Are Ash and Eiji from Banana Fish a Canon Ship?

Ash and Eiji kiss to pass a note
Ash passing a note to Eiji

In the neon-drenched underworld of Banana Fish, amidst the grit and grime of gang warfare, a love story unlike any other unfolds.

It's a tale of two souls, seemingly worlds apart, who find in each other a connection that defies explanation.

Ash Lynx was a destitute child. He was trafficked at a young age for prostitution. There, he was taught many things, such as how to become the perfect “pet” or how to assassinate.

Eiji Okumura, on the other hand, is a Japanese photographer who is also a selfless and curious teenager. He has often been described as innocent yet brave.

Their relationship is often speculated on the internet, with the majority agreeing that they indeed were in love.

This brings us to the question: Are Ash and Eiji from Banana Fish a Canon Couple?

Their Story

Before answering that question, let’s understand how they came to be.

Ash and Eiji
Ash and Eiji

Their story begins when Eiji first arrives in New York as a journalist's assistant. Ash, a gang leader, dismisses him as just another outsider. But Eiji's courage and genuine curiosity pique Ash's interest.

As their bond deepened, Ash's perception of Eiji and his feelings toward him underwent a profound transformation. He recognized the authenticity of Eiji's kindness and found himself forming a genuine connection with him.

Ash's protective instincts kicked in, and he went to great lengths to shield Eiji from the dangers that lurked around every corner.

Initially, Ash tried to send Eiji back to Japan for his own safety, but Eiji's unwavering determination to stay and help, coupled with Ash's growing attachment to him, made it impossible for them to part ways.

Ash realized that he needed Eiji in his life, perhaps more than he had ever needed anyone. Eiji's presence was a balm to Ash's wounded soul.

His innocence and honesty offered a stark contrast to the darkness that surrounded Ash, allowing him to experience moments of joy and laughter amidst the chaos.

Eiji's unconditional love became a lifeline for Ash, a beacon of hope in a world filled with despair.

Garden of Light and Angel Eyes Artbook

In Angel Eyes, we catch a glimpse of Ash’s beauty. Some may dismiss this book as a cash grab, but I beg to differ.

They say art is the window to the soul. This art book has just proven how beautiful Ash’s soul is.

Angel Eyes
Angel Eyes

There are illustrations that highlight Ash’s most vulnerable and nostalgic moments. There were some that showed his carefree side.

Most of all, there were tons of artworks that showed how he would’ve been able to love Eiji without the restraints of his past, trauma, or affiliations.

Eiji crying while looking at Ash's photo
Garden of Light

Meanwhile, in Garden of Light, we finally see Eiji acknowledge Ash’s death.

For years, Eiji had lived in denial. Instead, he had kept Ash alive within the confines of his memories, photos, and digital archives.

Eijin going through his photos with Ash
Garden of Light

Eight long years after Ash's death, Eiji finally confronts the depths of his love and makes a courageous decision: to release Ash from the confines of his grief.

He chooses to share a piece of Ash with the world, displaying a photograph titled "Dawn" at his exhibition. This title holds a profound significance, echoing Ash's real name, Aslan, which also means dawn.

Garden of Light
Garden of Light

The title "Dawn" is bittersweet, representing both an ending and a beginning. It mirrors the duality of Eiji's experience: the fading darkness of grief gives way to the brightening light of acceptance and healing.

The photograph, like the dawn itself, symbolizes a new chapter in Eiji's life, where he can cherish Ash's memory while moving forward with newfound hope.

Did Ash Really Have to Die?

Ash dying in the New York Public Library after reading Eiji's letter
Ash Lynx's dies

Ash’s death was his own choice. He could’ve gone to the hospital and lived. But instead, he chose to die reading Eiji’s letter.

They lived in different worlds. Ash knew violence would always be a part of his life. That's why Ash told Blanca he couldn’t be with Eiji anymore.

When Lao’s attack happened, Ash realized what kind of misfortune Eiji might have suffered if he had stayed. The incident further cemented his doubts about letting Eiji go for good.

Ash only ever fought because he wanted to be free, constantly being abused and forced to live violently in order to survive a war of his own (contrasting with the war influences on the story).

He died before ever having a chance at living his own life. Some believe that this was his way of saying that abuse, trauma, and decaying mental health cannot be easily overcome by all.

So Ash's death wasn't for shock value or to romanticize their relationship. It was the hard, realistic choice he felt he had to make for him and for Eiji.

Ash was even found smiling when his body was discovered. Did he finally achieve the freedom he’s always wanted? Was it Eiji's words that made him feel at peace?

There’s no denying that Ash had never felt as loved as he did during his last moment. Just as Eiji had promised him, “You are not alone, Ash. I am with you. My soul is always with you.”

So, Is Banana Fish Considered BL?

Eiji Hugging Ash before parting ways
Eiji hugging Ash

Banana Fish is a story of crime and action, violence, drugs and war, and child abuse. But I also believe that it's a story about love. And not just romantic love, but love in all its forms.

Ash and Eiji have one of the most unique “romances” you can find in anime or manga. Because while they did not have any sexual intimacy or said “I love you,” they loved each other as lovers do.

Notice how I put “romance” in quotation marks. Because to me and a lot of other Banana Fish fans, their relationships transcend romance. They were soulmates.

So no, Banana Fish is not BL. And quite frankly, I’m glad it isn’t.

Banana Fish was a story of healing. It was about living through trauma and hardships, letting go of the past, and finding someone who you can call your home.

This is a story about the beauty of life.

Want to talk more about the masterpiece that is Banana Fish? Let’s take it to the Otaku Community.

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