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YMMV / Banana Fish

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  • Awesome Music: Found & Lost by Survive Said The Prophet is a pretty rocking song fitting for the setting itself.
    • The first ED Prayer X by King Gnu that has caused both great delight and pain amongst the fans, especially the official MV.
    • The new OP, Freedom by Blue Encount.
    • "RED" by Survive Said the Prophet.
    • In general, the entire soundtrack for the anime has been praised several times.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Ash himself, in retrospect. Is he a believable badass yet tragic figure worthy of audience sympathy, or a Marty Stu who needs to have his ego stoked every few arcs?
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    • Yut-Lung, who some fans love for being a charismatic villain and one of the few with a complex motivation. For others, that's cold comfort given the incredibly twisted things he still does.
    • Eiji, of all people, thanks to his characterization in the anime-adaption. Some find him far too "uwu" (cutesy), and dislike how the anime toned down his snarky, sardonic moments. Others dislike him because they feel he's a useless member of "the gang" (quite forgetting that an innocent, foreign-boy with no ties nor past dealings with street-gangs in any country would, realistically, be completely out of his element when in their company on the tough streets of New York City). And then there are others who hate the fact that Eiji, in the anime, is much more closer to the traditional Uke, especially with regards to Ash's more Seme characterization, though the original manga refuses to box them into such categories.
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    • Blanca as well, who some fans love for being Ash's former teacher, mentor, and all-around suave, charming badass... and then there is the other half who can't stand him, and wonder why he couldn't do more to help Ash both in the past and present, or even rescue him from his horrifically abusive upbringing when he (Blanca) knew full well that Ash was being graphically, sexually abused by Dino and others.
  • Broken Base:
    • The decision to set the anime in The New '10s sparked a lot of discussion among longtime fans. Those who didn't mind the change cited the release gap in between the series' run and the anime's release as a primary factor, and mentioned that the updated time period could help draw newer fans. Others decried the action as taking away context from the plot, as the title and the way the characters were handled could only work in their Eighties setting.
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    • The issue of if the anime adaptation ups the Fanservice, and therefore seems to be framing scenes as sexy that were intended as disturbing or even traumatic in the original... or if it's simply making flaws that were already in the original work more obvious, is another subject of hot debate.
    • How does the series handle sexual abuse and trauma? Also, what relationship does it have to Boys' Love, if any? It's started some pretty intense flame wars on social media.
    • The Foxx Arc in both the manga and the anime. Some find it the weakest point of the entire series, redundant, and find Foxx both monstrous to a silly degree and under-developed as a villainous character—others have it at their favorite, and say it is the perfect climax of the whole story where shit hits the ceiling and everyone is at their very best.
    • The fact that Akira and Sing are revealed to have married in the artbook, New York Sense splits the fandom. Some absolutely loathe them together and find it very creepy, while some love it and find it very sweet. Either way, it's easy to find someone who will disagree with you no matter what side you're on.
    • The ending. Oh god, THE ENDING. Ever since it became known that main character Ash gets killed off, fans have been in eternal debate over Akimi Yoshida's decision to do such a thing—especially when it became public knowledge that her own editors told her that it was a bad move, and her selected ending was far too brutal. For many fans, this resulted in extreme Fanon Discontinuity after anything volume 19, due to the sheer cruelty of Ash getting stabbed just when he was running to reunite with Eiji and start anew. For at least half the fandom, this was pretty much when the series was ruined forever. However, there are fans who felt that the ending made sense because after being fatally stabbed, Ash realizes that he still has enemies around and Eiji would be in mortal danger again if he gets involved. It only got even more broken when the epilogue Garden of Light was released, and then the pseudo-epilogue artbook, New York Sense followed.
  • Complete Monster (anime):
    • Abraham Dawson is the scientist who, prior to the main story, found a dangerous drug-like substance known as Banana Fish along with his brother Alexis. After this, Abraham then experimented on his friend by using Banana Fish on him, resulting in the friend's death. Bullied by other soldiers when he went to The Vietnam War-—Iraq War in the anime-—he then uses Banana Fish against other soldiers, including Ash Lynx's half-brother, Griffin Callenreese, in order to pit them against each other. Returning from the war, he then tries to improve Banana Fish and sells them to the Corsican Mafia, led by Dino Golzine for more profit. After finding out that Griffin is still alive, Abraham shoots him in a fit of paranoia. His worst act is when he experiments on one of Ash's friends, Shorter Wong, by brainwashing him with the Banana Fish in order to kill Ash's Morality Pet, Eiji Okumura, while taking a personal delight from all of this.
