly all his teeth.
The legendary leader of the Harlem street gang Black Sabbath, Cain is known for being a tough, clever boss. Later on, he teams up with Ash to take down Dino, Foxx and their associates.
- The Big Guy: Large and in charge!
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted, as he is in the fight until the end, and is implied to have survived.
- Commonality Connection: Though they are bosses of rival gangs, Cain decides to team up with Ash, as they both want to take Arthur down. Later on, Cain still supports Ash in his fight against Dino (and Foxx).
- Cool Shades: Rarely seen without his signature look.
- The Heart: Surprisingly, given his appearance, Cain is this underneath his tough exterior to his men and Ash.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Possibly another reason his reputation strikes fear into the hearts of his fellow gang members.
- Odd Friendship: With Sing!
- Scary Black Man: A highly competent, intelligent leader, Cain is legendary for being one of the toughest bosses in the underworld, and looks the part as well.
- Undying Loyalty: Later on to Ash, who in turn, respects him very much.
Voiced by: Makoto Furukawa (Anime)
One of Ash's close friend in New York City, a Chinese-American. They both met in juvenile prison in a short story at the end of manga.
- Bald of Awesome: Later on in the manga.
- Best Friend: For Ash Lynx.
- Big Brother Instinct: While he's the younger brother of Nadia, he's fiercely protective of her and this also applies to Ash, Eiji and Skip.
- Broken Pedestal: Respected and had faith in the Lee clan after having heard his parents talk about how generous and helpful they were to the Chinese community that migrated to the States. However, after learning that they joined forces with Golzine and expecting him to betray his friends, he no longer views the Lee's as allies and angrily calls them out.
- Cool Shades: Always seen wearing them.
- Declaration of Protection: To Eiji.
- Delinquent Hair: Has a mohawk that suits his character. Moreso in the anime, with its vibrant purple colouring. In the manga, the mohawk gets shaved off, but considering the setting, his style is still considered punk.
- Driven to Madness: Is injected with Banana Fish and brainwashed to make him believe that Eiji is the reason behind his pain and fear, ordering him to kill his friend in a gruesome manner as a way to stop the suffering.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. Even more so than Skip. He's remembered and mentioned several times throughout the story and his death had a deep impact in the relationship between the Chinese gang, now led by Sing, and Ash's gang.
- Genre Savvy: Not as the same magnitude as Ash but he knows enough to keep his friends and family safe while being an effective and respected gang leader.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ash.
- The Quincy Punk: A much nicer version.
- Mercy Kill: He's brainwashed into believing that only by killing Eiji he'll be free of the pain, which is, of course, a lie. In his final lucid moments, Shorter begs Ash to put him out of his misery because he knows there's no coming back from this.
- The Mole: Because of his ties to the Chinese mafia, who betray Ash, and their threats against his sister, Shorter was forced to comply with whatever Yau Si required him to do.
- Together in Death: Promises this to an unconscious Eiji. After being forced to kidnap his friend and as a last desperate attempt to protect him, Shorter declares to their enemies he would quickly end Eiji's life and then take his own as a way to free Eiji of a cruel fate and atone himself.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ash and Eiji.
- Vague Age: Shorter's age has never been specified.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: His mohawk is dyed purple in the anime.
Voiced by: Shoya Chiba
A member of Shorter Wong's gang and, eventually, its leader.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: After Shorter's death he becomes the leader of the Chinatown turf at fourteen.
- Crazy-Prepared: Not to the degree as Yau-Si or Ash, but he's known for being ready for possible eventualities.
- Deadpan Snarker: The snarkiest character in the story. He even tells Blanca to step aside and stop blocking the light.
- The Gadfly: Seems to like pressing Ash's gang members' buttons, especially with their taste in food.
- Genre Savvy: Has to be this in order to control Chinatown but, unlike the others, he's quite young still so he sometimes gets in over his head.
- Happily Married: To Akira Ibe, whom he first meets in Garden of Light, and marries in New York Sense. They are still shown to be happily married in Yasha and Eve no Nemuri, the latter of which introduces their teenage son.
- Hot-Blooded: Due to his young age and the responsibilities that come with it.
- Official Couple: With Akira Ibe, later shown to be married in New York Sense
- MayDecember Romance: Marries Akira Ibe, Shunichi's niece, in the future, according to Word of God. He's ten years older than her.
- The Napoleon: Due to his young age, he's quite short; he was the shortest character until the epilogue where he becomes six-feet and three inches (6'3'') tall.
- Revenge Before Reason: Played with. He knows that honor demands that he kills Ash because of his role in the death of his predecessor. However, he also knows that there's more to the story and looks for answers.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Yau Si after finding out the real motivation behind his wanting to kill Eiji.
- Undying Loyalty: Ultimately, the ones who gain his utter devotion are Ash and Eiji.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Surprisingly, becomes this with Yau Si and is actually one of the few who is allowed to talk back or call him out.
- Young and in Charge: Alongside Ash, he's one of the youngest gang leaders in the story.
Voiced by: Soma Saito
Sing's eldest half-brother and second in command.
- Big Brother Instinct: Would do anything to protect Sing.
- Brains and Brawn: He's physically bigger and stronger than Sing but he doesn't have the abilities to be a leader the same way his little brother has.
- The Mole: Yau Si pressures him into reporting what are Ash's plans and to kill Eiji at the first chance he gets.
- Revenge Before Reason: Played straight in his case. While Sing would rather have all the facts regarding Shorter's death and it's circumstances, Lao would hear nothing of it and would act hostile towards Ash on more than one occasion and will even end up killing him.
Voiced by: Umeka Shoji
Shorter's loving older sister who worries what gang life has done to him and Ash, who she cares for like a younger brother.
- Big Sister Instinct: Worries greatly about her brother, Shorter, and Ash, but knows there's only so much she can do.
- Boyish Short Hair: So much so that she was mistaken for being a guy!
- Secret Relationship: Has one with Charlie, the detective in charge of Ash's case.
- The Stoic: Shows little emotion in general.
Voiced by: Mitsuru Ogata
A New York homicide detective and Charlie's partner. He's one of the few allies Ash has in the force.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Never abuses his power and tries to help Ash in any way he can.
Voiced by: Yoji Ueda
A New York homicide detective. He's one of the few allies Ash has in the force.
Dino F. Golzine
Voiced by: Unshou Ishizuka
One of the leaders of the Corsican Mafia.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Has an obsession with Ash and wants nothing more than to mold and own him in every way imaginable.
- Alas, Poor Villain: In spite of all the horrible things hes done to Ash, Golzine, after having saved Ash and Sing from Foxx, simply smiles to Ash before falling to his death. As he falls, Ash watches with a look of remorse on his face.
- Bad Boss: You fail him, you're done.
- Bathe Him And Bring Him To Me: When Eiji is brought to him, he orders his mooks to prepare him and send him to his room.
- Dirty Old Man: Has an... interest for young and blond teens.
- If I Can't Have You...: He would rather have Ash killed than have anyone else possess him.
- Jerkass: Aside from being a ruthless and brutal mob boss, he abused Ash and many other young teens for years.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: When he has his men kidnap Eiji and when Ash is forced to go back to his side.
- Oh, Crap!: When realising how Ash was able to get access to the overseas accounts.
- Redemption Equals Death: After being severely wounded by Foxx, he later shoots Foxx when he has Ash and Sing cornered shortly before succumbing to his wounds and falling to his death in the fire.
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Anime)
A member of Ash's gang that wants to take it all to himself.
- Always Someone Better: One of the reasons he despises Ash is because Ash is better than him in almost every aspect that matters in this setting.
- Ambition Is Evil: Wants to control Ash's turf and would do anything to accomplish his goals.
