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From Viz: Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A runaway brought up as the adopted heir and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, Ash, now at the rebellious age of seventeen, forsakes the kingdom held out by the devil who raised him. But the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Vietnam has suddenly fallen into Papa's insatiably ambitious hands--and it's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to make Ash Lynx's acquaintance...
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I finished this a while ago, but I decided to wait a little bit to actually review it. It just made me feel so many strong emotions that I needed to calm down for a while.
First things first... I can't believe some people have rated this manga with a low score (as low as 1!) just because of the art. Thank God that it's only a minority. I want to clarify something: The art is old-fashioned, not bad. We're so used to modern mangas with absurdly beautiful people (by the way, I don't have anything against this kind of art) that it's shocking to see something different. This manga is from the '80s, you can't expect the art to be the same of what's fashionable today. Just have some time to get used to it, and believe me, you will.
And why? Well, not only because the art is good, but also because the story is just wonderful. All of the characters are well developed, so well that you feel for them and actually want them to be happy. At least I did. Especially with Ash and Eiji. Their friendship is so, so, so inspiring. As a reader, you really get to understand their relationship. Ash is trapped in his hellish life and the only way he can feel free is by being friends with Eiji, who has no relation to that kind of life. Eiji, for his part, knows that he doesn't really understand everything in Ash's life but he still wants to be there for him. The way this manga shows how they influence each other is just beautiful.
As some people already stated, this is not a shounen-ai. And I also want to add something else: Even though it deals with pretty heavy stuff (pedophilia, rape, drug-dealing, and so on) you'll never see shocking or disgusting scenes. Being really sensitive to images, this is something I'm really thankful for. You know that horrible stuff happened, but you will never see it and you don't need to. The reactions of the characters are enough for you to know just how much they were affected by it, and there's nothing else you need.
I think this manga is so good that it goes beyond being a shoujo. Everyone should read it. And about the ending, don't worry - it's perfect. At least, I'm satisfied with it, even though I cried for several days because of it.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Everyone told Ash that his friendship with Eiji couldn't possibly work, and they were right. They came from different worlds that could not be combined, but still they defied fate. And eventually won against it, for with Ash death their friendship will stay uncorrupted forever. I sincerely think that Ash accepted his death with peace and didn't fight against it because he understood this. And so, he died with a smile on his face. He was finally free.
If you haven't read this, do yourself a favor and read it. You will suffer. But it will be worth it.
No, I don't mean the art, though I give it an A++ for its realistic depiction of physical characteristics of the different races. The Caucasians don't look like the Asians don't look like the African-Americans.
The plot is very riveting, and the characters are all multi-faceted individuals with different motivations. Although I was hoping for more romance between the two main characters (this is the BL fan in me speaking), I wasn't dissatisfied with how the mangaka portrayed their unbreakable bond. After all, it would be unrealistic for the two to dive into a relationship what with all that was happening.
This manga will make you think, make you hold on to the edge of your seat, and make you realize that the world is full of grays. I seriously cried buckets at the ending; I cried at the mere mention of this manga's title DAYS after I finished it. I'm a sucker for happy-ever-afters, but I believe that the ending was the most realistic, the most logical and keeps with the manga's whole violence-begets-violence tone, and without it Banana Fish wouldn't be as memorable as it is. (PS: The epilogue will make you cry more.)
In short, this manga was just... just heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
I've only read the first chapter, but I've got to give it some credit. When I read the comments, I thought "Christ some two year old must be drawing again". I found such thinking to be incredibly wrong and I just postponed a peep at what could be a memorable read. The art isn't filled with hot guys which doesn't fit the shoujo sterotype and some are blindsided by that. I'm just going to read it as if it were a Shounen with subtext.
No just no
I couldn't get past the first page.no Matter how beautiful the story is if the art isn't I can't never read this.if you want an interesting manga with beautiful art and story line than this go for kuroshitsuji
... Last updated on August 22nd, 2012, 2:35am
My kind of Classic...I will never forget it.
