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Banana Fish   
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Latest Release(s)
v.Artbook Angel Eyes c.Cape Cod, 1985 by Asphodel's haven over 16 years ago
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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
Ends at Vol 19, Chap 59 Heavily abridged with a 2010s setting

User Reviews

3 topics, 10 posts
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User Rating
Average: 8.8 / 10.0 (378 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.62 / 10.0

Last Updated
November 1st 2023, 1:40pm



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Betsucomi (Shogakukan)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (19 Vols - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #486 increased(+115)
Monthly Pos #942 increased(+245)
3 Month Pos #1712 increased(+262)
6 Month Pos #1961 increased(+301)
Year Pos #2335 increased(+402)

List Stats
On 476 reading lists
On 1248 wish lists
On 678 completed lists
On 76 unfinished lists
On 513 custom lists

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User Comments  [ Order by usefulness ]
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Crying like hell  
by Fati1367
December 31st, 2021, 5:13pm
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
End it in 2 days and still crying
It's a 10/10 for me and the only thing I hate is that girly ugly Chinese h0* with thousand lame excuse aka yut lung , he deserves the most painful death and I don't feel any sympathy for ohhh supposed so big and tearjerker past of him , f*** him.
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Surprisingly good read  
by Zazie122
October 8th, 2018, 2:23am
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
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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by hiatusxhiatus
September 11th, 2018, 5:04pm
Rating: 9.0  / 10.0
i deleted my old comment bc it was a rambling mess..
basically this series has its flaws but truly had an impact on me (it made me incredibly upset.)
it was a bad reading choice for already depressed me at the start of the summer. while the adaptation isnt awful i'd recommend the manga over it any day.
i would not recommend banana fish to you if:
-you have a bad past with pedophilia, abuse, sexual assault
-if any of the above topics are greatly upsetting to you
for real, please take care of yourself above all else.
also, not a great choice if you're already having a hard time being happy.
i have a lot of stuff to do so i'll end this by saying this manga left me a huge mess.

... Last updated on December 19th, 2018, 6:42pm
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review of original Japanese-language manga  
by shinsuurin
August 18th, 2018, 10:52pm
Rating: 5.0  / 10.0
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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by tristin
July 16th, 2018, 10:12pm
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
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  
by JapanRocks
March 25th, 2016, 11:59pm
Rating: N/A
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  
by enaikelt
June 24th, 2014, 10:35am
Rating: 9.0  / 10.0
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  
by qdl_95
February 19th, 2014, 10:16pm
Rating: N/A
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  
by Catnipkitten
October 10th, 2013, 8:19pm
Rating: N/A
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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by aiish
October 8th, 2013, 12:14am
Rating: 9.0  / 10.0
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

... Last updated on November 8th, 2019, 12:40pm
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