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Banana Fish  
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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...

Epic in scope, and one of the best-selling shojo titles of all time in Japan, Akimi Yoshida put an electric shock into the genre and gained a huge crossover audience through Banana Fish's stripped-down, non-stop style.

(Source: VIZ Media)


Related Series

Associated Names
Банановая рыба

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.Artbook Angel Eyes c.Cape Cod, 1985 by Asphodel's haven over 11 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
19 Volumes (Complete)
11 Volumes +1 Special volume (Complete) - Bunkoban

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1, Chap 1

User Reviews

3 topics, 10 posts
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User Rating
Average: 8.8 / 10.0 (297 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.57 / 10.0
 49% (146 votes)
 22% (66 votes)
 13% (39 votes)
 6% (17 votes)
 3% (10 votes)
 1% (4 votes)
 1% (4 votes)
 1% (2 votes)
 0% (1 votes)
 3% (8 votes)

Last Updated
November 10th 2018, 8:47pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Betsucomi (Shogakukan)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (19 Volumes - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #228 increased(+31)
Monthly Pos #281 decreased(-6)
3 Month Pos #171 decreased(-142)
6 Month Pos #66 increased(+79)
Year Pos #195 increased(+482)

List Stats
On 380 reading lists
On 1021 wish lists
On 491 completed lists
On 61 unfinished lists
On 413 custom lists

Note: You must be logged in to update information on this page.

Forum Posts
Hiroko Utsumi Directs Banana Fish TV Anime 8 months ago
Banana Fish (Akimi Yoshida) over 7 years ago
Really hardcore? over 8 years ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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Surprisingly good read   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Zazie122
October 8th, 2018, 2:23am
This caught me off guard. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it's one of my favourites. The subject matter is really heavy and if people aren't comfortable with things like child rape then it's going to be very hard to sit through, but if you can stomach it... it's worth it.

Considering it was written in the 1980s I found it to be rather progressive in a weird sense. It didn't do any victim blaming, it handled the different racial backgrounds of everyone well (the Chinese were kind of seen as "evil" but honestly it really was just the Lee family who were corrupt, Sing and everyone else weren't doing anything bad), etc. Sure, it wasn't entirely believable, but it's a manga so I can let some things slide.

If I'm honest, Ash is a bit of a Gary Stu (especially with the IQ stuff) but I still love him a lot. He's been through hell and back and still manages to not be completely broken, at least on the surface. He does what needs to be done, even if the past keeps haunting him. He's definitely tragic in an over-the-top way, but somehow it worked for me. I don't really know why, lol.

The best part of the series for me was Yut Lung, who is a very well-written character. I was extremely glad that he
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
got as much of a "good end" as he could get. He got his revenge, told his inner demons to F off and tried his damnedest to turn his life around and make a good name for himself. I'm proud of him, considering he was a lonely alcoholic for a portion of the series.
Although, part of me does wish that Yut Lung's backstory was explored more beyond what happened to his mother and the implied incest but I do understand that he's only a secondary character who doesn't need his past entirely fleshed out.

The anime does improve on some things, in case anyone cares. It changes things around but as of writing this at 13 episodes it's rather loyal. The action is definitely better. Also, Hosoya Yoshimasa plays a killer Arthur.

As for the ending of the manga...
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
It's really brutal (I almost cried... I'd been spoiled on the ending but it still got me, oof) but I get what the author was going for. If Ash had survived he would've been completely broken and miserable, even with Eiji there. He'd been through too much. And considering he was in a very public place he easily could've gotten help, but he'd made the choice to die. He'd had enough. I like to think he's free from his pain and trauma now and hanging out with Shorter, Skip and Griffin. Maybe.

TL;DR: Very very good series if you can handle the heavy subject matters. The characters are enjoyable. Except for Golzine and his cronies, of course. Screw them.

