The penultimate episode is here. Episode 23, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, takes us to the edge, setting everything up for BANANA FISH’s finale. Everyone’s lives hang in the balance. Emotions are running high. And loyalties will be tested.
Japanese Title: 誰がために鐘は鳴る
Eiji is hospitalized for his injuries from last week’s episode, but Ash is kept away by Blanca in an effort to keep Eiji from being implicated as an accomplice to his crimes. After dealing with some internal conflict, Ash and the rest of the gangs gear up for a final assault on the mental health facility and Dino and Fox….
Animation Upgrade: I don’t know if it’s just me, but the animation in this week’s episode is even more detailed and beautiful than in the previous few episodes. The background art is gorgeous (as always) but there’s somehow more depth to it than before. There’s a scene where Ash is sitting on a windowsill looking out at the sunrise and you’d swear it was a damn painting. The lighting, the details, just everything… looks like something you’d find hanging in a museum.
Tragic Backstory: Yut Lung has talked at length about his past and the trauma he endured at the hands of his family, but we get to see the events unfold in a brief flashback. The flashback shows the events surrounding Yut Lung’s mother’s death. The longer Yut Lung narrates, the more unhinged he gets (which at this point is hard to do).
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 the 1940 novel by American author, Ernest Hemingway!
Farewell to Arms: When Blanca is packing to leave Yut Lung, you can see a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s 1929 novel, Farewell to Arms, in his suitcase. The novel is about an expatriate, Henry, and his love affair with an English nurse during World War II. The love affair has many similarities to Blanca’s own romance with his wife Natalia.
The Creation of Adam: There’s a scene between Ash and Eiji that mimics Michelangelo’s famous painting ‘The Creation of Adam’, located in the Sistine Chapel. Ash visits Eiji in the hospital to say his goodbyes and leaves, but Eiji follows him. Unable to stand, Eiji begins to fall reaching out for Ash as he falls, meanwhile Ash rushes forward to catch him, their hands almost touching. The pose is similar to that of God and Adam in the painting, only in reverse.
The pieces are all in play and it’s time for the final assault, I’m not going to say all that much here this time around, but, this was definitely a very emotional episode for Ash. With Eiji in the hospital and everything going to hell, the series is entering its final phase. There were some great emotional moments from Ash as he struggles to hold himself together now that Eiji is out of commission. Yut Lung was just the tiniest bit more sympathetic than he has been in the past and finally we get some backstory on my boy Blanca!
But, the absolute highlight was seeing Dino Golzine get shot in the chest by Fox! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loathe Fox, but, I hate Dino just the teeniest bit more. Unfortunately, the act wasn’t as satisfying as I would have hoped, simply because it SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASH! You can clearly see it on his face when Golzine falls to the ground, his prize has been taken from him and there will be hell to pay for it!
Vienna Waits for You
This is it, guys. I have been waiting for these last few episodes since the anime was announced and it is so satisfying to see the story and characters I love given so much reverence by the animation staff. Everyone is about to be tested in ways they haven’t been before and it’s going to be one hell of a finale!
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 Fall 2018 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: The Catcher in the Rye (ライ麦畑でつかまえて)
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast