Yut-Lung helps Ash breaks free, and he doesn’t skip a beat in tearing down Golzine’s mansion. Still, I’ve lost a lot of excitement for this show over the past few weeks. It’s just not hitting on all cylinders. Last week, commenters pointed out that you could use Banana Fish to assassinate people. Sure, if it’s something you can discretely slip into someone’s system. Let’s not also forget that you have to then plant ideas to their heads — ideas like “kill so and so.” While the assassination angle is far more plausible than the alternative, it still doesn’t make the military angle any less difficult to swallow. I also can’t help but wonder how a victim is supposed to discern between competing influences while under the effects of the drug. Like what if shortly after consuming Banana Fish, you hear a commercial that tells you to buy and eat doggie treats. Are you now forced to buy and eat doggie treats lest you go crazy? Or is Banana Fish only capable of heightening a person’s murderous impulses? I dunno, man, anyway you look at it, it still seems like magic pixie dust to me.
Still, I think what leaves in the cold the most about the show is that the villains are just underdeveloped in general. At an early point in the episode, when Ash still thinks that the situation is hopeless, he tearfully begs to die. Of course, there’s no way on earth Arthur would show Ash any mercy, because… because he got his fingers shot off? Because he was humiliated on the mean streets of New York? I don’t doubt that some people are just bastards. These jerks probably tortured animals while growing up, so now that they have the power to pick on actual humans, they relish the opportunity. The problem for the anime, however, is that all of the bad guys seem to be wired in the exact same way. With Yut-Lung as possibly the lone exception, everyone else just seems like cold, heartless bastards without an ounce of emotional depth. Take Arthur for instance. Or the depraved pedophile Golzine. Or even Lee. They seem like they’re hellbent on torturing Ash just because he disrespected them. Like that’s it. Yawn.
Misc. notes & observations:
— According to Golzine’s henchmen, Eiji’s not cute enough to rape right now. Hm.
— In his dreams, Ash sees Griffin before his mind got ruined by Banana Fish. But all of a sudden, Griffin turns into Eiji. So that’s why he likes the Japanese kid that much? He sees Eiji as his older brother? And since he was too young to protect his older brother, does he now want to do everything he can to protect Eiji? Well, he’s not doing a very good job at that…
— When Ash wakes up, he sees Yut-Lung instead of Eiji. I guess this plays into the Chinese guy’s jealousy. Had the circumstances been different, he’d be the one buddying up with Ash. Instead, even though he helps our hero break free, the latter can’t help but swear that he will get his revenge one day. You can’t blame Ash for this either. Yut-Lung is the reason why they all got caught.
— Elsewhere, a generic, unnamed presidential candidate is brutally murdered. We turn to see that his killer is probably his own wife. She then offs herself, which prevents anyone from asking her any questions. Still, an autopsy should clue the authorities in on the fact that her mind was severely messed up. You might then argue that since Golzine also has allies in the police force, he might able able to suppress this information from getting out, but eh… it’s not a satisfying explanation.
— I just think that even if you manage to kill one presidential candidate, it wouldn’t take long before others start catching on.
— Golzine laments the fact that wild beasts like Ash don’t have any ambitions. Instead, they just long for freedom. Sorry, but that’s a stupid sentiment to me. To a slave, what is more ambitious than freedom? Honestly now…
— There’s also nothing ambitious about being successful if you’re just riding somebody else’s coattails. Oh, so I can be rich and powerful too, and all I gotta do is let you physically and sexually abuse me? Gee, I feel so empowered.
— We got Sing out here acting like a goddamn ninja.
— Eventually, Golzine hears about Ash breaking free. I kinda wish he had gotten the news while reading a children’s book to a room full of elementary schoolchildren. Would’ve been funny.
— Anyways, Ash goes Rambo on the entire mansion. There’s not much to say here except that Jessica’s rapist gets a bullet to the head. Retributive justice is far from the best form of justice, but in non-ideal situations (i.e. when you’re up against a pedophile’s mercenary army), it’s a form of justice.
— Look at these dorks. One of them is in overalls for Christ’s sake. What is this? An ad for Osh Kosh B’gosh? They also greet Golzine’s men without weapons drawn. On the other hand, Golzine’s men do have their weapons drawn. But guess who gets shot first? Yep, Golzine’s men do. Dumb.
— Someone tells Sing that Ash had killed Shorter, and the kid can’t believe what he’s hearing! Ash and Shorter were best friends! How could he kill his best friend! He swears he’ll kill Ash if the rumors really are true. I want to say, “You should at least ask Ash for an explanation,” but y’know, people do inexplicable things. For instance, you might never expect your SO to cheat on you, but this happens way more often than it should. Basically, I don’t blame Sing for being impatient and trying harder to discern what might have happened.
— While this is all going down, the Dawson brothers are carving up Shorter’s head to examine his brain. Y’know, I expect Abraham to be a lost cause, but I guess his older brother isn’t much better either.
— Alexis manages to escape, but his lil’ bro is stopped in his tracks by Yut-Lung. The Chinese guy then paralyzes the scientist, leaving him a sitting duck for Ash.
— Immediately after saving Eiji, Ash hands his one true love over to his gang to protect. Meanwhile, he’s got unfinished business.
— Eventually, Ash discovers Abraham’s lab and finds the paralyzed scientist cowering in fear. Our hero breaks down as soon as he seems Shorter’s mangled body. He then riddles Abraham with bullets. Welp, that about does it for a character who never really had much screen time to begin with.
— Afterwards, Ash torches Shorter’s body, but hangs around long enough for Sing to show up. The latter demands answers, but Ash isn’t in the mood. So of course, this will create yet another antagonist that our hero will have to contend with in later episodes. Sigh.
— In the aftermath, Sing is forced to follow Yut-Lung’s orders to protect himself. The latter probably wants to use the former against Ash.
At this point, I have to wonder on why the manga that this anime is adapted from receive so much praise? I mean based on what I’ve read, I think the adaptation is more or less faithful to the source material. I’m not saying this is a trainwreck, but I don’t think this is that good. It’s kinda meh with some freefall right into the stupidland from time to time to be honest. Well, people on the internet also think Planet With is good, so I guess I’m just gonna ehh…?