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Tear Jerker / Banana Fish

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BANANA FISH may be an action packed story, but it's also filled with heartbreaking moments one right after the other.

     Episode 1 
  • At the very beginning we have Griffin Callenreese opening fire against his fellow soldiers and killing at least three of them, just mere days before they were to return home.
    • Tied to this is the fact that it was obvious that he was suffering some sort of mental breakdown and did not seem conscious of what he had done, only able to utter the words "banana fish" to the confusion of the survivors. Crosses with Nightmare Fuel.
    • To add more to this, Griffin was considered a caring and gentle soul, being barely 18 - 19 years old when enlisting and what he witnessed and did in that period harmed him emotionally and mentally. However, no matter what he went through, he remained a kindhearted man but it was his worrying about others that led him to discover what Abraham Dawson was doing to their fellow soldiers, prompting Dawson into injecting Banana Fish and destroying Griffin's life.

     Episode 2 
  • Skipper's death. This was someone in whom Ash placed his utmost trust and care, being a confidante alongside Shorter and the bad guys took advantage of that relationship, kidnapping him to have Ash submit to them. What's worse is that he could have survived but he wished to protect Ash and, unfortunately, his outburst startled the gunman who shot at him instead.

  • When being interrogated after being framed for Marvin's murder, the detective in charge brings up Ash's past as a child prostitute and porn star and makes him, alongside Jenkins and Charlie, watch one of the videos. Ash promptly lashes out at the situation and demands that both Jenkins and Charlie stay away from him when they try to comfort and help him. Later on, they'll try to have Eiji talk to Ash to see if he can get something out of the other to help their investigation and have a chance to clear Ash's name but Eiji can't bring himself to do it, especially after seeing just how hurt and defeated Ash looked, to the point Eiji walks out of room distraught and crying for his friend.

     Episode 3 
  • While in prison, Ash and Max realise that they have a connection through Griffin and while at the beginning Max was enthusiastic and happy to meet him, Ash soon enough closes off and berates Max for his neglect of Griffin and that he didn't do enough, accusing Max of only wanting to find the truth as a way to feel better about himself and his guilt. They manage to reconcile, but it happens just when Griffin is killed, which leads to other regrets to be born.

     Episode 4 
  • Ash's reaction to Griffin's death. Keep in mind that this happened shortly after Skipper's and during the ensuing days he has suffered all sorts of abuse and violence in prison but he had hope that he was able to keep Griffin safe somehow. This hits even more when thinking just for how many years had Ash kept his brother a secret from everyone and doing anything and everything to give Griffin the care he needed after coming back from the war basically a vegetable, not recognising his own little brother.

  • Ibe's frustration and horror over how such violence could exist in a country that prides itself on being a land of opportunity for all.
    Ibe: People keep getting killed left and right! The land of the free? The hell it is!

     Episode 5 
  • Eiji talking to Ash and Shorter about his past as a pole vaulter and his Career-Ending Injury. What happened not only stopped him from physically continue training but also affected him mentally to the point he felt numb. He goes on telling them that he just began feeling like he could do something again when meeting Ash, which is why he practically begs them to allow him to help even when he knows he can't do much.

  • After barely surviving his failed attempt on Golzine's life, Ash is told by Max that they have to go to Cape Cod, his hometown, to retrieve Griffin's letters and diary for clues. This rattles Ash, who already feels vulnerable after everything that has happened up until that point, making his way to the roof of their hideout and silently crying while looking at the sunset. This scenes serves to remind us that this is a seventeen year old boy who has had to endure an outstanding amount of pressure and pain.

     Episode 6 
  • The reception he received from his father, Jimmy, in Cape Cod was... not the warmest. From the get-go, his father insults and is antagonistic to Ash, something that rattles everyone around to the point that Eiji and Max called him out on his attitude but never really surprising Ash, who seems to be too well aware of Jimmy's disdain towards him and just accepting it as if it was normal.
    • On that note, the reason for such bad blood between them: Ash was abused at the age of 7 by a man loved by the community so, even with the blatant signs of assault he sported on his body, Ash was accused of seducing the guy. Heck, his father told Ash to just let it happen and to charge for it after it proved to be much of a hassle trying to get the man to justice. Then, in a desperate attempt to stop this, Ash stole Jimmy's gun and killed the bastard, which led everyone to find out that the guy had raped and killed several other children, only sparing Ash because the kid charged him. However, the scandal was so big that Jimmy was intent on sending him away to a relative but Ash escaped to New York, where he prostituted himself and, later on, ended up under Golzine's control.
    • To continue with this tragedy, Jennifer, Ash's stepmother, is a gentle woman who genuinely cares for him and wishes for father and son to somehow reconcile. Unfortunately, she was held hostage along her husband by Golzine's goons and in the confusion was killed, something that clearly horrifies Ash and that just increases his guilt.
    • Seriously, this story is far from kind to Ash, and this is barely the beginning of it all.
  • Ibe's conversation with Ash. He doesn't like that Ash had been teaching Eiji how to use a gun, saying that in Japan they don't carry arms nor do they need them. He also, not unkindly, state that both teens are too different so to try and keep a distance to protect each other. Ash looks resigned and almost melancholic but he reminds Ibe that they're no longer in Japan and if they want Eiji to survive he needs to learn how to defend himself or he could die.

