Ash Lynx
Okumura Eiji
Fanservice Pic!
Banana Fish
Yoshida Akimi
Yoshida Akimi's shoujo manga is like no shoujo you've seen.  Banana Fish follows the story of young gang leader Ash Lynx as he quests for answers in the mystery of his older brother's mental
deterioration and eventual death.  He takes it upon himself to uncover the mystery of his brother's last words, "banana fish." Doing so means going up against Papa Dino Golzine, the Corsican mafioso who owns a large chunk of the New York underworld--and once owned Ash himself--but Lynx proves he's more than just a pretty face and definitely up to the challenge. 

Caught up in the danger is Okumura Eiji, the young assistant to a Japanese photographer who came to Americia to do a piece on the gang life in New York.  He and Ash quickly form a deep and unbreakable friendship that proves to be part lifesaver and part liability.
The gritty realism of the story is what sets Banana Fish apart from so many other shoujo manga titles.  Though featuring many of the traditional elements of the shounen-ai genre of manga, Yoshida's use of outside influences--Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and the American film Midnight Cowboy have both been cited as helping to shape the characters and situations in Banana Fish--give this manga a broader appeal. Ash, Eiji, and the rest of the characters are vivid and colorful, more than enough to keep readers hooked through all nineteen volumes of the series.  And if the characters aren't enough, Yoshida's action sequences are packed with bullets, knives, and frenzied activity. This is truly a shoujo manga for men and women alike.

The art is typical of manga of the mid-eighties, reminicent of Saki Hiwatari's
Please Save My Earth. Though not beautiful by current standards, the artwork in Banana Fish is bold and unwavering, and gets consistently better with each volume.  Yoshida's character designs are varied and powerful, each with a style that is unique to that person.
Be prepared for a fast-paced emotional ride with Banana Fish.  Yoshida packs a lot of punch in each volume, deliberately leaving you hungry for one more page.
Angela's Rating:
four P-chans
Banana Fish was published by Flower Comics in Japan from 1985 to 1994.  A spinoff series, Private Opinion, and an artbook titled Angel Eyes feature the same characters. 

The series is being released in the U.S. by Viz, originally in their
Pulp anthology and now (as of December 2002) as part of Animerica Extra.  As of May 2003, seven graphic novels have been released in America:

Volume 01--ISBN 1569313202          Volume 05--ISBN 1569316732
Volume 02--ISBN 1569313695          Volume 06--ISBN 1569316953
Volume 03--ISBN 1569314381          Volume 07--ISBN 1569318433
Volume 04--ISBN 1569315442

Viz is currently re-formatting
Banana Fish into its original right-to-left format and has plans to re-release all seven graphic novels and continue the series with the new layout.
All Banana Fish artwork featured on this page was taken from www.boukenshin,net/boyfruit





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