So many anime should watch episode 8 and 9 of Sabikui Bisco to really understand how to capitalise emotionally on a cliff-hanger ending. Seriously, I thought episode 8 left us at a heart-wrenching moment and my greatest fear was that this week we would literally just see the characters walk away from it within the first few minutes of the episode.
Instead, episode 9 begins with shattered characters and words that are clearly foreshadowing disaster and then things escalate and just don’t stop until the dramatic conclusion of the episode (which I am going to try hard not to spoil because that really should be watched). I’m just left wondering what Sabikui Bisco does for the next three episodes and whether it can ever be as emotionally devastating as it was this week.
Although, it probably doesn’t need to be. What it really needs to do is address what all of this actually changes in the world or whether it was all for nothing.
Sabikui Bisco was far more committed to its plot than I gave it credit for earlier in the season.
In order to avoid too many spoilers I am afraid this particular episode review is going to end up being a little bit all over the place as I focus on less prominent details than the conclusion.
For instance, I haven’t really talked about Jabi much in any of my episode reviews of Sabikui Bisco so far. Yet this mentor character from Bisco has played a key role at multiple junctures in the story, despite spending most of the series injured or captured. And you have to admit, this old man has some spunk.
I mean, Jabi is the one who raised Bisco so we had to know this guy was a bit on the reckless side. He also clearly has a big heart. Throughout the course of the series, his own safety has never been his priority concern. Instead, he’s always looked out for the others, whether it be Bisco or even Pawoo when she was captured.
It makes me wonder why Kurokawa ever thought threatening Jabi’s life, or even his fingers, would somehow convince him to surrender. This old man was never going to fold over something like that.
But now I’m wondering how Jabi is going to react next week to the final of episode 9… Okay, not going there.
Honestly, there’s little more you could ask from Sabikui Bisco at this point. It has been a zany adventure and buddy quest with this whole dystopian thing going underneath it and this episode just brought all those elements together so well. It is always nice when you are watching an anime or a story and realise that everything actually does work together and clearly there was a plan from the start when the writer put this story together.
About the only real visual criticism I could make of episode 9 is that it is pretty much the same colour from beginning to end and it is quite a bleak and dull looking episode compared to previous ones. Then again, given events, the colour palette more or less suits the episode perfectly.
Can the next episode be out already?
This is perhaps the biggest problem with seasonal viewing in that there’s so much I want to say but at the same time don’t want to say until people have a chance to watch this episode on their own.
Anyway, Sabikui Bisco has gone from being a curiosity and kind of interesting to being something I am highly emotionally invested in and that is definitely a good thing given how many other anime this season kind of lost me at the mid-way point.
If I thought episode 7 of Sabikui Bisco left us on a dramatic cliff-hanger, clearly I was mistaken as episode 8 shows us exactly what a dramatic cliff-hanger really is. I guess the only question I’m stuck with is whether I think Sabikui Bisco will actually follow through or whether this is going to be one of those stories where we get a dramatic cliff-hanger only for everything to be resolved within a minute of the next episode beginning.
Only time will answer that particular question and in the mean time I’m going to try to review this episode without spoilers. Though, this episode did very much cement my opinion that despite all the weird mushroom trappings, Sabikui Bisco is very much going through the motions of an adventure narrative plot. We had four episodes setting up the adventure and bringing the two main characters together. The next four episodes had their journey to find the MacGuffin and then set up this new problem. Now, with four episodes left, we’ve hit another dramatic turning point in the story.
Sabikui Bisco wasn’t going for light viewing this week.
Every now and then I watch an episode of an anime that just leaves me emotionally wrecked. That was this week’s episode of Sabikui Bisco. We begin with Milo facing Kurokawa having watched his little broadcast in the last episode and we finally get to see what images drove Milo to drugging Bisco.
Kurokawa is just… well, evil would probably be the best term. Cartoonishly evil. Motive revealed – profits at the expense of the lives of everyone suffering from the rusting. Maintaining power. Oh, and throw in the kicker reveal about Kurokawa’s life before he was the governor. Added kicker, he’s personally responsible for why everyone hates mushroom keepers.
That’s a lot of reasons to hate a person. And the thing is with the over the top nature of how this story has played out, having a villain that is so ridiculously villainous just kind of makes sense.