     Episode 7 
  • Max's family situation. He clearly still loves his ex-wife and adores his son, but his pursuit of banana fish and his constant bickering with Jessica has caused quite the strain in his relations and he's not around as much as he likes.
    • Ash calling out Max over this, telling him that kids can't choose their parents and that it's the parents that have to do everything in their power to protect their children and bring stability to a home. This hits hard, especially after seeing just how bad things were between Ash and his father.
  • After finding out more about what is banana fish and why would the mafia may want it, Max cautions Ash to be careful and don't act rashly, clearly fearing for the teen's life. But Ash sees this as the greatest opportunity he'll ever have of finally being free from Golzine's control once and for all, showing just how desperate he is of finding some sort of peace in his life.
  • Shorter being forced to play double agent by the same people who his parents told him would always have their back. He had incredible faith in the Lee clan and that they would honor their agreement with Ash but in almost no time they allied themselves with Golzine and put Shorter in the difficult situation of betraying his best friend or endangering the last member of his family he has left.
  • The conversation Ash and Eiji have where Ash tells Eiji to go back to Japan. Throughout the episodes, we saw how close these two grew to one another and how important they are to each other but with each day the danger escalated and Ash felt he had no choice but to ask the other to escape while he still could. Eiji, of course, felt that this was more out of the fact that he doesn't contribute as much as the others and hasn't been of much help. Ash denies this and assures him that he has done enough but that it's not fair to ask him to endanger himself when he had a good and safe life he could return to. It's a conversation reminiscent to an unwilling break up where it's clear neither wants to part but they feel they have no other choice left if they want the other to survive.
    • Ibe goes to comfort Eiji, but the teen can only lament his initial choice of staying, still feeling useless and crying over the fact that he can't really help Ash as much as he wishes.
    • On the flip side, Ash is drinking. He may not cry but it's obvious that the conversation he had with Eiji shook him to the core and felt completely depressed over it.
  • Yue Lung telling Shorter that they have to kidnap Eiji in order to trap Ash. Shorter is appalled but he's reminded that Nadia's life depends on his compliance. At this point, Shorter snaps and angrily berates Yue Lung, calling him and his clan out for being no better than Golzine. He is so distraught, he even sheds tears but is all he could do because he knows that if he goes further that could mean the end of his sister.
  • The last scene shows us Michael playing with his birthday gift from his dad while his mom is talking to a friend, worrying about what Max has gotten himself into, when suddenly strange men barge into the house and threaten her and her child.

     Episode 8 

  • What happened to Jessica. Although it is never outright stated, it is heavily implied that she was raped by the men that held her hostage and while her first instinct upon seeing Max is to slap him, she promptly hugs and tells him how scared she was.
    • Michael, taken aside by Ash, recounts the events of what happened as best as he can but he breaks down when reaching the part where his mother was manhandled by the men when trying to protect him. Keep in mind he's just a child, barely 7 - 8, and had to witness things no child should ever have to see.
    • Ash caring for Michael as if they were siblings can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking when remembering how much he looked up to Griffin and how, after his brother went to war and became a victim of Banana Fish, for many years Ash was left on his own without someone to care for him.
  • Shorter's inner turmoil when Ash leaves him in charge of taking care of Eiji and Ibe. He's desperate to tell Ash what's going on, but Yue Lung's presence is a constant reminder of the danger Nadia is in and has no choice but to let his best friend go without being able to give any sort of warning.
  • Ash and Max's reaction to Alexis Dawson's, Abraham's oldest brother, recounting of the events that led to the accidental creation of Banana Fish and how Abraham experimented with soldiers and POWs before joining forces with Golzine. They're both horrified and understandably distraught, especially Ash who is beyond furious about the fact that instead of immediately destroying the drug when seeing how dangerous and harmful it was, Alexis saved a sample that Abraham later on stole, giving way to the current tragedy that they're living to take place.

     Episode 9 

  • Eiji is woken up by Yue Lung and is surrounded by all of the enemies. Arthur informs him how he came to be in Golzine's grasp, placing the fault squarely on Shorter. Eiji refuses to believe that Shorter could ever be capable of betraying Ash and pleads with his friend to tell him the truth. Unfortunately, the distraught expression on Shorter's face and his continued silence only seem to confirm Arthur's words, leaving Eiji in a state of shock before they are roughly separated from one another, with the men taking Shorter away while the two teens try to desperately reach for one another.
    • The fact that Shorter remains silent while Eiji speaks to him reveals just how guilty he feels about his role in the kidnapping, even if he was practically forced to do it. He doesn't try to explain why he did what he did because he obviously felt that no explanation could ever be good enough.
  • Shorter is strapped to a chair in a lab and is injected with Banana Fish. By now, we know that the drug causes bad trip after bad trip to the user and essentially traps them in a nightmarish vision of the world created by their own mind. Seeing Shorter go through that pain and overall being treated as no better than a guinea pig is heartbreaking.
    • To top it all, they bring Eiji to witness it all so that Abraham can manipulate Shorter into believing that Eiji is the source of his fear and pain. Eiji can do nothing but cry silently while seeing and hearing the one who was a close friend and companion scream in horror and suffering, while this man repeats over and over again that for Shorter to be free he has to kill Eiji in the most gruesome and brutal of ways.


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