The world is plagued by a rust that affects all things living and innate. The populace blame mushrooms and the mysterious Mushroom Keepers for spreading the rust, but what if they’re wrong?
Sabikui Bisco (Season One)
What did you watch?
I remember seeing the promo image for Sabikui Bisco when I was looking for shows to add to my to-watch list and it instantly caught my attention, so on it went. I had already decided on the shows I was going to cover from the Winter 2022 season, which would be the last time I covered a show as it aired (for now). The fact that there was a guy riding a giant crab on the image just added to my interest, but I had no time. Amazingly, I managed to avoid all spoilers and decided to jump in during the summer. Well, I say all spoilers… There was one thing that I saw that cemented my decision to watch it and that was a single image of Pawoo Nekoyanagi… Of course, there will be spoilers in this post, so proceed with caution.
At some point, Tokyo was destroyed in a mysterious explosion. The aftermath was brutal with a wind that swept the globe, rusting everything it came into contact with, living or innate. The Rust was blamed on mushrooms which seemed to grow abundantly in areas covered with rust. As a result, the Mushroom Keepers were vilified and persecuted relentlessly. Humanity continued to search for a way to stop the Rust or learn to live with it.
Bisco Akaboshi, a young Mushroom Keeper was on a similar mission. He searched for the legendary Rust-Eater mushroom so that he could save his mentor, Jabi who had been infected with Rust. Their journey took them to the Imihama prefecture where they met a young doctor who was trying to cure his sister. They joined forced to search for the Rust-Eater unaware that there were those who didn’t want them to succeed.
What did you think?
For the most part, the story was fairly predictable with one notable exception that I’ll get to later. However, it was still entertaining and I’ll admit I had a lot of fun watching it. The world-building was amazing and that gave us all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. It also had a dark streak. Horrible things happened in this world on a regular basis and that added to the excitement. The finale was a little underwhelming but only because the fights that led to it were far more entertaining. It was a very good series and I’m glad that I watched it… and also that Pawoo was everything I thought she’d be based on a single image.
What was your favourite moment?
Kurokawa, the antagonist for this story, had stolen the Pipe Snake and the Rust-Eater mushrooms that grow on it from Milo and Bisco. He’d also kidnapped Jabi and Pawoo. Milo drugged Bisco so that he could rest and recover from his injuries while Milo went to rescue them. It didn’t go too well. Pawoo escaped, but both Milo and Bisco were badly injured. Kurokawa took Jabi to a secret facility where he had a vat of Rust and one of the giant machines that used it as a weapon. He wanted to get Jabi on his side, but he refused. Kurokawa ordered one of his men to cut off his fingers so he wouldn’t be able to use a bow again.
That henchman turned his blade on Kurokawa and revealed himself to be Bisco. He had left Milo recovering to come and finish things, aware that it might be the last thing he did. The fight between Kurokawa and Bisco was insane. The Rust caused several of Bisco’s fingers to crack and break off. He punched Kurokawa in the face and his arm broke off. Milo arrived to save Bisco from Kurokawa again and this time he bit his next and dived into the molten rust with Kurokawa. Bisco died when Milo fired an arrow into his heart rather than let the Rust consume him. Brilliant, tragic, heartbreaking!
What was your least favourite moment?
Killing off the only character in the show with a part of their name in the title is a bold move. It was surprising, to say the least, but it was effective and made sense. We saw Milo grow as a character from that point on, taking on some of Bisco’s traits and mannerisms. It was as if Bisco’s soul had joined his and they had become one. The giant mecha revived itself and began to attack the world. It then became apparent that Kurokawa had merged with it. Later on, Bisco was actually reborn from the Rust which felt like a slap in the face of all the excellent storytelling to that point. In fact, the worst thing about it was that none of it had been foreshadowed. It just happened and we were supposed to be all right with that.
Who was your favourite character?
I actually liked all of the characters in this series but I would be lying if I didn’t say Pawoo was my favourite. She was strong, determined, and totally fearless. If anyone has a type in anime it’s me and this is my type. Yomu often recommends shows and predicts who will be my type. He’s almost always right! Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, not when my type is the stoic badass who wields a large weapon and generally kicks ass. Even better if they have a softer side too, but only show it when they let their guard down. Pawoo was amazing and I loved every scene with her in it, especially when she threw a giant gorilla at an elephant or jumped off a plane, hit a giant in the head and then landed on another plane. Complete badass!
Who was your least favourite character?
I suppose I have to go with Kurokawa as the villain who was not against putting parasitic worms inside his soldiers so that they would die if they abandoned him or used parasitic mushrooms to turn people into mindless slaves. He was also planning on increasing the amount of Rust so that he would be able to make more money from the antidote that he would control once he’d gotten rid of Bisco and Milo. Yeah, he wasn’t exactly a nice guy.
Would you like some more?
Absolutely. The world alone was so well crafted that it makes for a truly fantastic experience. The monsters were strange yet familiar enough that they didn’t feel entirely alien. There are so many questions that need answers and some that probably just need asking over and over again. As I said, I enjoyed the characters that I would gladly sit through another season or two. I’ve not heard anything about a second season yet, but if it happens, I’ll be there.
What have you learnt?
There were a lot of references or nods to the 1988 masterpiece, Akira and I loved that. They were like easter eggs for the fans. I’m still not sure why there were so many nods to Akira, but I would love to find out if there was a reason for it. It certainly didn’t detract from what was going on as most things were fairly subtle or not out of character.
The best thing about this series was the world and the weird creatures that inhabited it. I enjoyed trying to speculate as to how things came about and why, but there wasn’t any real explanation as to why there were giant fish floating in the air or other such fantastical ideas. It worked because it seemed to be grounded in reality. Even when there was a giant flying two-headed snake with human fingers and legs dangling from its body, it felt believable in the context of this world. A grain of truth can go a long way.
Other Posts in the Series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – The Man Worth 800,000
- Episode 2 – Soar on King Trumpets
- Episode 3 – Tag Team
- Episode 4 – Ride the Crab
- Episode 5 – Children’s Fortress
- Episode 6 – Companions and Prey
- Episode 7 – The Stolen Rust Eater
- Episode 8 – Fiendish Trap
- Episode 9 – I Love You
- Episode 10 – Tetsujin Revived
- Episode 11 – I’m Bisco!
- Episode 12 – Bow and Arrow Duo