Speaking of over the top, Milo really stepped up this week in Sabikui Bisco. As much as it didn’t end up working out, you have to admit the sight of him charging in to the villain’s den, taking out the lackey’s and taking slices out of Kurokawa was really impressive. If Kurokawa didn’t have plot armour because he’s needed to still be around in the final act of this story he would definitely have been taken out by this attack.
What doesn’t quite add up though is that Milo did go to a lot of effort and clearly put some thought into his attack and yet turns out Jabi was going to rescue himself and probably could have gotten himself and Pawoo out without Milo or Bisco ever turning up. It really does suck when the designated hostages can rescue themselves as it makes the efforts of the heroes look more than a little futile.
Still, how awesome was Jabi?
Actually if we are ranking how awesome the characters were this week in Sabikui Bisco, tragically Pawoo who only gets to be the damsel in distress and torture victim comes in quite low but Bisco, despite coming to save Milo, doesn’t do much better. For all that he’s had some truly awesome moments throughout this series, somehow here he was just kind of off his game.
I know, they are going to use the whole poisoned last episode thing as a reason, plus he didn’t really expect the attack to come from where it did, but given some of the dodges and cool moves he has pulled off previously it really did seem like they had to seriously de-power Bisco this week in order for the story to progress as they wanted.
Anyway, Sabikui Bisco was great. I love watching this scene unfold and my only issue is the credits started rolling leaving us severely hanging until next week.
Sabikui Bisco has been airing during the Winter 2022 season and while there’s some chatter about it unfortunately it just couldn’t compete for the communities attention when big-hitters like Attack on Titan and Kimetsu no Yaiba are airing. Which is a bit of a shame because the audience that likes those kinds of shows would probably find enough to enjoy in Sabikui Bisco though it clearly doesn’t have the budget of either of them and is by a studio that I can’t seem to find any other anime listed for.
It probably didn’t help that the first few episodes kept the audience guessing about what kind of story this was ultimately going to be as we were introduced to a world being taken over by rust, a city with a corrupt leader and all the usual dystopian trappings, and a guy who could shoot arrows that caused giant mushrooms to instantly sprout.
It more or less guaranteed that Sabikui Bisco was going to be an anime that would end up being enjoyed by a few but give it six months and most people won’t have heard of it.
Again, a bit of a shame. Not saying this anime is some hidden masterpiece or anything, but if you just want to strap in and enjoy a fantasy ride, Sabikui Bisco has consistently delivered. And perhaps the reason it has managed that is that despite some of the more bizarre choices within the post-apocalyptic setting we find ourselves in, Sabikui Bisco is following almost a check list of what an adventure story needs to be. In short, our heroes find themselves on a quest.
I’ve mentioned this before on my blog that I value entertainment over originality. Weirdly, Sabikui Bisco kind of gives me both. The plot line is very much exactly what you would expect from a quest meanwhile the setting continues to feel fresh and interesting though is perhaps underutilised and underexplored.
The basic introduction to Sabikui Bisco
In Bisco Akaboshi, the ‘man eating mushroom’ (perhaps one of the weirdest and most inaccurate nicknames ever given he’s neither a mushroom or a man-eater) we have our enigmatic hero. He first appears with his face fully bandaged over in a poor attempt at disguise to cross a checkpoint. We know little about him other than he is a wanted criminal, is travelling with an old man, and he rides a giant crab. However, once he arrives in the city he meets soon to be sidekick/best friend trope Milo.
We’ll talk about how Milo has most definitely risen above his archetypal roles in a moment.
Through meeting Milo we learn that Bisco is, as all hero’s in adventure stories must be, on a quest for your standard McGuffin. This is a quest to find a mushroom that can apparently cure the disease known as the rusting that both the old man Bisco is travelling with and Milo’s sister, Pawoo, are suffering from. Actually, it probably isn’t strictly fair to call it a McGuffin because having it isn’t in and of itself the goal. The goal is to cure the rusting. Still, it could have been literally anything they had to travel to find.
Of course, they only have a vague idea where the mushroom even is and it is more mythological than reality. Then again, most people believe the mushroom keepers are spreading the rust when in fact the mushrooms they are spreading about are actually helping to remove the rust.