I've heard of this title before, way back when I first started reading seinen and josei, and I straight out ignored it simply because of the ridiculous title. But then..man was I smacked in the face when I decided to read it years later. BF got me hooked in the later chapters when I realized that this is no mere manga about NY inner-cities gang conflicts. It's about sacrifice, relationships, love, danger, dignity, shame, and so much more that this 19 volume series contains. Other being super violent and action packed, it's also about the impenetrable bond between two boys who are polar opposites of each other.
However, it really isn't for every body. If you are looking for a steamy yaoi smut, or any kind of shonen-ai action, THIS IS NOT IT. The relationship between the two main protagonists is up to the reader to decide because the author has made it so. Also, don't be too turned off by the art at first if you really do want to give it a try. I wasn't too put off by it..and it gets better later.
Overall, I seriously love this manga to death. I finished the ending a few days ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. It will always be in my heart. Yoshida Akimi is brilliant and the translations for the English publications is astounding. I almost forgot it was a Japanese author that wrote it. Wow. Thanks for reading this long ass review.
hate it !
I start it, but could even do a chapiter ! maybe the story is good after, but the art is really really horrible ! the art is Horrible, i really don't like the charactere they are uglu ! i really can't read this things " sorry for the fan " but, every body has his own tast, so maybe you could like it ? :/
This series is so horrible
it was very, very good in the beginning, but then it went downhill. the ending was the worse ending i've ever read and even though its sad it didnt make me cry. the ending was pointless. it made no sense whatsoever and it was like the author just crapped out the ending because they didnt care about the story anymore.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
ash just gets knifed randomly...and bleeds to death in the library...and doesnt call for help...
to those of you who were wondering, there is no shonen ai in here. there is, however,
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
gay/ and straight rape (not graphic, they only say it happened) and a kiss between two males but that was only so one of them could pass a hidden message to the other.
you could interpret things in a shonen ai way, but really if you're reading just for that you will be disappointed.
this series was horrible because it started off amazingly, and then went to the pits. it would have been better if the author didn't write an ending at all.
really good classic
please don't be put off by the art, the story more than makes up for it. (plus i like the art--at least towards the later volumes anyway)
but: this is SHOUJO. it ran in a SHOUJO MAGAZINE and it was written primarily FOR GIRLS. of course guys can enjoy it too and i highly recommend it to everyone regardless of gender, but please give shoujo manga some credit, they're a diverse bunch--much more than just flowers and high school romance.
good manga for boys ^_^
I heard about "Banana Fish" after reading "Let Dai" and was expecting some... you know... "shounen ai" ^_~. It's not a "shounen ai", but imho even the bonds of friendship between boys weren't described well enough. For me it is a shounen manga, mostly dedicated to Ash's coolness (in a kitsch way), politics and mafia. It lacks senses and depth in describing of friendship, love, inner worlds of protagonists, motives. It looks for me like all guys there are just playing "aren't we cool men" games, letting their enemies go, when it's better to kill them, taking elegant revenges. After all the good comments about "Banana fish", I was reading it attentively till volume 5 and then I just began to read only the manga parts with Ash or Eiji being involved - I was trying to find the reason for all these pathetic comments. Till the end, these parts of a manga were not deep enough for me. "Let Dai" is much more touching and deep and realistic, makes you feel terrible and shiver and scared of this dark world of street gangs's violence, and at the same time makes you feel attracted to it and to not-always-cool-and-right protagonists. For me, there was no such a thing in Banana Fish. Oddly enough (for mangaka-woman), it's a good shounen manga (especially for not very mature readers). From the ~13volume began a real good action The specials were good too. Just because of that, I'm giving it 7/10.
... Last updated on July 11th, 2011, 2:57pm
One of the best series iv read.... but man did it take me a long time to get over the ending!!! It hurt soo much..... he deserved to be happy after all he went through. I bawled at the end. Still angry with the author for doing that