- The Dragon: Becomes this to Golzine in an effort to personally take Ash out.
- Dirty Coward: While he does have his moments of bravery in general, there is the fact that he had his men ride a train into the station where he was having his duel with Ash, completely armed and ready to fire against his rival
- Disk One Final Boss: Played With. It's obvious he's just The Dragon to Golzine but, his continued presence was one that caused many difficulties to Ash and if he wanted to have the opportunity to get to Dino, he would need to fight Arthur, especially after he was left in charge of hunting Ash after Golzine had to leave the country.
- Evil Laugh: Does this after Ash was forced to shoot Shorter.
- Licking the Blade: Does this in his knife fight with Ash, indicating that he is not the sympathetic one in the showdown.
- Kick the Dog: Got a lot of pleasure telling Eiji about Shorter's (forced) betrayal and, later on, after forcing Ash to kill Shorter, he mocked Ash and his pain.
- Knife Nut: Not exactly by choice. After his first fight against Ash, his fingers were cut in such a way he couldn't use a gun anymore, so he switched to knives and blades.
- Jerkass: He has little care for the people around him, only focusing on his own interests and quest for power.
- The Resenter: It's implied that he knows Ash never had a choice in taking his territory from him, but that just increases his hatred for him.
Voiced by: Katashi Ishizuka
One of Papa Dino's henchmen.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Ash. Unfortunately for him, his boss has an invested interest on the teen and can't no longer do what he pleases.
- Asshole Victim: No one shed a tear or actually cared about his death.
- Dirty Old Man: Even worse than Papa Dino.
- Fat Bastard: In every way.
- Jerkass: So much. A perverted and cruel pedophilic man who only tries to satisfy his own desires.
- Oh, Crap!: After he shot Skip, he knew there was no force on Earth that would stop Ash from hunting him.
- You Have Failed Me: After failing in obtaining the information from Ash, letting a hostage escape and shooting the other (who was the biggest leverage they had on Ash at that moment), Papa Dino decides to pull the plug on him and make his death useful in some way.
Voiced by: Yu Hayashi
A scientist that works for Dino Golzine.
- Asshole Victim: No one mourned when Ash brutally shot him to death.
- Dirty Coward: Would do anything to save his own skin, selling out everyone else.
- Jerkass: He had a hand in the accidental creation of banana fish and, even though he knew the damage it could cause, he decided to improve it and sell it to the mafia. On top of that, he's the reason why Griffin Callenreese ended up a vegetable, having injected the drug once it was obvious Griff realised he was experimenting on their fellow soldiers with that.
- Mad Doctor: He isn't too far off from being this.
Lee Yut Lung
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
One of the leaders of the Triads in New York City.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He pretended to be this gentle and innocent teen when in reality he's a coldhearted and ruthless manipulator.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Mentioned several times throughout the story and used as a way to give a false impression of vulnerability and fragility.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Takes advantage of the chaos brought forth by the appearance of Banana Fish to finally have revenge against his half-brothers and take control over the family business.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Was horrified and disgusted when seeing the effects that Banana Fish has on it's victims. At least, at first...
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with. He does understand and even use it as way to trap his opponents but he tends to underestimate. An example of this is when revealing to Ash that both he and Golzine have contracted Blanca to assassinate Eiji, he puts the condition that they will drop the hit if Ash kills himself. Certain that that would be the one thing that Ash would never do, he was shocked to see Ash immediately take the offered gun, put it against his head and pulling the trigger. Luckily, the gun was empty but Yut Lung was left rattled at the lengths Ash is willing to go for Eiji.
- Faux Affably Evil: While he does act polite and can be even charming, more often than not this is the prelude to a dangerous situation.
- Foil: To Ash. Both are geniuses with a painful and traumatic past, where they were taken advantage of by those around them, leading them to use any means necessary to gain power and freedom. Nevertheless, Ash was able to find people that he loves and loves him in return while Yau Si can't seem to form a stable or healthy connection, falling back on manipulation to keep those he finds interesting tied to him in some way.
