Eiji Okumura is the deuteragonist of the Banana Fish series. Arriving in New York, he gets caught up in ongoing events and helps Ash Lynx as he uncovers the mystery surrounding banana fish, refusing to head back to the safety of his home country of Japan.

Profile

Appearance

Eiji is a slim Japanese youth with black hair and large dark brown eyes. Despite being an adult at the age of 19, he is often mistaken for a young teenager, even in Japan. He is seen in a variety of clothing choices throughout the series, often with Ash's clothing.

His personal style seems to consist of neat clothing such as collared shirts and sweaters, a pink unbuttoned shirt over his shoulders, sweater vests, and such. This proves to be a contrast against the denim jackets, varsity jackets, hoodies and other items of clothing belonging to Ash that he wears later on in the series.

In Fly Boy In The Sky, Eiji is discovered to be near sighted but does not wear glasses. Thanks to Ibe, he would later gain contact lenses.

In Garden of Light, Eiji's hair has grown longer and we see it sported in a ponytail; he has also adopted the use of glasses.

Akimi Yoshida, the mangaka, based Eiji's likeness off of Hironobu Nomura.

Personality

Eiji has a very kind, selfless personality. He is also inquisitive about things unfamiliar to him such as Ash's gun. As the series progresses, he starts depending on Ash. Eiji has, on more than one occasion, been described as innocent, but brave. He can be quite naive about the world of gangs, and even American customs at times. He is quite perceptive and very aware of his surroundings; one situation being when Eiji knew instantly when Ash was lying to him, because of his terrifying calmness. Usually, he is an understanding, reasonable person, but can have unwavering stubbornness and can even be moderately rude when prompted. Eiji's kind and innocent nature can be calming to those around him, most notably Ash.

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History

Eiji was an accomplished pole vaulter before an injury occurred and he was forced to retire from the sport. It was part of the reason Ibe decided to bring him to New York with him. It is known that Eiji was a highly accomplished pole vaulter and was offered numerous sports scholarships because of this. Little is known about his family life. He is shown to have a mother and younger sister but his father is said to be in the hospital because of ailments. He is assumed to have had a normal life until the events of Banana Fish took place.

Story

Main Article: Eiji Okumura/Synopsis

Arriving in New York, Eiji along with Ibe meets Skip who introduces them to Ash for their report on street gangs. A rival gang kidnaps Eiji and Skip. After tracking them to where they are being held, Ash surrenders his gun to guarantee their safety. Escaping the warehouse confinement, Eiji uses a rusty pole to vault over a wall (though he unintentionally lands on wooden crates and gains mild injuries) and alerts the police of where Ash and Skip are.

He goes to see Ash in the hospital with police such as Charlie thinking correctly that Ash has something on Golzine and so his life is at risk. Eiji cannot talk Ash out of it, empathizing with him. He visits Ash in prison when he was framed for Marvin's murder where Ash shares a message in a capsule delivered by a kiss to Eiji.

As he delivers the message to Shorter Wong he is followed and captured by Arthur who set a trap to find out where Ash has hidden the Banana Fish sample.

Abilities

He was adept enough to take part in pole vaulting; he used this to clear a brick wall and alert law enforcement to the location where he alongside Ash and Skip were captured. At first, although Eiji cannot shoot and fight using any weapon, he practices and comes to be able to fire a gun.

Eiji can calm some dangerous people with his kindness and innocence, such as Ash to other gang members he is not as close to. He is able to befriend some such as Shorter, Sing, and Cain.

Relationships

Shunichi Ibe

After getting into a slump because of an injury which halted his competitive pole-vaulting efforts, Ibe takes notice and takes Eiji along with him to America as his assistant. He affectionately refers to him as "Ei-Chan." Ibe acts as Eiji's guardian while in America. When Ibe first met Eiji in Fly Boy In The Sky, he believed that Eiji disliked him because Eiji was constantly 'glaring' at him but later figured out that Eiji actually is near sighted and was not able to see Ibe clearly (his eyesight also affecting his pole vaulting). After Ibe took the prized photo of Eiji, Eiji was offered a pair of contacts.

Ash Lynx / Aslan Jade Callenreese

Along with Shunichi Ibe, Eiji first meets Ash Lynx when interviewing him at a bar about gang life. During their first encounter, Eiji asks to touch Ash's gun. Ash, although known to be distrustful to people and had never let anyone touch his gun prior to that moment, allows Eiji to hold his gun. This initial meeting already lays the foundation for the amount of trust they put in each other later on in the story and sets apart how Ash treats Eiji in contrast to other people. Despite having known each other for a considerably short time, Eiji forms a close bond with Ash throughout the perilous situations both of them become involved in. Ash protects Eiji as much as possible and even teaches him how to use a gun. Eiji becomes very dependent on Ash due to this. Later, they have been shown to have romantic feelings for each other, although they never truly act on them. In the manga, Sing claims that they are bonded by soul thus meaning they are soulmates (in account).

Skip

Eiji met Skip at a bar where Ash would hang out. Eiji first learned of Ash never letting anyone touch his gun through Skip telling him of a story of when someone did grab Ash's gun and had his finger's blown off in response. Eiji and Skip both got kidnapped along with Ash trying to rescue them. Sadly, while Eiji was out to get help from the police, Skip was shot in the chest by Marvin and died. After Eiji heard the news he started to blame himself for Skip's death but was reassured by Ash that it wasn't his fault.

Shorter Wong

Eiji became very close friends with Shorter in the anime, and even began shedding tears because of the Banana Fish's effect on his brain that makes him afraid of Eiji. Shorter is also seen to be very protective of Eiji, especially after being forced to hand Eiji over to Golzine. He threatens that if anyone tries to touch Eiji or bring harm to him then he would personally kill Eiji himself to save him from the torture the foundation would do to him and even promises Eiji that he will follow right behind him by ending his life straight after killing him.

Frederick Arthur

Being the rival of Ash Lynx, Arthur sees Eiji as a way to torture Ash. Eiji is first seen by Arthur when he is kidnapped alongside Skip. Arthur asks who he is before ordering Eiji to be shot before Ash surrenders his gun to save him. Arthur identifies Eiji as a weak point of Ash's after he witnesses his behavior around him. Eiji is addressed as "samurai boy" and referred to as a kitten to Ash's Lynx.

Yut-Lung

Yut-Lung, both in the manga and the anime, greatly despises Eiji. This is because of his effortless penchant for comforting people despite his naivety and his plain personality. It is implied that this is also because Yut-Lung is jealous and resentful of Eiji's strong bond with Ash. Yut-Lung paralyzes Eiji to bring him to Golzine and has Shorter assist him. But as time goes on, he in secret helps Eiji and explaining certain things he may not understand. Eiji stages an escape and holds him hostage in order to do so.

Sing Soo-Ling

After being saved by thugs, Eiji explained what happened regarding Shorter's death and why Ash had to kill him. Sing and Eiji become close friends throughout the manga and anime and remain friends throughout the years after the events of Banana Fish.

Blanca

He is unknowingly targeted by Blanca and shot across the right arm from sniper fire from him as a warning to Ash. But in the end, Blanca feels sympathy for both Eiji and Ash, reminding him of how he felt after he lost his wife.

Dino Golzine

Dino captures Eiji as bait to lure Ash into his trap. Dino saw Eiji as someone very dear and precious to Ash, thus he tried to take him away or use him as means to gain Ash back.

Etymology

His given name (英二, Eiji) in Japanese means "great, second".

