Episode 11 – Sabikui Bisco

How would you rate episode 11 of
Sabikui Bisco ? Community score: 4.1

Turns out it takes more than a few mushrooms to topple a walking colossus with enough firepower to turn an entire city into a junkyard, but that’s not going to stop Milo from letting his arrows fly. The season’s climactic battle against the reanimated and Kurokawa-possessed Tetsujin continues into its second week, with both predictable and surprising developments. As a final boss fight, it might be overstaying it’s welcome, and for better or worse it will continue into the next and last installment of this adaptation. As an exhibition of Sabikui Bisco‘s quirks, however, this extended assault still shakes out to be a fun survey of the series’ fun idiosyncrasies.

For example, I really enjoy that the episode opens with a break from the action, instead of giving us two dialogue-heavy scenes between two pairs of people who haven’t gotten a whole lot of opportunity to interact. Tirol and Pawoo prove that opposites attract; Their personalities could not be more different, yet they find camaraderie in how Milo and Bisco’s partnership affected them. I also just really enjoy their banter—I’d totally watch a Bisco spinoff starring the two of them. Milo and Jabi, meanwhile, have a far more somber yet nonetheless compelling heart-to-heart. Their shroom pontifications echo my own thematic musings from last week, and it’s always nice to be vindicated. Beyond that, though, hearing Jabi call him Bisco carries a hell of a lot of emotional weight—it’s a father’s love recognizing Milo’s own love.

And out of love, Milo continues to perfect his impersonation of Bisco, which includes working on both his cocksure grin and, unfortunately, his daredevil recklessness. He keeps throwing himself into battle without a moment’s rest, and he’s injecting himself with shroom stimulants in order to do so. That writing is written in rust on the wall. On the upside, though, it means we get some pretty gnarly action scenes! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this specifically in any prior reviews, but one of the series’ best hallmarks is the creativity with which Sabikui Bisco integrates magic mushrooms into its combat. Fungal trampolines aid Milo’s death-defying aerial stunts, and a giant ball of fluffy mold (which sounds more disgusting than it looks) protects one of the Weeping Child Ravine kids. The series’ indebtedness to Mad Max also rears its head and recreates One of the most iconic scenes from Fury Road. The pedigree of its blockbuster forebearers is really damn high, and it’s to the series credit that it still manages to carve out its own identity from all those influences. Between the sizable shrooms, the megafauna, and the blatant disregard for logic in the service of awesomeness, nobody else quite does it like Sabikui Bisco.

The structure of this Tetsujin fight is wearing thin in its second full episode, however. There are only so many times you can pump a titan full of mycelium only to have him shake it off and blast rust in retaliation. The kids from Calvero provide the best respite from that repetitiveness, as they weigh the decision to abandon their town or not. I think the narrative strikes a good balance here, acknowledging the difficulty of their choice, but ultimately concluding that people are always more important than a place. It’s a neat, subversive way of demonstrating Bisco’s influence. You might expect his predilection for fighting would have led them to take a last futile stand against the Tetsujin, but instead it’s Kousuke, emboldened by Bisco’s stalwartness, who convinces Nuts and the others that leaving is the right choice. Sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is be a coward.

Milo’s bravery takes him in the complete opposite direction. It’s dispiriting to see him have so little disregard for his life, especially within the context of Bisco’s final words to him, but I also can’t deny my heart stirring nobly as his Imihama friends watched on in awed silence as he fought for their lives . This is all a moot point anyway, because surprise, Bisco is alive! While it may be uncouth to gloat, I just want to say I absolutely told you so. And honestly, even though I anticipated it, the revelation still held a lot of wind in its melodramatic sails, so I have to give the series credit for selling the gravity of this scene. It helps too that Milo and Bisco’s reunion arrives with the adaptation’s gayest gaze ever. The camera inserts itself into Milo’s eyes and delivers long, luxurious pans over Bisco’s chiseled abs and cheeky grin. Tears fall from Milo’s limpid eyes as Bisco carefully places his large and mysteriously glowing hand over his. He is St. Sebastian back from the dead and thirsty for both revenge and his boyfriend. It’s badass and tender all at once.

I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, Bisco’s resurrection retroactively cheapens Milo’s character development over the past two episodes, and I think it would have been more ambitious to follow his story of acceptance (towards less self-destructive ends, ideally). Whatever explanation they come up with for Bisco’s survival is also probably going to be lacking; playing fast and loose with death like this is a great way to forever permanent your series’ tension. On the other hand, Sabikui Bisco is at its best when it’s doing whatever the hell it wants to do, good taste or good reason be damned. And I pledge that I’ll completely forgive it for stringing us along if it never explains how Bisco lived. I think that would be the funniest and most Sabikui Bisco way of resolving this. But either way, with one episode in the season to go, this is more or less poised to be one of winter’s highlights. It just has to stick the landing and stick a dumptruck-sized boot up Kurokawa’s tin can ass.

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Sabikui Bisco is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Steve can be found on Twitter if you want to read his World’s End Harem livetweets. Otherwise, catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.

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