Now, the adventure itself through the dangerous landscapes filled with a range of biological and natural dangers could have been sufficient challenge for Sabikui Bisco to take on. However the early episodes also introduced us to a villain.
And while he isn’t a moustache twirling, monocle wearing, cackling bad-guy he’s the next best thing in anime – a gravelly voiced yakuza knock-off complete with an army of bunny guards armed with guns.
So it is the arrow shooting mushroom keeper against the gangster with gun wielding bunny soldiers?
Actually not so much. Because after Sabikui Bisco delivers the first three episodes where all the characters are established, Milo and Bisco head off on their own (pursued by Pawoo) to find the mushroom that will save their loved ones and our villain kind of disappeared for awhile. However, you had to know he was going to return. They spent too long on that set-up to let such a good opportunity just fade away.
At the halfway point just after they find the item they’ve been searching for, the villain sweeps in and essentially resets the goal-posts for the heroes who were already on a tight timeline. It is a pretty standard move in an adventure story for a party member to betray the hero or for something unexpected to throw the mission into overtime only the stakes are now far higher and the potential losses far greater.
All and all, an excellent way to pivot into the second half of the anime season and hopefully a sign that Sabikui Bisco won’t lose momentum but will power through to a conclusion at the end of the season (I am being optimistic). Still, unlike so many other anime it really hasn’t felt like it has floundered in the mid-season. Each episode has naturally progressed from the last and they’ve interspersed action set-pieces with character moments fairly nicely so that there’s always something happening.
However where Sabikui Bisco has truly excelled is in the partnership between Bisco and Milo. While Bisco is a seasoned adventurer he’s pretty brash and loud and he tends to tackle everything head on. He isn’t a mindless idiot though. He has some real survival skills and a solid knowledge of the world they are travelling through.
Milo on the other hand has lived his whole life inside the city and has become a doctor and he could definitely have become the dead-weight of the team or have been used as the damsel in distress in every other scenario. Instead the doctor commits to this journey and the path he has chosen as he is determined to save his sister, and everyone else who is dying from the incurable illness, and while Bisco’s instruction is at times lacking Milo works at improving himself.
While Milo’s medical knowledge is impressive, his ability to learn and adapt to new situations is what makes him an incredibly strong asset in the team and someone that while Bisco teases him occasionally you can see he respects. It’s also just great watching him get stronger and more confident.
It probably isn’t a coincidence that the two are colour coded with Sabikui Bisco giving the hot-headed Bisco spiky red hair and the calmer, more thoughtful Milo soft blue hair that falls across his face. Their different personalities are clear from the start and yet this odd-couple pairing works and makes what happens at episode 7 even more amazing to watch. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the two moving forward.
Sabikui Bisco isn’t treading new ground with its plot or even its characters and yet its taken the standard adventure story, thrown in a whole bunch of weird, put it in a blender and somehow managed to make the concoction stick through decent writing and not letting the pace slow down enough for audiences to question some of the plot holes. If you haven’t given Sabikui Bisco a try yet this season, now may be the time.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
Sabikui Bisco presses forward with the plot in a big way this week with the dynamic duo of Milo and Bisco finally reaching their goal of finding the rust eater mushroom, just as Pawoo roared onto the scene at the end of episode 6 determined to teach Bisco a lesson for taking Milo with him.
Weirdly, Milo doesn’t intervene as Pawoo and Bisco exchange words and initial blows and it isn’t until Pawoo is lifted into the air by the rust eater that he takes any action. And what dramatic action it is as he charges into the air on the back of Akutagawa going head to head with the rust eater. It is extraordinarily brave and kind of stupid simultaneously, and because it is anime that means it is going to succeed.
Sabikui Bisco continues along at a brisk pace.
You have to wonder with all of these mushrooms instantly springing up into full growth, how they actually work. Largely, I have to wonder after Bisco and Milo get themselves chomped by the rust eater and clearly fire mushrooms inside of it how they managed to get pushed out through the roof of the mouth with the mushroom clump and not get crushed to death in the process. Or maybe I wasn’t supposed to be applying logic to this situation. It looked cool. It was dramatic. There was a great soundtrack. Let’s just go with it.
The fight isn’t without casualties with Bisco getting knocked about a bit and Akutagawa, everyone’s favourite giant crab and definite mascot for Sabikui Bisco, losing a pincer. That Bisco later in the episode mocks Akutagawa for getting turned down by a female crab (off-screen but I really want to see what she looked like) was kind of low. I felt so bad for Akutagawa.
Anyway, Pawoo finally accepts that Bisco isn’t a man-eating maniac who kidnapped her brother. Which should have meant the group could make the medicine, get back to the city to save Jabi, and spread the cure for rust.
Of course, it isn’t that simple. Sabikui Bisco had established the evil governor Kurokawa in its early episodes so it isn’t as though his interference comes out of nowhere. At the same time, convenient he shows up in a giant airship capable of listing the entire rust eater right at that particular moment.
It kind of makes you realise he’s known all along about the potential cure and for whatever reason doesn’t want it getting out (I’m guessing it is to do with power and control or just that he’s evil) but it is interesting that other than the mushroom keepers everyone else seems to be in the dark about it and that he’s managed to quell even rumours in the general population.
Of course the governor’s plan doesn’t stop with just taking the rust eater. For a show that moves so quickly and seems so light and fun if you just kind of watch the brightly coloured scenes, it kind of is really dark. Though I guess it is set in a post apocalyptic dystopian society so what else should I expect from Sabikui Bisco.
Kurokawa ambushes Pawoo on her way back to Jabi with the cure and televises something that Milo sees on TV. Weird given the amount of times there was no possibility of Bisco or Milo seeing a broadcast and yet the one time they are resting in a room is the time he tries to talk to them that way (I get it, don’t ask questions). Anyway, whatever Kurokawa says gets Milo ready to drug Bisco to sleep.
Yes it is that tired old trop of betraying someone to save them.
I don’t know why anyone thinks this is a good idea though I am impressed how well Milo thought it all through as he clearly realised he needed more than one contingency if he was actually going to drug the mushroom keeper.
Sabikui Bisco leaves us on a dramatic cliff-hanger (again) and honestly I just want to see what happens next.
While last episodeSabikui Bisco made us go ‘aw’ at the sight of Bisco and Milo helping some children who were under attack and running low on weapons, this week we get a flash back to Jabi teaching Bisco how to shoot his bow and while it is less than two minutes of the episode it was just so adorable it’s kind of what stuck for me. That and I think I need to update my favourite anime archers list.
Seriously, who wasn’t putting their hand up for a prequel story (a single episode would probably do it rather than a whole series) of seeing young Bisco learning how to be a mushroom keeper?
Sabikui Bisco continues with its focus on fun adventure.
One thing I’ve noted with Sabikui Bisco is it really is committed to just moving the audience along with the characters and the story. Sure there are some slower more heart warming moments and definitely a few conversations that are entirely driven by the need for some exposition, but this anime is happy to kind of just loosely connect its set pieces in order to keep the fun coming.
This week Bisco and Milo are riding Akutagawa through the snow when they encounter a snow bunny and after hunting it pull the pink-haired girl, frozen into a block of ice, from the snow. We then see them negotiating for some warmer clothing before navigating into the subway line. There’s a small heart to heart between the main pair while pink-hair fixes the train and then Bisco and Milo head onward while pink hair says goodbye.
What follows is a brief fight sequence in the train tunnel before the two burst into the light and more or less instantly stumble upon the thing they were looking for launching them into what seems like it will be a battle to carry over next week, before Pawoo shows up on her motorbike and the episode comes to a halt without a clear idea of where we are going next in Sabikui Bisco.
Normally that somewhat haphazard approach to story-telling that largely feels like a ‘and then this happened’ approach would grow a bit tiresome by the midseason yet Sabikui Bisco has managed to keep itself feeling fresh and energised. Part of this is probably just the bizarre setting and the mushroom spores that just instagrow and have a weird range of effects. But part of it is that Milo and Bisco have formed a solid team and for all that Akutagawa is a giant crab he manages to make his presence felt as a part of the team.
Even pink-haired girl, who this week finally introduced herself as Tirol, is kind of fun to have around. I loved her tactics when negotiating with the traders and it was clear she was warming up to Milo and Bisco early on. Though, you do have to allow for the whole plot convenience as Milo quite rightly asks how she got ahead of them when they’d been travelling as fast as they could given they are on a time limit to find the rust-eater mushroom.
Sabikui Bisco doesn’t really want you to concern yourself with that too much, but it also does provide at least a throw-away solution so you aren’t wondering if pink-hair is Sabikui Bisco’s equivalent of Team Rocket who literally just show up wherever they need to.
Anyway, Sabikui Bisco continues to be a lot of fun. I hope Pawoo listens to Milo next week though I suspect there will be some hijinks first. Also, I was never the kid who wanted to own a pony, but I suspect if I could have had a giant crab like Akutagawa I may have considered it.
Sabikui Bisco split its focus this week with Akiboshi and Milo allowing themselves to be taken prisoner by a town full of children while Pawoo discovers a place where it really is raining men before she accepts the ‘hospitality’ of strangers. As usual for Sabikui Bisco we have giant spiders, flying blowfish, a weird skin disease called shell-skin, as well as desolate rusted landscapes. It continues to be an intriguing adventure.
At some point in anime they will have to explain to me why characters like Akiboshi can happily jump off a tower onto the back of a crab and be perfectly unscathed, meanwhile the character in the background of the picture above is about to splat somewhat awfully upon the ground. Does gravity work differently for protagonists? Even Pawoo, while she doesn’t jump down long distances this week, does somehow get to the top of a building in an instant and practically flies sideways into the head of a giant spider this week.
Sabikui Bisco reminding us that gravity is subjective.
Focusing on Pawoo first, this week she is riding her motorbike down a road when she busts a tire on a caltrop. This is when she discovers the building that is raining men and goes to the rescue of a sweet old couple. Sabikui Bisco seems determined to undermine our trust in other humans as last episode Milo tried to help a girl and she ended up trying to steal their crab. This week Pawoo saves the old couple and then they feed her poisoned tea and try to… well, it isn’t really clear exactly what their game is but it isn’t good.
Interestingly, the old couple tell Pawoo a story of a mushroom keeper who came to town and offered medicine to people and how it led to many deaths and the rest of the people abandoning the town. I’m wondering if they were playing with poisoned tea even then and just blamed the mushroom keeper or if the mushroom keeper really was up to no good. It is hard to tell given it was already established in Sabikui Bisco that a lot of the stories about mushroom keepers are clearly just exaggerated or propaganda by those in power.
Of course, this story also reinforced Pawoo’s already strong distrust of Akiboshi who has left town with her brother. I somehow don’t think she’s ready to be friends with him if she actually catches up.
However, the old couple also weren’t actually much of a match for Pawoo and ultimately she’s ready to head off again.
For Akiboshi and Milo, they are separated and end up helping the kids who took them captive in different ways. Milo naturally falls into doctor mode when he notices the skin disease on the girl feeding him. He’s also pretty horrified that they were lied to about their disease and that all the adults were taken away to work leaving the kids alone in the first place.
Akiboshi is treated more as a prisoner though isn’t really all that well confined as he happily leaves when he’s ready to. But in the meantime he converses with the kids and even manages to get a map of the subway stations.
Thoroughly proving that unlike everyone else in the story Akiboshi is actually a good guy despite his rough nature, Sabikui Bisco then has the blowfish swarm, not expected for months, attack the kids just while they happen to be there and Akiboshi comes to the rescue. Plot convenience aside, it does make for a nice action sequence to end the episode.
It really is hard to know whether the world is falling apart because of the rust or because of the choices of people. While the rusting disease seems awful, it does seem that far more people are dying or living awful lives because of the actions of others. Meanwhile, Sabikui Bisco did establish a time limit for Akiboshi and Milo to find the rust eater to save Akiboshi’s friend and Milo’s sister and yet they don’t seem to be in much of a rush.
Anyway, the series continues to be fun. There’s a good mix of post-apocalyptic doom mixed in with fun action and just weirdness and Akiboshi and Milo are fun characters to spend time with. Looking forward to the next episode.
Sabikui Bisco doesn’t really advance the plot much in its fourth episode. Instead we watch Milo and Bisco attempt to progress from point A to B and along the way we get more of a feel for the dynamic between the duo as well as some comedy in the form of Milo attempting to learn how to ride the giant crab.
