We’ve finally reached the end of the road, and BANANA FISH saved the biggest whammy of all for the last episode. Grab a box of tissues, because Episode 24, ‘Catcher in the Rye’, is bound to bring on the water works. In the series that keeps raising the stakes, this week’s episode hits you where it hurts.
Japanese Title: ライ麦畑でつかまえて
Ash and the Banana Splits face off against Fox and his men. Everything they’ve been working towards all season is on the line and Fox isn’t going down without a fight! Meanwhile, Eiji is planning to head back to Japan.
Dedicated to Unsho Ishizuka: This week’s episode was dedicated to Unsho Ishizuka, the voice actor of ‘Papa’ Dino Golzine. Ishizuka passed away from esophageal cancer in August of 2018 and was the voice behind several noteworthy anime characters.
Now with more explosions: BANANA FISH isn’t a show that shies away from the violence, but this week’s episode wastes no time jumping right into the action. The first half of the episode features the final showdown between the Banana Splits and Fox and his men, and it is AWESOME! Guns are blazing and the whole team is on the offense!
Eiji’s Letter: At the end of the episode Eiji sends Ash a letter he wrote, and it is by far one of the most beautiful scenes in the series. Not only does Eiji narrate the contents of the letter, but the contents are shown on the screen in Eiji’s handwriting while scenes from the earlier episodes are displayed in the background.
Themes & Trivia
Meaningful Title: All of 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 J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye!
Faust: Dino calls Col. Fox, Faust, which is a reference to the protagonist of the same name from German folklore. Faust was a wealthy, but discontent man who made a deal with the devil exchanging his soul for knowledge and worldly pleasures. The name has become synonymous with anyone that seeks out success without any regard for morality.
I knew this was coming from the start, but it didn’t make the impact of Ash’s death any less heart wrenching. First, I want to applaud the anime for handling such an important scene with so much reverence and care. This is what the entire series has been leading up to and the emotional impact was just as strong as when I read the manga all those years ago. I will admit that I did tear up a bit, certainly not the full out ugly cry I did when I first read that Ash died, but, I still felt it. I really hope that they do an OVA of the ‘epilogue’ short story Akimi Yoshida wrote, Garden of Light, but, if they don’t it won’t be a total loss.
Everything was on point in this finale and all of the loose plot threads were tied up and nice neat little bows. Dino is dead. Fox is dead. Yut Lung isn’t a threat. Eiji is safe. The secret sex crimes of Dino and the government are out in the open… And for one moment, one single solitary moment, Ash had hope.
Of course a part of me kind of wishes that the anime had decided to diverge from the manga and give us a happier ending, but, BANANA FISH just isn’t that kind of series. Even in the end.
Live Fast Die Young
This was simply put a beautiful and tragic end to one of the most unapologetically raw series of Fall 2018. I said this from the beginning, BANANA FISH is not a series for the faint of heart, it’s ugly and gritty and there are times where it just breaks your heart with all the tragedy, but, if you stick it out and watch to the end… it’s worth it! This was a poignant end to my absolute favorite series.
That’s it for BANANA FISH review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Fall 2018 reviews!!
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast