Stranger Things X Banana Fish, An Off-The-Wall, BUT Plausible Crossover

Crossovers between franchises have been more common in recent years across different forms of media, with mobile gaming being the top medium via licensing agreements. Anything is possible as long as there is a plausible storyline.

One example is the anime series on Amazon Prime Video titled Re:Creators where characters are brought into the real world from their fictional worlds by a malevolent force bent on destroying the entire world.

Netmarble has performed many collaborations through its titles The King of Fighters All Star (Tekken, Dead or Alive, WWE, Gintama, The Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Knights, and Guilty Gear) and The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross (Attack on Titan, Stranger Things, The King of Fighters ’98, and That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime).

In 2015, a one-shot comic has released that pit Marvel Comics’ Avengers against the titular Titans from Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.

Practically anything can crossover with each other one way or another.

I brought up this idea in a couple of Facebook groups about the possibility of Stranger Things being crossed over with other franchises. I even suggested Stranger Things in an FB group dedicated to The King of Fighters All Star and found the possibility of getting more realistic by each day given how 7DS: Grand Cross has already done it with Stranger Things.

What if, for some reason, Stranger Things had a crossover with Banana Fish?

It could happen in the comic format as there is more latitude than any other form of media and the storyline could take place in an alternate universe where both stories exist at the same time. So, here’s the burning question, how could this even work?

Banana Fish, the original manga, takes place in 1985 (twelve years after a tragic event during the Vietnam War), where the anime adaptation puts the timeframe in the 2010s. That puts the events of Banana Fish (the manga, not the anime) in the same year as Stranger Things’ third season.

Both stories exist during the last years of the Cold War between the United States & allies and the Soviet Union, where that nuance plays a crucial role in driving the story.

The story of Banana Fish centers on the titular drug that puts protagonist Ash Lynx, whose brother Griffin was affected by the drug, and his allies against Corsican Mafia boss Dino Golzine and his government allies.

This is a journey that takes the heroes from NYC to Los Angeles and back.

The titular drug brainwashes the user into doing whatever and not remembering what happened after but makes them mentally unstable afterward, the reason Griffin is confined to a wheelchair. Golzine has control of the drug and plans to sell it to the United States Government where it can brainwash people in South America to overthrow its Communist-controlled governments.

This journey ends up getting many people killed, including Ash’s best friend, Shorter Wong, as the story progresses. It leads to a final showdown between a coalition of street gangs, led by Ash Lynx and Cain Blood, against the Corsican Mafia.

The story of Stranger Things centers on secret illegal experiments carried on by scientists at the Hawkins National Laboratory, answering to the United States Department of Energy, to get an advantage over the Soviets during the Cold War. That illegal experiments involved unwitting and unwilling human test subjects (inspired by the MKUltra Experiments) such as Jane Ives (adopted as Jane Hopper) a.k.a Eleven who has tremendous psychokinetic abilities and Kali a.k.a Eight (introduced in season two) with the ability to create illusions.

As an unintended consequence of these experiments, Eleven accidentally opens a path to a dark and sinister alternate dimension known as “the Upside Down.” S — t gets crazy in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana for the duration of the series where many people get caught up in the craziness and die horrific deaths (R.I.P Barb).

There is so much material from both sources that could make a possible crossover work.

Number One — Both Stories Happen In The Same Time Frame

This could definitely work because season three of Stranger Things takes place in the same year as Banana Fish. In an alternate timeline, Ash and company could pass through Hawkins on the way to California or on the way back to NYC.

Hawkins, what looks like a sleepy town, is still full of danger.

There are still the dangers that the Upside Down provides, all thanks to Soviet agents opening up their own gate that’s underneath the Starcourt Mall. With the introduction of Blanca, Ash’s tutor in practically most subjects, he could cross paths with his former Soviet comrades (Blanca is a former KGB agent of Kazakh heritage).

It would be unbelievable that the Soviets were operating without KGB knowledge.

With Blanca being ex-KGB, he’d probably know a ton of secrets, including the secret Soviet laboratory underneath Starcourt Mall. Ash and company would cross paths with the residents of Hawkins, mostly the ones who have been taken over by the Mind Flayer.

Since Golzine has contacts in Washington D.C, he’d eventually learn of Ash’s adventure in Hawkins and come across information on Eleven. He’d probably be interested in capturing Eleven to use as a weapon, though he wouldn’t do anything else to her since he has a penchant for underage boys.

Number Two — Both Stories Involve Illegal Experiments

The two stories share something in common, unscrupulous as f — k people, who have a disregard for humanity and care about their own self-gain.