As much as Bisco seems like he has an interesting history, his portrayal in this episode is far more standard shouty reactionary character who gives poor instructions and is quick to laughter or anger. Playing opposite him is Milo, the more logical minded doctor who wouldn’t mind getting an instruction manual if it helped him get on the crab so they could get on their way but Bisco’s more visceral instructions aren’t exactly what he has in mind.
Sabikui Bisco kind of settled into an odd couple pattern for the episode.
They’ve kind of got the contrast between our red-headed hot-head of a mushroom keeper and the more timid and yet very determined doctor. More importantly, they aren’t just making Milo the wimp and dead weight. He surprises Bisco more than once in this episode and probably surprised everyone when he treated the pink-haired girl they came across along the way.
Speaking of which, Sabikui Bisco has Bisco and Milo cross paths with the pink haired girl who was working for the governor of the city in the previous episodes. Turns out she was fed a worm larvae and without certain drugs it has now hatched. As much as her character is not particularly interesting or impressive in any way, watching her die like that would have been pretty awful and Milo’s quick actions most definitely saved her life, even if she doesn’t appear overly greatful.
More than that, we see earlier in the episode that when it comes to treatment, Milo loses all of his uncertainty and timidity that he seems to have in other situations. Even the crab becomes more manageable for him when he positions it in a patient/doctor relationship and he takes charge of the situation. And watching a giant crab being told to sit was pretty amusing.
What I do find odd is even after Sabikui Bisco spent a whole episode largely focused on the two characters interacting, I still don’t feel like we’re really got much sense of who Bisco is under that gruff exterior. Both Bisco and Milo are aligned in their goal to save people they care about from rusting and yet otherwise there’s little that is clear about Bisco and his overall sense of the world.
For instance, I didn’t expect that when we caught up with the post credit scene from last week and the temple turned out to be a giant animal, that Bisco would immediately advocate for taking it down. I kind of expected him to be more for conserving life and finding a way to divert it or settle it down. Though I guess getting your skull punctured by a crab claw and then giant mushrooms bursting out of your head would settle you a bit.
What was pretty clear by the end of this episode of Sabikui Bisco is that this anime is fun to watch. Whether the plot is progressing or not its just fun. Milo and Bisco work well together, I like the interesting landscapes and oddities the characters come across, and there’s just a sense that this story is taking itself just seriously enough but not too seriously. Hopefully it can continue to find this nice balance of fun and more serious end of the world content as the story continues.
When the end credits of episode3 for Sabikui Bisco started I was kind of convinced this story had settled into some more predictable territory. Sure we still had a giant crab that can apparently burrow through sand at extreme speeds and mushrooms sprouting to gigantic proportions on impact but these gimmicks had already been revealed in the previous episodes and so were now just being utilised by the story as needed.
Yet, despite most of episode 3 being more or less what should be expected given the set up, the after credits sequence felt the need to throw in one more moment of bizarre (and how weird is it that explosive mushroom growth has become normal in three episodes) when an entire hillside literally pulls itself up from the sand and starts to walk away. I’m guessing the writers of Sabikui Bisco didn’t want the audience to ever think they’d seen the weirdest thing yet.
Episode 3 of Sabikui Bisco puts us into more familiar territory as the time jumps stop and the narrative plays out in a far more ordinary manner despite the extraordinary setting.
This episode sees the continuation of the fight between Pawoo and Bisco. Pawoo, of course, is convinced that since the doctor’s office has been attacked the Milo has come into harm’s way. A point of view not really helped by Bisco’s ambiguous explanation of how the doctor was helping his friend. As much as Bisco wants to complain that people don’t listen to mushroom keepers, I kind of think there’s a communication issue going on from his end as well.
Then again, maybe he’s just so used to people not listening he gave up trying.
While that fight plays out complete with thrown motorbikes exploding in mid-air and a giant bowling pin (because why not), Sabikui Bisco does show us Milo working on Jabi and getting some much needed exposition. Because if we relied on Bisco to tell us what his goal was I think we’d still be confused. Jabi is far more linear in his explanation of the use of mushrooms to eat the rust which is why mushroom keepers plant them in places where there is rust. That others have the mistaken impression the mushrooms are causing the rust seems like it would be easy to disprove but I guess people believe what they want to believe.