PS Eiji is the most pure character I've ever come across. Somehow even the mafia couldn't corrupt him. What a good boy.
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Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by hiatusxhiatus
September 11th, 2018, 5:04pm
pretty much loved it except the racism i dont give a if it has plot armor or whatever like it didn't take away from the story so i really dont care. mixed feelings on the ending, because it made me genuinely really upset, not because it was a *bad* ending but like mixed feelings. i liked a lot of the english translation (except the racism) like i liked how eiji and ibe spoke broken english and sometimes talked to each other in japanese cuz like thats realistic and gave it charm, i liked the 80's fashion and art and little quirks in their speech, i liked all of their character designs a lot like all of the important characters looked unique without having to look ridiculous and their designs really helped their characterization. i think akimi yoshida basing some of their designs off of real people helped with that (and ash's design being based on river phoenix hurts... rip river phoenix) anyway its been a couple months since i finished this but for a long time after finishing it i literally felt like someone died or something like it hit me hard so i really dont care if ash is a mary sue or whatever. please read this instead of watching the anime cuz they moved it to present day which is stupid. the political climate of the 80s was unique and cements the story in time like a story and the time its written/set are inseparable imo, stories are so influenced by when they're written and u can't really look at it through a present day lens and see the same thing. so thats why the adaptation bugs me. but hey the soundtrack is good at least and its cool how they went to different locations to make the backgrounds realistic and stuff. anyway this is about the manga not the anime so i'll stop talking about that. i really liked the little interactions between the pee oh cees like eiji and sing like i felt that. those little things made it feel like it was actually in america and i appreciated that. yoshida kinda went ham with the graffiti but its cool i like it, nyc's graffiti isn't like that but i thought that was fun/funny and added to it...

flaws here:
-race ism with how it portrays black people especially -_- also latinos but not as much cuz theres not many in the story. i mean its from the 80s but that doesnt make it any better. at least they're not portrayed as evil, stupid, and brutal but like the bar is so low dude..
-its definitely not the worst I've seen in handling the topics of sexual abuse/pedophilia, but at times it really coulda done a better job about that.... like if u have any trauma in that area be careful with this manga cuz theres a lot of it. its not romanticized or portrayed positively ever in the whole manga but its still there and heavy and upsetting so be careful.
-i *guess* u could say ash is a mary sue but he's so likable that who gives a. i wanna give him a hug he's the only white guy i'll ever love along with river phoenix.
-most of the villains were pretty 2d but in this context it didn't really matter to me at least

highlights for me:
+i love the people of poc of color interactions and the chinese characters especially sing love that kid
+i like how sing's design looked like something out of akira cuz akimi yoshida supposedly loves akira i just liked that
+the character designs were so good
+i loved ash and eijis relationship even tho i wish it could've been expanded on more
+i loved the side and main characters... they all felt like friends ? i didn't like max much tho but otherwise.
+i mean. if u wanna see something tear ur heart out read this... this is a + and a - but I'm not getting into it for the sake of spoilers.
+i love their fashion and style its so great
+yes its a shoujo. thats why its good. old shoujo genre was really good
(are we not supposed to swear on here? oops i should edit this.)

... Last updated on September 11th, 2018, 5:08pm
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review of original Japanese-language manga   
Rating: 5.0 / 10.0
by shinsuurin
August 18th, 2018, 10:52pm
Did I enjoy reading Banana Fish? Yes, until I read the ending.
Do I regret reading Banana Fish? Yes.

This review is based on reading the complete Banana Fish manga and the sequel story "Hikari no Niwa", or "Garden of Light", in Japanese.

A Note on Chinese Names in Banana Fish

A Chinese name is pronounced differently depending on the speaker's dialect (such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, or Shanghainese), but it is written the same way in kanji regardless of pronunciation.

In Banana Fish, there is only one scene in which the author provides katakana (pronunciations) for speech in a Chinese dialect by characters of Chinese ethnicity, and the katakana indicates that the characters are speaking Mandarin.

There is no basis in the original Japanese text for the characters' names to be pronounced in Chinese using a dialect other than Mandarin. Any non-Mandarin pronunciation, such as "Yut Lung", "Yau Si", or "Sing Soo-Ling", is not faithful to the original Japanese text.

Below are some of the Chinese names in Banana Fish.

シン・スウ・リン Shin Suu Rin (Japanese pronunciation given by author), no kanji given.

ショーター・ウォン Shootaa Won (Japanese pronunciation given by author), 肖達 (kanji given by author; no kanji given for Won), xiao4 da2 (Mandarin pronunciation in pinyin).

リー・ユエ・ルン Rii Yue Run (Japanese pronunciation given by author), 李月龍 (kanji given by author), li3 yue4 long2 (Mandarin pronunciation in pinyin).

The English pronunciation "Shorter" for Shootaa and any non-Mandarin pronunciations are made up by someone other than the author.

Minuses (-)

(-) Ash, beautiful, smart, rich, a crack shot, a super hacker, possessed of the Spidey-sense, able to identify a wine vintage in a single sip, is overpowered. On top of that, he is also plot-armored, of course. At some point during the series I stopped liking the character, possibly when he started killing people who had surrendered.

(-) Eiji fades into the background partway through the series, around the time the author runs out of Japan-US cultural gags. This might also be why the series ends the way it does.