Banana Fish has Abraham Dawson, who helped develop the titular drug, who ignored his dying brother’s request to destroy the drug and sell his services to the mafia to make it into a weapon.

Stranger Things has Dr. Martin Brenner, responsible for Project INDIGO, who put Eleven and other human test subjects through one experiment after another. If that wasn’t bad enough, Brenner shattered the mind of Eleven’s mother.

Number Four — Cold War Tensions

In Banana Fish, Golzine’s purpose for weaponizing the drug is to sell it to the U.S. Government in which can brainwash people into attacking and overthrowing their respective Communist governments in South America.

In Stranger Things, Eleven was trained to be a tool to commit espionage.

Season three introduces secret Soviet agents who operate underneath the Starcourt Mall, where they open up their own portal to the Upside Down. The season concludes with the Soviets having possession of at least one Demogorgon and feeding prisoners, likely dissidents, to them. It’s obvious that the Soviets, at least in the story, want to use the Demogorgon as biological weapons.

Number Five — Main Characters Of Both Stories Compliment Each Other

Ash and Eleven would have more than their fair share of trauma stories to swap with each other. The former was raped as a child and taken in by Golzine to be a sex slave and the latter was constantly experimented on.

Imagine if they could see each other’s trauma.

Mike Wheeler wouldn’t have to worry about Ash being competitive for Eleven’s affections as Ash is hinted at as being gay, which is why Banana Fish is unofficially classified as yaoi.

Max Lobo from Banana Fish and Jim Hopper from Stranger Things would likely get along with each other as they have plenty in common. They’re middle-aged adults thrust into protective roles by an unexpected turn of events, they’re both divorced, and their fathers.

Max’s son, Michael, is still alive, while Hopper’s biological daughter, Sara, passed away, but has adopted Eleven as his daughter. The two of them served in the Vietnam War and were officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Max reconciles with his ex-wife, Jessica, and Hopper begins a relationship with Joyce Byers.

Eiji Okamura from Banana Fish and Jonathan Byers from Stranger Things could hit it off as the former assists Shunichi Ibe, a photojournalist, and Jonathan is an aspiring photographer who gets his professional start in season 3 as an intern at the Hawkins Post. Eiji and Steve Harrington, too, would hit it off as they’re both scholastic athletes.

Jonathan & Nancy would have a lot to learn from both Ibe & Max as the latter two are professional journalists.

Ash & Eiji are also within the same age group as Jonathan, Nancy, Steve, and Robin Buckley (introduced in season 3).

Murray Bauman, introduced in season 2, could potentially stumble across anything related to the drug.

Ash and Billy Hargrove would be bitter rivals as the latter would remind the former of Frederick Arthur, a former member of Ash’s gang. Billy and Frederick have a lot in common in vindictiveness and cruelty.

It’s plausible that Fredrick would align himself with Dr. Bremmer if it means getting rid of Ash and his friends. I also believe that it would be scarier to deal with Frederick than it would be to deal with Billy as the former has killed people.

Joyce Byers, the mother of Jonathan and Will, would be a potential drinking buddy with Jessica.

Nancy Wheeler, who shattered the damsel-in-distress stereotype, would join a gunfight with Ash and his allies because she takes no s — t. She’d jump at the chance to use automatic rifles and SMGs.

Mike, Will, Dustin Henderson, Max Mayfield, and Lucas Sinclair would likely think of Ash as a bonafide badass.

Number Six — Epic Fights Would Happen

Ash would be the only person capable of riding a motorcycle WHILE shooting at Demogorgon at the same time, which would probably bring shock and awe to the Stranger Things cast.

A situation with Demogorgons could force Eiji to pole-vault his way to safety. This would be a great opportunity for Eiji to shine as he used that ability to escape, though he landed badly and wounded himself.

Any number of the Demogorgon could end up in the NYC underground, especially the subway system, leading to a massive and bloody battle. It would be great to see the cast of Banana Fish and/or Stranger Things having to survive the Demogorgon while navigating the subway.

It would be a unique and off-the-wall crossover, but the content from both sources of material would make it work. For the naysayers, Tekken 7 had Negan from The Walking Dead and Noctis from Final Fantasy XV as special guest characters.




Veteran citizen journalist who enjoys martial arts, indie & foreign film, anime, manga, gaming, music, and martial arts.

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Can Hoang Tran

Can Hoang Tran

Veteran citizen journalist who enjoys martial arts, indie & foreign film, anime, manga, gaming, music, and martial arts.

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