- Also, to Eiji. Shorter even comments on how similar they both are, appearance-wise. But, the key difference is that Eiji is someone who would sacrifice himself for those he loves, wearing his heart on his sleeve and is honest to a fault while Yau Si is someone who uses everyone around him in one way or another and tries hard to avoid any sort of sentimentality, deeming it as a waste, even though it's clear he wishes to have that sort of love in his life.
- Genocide from the Inside: Along with mistreating him horribly, his older half-brothers killed and raped his mother when he was a child. As a result, he wants to eradicate the entire Lee line. After finding out what banana fish does as a drug, he finds the means to utilize his knowledge against them.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Hates Eiji because of how much he means to Ash, seeing him as an undesirable weakness. However, it's implied that he also craves to have that sort of connection with someone.
- Genre Savvy: As much as Ash is.
- Incest Subtext: At least one of his half-brothers seems to be attracted to him, comparing his looks to his dead mother's.
- Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: If Ash is the sun, Yut Lung is the moon.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: The prettiest character and has the longest hair. Ironically, his hair has been used against him when Ash takes him hostage at the museum.
- The Mole: Acts as the adopted son of Dr. Alexis Dawson as a way to infiltrate in Ash and Max's investigation of Banana Fish.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: His coloring.
- Snakes Are Evil: Compared to a snake a few times in the story.
- Weak, but Skilled: Not the most physical nor the strongest fighter but he can defend himself through the use of poisons and acupuncture.
- Worthy Opponent: How he views Ash.
- Younger Than They Look: With his demeanor and his fondness for wine, he may seem like he's over eighteen, but he's only sixteen years old.
Edouard L. Foxx
A Belgian national and ex-French Foreign Legion officer who saw action in parts of Europe, Africa and Afghanistan, he's recruited by Dino to hunt down Ash and his allies.
- Fallen Hero: A known FFL officer turned career mercenary who gets recruited by Dino.
- Final Boss: Serves as the final antagonist Ash has to face after Foxx betrays Golzine.
- Hero of Another Story: His FFL career/experience.
- Moral Event Horizon: He was always evil, but when he brutally rapes Ash, he crosses over into monster territory.
- Private Military Contractors: He's been a mercenary for a while now.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Uses this against Ash, as is implied to have enjoyed it very much.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His first name is spelled as Edward or Eduward, due to how Edouard is spelled in katakana. The anime mentions the latter.
- The Starscream: In the climax of the anime, he shoots and mortally wounds Golzine after Ash takes the latter hostage.
- Villainous Crush: Strongly implied to have a big one on Ash, who is rightly revolted by him in every way.
- White Hair, Black Heart: His hair is actually gray, but other than that...
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa
A former KGB Lieutenant in the Soviet Army, Blanca was also a retired professional assassin, who came out of retirement when hired by Dino to kill Ashwho happens to be his former student.
- The Dreaded: A legend in the underground world and feared by everyone. It says something that while Ash respects and cares for him, he's absolutely terrified when finding out that Blanca is in the picture.
- Exact Words: Was contracted by Yau Si to protect him, so when Eiji appears to save Ash from Golzine, Blanca takes Yau Si out of the place knowing full well that what Yau Si expected was for him to kill Eiji.
- Genre Savvy: Even more than Ash. Fitting, seeing as he's his teacher.
- Husky Russkie: Actually a Kazakh from the Soviet Union in the manga (Russian Federation in the anime adaptation), he still physically fits the trope, being significantly taller than the majority of the cast, and built to match.
- Like a Son to Me: He views Ash as family. And with his colouring, Ash does indeed bear an incredibly striking resemblance to Blanca's dead wife, Natasha. At least in the anime.
- The Mentor: To Ash. He taught him everything he knows about marksmanship, espionage, counter-espionage, etc, etc...