 Episode Appearances

Quotes

  • (To Ash) "Forever."
  • (To Ash) "If I ever lose you too... I'll go crazy."
  • Ash: "Do I scare you?" Eiji: "Never."
  • (To Ash) "Come back safely. I'll be waiting for you, forever."
  • (To Ash) "If you feel responsible, the same goes for me."
  • (To Ash) "My words might not mean anything now, but just remember one thing. Even if the world turns on you, I'll always be on your side."
  • (To Ash) "Humans can change their destiny. They have wisdom leopards don't. Besides, you're not a leopard."
  • (To Skipper & Ash) "If I'm going to die anyways, at least I'll die trying!"
  • (To Ibe) "Ash is strong."
  • (To Ash) Don't apologize. That's something for us Japanese to do."
  • (To Ash) "Listen to your big bro for once, okay?"
  • (To Ash) I'd do anything for you.
  • (To Ash) "Go!"
  • (To Charlie) "Let him go!"
  • (Letter to Ash) "I know we'll meet again, no matter how far apart we are. You're the greatest friend I'll ever have."
  • (Letter to Ash) "You're not alone. I'm by your side. My soul is always with you."
  • (Letter to Ash) "You asked me over and over if you scared me. But I never feared you. Not once."
  • (Letter to Ash) "I'm really glad I came to America. I met lots of people. And more than anything, I met you."

Trivia

  • One of Eiji's favorite foods is natto, a fermented bean dish usually eaten during breakfast, which he has made Ash begrudgingly taste.
  • In the epilogue, Eiji is revealed to have a dog named Buddy, whom he rescued from a trash dumpster.
  • Eiji is afraid of mice.
  • Eiji has been compared to multiple animals. Frederick Arthur refers to him as a Japanese bobtail and Blanca compares him to a rabbit. He also has some bird motifs due to Ash Lynx constantly mentioning him being able to fly. His sweater from the first episode and his phone case also have birds on them.
  • Eiji grew up in Izumo, a small town in Japan.
  • Eiji's father is revealed to be in the hospital due to liver problems in Fly Boy in the Sky. It is also implied that his mother is unfaithful.
  • Eiji also is a pure character that will keep Ash safe from harm.
  • Eiji is to Ash the only human worth protecting and is canonically confirmed to be his beloved.
  • Eiji's correlation chart with Ash after episode 24 on the official site changed from 親友 (Shin'yū) meaning "best friend" to being no correlation status with a black thick line, implying that their relationship is so close that it can't be described only with words.
  • Eiji is friends with the housewives in the apartment he lives in — Mrs. Owen and Mrs. Coleman
  • Eiji’s first kiss might have been Ash according to Shunichi.
  • According to an interview with the author, Yoshida Akimi, and Fujimoto, Eiji Okumura was originally intended to be made a female, but she says the plot would have been too predictable as it would just have ended in a normal romance, stating that "when you write about two girls or two boys, there is a bigger range of emotions to explore."
  • His birth year in the manga, 1966, is listed in New York Sense.
  • Eiji, alongside Ash, appears in Akimi Yoshida's other manga, Lovers' Kiss.

References

  1. Banana Fish Production Book. Photos found here.

Navigation

Banana Fish
People
Main Characters Ash Lynx | Eiji Okumura
Ash's and Eiji's affiliates Max Lobo | Shunichi Ibe | Griffin Callenreese | Jessica Randy | Alexis Dawson
Corsican Mafia Dino Golzine | Marvin Crosby | Frederick Arthur | Abraham Dawson | Mannerheim | Blanca | Eduardo L. Fox
Chinese Mafia Yut-Lung | Shorter Wong | Sing Soo-Ling | Lao Yen Tai
Street Kids Alex | Skip | Bones | Kong | Cain Blood
New York City Police Department Jenkins | Charlie Dickinson
Other Characters Minor Characters
LOCATIONS
Destinations New York | Cape Cod | Los Angeles | The National Mental Health Institute | Rownme Dalion Bank | Izumo | Pier Four
MEDIA
Chapters 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 15 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40
Episodes 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Music Found & Lost | Prayer X | FREEDOM | RED
Manga Volumes 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19
Side Stories Fly Boy in the Sky | Ura Banana | Private Opinion | Angel Eyes (Side Story) | Garden of Light | Angel Eyes (Art Book)
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