“You live in every smile, in every tear, in every person you inspired”
After the events at the New York City Library, the Banana Fish anime never really confirmed nor denied Ash’s death. Even now, many fans still refuse to accept the fact that Ash Lynx is gone for good, and there is no turning back from that reality.
In the original manga by Akimi Yoshida, however, though it wasn’t blatantly confirmed, Ash’s death was pretty much a given. The Garden of Light is a side story from the original manga which follows the life of Akira Ibe, the niece of Eiji’s coach, as she travels to New York for the first time to see Eiji and his famous photo exhibits.
The Garden of Light takes place seven years after Ash left. Eiji now lives in New York, and he is still in constant contact with Sing, who now is in college and who is also working for Yut Lung. When Akira arrives at the airport, she spots Sing who’s tasked to fetch her and bring her to Eiji’s house.
Eiji welcomes her with the warmest greetings. Akira came to New York so he could see Eiji at work. For some reason, it also felt to her like going to a new environment to find herself and see what she liked. Akira hated her name because it sounded like a boy’s, but later on we see that Eiji convinces her otherwise.
Honestly, it’s always best to just read the side story of the manga in its purest form rather than bits of its plot, because the beauty of the story is best seen when it is read on its own. But the Garden of Light was a gift to the readers. It encouraged readers to move on with Eiji as he remembers what he had kept hidden for so long.
Towards the end of the side story, Eiji finishes his exhibit, and we finally see a photo of Ash sitting by the window at the center of the exhibit. Akira comes to fetch Eiji, and she sees the photo too. Eiji then tells her the story of this boy he met when he felt lost. Eiji tells her the story of Ash—the boy whose name meant the same as hers: Dawn.
The Garden of Light ends with revelations about what happens far into the future. Akira marries Sing, and Eiji is still with his beloved Golden Retriever, but his hair no longer reaches his hips, it now has streaks of silver, no longer ebony, and the sun is setting on a grave, as he reminisces his time with the boy who had angel eyes.
This whole side story was a way for everyone to accept that Aslan Jade Callenreese will never return, but instead, he lives as a memory inside the hearts of the people who he loves and who love him. His soul no longer lives in the dark but in the Garden of Light.
Read More: What Happened to Eiji After Ash’s Death?