- Mistaken for Pedophile: In the side story, Private Opinion, when Ash has a panic attack after being raped, Blanca calms him down and embraces him, but Ash is put off and thinks he just wants sex. Blanca assures him he does not, and comforts him instead.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: A much more serious take, considering his backstory and various professions.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is Sergei Varishkov. Blanca is also a Code Name, though it's borrowed from the nickname he had for his wife Natasha, as she was from White Russia (Belarus), and Blanca means white.
- Professional Killer: This is the man who taught Ash most of his killing skills. He's a Retired Badass who gets hired by Golzine to help stop Ash. Interestingly, he's a combination of Friendly Sniper and Cold Sniper: he's personable, smiles often, and is overall quite affable, but he's also completely ruthless and seemingly has no qualms about killing the boy he once trained. In the end, he turns out to be a Hitman with a Heart, joining Ash's side for the final fight.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He will fulfill his contract but nothing more and nothing less. He won't cause any more damage than necessary and whatever happens beyond that is no problem of his.
- Retired Badass: Teaching Ash was one of his last assignments before giving up life as a professional assassin, leaving everything to live in the Caribbean. However, when Ash proves to be too much for Golzine to handle, he calls Blanca back.
- So Proud of You: While now being on opposites sides, he can't deny that he feels proud of Ash.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Especially in the anime, as fans were quick to notice.
Voiced by: Hiroki Matsukawa
A CIA officer who's a member of the Banana Fish conspiracy. He plans to use BF for CIA agents in black ops.
Voiced by: Yasumichi Kushida
A US Army officer with the rank of Colonel who's a member of the Banana Fish conspiracy. He plans to use BF for special forces operations, including assassination.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's a high-ranking US Army officer.
A White House official who serves as the Chief of Staff.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's the Chief of Staff at the White House.
A scientist in charge of the National Center of Mental Health and Wellness. He uses it to test BF on convicted criminals and other undesirables to see its effects.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's the head of the NCMHW.
Griffin and Ash's father, a cold man who left both his sons to their own demise.
- Abusive Parents: After Ash is raped by his baseball coach, Jim tells him to "get paid" for this, and not to "walk away empty handed". Ash is eight years old.
- Not to mention, that when Ash ran away from home, Jim did absolutely nothing to get him back, nor did he care about his young son's safety as he roamed about by himself far away from home. This abandonment led to years of living hell for Ash.
- The Atoner: Sort-of. He still calls Ash a whore when the latter turns up after several years of not being in contact with him, and he's still ashamed of what happened when Ash was a child, but deep down inside, he cares for him to some extent, and is proud of him in his own way.
- Jerkass Victim: It's seriously difficult to feel sorry for him when he gets shot during the confrontation at his diner.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: What kind of parent knowingly allows their child to be raped over and over, and then tells them to get some money for it?
- Parental Abandonment: Doesn't care when Ash runs away from home after murdering his baseball coach for raping him, and nor does he care about his older son, Griffith, after he comes back from Vietnam, as he doesn't do anything to help him recover. What a piece of shit.
- Parents as People: A truly harsh example.
- Teens Are Monsters: How he feels towards Ash, to some extent.
Ash's older brother. He was a soldier in the U.S Army (Vietnam in the manga, Iraq in the anime) who attacked his comrades in more than suspicious circumstances.
- Big Brother Instinct: He loved Ash and tried to protect him as best as he could.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Became suspicious of Abraham Dawson's activities, prompting Abraham to administer Griff with Banana Fish and forcing him to attack and kill his unit.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Had shades of this with his best friend Max while they were in Vietnam, as Griffin was known as a sweet, sensitive guy who liked poetry.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: A gentle soul, everybody around him saw just how much the fighting and the killing was taking a toll on him.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His turning on his comrades in what was believed at the time to be a mental breakdown was the catalyst for Max to try and figure out what happened and what was Banana Fish. It also gave a more personal reason for Ash to get involved and search for answers on his own, thus kickstarting the plot.
