Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s January a time of new beginnings, change and of course a brand new year of OWLS Blog Tours. I’ve been through quite a few transitions in the past year, some good, some not so great, but, each one paved the way for some much needed growth. I’m not the same blogger I was when I started Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, I’ve learned and grown through my experiences, so when I saw this month’s blog tour I just knew that I had to kick myself into gear and whip something good up.
A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become.
–January 2019 Blog Tour Prompt
A metamorphosis, unlike change is more finite, it has a set beginning and end, where as change is an ongoing process. Change is the culmination of each and every one of our experiences, it’s how we adapt and grow from the person we were yesterday into the person we will become in the future. But, there is no limitation on change, however, that isn’t the case with a metamorphosis, when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly there is a very distinct limit on what it can and will become. There isn’t the same fluidity you find with change, since once you move from point A to point B there is no going back. There is an inevitability to a metamorphosis that to me makes it a bit more bittersweet and tragic. So, with that in mind, I decided to write about Ash Lynx aka Aslan Callenresse from Banana Fish. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this series and trust me, it won’t be the last, but there is something wonderfully tragic about Ash’s transitions throughout the series that both the anime and the manga capture beautifully.
- the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.
- a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
A metamorphosis is a type of change that has a very distinct beginning, middle, and end, that is etched out by external forces. In Banana Fish, Ash’s metamorphosis is defined by the events of his life, from his childhood in Cape Cod to his formative years under the “care” of Dino Golzine to his eventual demise at the end of the series. Change is typically seen as either positive or negative, but, with a metamorphosis, this is not the case. Rather, a metamorphosis is simply a means of survival, independent of one’s own desires or wishes. It’s a transition that is neither good or bad, merely a result of external stimuli, so a person’s environment dictates the type of metamorphosis they undergo. In the case of Ash, he has endured years of abuse at the hands of other people, which forced him to grow up much more quickly than his peers. He didn’t have the luxury of a stable home life or friends, instead he was taught at a young age to trust no one and to only rely on himself for survival. As a result, he became detached and cold in order to cope with his harsh reality. He is cognizant of his “defect” and remarks at several points in the story that he is incapable of existing in any other environment. He’s a killer; a monster and monsters can’t exist in the “real world”.
“Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer.”
-Volume 1, Back Cover
However, through his interactions with Eiji, he regains some of his humanity and starts learning to move on from his painful past and towards a more fulfilling future. He discovers that there is life outside of Dino and constant gang wars, there’s a calm after the storm. He even becomes hopeful that he can change, but, because of the nature of his conditioning, Ash never quite shakes off the shackles of his past. His desire to be more than he was made to be is what ultimately leads to his downfall in the end. A metamorphosis is meant to transition an individual into a form that is better able to adapt to a set environment/circumstance, however, when that environment changes, the individual is left unable to adapt to the new circumstance. Every time Ash attempts to make a change for the better he is met with opposition both internally and externally.
It doesn’t matter that Ash wants to leave his past behind and move on with his life, because at the end of the day, he can’t outrun the restrictions of conditioning. Ash is a character that was designed to exist within a very finite period of time and once that time is up, he too must go with it. He was bred to survive the cutthroat world of New York’s underbelly, and one day take over Dino’s vast underworld empire. He doesn’t know any other life, so to expect him to be able to put down his gun and transition into the mundane everyday life of a civilian, like Eiji is almost impossible and that is ultimately why Ash has to die at the end of the series. Even if, he had been spared his fate he’d find himself lost; no more mob bosses to take down or gangs to lead, he would be resigned to a life devoid of purpose and yet the scars of his experiences would still remain.
Unlike change or transition, a metamorphosis is much more restrictive in the types of growth it allows. While characters will experience a change, the limitations a metamorphosis places on that change renders any deviation from the set path moot. In Banana Fish Ash attempts to break free of his fate and become something more and to his friends and associates, Ash is more. He’s smarter, faster, stronger, better than his peers, but none of that negates the pain he has endured over the course of his short life. His relationship with Eiji goes a long way in helping him regain a bit of his humanity, however, it isn’t enough to negate years of abuse and training. In the end, Ash is confined to the limitations of his upbringing and as such can never truly free himself from his past… at least not with the time he was given.
That’s my take on the Metamorphosis Blog Tour! I hope you enjoyed my post, but, I’m just one in a long line of OWLS blog tour stops! Check out Karandi‘s Jan. 27th post on Parasyte and don’t forget to stop by Scott‘s blog Mechanical Anime Reviews tomorrow for what promises to be an amazing addition to the OWLS January Blog Tour! Also if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Official OWLS Twitter account @OWLSbloggers and the Official OWLS Blog, to stay up to date on all OWLS news and announcements!
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