    • Eduardo L. Fox, aka Edward Foxx, is a ruthless mercenary who faked his own death to escape prosecution for war crimes. Returning under the employ of Dino Golzine, Foxx begins killing at will, wiping out the allies of Ash, taking Ash hostage and raping him to place him under Foxx's control. When Ash escapes, Foxx is only too happy to torture his friends to find out where he is before pursuing Ash to the Foundation. Intending on seizing control and keeping Ash as a broken figurehead slave, Foxx betrays and guns down Golzine while trying to kill all of Ash's allies, intending on ruling over the Foundation with no regard to the misery he spreads.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Shorter. Many new fans of Banana Fish seem to adore Shorter and reacted poorly to his death in episode 9, which trended in Japan.
    • Blanca became popular almost from the moment of introduction in episode 17, The Killers. His design, charisma, and general badassery (not to mention, his past relationship with Ash), has made him one of the favourites in the entire show.
    • Max Lobo is very beloved for his good-natured "dad" personality, and for providing both humor and heart in such a bleak series. He's a fan-favourite, and considered by most to be Ash's "real" father, thanks to how much he grows to care for him like a son.
    • Jessica, Max's estranged wife, isn't given much screentime, but has always been well-received by fans due to her personality and lingering romantic tension with ex-husband, Max.
  • Genius Bonus: The "Banana Fish" of the title and story is a reference to J. D. Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish". The short story itself is mentioned in-series. The anime's episode titles are also all references to famous mid-century novels and short stories by authors such as Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: ASH. As the almost stupidly-popular main character, Ash naturally gets shipped with everyone. There's Ash/Eiji which is pretty much the favorite ship for either character, but there are also those that support Blanca/Ash thanks to their overall history together (and the fact that Blanca asks Ash to come away with him to the Caribbean at the end of the series, though this can also dip into underage-territory if Blanca is paired up with Private Opinion-era Ash. The sheer obsession Yut-Lung has with Ash is interpreted like this for some fans. Then there are others who will pair up Ash with loveable Max due to their chemistry (though it causes major Brain Bleach for those who are utterly disgusted by it), and Chinatown Boss Sing, who has shades of Big Brother Worship towards Ash. Ash also gets paired up with fellow Gang Bangers like Alex, Cain, or even Arthur every now and then. Sometimes he's even shipped with Griffin, his brother! This Troper's even come across Ash/Akira which makes less than zero sense considering by the time Akira appears in the story, Ash has been dead for seven years. Last and definitely least, there are those who even ship Ash with his rapists, Dino and Colonel Foxx—but the fandom would rather not talk about those fans.
    • Eiji gets shipped with plenty of people, some of which are definitely borderline crack pairings like Cain/Eiji, or Blanca/Eiji. Yut-Lung/Eiji has their own fanbase, while Eiji/Sing has its fans as well, though it is also deeply loathed by a lot of the fandom for obvious reasons. Shorter/Eiji still has a small, but devoted group of shippers, many of whom also ship Shorter/Ash/Eiji.
    • Blanca/Yut-Lung has always been popular in the manga, and is popular once more thanks to the nature of their relationship in the anime, despite the fact that Yut-Lung is only 16, and Blanca twice his age. There is also Sing/Yut-Lung, which is also very popular, perhaps even more so, thanks to their close relationship in the manga, the fact that Sing is pretty much Yut-Lung's only friend, as well as the fact that in the somewhat sequel manga, Yasha, now-adult Sing and Yut-Lung are still involved heavily with the Chinese Mafia. For a while, Yut-Lung/Shorter had a surge in shippers, mainly due to episodes 7 and 8 in the anime.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Quite a few members of the community love this manga, especially the relationship between Ash and Eiji.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Former KGB Lieutenant Blanca becomes The Mentor to Protagonist Ash Lynx, making him into a merciless fighter. Hired by Dino Golzine, Blanca attacks and easily subdues Ash for Dino. When Ash manages to escape from Golzine's clutches, it is Blanca who hunts him down for them, using his knowledge of the New York City sewer system. Realizing the depths of the depravity of Yut-Lung, his current employer, Blanca betrays him and allies with Ash out of a show of his own beliefs of honor and human compassion, proving his status as Ash's most Worthy Opponent in the series.
  • Moe: Eiji has been designed to be much cuter and purer than his manga design, courtesy of the director, Utsumi Hiroko. It's something that has led to both his popularity and hatedom.
    • Bones, the mostly-toothless member of Ash's gang is this to some as well (and adorable to all).