JenniferJim's significant other, and possibly Ash's step-mother. Jennifer is gentle, sweet and kind, and tries to be a motherly figure for Ash, who she cares for.
- Evil Stepmother: Strongly averted. Jennifer is shown to be gentle and kind in her short appearance, and is implied to care deeply for Ash, who in turn is very fond of her.
- Nice Girl: She's very sweet which makes one wonder what she's doing with someone like Jim.
- We Hardly Knew You: She's violently shot to death a short time after being introduced.
Voiced by: Rika Fukami
A journalist and Max's ex-wife, Jessica is unafraid to go to extremes to get the information she desires.
- Action Mom: In the final arc, she was all set to battle with the rest of the gang; she was only held back by Max, who insisted that one parent should stay out of the fight for Michael's sake, in case the other doesn't quite make it.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Max, her ex. They just can't seem to shake each other off.
- Intrepid Reporter: The same as her husband. She will enter dangerous situations without so much of a blink to get the story and the truth.
- Mama Bear: Protective of her son, Michael.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: With her ex-husband Max. It only adds to their chemistry.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Plants one on Max, after the LA break-in where she is gang raped, despite slapping and lashing out at him seconds before. Max is only too eager to return it.
- Team Mom:
- Tsundere: She's only consistently fond of Michael and Eiji; others, not so much. Especially Max. And Ash too.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Max, whenever she appears in the story.Of course they do. Second time's the charm!
Max and Jessica's adorable little boy. Michael is a sweet, innocent child unaware of the dangers surrounding his family, especially his father.
- Adorably Precocious Child: A little bit, with his precocious comments about his parents always bickering.
- Cheerful Child: From the little we see of him, he is mostly this!
- Children Are Innocent: Has no idea the full extent of what happened to his mom, Jessica, after they were attacked home, nor does he know anything about what his parents, especially Max, are involved in.
- He may have been told later on by the time of Garden of Light, considering how fond he is of Ash by then.
- The Cutie: He's absolutely adorable, especially in the anime.
- She Is All Grown Up: He's a teenager in Garden of Light, and even older in New York Sense!
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Says this almost word for word when dad Max shows up at his LA home unexpectedly, and is disappointed that Max isn't there to stay.
Characters Appearing in Garden of Light and New York Sense
Shunichi Ibe's sweet-natured young niece, Akira, shows up first in the epilogue, Garden of Light, to spend some time away from home where she has been having some personal family problems. Eiji puts her up during the duration of her visit, and five years later in New York Sense, she turns up in NYC again.
- Affectionate Nickname: Eiji calls her "Aki-chan".
- Ambiguous Gender: For a while, Akira is under the impression both from her own personal imagination and Sing's careful wording, that the mysterious Ash is female, as "she" is implied to have been someone special in Eiji's past. When Akira asks Michael if he knows who Ash was, he innocently uses a masculine pronoun for Ash, letting Akira know at once that Ash was not female, but male. This is even a little bit of an Unsettling Gender Reveal to her as it came as such a shock, but she gets over it quickly.
- Boyish Short Hair: Sports this look during her trip to NYC in Garden of Light. It plays a role in her personal problems during the story as well.
- Character Development: Akira arrives in NYC with a lot of emotional baggage mainly revolving around her father's behavior and accepting herself as a girl. More is piled on when she becomes curious about Ash, which in turn highlights other problems the people surrounding her are nursing. By the end of the story however, she's learned to accept herself, and understand the past that has held both Eiji and Sing back for seven years.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Sort-of, with Sing. He tells her to come back to America when she's grown into "a foxy lady" and she assures him that she will, when she's "so foxy" that he "won't know what hit him".
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Akira does not like her name.