(-) The ending is soul-crushing. It makes one think the author, over the nine or so years it took to write this series, grew to hate her readers.

(-) Pointless killing of characters occurs too often. The author introduces one powerful character in particular only to kill him 128 pages later. This indicates a lack of planning and overall vision. It takes more effort to keep a character alive than simply to kill him/her off.

(-) Between the action scenes are pages of dense dialogue that drag on too long, as though the author did not know what to plot next.

(-) The author portrays non-straight characters only negatively (alas, both Ash and Eiji are straight), specifically as perpetrators of lewd acts with minors, even though in the real world the majority of such perpetrators are straight.

(-) The artwork quality looks well below professional level, although it improves slightly in the second half of the series.

(-) Some characters of Chinese ethnicity, for example Rii Yue Run, are shown as stereotypical backstabbers with terrifying powers supposedly developed through thousands of years of Chinese civilization.

Pluses (+)

(+) The author writes thrilling action scenes. This is unusual for a shoujo author.

(+) Some characters of Chinese ethnicity, specifically Shin Suu Rin (the scenes featuring Shin and Eiji rank among the best in the whole series), Shootaa, and Maadia, are portrayed positively. In manga and anime, if there are any characters of Chinese ethnicity at all, they usually fit Japanese negative stereotypes.

(+) Secondary characters are strong and well-developed. Max is practically the hero of the first half of the series and Shin is practically the hero of the second half.

There are more minuses than pluses, so Banana Fish does not deserve a positive rating. If you do decide to read it, make sure you have something else to read immediately afterwards so you can recover from the soul-crushing ending.

... Last updated on August 18th, 2018, 10:57pm
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by tristin
July 16th, 2018, 10:12pm
I read this story once, forgot most of it and finally reread it. This story is an absolute masterpiece and I am overwhelmed by the depth of thought and vision that went into making this come alive. It's stunning and wild and breathtaking and I doubt I'll ever read anything quite like it again. Please give this story a try.

... Last updated on July 16th, 2018, 10:58pm
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Loved it and hated it   
Rating: N/A
by JapanRocks
March 25th, 2016, 11:59pm
It's great, it's awesome. Entertaining, funny, action packed, heart wrenching and even a little sweet. Several problems though- the author stretched the story and it shows. That's all well and good. If a story is being well received that gives the author incentive to go wild, make it longer, maybe even include some plot ideas she planned to cut. The problem is, it shows.

The story just kept dragging and dragging until I just couldn't enjoy it anymore. Which was really surprising considering how strong the beginning is. I saw the rave reviews so even though it was a tragedy, I thought that if the story is half as good as everyone is claiming it to be it might be worth it. And it would've been, if the story was just a couple of volumes shorter.

Here's the problem of having a tragic ending in a long running series. You have to keep your main characters alive to get to the end right? So that means you have to keep throwing crap at them that might kill them, but doesn't, making them seem invincible and determined to survive after being constantly beaten down. So when you just make them give up at the end- especially when they've faced worse situations- it doesn't leave a very good impression.
Whether or not the ending is a sad one or a happy one, it's supposed to feel like it fits or else it's just a slap in the face to the readers. This one is an example of a slap in the face. There just wasn't enough highs to counteract all the lows the characters went through. If you keep beating all the characters down and never bring them up, it's just torture porn. Maybe that was the mangaka's original ending from the start. Maybe it would've worked in a shorter or less intense story where you don't have as much time to get attached to the characters. But for this kind of long and tough to read story, having such an unsatisfying ending just made it not worth it. I dislike tragic endings in general, but if it fits with the story and feels right I'll gladly praise it. But I won't praise a story JUST because it had the balls to have a sad ending. I won't be hurt by it, I'll just feel pissed off that the author ruined a good story and wasted my time.

You might feel different. Maybe to you it won't feel so out of place. You might even wonder why I am focusing so much on the ending, what about the rest of the story, the characters, art etc. The story itself is great and unique and I'll gladly recommend it. The characters are very well written and it's easy to connect with them. The art is old but very classy. However, there's a reason I'm not focusing on all of that. I am, and you might be, the type of reader who will dislike the entire story if the ending doesn't feel right. I'm just giving you fair warning that, to me at least, it doesn't. The longer I read on while knowing how it ends the more fatigue I felt. Eventually, around vol 14, I asked myself "What's the point of reading this?" That's definitely not the type of feeling you want to have while reading something.

tldr; Read it. You might like it or you might not because of the ending. Figure it out as you go along.