Fortunately the fight between Bisco and Pawoo wraps up with Bisco gaining the upper hand and knocking her out. I suspect that she’s not going to let it go, particularly given Milo decides to go with Bisco, and that she’ll end up pursuing them, but I kind of hope she gets the truth sooner rather than later. As it is Sabikui Bisco leaves her unconscious as Milo departs the city with Bisco.
One thing I am continuing to really enjoy about this series, other than just wondering where some of the ideas came from, is the soundtrack. It kind of reminds me of older adventure anime. Actually, the anime it reminds me most of in terms of the background music is Tsubasa Chronicles. It isn’t quite as dramatic and operatic but there’s definitely some similarities.
I was a little surprised that this episode of Sabikui Bisco did so little with Kurokawa’s character. He did appear very briefly, but despite seemingly being set up as a major player in earlier episodes, his goons barely even entered the scene this week and we gain nothing new about his character or why he was interested in Milo back in episode 1.
I’m actually really excited for the next episode now that this opening sequence has played out. With Milo and Bisco pairing up and leaving the city we’ve got a good chance to expand on the world building and for these characters to really play off one another. Hopefully it ends up being an enjoyable ride.
On the surface level you might ask if Sabikui Bisco was actually written by just randomly drawing words out of a hat as you progressed the story. Such as there’s a guy who uses a ‘bow’ to shoot ‘mushrooms’ as he crosses the desert riding a giant ‘crab’. Between that, the bunny heads the governor’s personal security force are wearing, the rust that is eating people, and more or less everything else that kind of feels haphazard, you might start to wonder if there’s a method to the madness or if it really is just throwing ideas at the wall and hoping one of them sticks.
And yet so far despite all the weirdness, the actual world seems to be coming together in a way that looks like it will make sense. Okay, they haven’t stopped the action long enough to explain really anything but we already know the problem with the world is the rust and we’re definitely getting a sense that Kurokawa (the governor) is shady and up to no good. Plus, the plot this week clarified a few points from episode 1 and kind of made me feel like we were getting somewhere.
Sabikui Bisco still needs to give us a few explanations.
One of the things that episode 2 of Sabikui Bisco has finally clarified for me is the timeline. Episode 1 left me a little confused about the border crossing and events in the city that we kept cutting between in terms of what came first. While episode 2 continues to cut back and forth between the present conflict in the city and how that border crossing finished, it is now clear how the two events are connected.
Also in this episode we spend a lot more time with Bisco and get a much clearer sense of who he is. We’re also introduced to his mentor and friend, Jabi, who was injured during the border crossing which all explains why he actually sought out the doctor and so everything kind of wraps neatly together. Also, we get a bit of a hint about why Bisco is trying to cross borders in the first place though there’s still a bit of detail missing there.
Except perhaps why Kurokawa’s guards end up shooting at the doctor’s clinic while Milo was still in there because I got the sense last week that Kurokawa had his own goals for Milo that didn’t necessarily involve shooting him.
On that note, I hadn’t noticed last week when watching Sabikui Bisco (probably because I was trying to figure out what was going on) but Kurokawa’s voice was very familiar. This week I immediately connect it with Maou Sama Retry so after the episode I decided to look up the voice actor, Tsuda Kenjirou. Turns out he’s voiced a lot of characters I’m fairly familiar with including Niino from ACCA.
Anyway, this episode of Sabikui Bisco doesn’t actually resolve the current conflict with the doctor having been stashed to work on healing Jabi while Bisco heads out to distract the guards. Also, word has reached Milo’s sister that the clinic has basically turned into a clump of giant mushrooms and so she takes her motorbike and heads straight for Bisco. The episode ends with Bisco and Paw facing off on the roof of a building.
As epic as that showdown might be (and it is weird that we just know Paw is going to be a decent match for him given we haven’t actually seen her in action – she just comes across as incredibly competent), I’m kind of hoping that they don’t end up too much at odds with one another.
Honestly, this episode passes really quickly as the events just keep kind of coming one after the other but it doesn’t feel rushed. Mostly I was left wanting more of Sabikui Bisco. I want to know what happens between Paw and Bisco. I want to know how the doctor ends up working with Bisco as the OP seems to suggest he will. I also want to know what’s with the giant crab (I know, not the most important thing).
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
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
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