Monday, March 24, 2008

Manga I wish more people would read Part 1: Banana Fish

Banana Fish has always been near and dear to my heart. It saddens me when a manga series I really like isn't as popular as I think it should be in the library. So I have decided to use this blog to promote it!

Banana Fish is by Akimi Yoshida. She created the 19 volume series from the mid 80s to 90s, so the artwork is a little dated for people who only like the big eyed look of contemporary shojo manga.

Ash is a gang leader in New York City in 1985. A dying man gives him a drug and utters the words "banana fish." This is just one of the many deaths that are puzzling the police and as Ash starts nosing around, he discovers that the trail of suicides and this drug lead to mafia boss Dino, and mob ties throughout the world. Can Ash and his rag tag gang get to the bottom of the deaths? And how does Banana fish tie to Ash's Vietnam Vet brother?

The series was a bestseller in Japan. Even making a magazine's best shojo series ever list as #1, though it never won an award when it was first published. The reason for both of these is probably due to the fact that the series has serious appeal for both male and female readers. The crime family drama with a cast of all boys. I personally feel that the complex relationships and writing style is the main reason people in Japan loved the series. I know that I couldn't get enough of it when I first read the series. When I was visiting with a house wife in Japan, she shared with me her manga collection and she gushed about Banana Fish. It was probably one of the most enjoyable afternoons I've spent with a complete stranger. I had never met the woman, but she shared her house and her love of manga with me. What was even more amazing was that we had so much in common in our reading taste in manga!

So I hope that you all will give Banana Fish a try. It's not the typical manga series so many people pass over it, which saddens me. And of course, you don't want me sad, do you?

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