... Last updated on March 26th, 2016, 12:09am
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Stayed up all night reading it <3   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by enaikelt
June 24th, 2014, 10:35am
I ignored this manga for the longest time. The summary has always sort of radiated two-bit yaoi to me, and I strongly suspected that I would thoroughly dislike Eiji Okamura, pure-hearted young photographer. But after reading through the sparkling comments and categories, I convinced myself to give it a try.

And boy was I not disappointed... at least about the summary. (Unfortunately, I did end up thoroughly disliking Eiji Okamura, pure-hearted young photographer.) But the story is a tightly woven, violent, tragic piece that doesn't pull it's punches. Up until the first time someone was raped, I was almost expecting them a last-minute save, but oh God, no... the author went there. And it pulled the heck out of my heartstrings.

I was also amazed by how much research the author had done... kind of. I wouldn't know an authentic NY street-kid story from a steaming pile, but although the entire story was set in Manhattan, and it's probably rife with errors, not once did I ever notice. (And that's what matters, right? Right.) It read as though written by someone who had grown up right there in New York.

The only part I didn't like about Banana Fish was Eiji. I understand his role - he's there to bring a little goodness and love to what otherwise would have been an incredibly dark, almost unrealistically talented main cast. Most of the people who surround Ash are street-smart, tough, and at least competent... not so Eiji, and he stands out well among the group.

...but did he have to be so useless? Eiji toughens up a little bit toward the last few volumes, but not enough to save his reputation with me. He has more Damsel in Distress moments than you can shake a stick at. Ash is always saving and protecting him - often at great cost to himself - but I, like every other villain in the story, never really saw what was all that lovable about him. Despite being informed so numerous times, I never felt that having Eiji around put me at ease, and while I liked Eiji and Ash's easy banter and friendship, it was overwhelmed by all the moments of wanting to punch him in the face for getting caught/targeted/whatever, again (!!!).

Fortunately, it wasn't enough to ruin the otherwise overall awesomeness of Banana Fish. In summary... read it.

... Last updated on August 23rd, 2014, 2:52am
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one of a kind   
Rating: N/A
by qdl_95
February 19th, 2014, 11:16pm
Really, there isnt anything else quite like it. I wont say much more about the plot and characters, because all those reviewers have sung them high praises. But the art... It's beautiful in its own simple, sincere way. It's an achievement for such scratchy lines to invoke such strong feelings (look at the vol 19's cover). Basically, it's perfect. There's no reason not to read it.
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Heartbreaking but Beautiful   
Rating: N/A
by Catnipkitten
October 10th, 2013, 8:19pm
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I really loved the Ash and Eiji and so for me the story ends with Ash getting the letter.(before he's stabbed) I just can't accept such a sad ending even though I knew it probably wouldn't end very happily. I mean the violent act at the end wasn't necessary at all. I know Ash died happily, but Eiji's life is terrible in the flash forward we see. So for me the story ends with him getting the letter. And in my mind Ash goes to Japan and experiences Japanese life with Eiji... I know that's wishy washy or whatever but I wanted things to end happily for them so badly... I don't think it was necessary to kill him =(

... Last updated on October 10th, 2013, 8:21pm
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Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by aiish
October 8th, 2013, 12:14am
This manga was good, but being the fujoshi I am, I wish there was more interaction between ash and Eiji. Either way it was interesting. Ash was a cool character. Like c'mon he has an iq of 200 o.o but I wouldn't give this story a 10 cause it was slow and sometimes repetitive, with the old guy and ash, but it was a good read still. Disliked the ending cause it was tragic of course but wanted to see more of Eiji and the Chinese guy
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One of a kind   
Rating: N/A
by ElanorR
September 23rd, 2013, 1:58pm
Once you've overcome prejudice against sketchy art, you will begin to realize what a masterpiece this is. And no, it's not a masterpiece just because of the story or the setting. The reason this manga truly shines is 'cause of Ash's character. The circumstances that he goes through, his hatred and loneliness, all endow a certain humanity that no other character in this manga has.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Personally, I hated Eiji's role in the story. It was as if his sole purpose was to simply point out the stark difference between a normal person, and Ash. I believe Ash desired a better ending, rather than the cheap Poetic End that was conferred to him by the sadistic author. Ash was a survivor. His end was completely uncharacteristic imho.

In any case, There is a dearth of manga that accord such depth to the Protagonist's personality. Highly recommended for those who are sick of shallow plotless manga, that have been plaguing the scene lately.

PS: Those who have ditched this manga 'cause of the art are brainless twits who can't comprehend the sheer beauty of well-written plots.

... Last updated on September 23rd, 2013, 2:00pm
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