    • Short flashbacks where Ash is shown as a little boy before anything bad occured are very popular with fans, since small!Ash is utterly adorable. Him trick-or-treating in his "pumpkin-head" is a popular image among the fandom.
    • Michael, Max's adorable little boy. There was a collective gasp of "aww!" from viewers when he appeared. Later on we see him again in Garden of Light and New York Sense where he is now all grown up.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Dawson experimenting on Shorter with Banana Fish and later forcing Ash to shoot him is his worst act.
    • Foxx was always evil, but when he brutally rapes Ash, he crosses over into monster territory.
  • Never Live It Down: Ash's hate for/fear of pumpkins. In-universe, Eiji really likes teasing Ash about it. Episode 16 seems to make it seem as if his negative energy manifests into his hated pumpkins. Fans love to draw fan-art of Eiji with a pumpkin in order to scare Ash.
  • Periphery Demographic: The manga was a phenomenon among all demographics in Japan when it first came out, and it's not hard to see why. Boys who usually wouldn't touch shoujo found themselves drawn to the gritty and actiony atmosphere, to the point where even Gackt is a longtime fan of the franchise. And despite not being a Boys' Love manga, many of its fans accepted it into the fold.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Several, including more normal ones like Blash (Blanca/Ash), or some rather odd titles like Shortbreadcookie (Shorter/Ash/Eiji).
  • The Scrappy: Lao is completely and utterly universally despised for not just murdering beloved main-character, Ash Lynx, but murdering him just as he is about to go to the airport and reunite with Eiji, and try to start over again after such a horrible life. Lao is also deeply loathed for being the hammer that smashed Eiji's heart permanently by killing Ash, and also for causing younger half-brother Sing so much guilt-by-association. Lao is 100% nonredeemable and unforgivable in the fandom's eyes.
    • Ash's dad, Jim, is massively hated by everyone ever since it was shown that he told his own son (as a small child that too!) to "get paid every time he gets raped". Jim is so loathed that he's been compared to another hugely hated dad, Shou Tucker from Fullmetal Alchemist. That's saying something.
    • Colonel Foxx. He was already hated even before he savagely rapes Ash and psychologically breaks him in a display of power thanks to his unsettling personality. He's just gotten even more loathed as time has gone on, due not only to the aforementioned, but also because some find him poorly written, feel he appeared way too late in the series, and that his arc is the weakest in the story.
    • Unfortunately (for some), Akira, who only appears in Garden of Light and New York Sense, is this. She was rather liked by due to her sweet-natured least until the moment it is shown that she grows up and marries Sing who is ten years older than she is. Many readers immediately hated on her, blaming her for turning Sing into a "pedophile" (even though there was absolutely no implication of this whatsoever in Garden of Light). She is also hated by some fans for "ruining" the ships of both Eiji/Sing and Sing/Yut-Lung, neither of which have ever existed in the first place, and are hotly contested on their own anyways. Many fans also consider Akira's marriage to Sing as proof of Yoshida being a Heteronormative Crusader, and claim that her (Akira's) marriage reeks of Het Is Ew. Just another case of Fandumb.
  • Squick: The fact that Ash was not only raped over and over starting at the tender age of 8, but was a child prostitute for years is disgusting, painful, and horrific to viewers. Any scene in the manga or anime that references this no matter how subtly, tends to induce this reaction.
    • Pairing Ash up with Max, Blanca (or Blanca with Yut-Lung), Dino and Foxx may also induce this reaction for some, though it's the latter two that really horrify most. Speaking of pairings, both the fan-pairing of Sing/Eiji and the canon couple of Sing/Akira can have this reaction among some, though for entirely different reasons.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Ash's father, Jim, is portrayed as a caring father, but the way how he handled his son's rape (such as telling him to "get paid next time"), is taken very poorly by audiences. And despite the story's attempt to redeem him in the present, audiences still regard him as a horrible parent who did nothing to help his son when he was sexually abused by his neighbors.
    • Yut-Lung can delve into this as well, because despite his tragic, brutal backstory, half of the audience finds him irredeemable, evil, and unworthy of sympathy.
  • Values Dissonance: Some of the series' portrayal of LGBT characters come off this way: while the largely sexless romance between Ash and Eiji is praised for being ahead of its time, the fact that most men who identify as "gay" and are shown having sexual interest in other men are also pedophiles and sex traffickers. However, Ash and Eiji’s non-physical relationship is also deeply significant for people who have gone through sexual trauma, and for people who identify as asexual in any way.


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