There are certain episodes of anime that leave you feeling emotionally dead on the inside after watching them. This is one of those episodes. I’ve been vaguely upset about a few of the deaths in this series, mostly Skip, because he was a child and did nothing to deserve what happened to him.
What I felt for that is nothing, NOTHING compared to how I feel about this. Watching Ash have to shoot Shorter to put him out of his misery was horrible. Watching Shorter beg to be put out of his misery, because he was suffering and no longer in control of himself was painful.
The episode starts with Yut waking Eiji up from his coma, revealing to Eiji the betrayal of the Lee family and of Shorter. The sheer pain in both of them in seeing this, the pain of betrayal in Eiji’s eyes and the pain of knowing what he’s done in Shorters. Shorter is dragged out of the room away from Eiji, who he swore to protect no matter what and forced to a lab where he meets with the scientist Abraham. Who has perfected a batch of Banana Fish and has the perfect test subject at hand.
So they inject Shorter with the dose of Banana Fish, drag Eiji in and make Eiji the thing he fears most and tell him to kill Eiji or he’ll never be able to stop suffering.
Meanwhile, there is the dinner scene with Max, Ash, Ibe and Dino. I thought for a bit that this scene was a little off and often felt out of place because a lot of moments in it were comedic despite the weight of everything and the facial expressions made by Max and Ibe were over exaggerated. After finishing the rest of the episode, I understand entirely why this scene was framed the way it was. Not only to give the episode some sparse moments with a light mood to offset the darker themes, but to keep the tone of the series the same way it’s been up till now. It has had moments of lightness in all of this darkness and having it there until everything goes to hell in the last ten minutes of the episode make it feel a little more natural to what we’ve been presented so far.
After the dinner scene wraps up though, the rest of the episode plays itself dead serious as all of them are brought down to the execution chamber. They are chained up, Shorter is brought in and given a knife. Eiji is also brought in and given a knife and told if he wants to live. He needs to defend himself. Of course, Eiji is too soft and can’t really do anything to stop Shorter from attacking him. He’s suffering and Abraham tells Ash that he won’t stop suffering, even after he loses Eiji as a target he’ll continue to go insane from the fear and the nightmares. The same way that Griffin did.
Arthur throws a gun over to Ash and loosens the chains, reminding him that he only has one bullet. He could shoot Arthur, Abraham, Dino…but he shoots Shorter. Putting him out of his misery, ending his pain and saving Eiji.
Meanwhile, Yut learns what the audience has known since last episode. That Dino is working with the government, a republican senator and a member of the military. The entire show with Eiji and Shorter was shown to them to display Banana Fish’s ability.
I hate this.
This episode was pain, pain and suffering! I know more pain and suffering are on the way. Hopefully the alliance between the remnants of Ash’s gang that didn’t go over to Arthur and the China Town people who refuse to lay down under Lee’s rule can bust in and save our main cast.