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Banana Fish Causes Spike in Sales at New York Public Library's Gift Shop

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Workers at the New York Public Library's gift shop have been noticing a spike in sales ever since the television anime of Akimi Yoshida's Banana Fish manga premiered in July last year. The Rose Main Reading Room is featured in one of the anime's key scenes. Not only has the library seen an influx of Japanese tourists, the gift shop has been selling more US$30 miniature replicas of Rose Room chairs than ever before.

The New York Post interviewed several workers at the gift shop. A representative said that the gift shop sold 59 chairs on Saturday, a 23% increase from the previous Saturday. Krista Rauth, associate director of retail initiatives, said that people are buying the chairs due to the symbolic significance it has within the story. “I have been in retail for 30 years and I've never seen a phenomenon like this,” she said.

“We think Banana Fish is funny, but it's bringing in money,” said gift shop worker Meghan R.

Tourism company Kinki Nippon Tourist Kanto organized tour packages to New York for fans of Banana Fish in February and again this month. The tours focus on locations in New York and Manhattan that appear in the series, like the American Museum of Natural History, Grand Central Station, the area surrounding Exchange Place in Jersey, Chinatown, and the Staten Island Ferry. The article notes that roughly 80 Banana Fish fans toured the library on Tuesday alone.

The anime takes place in modern day New York, instead of in the 1980s when the original manga took place. Viz published the manga in English, and it describes the story:

Vice City: New York in the 80s... Nature made Ash Lynx beautiful; nurture made him a cold ruthless killer. A child runaway brought up as the adopted heir, hatchet man, and sex toy of "Papa" Dino Golzine, the East Coast's Corsican crime lord, Ash is now at the rebellious age of seventeen - forsaking the kingdom of power and riches held out by the devil who raised him, preferring a code he can live with among a small but loyal gang of street thugs. But his "Papa" can't simply let him go - not when the hideous secret that drove Ash's older brother mad in Vietnam has suddenly fallen into his insatiably ambitious hands.

It's exactly the wrong time for Eiji Okamura, a pure-hearted young photographer from Japan, to arrive in NYC and make Ash Lynx's acquaintance... and fall with him into the bloody whirlpool of pride, greed, lust and wrath unleashed by the enigma code-named Banana Fish...

Thanks Stanlee for the news tip.

Source: New York Post (Elizabeth Rosner and Tamar Lapin)

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