- Embarrassing First Name: Akira is a boy's name in Japan, something Akira knows all too well.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: She wears one when she marries Sing. Her traditionally Chinese-style wedding gown could possibly be considered one as well.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Considering she marries Sing when she's only 18, this is probably what happened between them.
- Gender-Blender Name: Akira is a traditionally masculine name in Japan, so as she is a girl, it becomes a Tomboyish Name instead.
- Happily Married: To Sing as shown in New York Sense, Yasha and Eve no Nemuri, the lattermost of which has their teenage son make an appearance.
- Holding Hands: At the end of Garden of Light when she and Sing gaze at Ash's portrait together, she reaches for his hand, and he reaches back. It's a moving, innocent gesture, considering that everything concerning Ash is now in the open including his portrait, implying that Eiji's broken heart, and Sing's self-forgiveness can mend and begin.
- Insecure Love Interest: Though it's absolutely not reciprocated, she feels like this towards Eiji who she's implied to have a crush on, when she keeps hearing whispers about a person named Ash. She becomes even more insecure when Sing describes how beautiful Ash was, and how much he meant to Eiji.
- This insecurity is tied to her worries of her father not wanting a daughter, and not feeling feminine in general, and personal family problems back at home.
- MayDecember Romance: Not an extreme example, but there's still ten years between her and Sing, whom she marries at 18.
- Meaningful Name: Just like Ash, her name means dawn as well.
- Parents as People: Akira's father wanted to have a son (he only selected male names for the upcoming birth of his child), and was disappointed when a daughter arrived instead. It becomes a problem when Akira's parents go through a rough patch in their marriage, and Akira blames herself for not being the son her father wanted, which (she believes) is why the marriage is struggling, and her father isn't coming home anymore.
- Precocious Crush: Strongly implied to have one on Eiji in Garden of Light, which is one of the reasons she's so curious about who Ash was to him. By the end of the story, she's moved on from that. Perhaps even to Sing.
- Relationship Upgrade: The Grand Finale of the Banana Fish series, New York Sense, shows that this is what happened between Akira and Sing's relationship eventually.
- She Is All Grown Up: Eiji's photographs in New York Sense reveal that she's grown up to be a pretty young woman.
- Ship Tease: For the future. At the end of Garden of Light, she promises Sing that she'll return to America one day when she's "become a foxy lady" and "sweep him off his feet." Apparently after five years she succeeds so well, that she and Sing are shown to be married in New York Sense!
- Small Role, Big Impact: She only appears in the epilogue of the entire run of Banana Fish, and then only in several pictures in New York Sense, but she's an important character, as her appearance sets off several events that lead to both her own, and Eiji and Sing's healing.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She certainly looks like a traditional Tomboy, with the cropped hair, shorts, sneakers, and the over-sized t-shirts...but she's still dealing with more feminine issues, as well as having a crush (or two). On a lighter note, she wants to go and see Tiffany's, the famous jewelry shop in NYC, something which amuses Sing.
- Used to Be a Tomboy: In New York Sense, she's implied to have left this behind, as she has grown into a "foxy lady".
Eiji's gentle Golden Retriever that he acquires sometime between the finale and Garden of Light.
- Abandoned Pet in a Box: Kinda. Eiji finds him when he's just a tiny puppy, tossed out in a trash can.
- Big, Friendly Dog: Definitely.
- Canine Companion: He's this to Eiji, who takes him wherever he goes.
- The Confidant: In Garden of Light, only Buddy is there when Eiji sobs while looking at Ash's pictures, and pictures of the moments they spent together seven years ago. Buddy's probably the only one who has really scene this side of Eiji.
- Epileptic Trees: Quite a number of people in the fandom like to think that Buddy is the reincarnation of Ash after his death, as they both have golden hair and love Eiji.
- From Stray to Pet: How he becomes Eiji's.
- Loyal Animalcompanion: Wherever Eiji is, Buddy will also be.
- Stock Animal Name: His name is Buddy.