Episode 1 of Sabikui Bisco is kind of hard to evaluate because there’s a lot of potential in the concept and the set-up looks like it will lead to great things but the episode itself really is set-up leaving the viewer to make a lot of guesses and assumptions but not really tipping its hand just yet. For those who don’t mind a few episodes to see is a story gets rolling there may be a solid pay-off here though for others this episode may just leave them feeling bemused.
There also wasn’t a huge amount of hype around Sabikui Bisco prior to it airing and may fly under a lot of viewers’ radars. That’s probably because the studio, OZ, seems like a relatively unknown quantity and the director, Atsushi Ikariya, seems to have a lot of credits for animation and character design but not so many for direction. However with solid visuals and some solid casting with the voice actors, this first episode lands well even if it isn’t big on answering questions.
Sabikui Bisco paints a grim picture for the future of Japan.
Like many post apocalyptic anime before it, Sabikui Bisco beings with a massive explosion pretty much devoid of context. We then pan over brown and decrepit buildings and see the vast desert wasteland that Japan has more or less become. With that established we get on with meeting the various members of the cast as they go about their business.
We’ve got a bandaged guy trying to pass through a check point where the guards talk at length about the current situation and there’s a wanted poster for Bisco in the background. We’ve also got a doctor treating some patients behind a curtain while a madam and a whole bunch of her girls chat and drink while waiting. Out on the streets there’s shady characters selling mushrooms to merchants and there’s a general sense that this place is falling apart.
It’s pretty effective at setting the scene and painting a decent picture of the world we’re going to see in Sabikui Bisco and the episode kind of settles on following Dr Nekoyanagi as he returns home to a sister who is suffering from Rusting.
Of all the characters we’ve met in this first episode, Nekoyanagi is really the only one we get a sense of as he treats others either cheaply or for free, he’s willing to deal in illegal mushrooms in a search for a cure, he wants to cure his sister but also wants to help others, and even when he’s robbed he treats his assailant’s injury before sending him on his way. We also learn that the doctor has gained the unwanted attention of the one in charge of the city and his entrance was kind of bizarre, flanked as he was by guys with giant rabbit heads.
However, before we can learn much more, Sabikui Bisco brings viewers an action sequence as we see one of the aforementioned terrorists shooting arrows and causing giant mushrooms to burst through the city. It’s one of the more surreal terrorist attacks I’ve seen in anime.
Then the episode ends with Bisco confronting the doctor in his home and we’ll just have to wait to find out what happens when these two meet (though if you real the synopsis on MAL you’ll all most definitely have it spoiled).
Honestly Sabikui Bisco delivered a pretty decent first episode and I’m intrigued by the rust and the mushrooms and pretty much wondering where this is going to go. Visually it was quite interesting and I like the character designs so far and the attacks with giant mushrooms springing forth feel kind of fresh. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this first episode and looking forward to more.
Images from: Sabikui Bisco. Dir. A Ikariya. OZ. 2022
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