We’ve reached the halfway mark of the series. A lot of plot points are coming to a head and there’s an unmistakable foreboding feeling to the characters’ actions. I mentioned this last week, but their actions in these next few episodes will solidify their fates as the series continues to speed towards its inevitable conclusion. What dangers await Ash and the rest of the Banana Splits? Let’s dive into Episode 12, ‘To Have and Have Not’ and find out!
Ash don’t play, taking out all of Arthur’s men one by one in an effort to push Golzine’s lapdog out of Manhattan once and for all.
Hiding in Plain Sight: Rather than hiding from Golzine, Ash goes out of his way to ‘run’ into him at the airport knowing full well that Golzine won’t kill him in such a public place. It’s like the ultimate fuck you move and I LOVE IT!!
The Way to a man’s heart: Because he is utterly useless otherwise, Eiji decides to cook a homemade Japanese meal for Ash. It’s a sweet moment, the highlight of which is Eiji teaching Ash how to properly eat natto. Hilariously enough, Ash is not a fan of Eiji’s traditional meal, but, it doesn’t stop him from eating it, anyway.
Themes & Trivia
Meaningful Title: All the episode titles have been references to novels and short stories by famous American authors. This week’s episode is no different, borrowing its title from Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel, To Have and Have Not. The novel follows a fishing captain who is forced into performing illegal activities in order to provide for his family during the great depression.
We’re not so different after all: This is a theme that has come up quite a bit throughout the series so far, normally with respect to Ash. Most folks write Ash off as a heartless monster with no regard for human life, but in actuality, Ash is just a broken man trying to survive in a cold, cruel world. When Sing remarks that Ash is a monster, Lung correctly asserts that they are both remarkably similar to one another having suffered years of abuse at the hands of people they were meant to trust. On another note the same can be said for Ash and Dino Golzine, despite his hatred for Golzine, Ash has a lot more in common with the underworld kingpin than he’d care to admit.
Black Sabbath: Ash must be a fan of rock music, because the name he chose for his secret operation is the name of an English rock group formed in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. The band was known for helping usher in an age of heavy metal music both in their native UK and internationally. Or perhaps Ash is a fan of Boris Karloff’s 1963 Italian horror anthology film Black Sabbath (I tre volti della paura).
New York Public Library: Ash’s favorite place to go is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New York Public Library’s main branch located in Bryant Park, Manhattan. The branch opened in 1911 and is four stories high and 646,680 square feet. Ash’s favorite place to sit is the library’s famous Rose Main Reading Room.
New York Style Hot Dog: Ash get’s Eiji a New York Style hot dog which consists of a plain hot dog topped with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, grilled onions, and ketchup.
I always try to draw a parallel between the title of the episode and the actual content of each episode and this week it was a little easier to do than it has been in the past. There are two sets of Haves and Have Nots; the first being Ash and Eiji. Each feels that the other has something the other lacks. Eiji straight up calls Ash privileged because of his superior intellect and all around badassery, which when compared to Eiji’s all around uselessness makes the disparity between the two of them more apparent, with Ash taking on the role of a Have while Eiji is the Have Not. On the flip side, Ash sees Eiji as someone with infinite possibilities and freedom, simply because he isn’t tied up in all of Golzine’s mess while Ash can’t seem to break away from Golzine or the trauma of his past. Then of course there is the literal Have, Golzine, who manages to wield unimaginable power despite being one of the city’s most notorious crime lords, which puts Ash and the rest of the Banana Splits squarely in the Have Not category.
It’s Lonely at the Top
This week’s episode dove deep into Ash’s personal struggles to reconcile who he really is with whom Golzine groomed him to be. Of course there were more than a few heavy moments, but, I’ve noticed that these last few episodes have been balancing the series’s darker elements with contrasting lighter moments between Ash and Eiji, and Ash and his crew. All in all this was yet another great episode!
I’ll be back next week with another BANANA FISH review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Summer 2018 reviews!!
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast