Episode 9 – Sabikui Bisco

How would you rate episode 9 of
Sabikui Bisco ? Community score: 4.4

Sometimes, when putting a story together, you just want to riff on the final act of Terminator 2and that’s valid. Sabikui Bisco certainly wears its influences on its sleeve as it catapults into yet another climax, weaving tenderness and spectacle alike into Bisco’s blustery showdown against Kurokawa. The only thing hotter than the sea of ​​molten rust beneath them is our heroes’ fury! And their love for each other. And I should also mention there’s a cigar-chomping combat gorilla mixed in with a pink elephant doomsday machine somewhere in there. Sabikui Bisco contains multitudes, and out of all the episodes to air so far, this one contains the most of them.

While this is an action- and anger-saturated installment, the anime booksends things with moments of gentleness shared between Milo and Bisco. It’s a good way to keep this part of the story from spiraling away from itself, and it has the added benefit of giving the pair plenty of time to be cute together, especially in the opening. It’s emotional; The two boys are both physically and mentally shot, yet they still each try to put on a brave face for the other, grimacing through their pain and the inevitability of departure. With Milo blinded by rust, the camera smartly focuses on his sense of touch, using tight close-ups on the places where Bisco’s hands help and hold his own. The campfire adds some mood lighting, and the whole scene is incredibly romantic. Even when Milo teases Bisco about his crush on Pawoo—something that would, under normal circumstances, feel like an authorial kneejerk against making them appear too gay—it just feels like a natural extension of their flirting. Bisco cups both of his hands around Milo’s as he drifts back into sleep. The love is there.

Milo had his turn last week, so this time it’s Bisco who goes on a suicide run to strike back against Kurokawa. It’s no less frustrating to see, but at least it feels more in line with his usual hardheaded “shoot a shroom arrow first and ask questions later” demeanor. The real kicker, for me, is that he had saved Pawoo’s dose of the Rust Eater this whole time. Maybe he originally intended to give it back to her, or maybe he saved it because he knew Milo would eventually do something stupid and self-sacrificing. And to be clear, not taking the dose himself is also stupid and self-sacrificing, but that’s why Bisco and Milo were made for each other.

Grave injuries be damned, Kurokawa is still having the time of his life being a mustache-twirling blowhard. And because nobody in this show can kill someone when they have a perfectly easy opportunity to do so, Jabi is still around to parry his words with the kind of insubordination only an old codger can provide. This is really just a continuation of last week’s confrontation, so there’s not much new to dig into. Following his logic from last week, if medicine is a business, then it’s good business to keep people sick, and thus Kurokawa has taken it upon himself to artificially strengthen the Rusty Wind. Pretty standard supervillain stuff, though again, Kenjiro Tsuda injects plenty of vitality and venom into his performance.

Bisco, meanwhile, turns into a Terminator, figuratively and literally. Fighting for Milo’s sake imbues him with superhuman strength and pain tolerance, meaning even his body crumbling apart isn’t enough to stop him from cornering Kurokawa. This is our first exposure to late-stage Rusting, and while I probably shouldn’t be surprised that it turns whole appendages into corroded metal, it is still shocked me to see it in action. I always love some good body horror. Bisco also, ironically, lives up to his “man eater” infamy and bites Kurokawa’s neck, fulfilling his promise to use his teeth if that’s what it would take to drag his adversary into a lava bath. Scientific accuracy of this scene aside (because you really shouldn’t be caring about that nine episodes into a show about gargantuan mushrooms), it’s an appropriately over-the-top homage to Terminator 2‘s steel mill showdown. And considering the rest of this fight has indulgences with slapstick absurdity—Pawoo smacking the gorilla commando, the hulked-out supersoldier’s antilimactic end, etc.—it’s nice to see that Sabikui Bisco doesn’t forget to have fun amidst all the melodrama.

That being said, it’s a little frustrating that this episode’s loud dramatic notes recapitulate those from last week, just dialed up to eleven. It’s not a bad thing, per se, and the less restrained action in this iteration does make for a stylish climax full of vigor and brimstone. It’s just that returning to this narrative well again so soon dulls something that should be as pointy as an arrow straight through the heart. I also don’t believe for a second that Bisco is actually dead. I mean, he very much appears to be so, and I couldn’t tell you how he’ll manage to survive being liquidated into a giant pool of molten metal, but Sabikui Bisco just doesn’t strike me as the kind of series to kill off its protagonist midway through the story. That, admittedly, is based on my gut alone (or just copium), so if I must eat my words later, I will. However, assuming I’m correct, and agnostic of how it gets resolved, I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the fakeout.

I do have a lot of respect for my wish getting granted, though! The title does indeed refer to a line spoken by Milo towards Bisco, and while I would have preferred to hear it uttered under less tragic circumstances, it’s a fantastic emotional orbital strike for the episode to end on. Even if Bisco eventually returns, their feelings for each other in that moment are completely bare and true, with love, anguish, and acceptance all swirled together into a slurry hotter than Kurokawa’s smoldering corpse. The episode, again, is bookended by this raw tenderness between our two lead boyfriends, and Bisco also takes more time than usual to muse on his feelings. In caring for Milo, for example, he comes to further appreciate all the things Jabi has done for him. Love is multiplicative. It’s sappy, but it keeps the battle grounded, ultimately, in Bisco and Milo’s warmth and passion for each other.

So what now? With both Kurokawa and Bisco apparently dead (again, I wouldn’t be surprised if reports of either of those end up greatly exaggerated), the established conflict is pretty much taken care of, and there are three more weeks of anime to go. It’s a big rusty world out there, though, and this episode drops some lore—namely, the presence of multiple Tetsujin—that points to where we’re going next week at the very least. Plus, Tirol shows up in the preview, so I’m happy. Look, I’m sure Milo and Bisco will be reunited and smooching over a pot of mushroom stew in no time. And if not, well, there’s no truer love than asking your husband to kill you.

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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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