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Sabikui Bisco

Entry updated 11 May 2022. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Anime tv series (2022; vt Rust-Eater Bisco). Oz. Based on the Light Novel by Shinji Cobkubo. Directed by Atsushi Itagaki. Written by Sadayuki Murai. Voice cast includes Natsuki Hanae, Reina Kondō, Shirō Saitō, Ryōta Suzuki, Miyu Tomita and Kenjiro Tsuda. Twelve 24-minute episodes. Colour.

After an explosion leaves Tokyo a crater surrounded by ruins and desert (see Post-Holocaust), a fatal wind-blown disease called Rust infects many in Japan; it is said to be caused by the spores of giant mushrooms. In the Imihama Prefecture, idealistic young Doctor Milo Nekoyanagi (Hanae) is researching the disease in the hope he can find a cure (see Medicine) for his Rust-afflicted sister, Captain Pawoo (Kondō) of the City's watch. Akaboshi Bisco (Suzuki) is a Mushroom Keeper – using a bow and arrow, he spreads the giant mushrooms into human settlements, so is treated as a terrorist by the authorities: Bisco's assertion that mushrooms do not cause Rust, but rather consume it, are disbelieved.

Bisco initially abducts Milo to have him treat his dying mentor, Jabi (Saitō); but soon they team up to locate The Rust Eater, a particularly potent mushroom growing on an enormous snake: after a trek across the blasted landscape on Bisco's gigantic crab, they locate it and Milo concocts a cure for Rust. Pawoo is seeking out Bisco, believing he killed her brother – but on finding Milo alive she joins them; another pursuer is the trader turned bounty hunter Tirol Ōchagama (Tomita), whose hard life has made her cynical – however, Milo's compassionate nature softens her. The real threat is Kurokawa (Tsuda), crooked Governor of the Imihama Prefecture (see Politics) – who instigated the rumour that Mushroom Keepers are spreading Rust. He kidnaps Pawoo and Jabi, forcing Milo to disclose his cure.

Kurokawa has located a giant Robot, a Tetsujin. Another of these had destroyed Tokyo and caused the Rust-bearing wind (which can be read as metaphors for the Atomic bomb and radiation – see Nuclear Energy): Tetsujin means "Iron Man", but might also be intended to recall Tetsujin 28 Go. Now he has the cure to sell, Kurokawa wants to use his Tetsujin to increase the cases of Rust, so increasing his profits.

At the end of the 9th episode Bisco seemingly kills Kurokawa, then dies himself – but only after a long, heartfelt speech to Milo made whilst he is sinking into molten Rust (echoing the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]). All seems over ... until the Tetsujin revives and marches towards Imihama. Milo battles it unsuccessfully, but sees Bisco reborn from Tetsujin's body, apparently Rejuvenated due to a combination of Rust Eater spores and his Mushroom Keeper blood. However, like its Tokyo-destroying predecessor, Tetsujin is set to explode. Tirol points out it cannot self-destruct of its own accord, so it must have a pilot; Pawoo (who has almost superhuman strength and a metal bar) splits open Tetsujin face to reveal the remains of the still alive Kurokawa embedded in its skull. He has only a few minutes to crow before Bisco and Milo kill him and disable the Tetsujin with mushrooms.

All ends happily: Pawoo becomes Governor of the Imihama Prefecture; Bisco and Milo, in effect, ride off into the sunset together – despite occasional flirting between Bisco and Pawoo, as well as Milo and Tirol, nearly all the series' romantic chemistry is between these two. Though this is an entertaining, amusing and action-packed series, plausibility is not Sabikui Bisco's watchword: as Rust also rusts, there is a metal shortage, meaning that Technology often incorporates animals, with cargo planes built around giant snails (arguably making them a primitive Cyborg) and hippos mounted with machine guns. As with many another heroic wielder of the bow and arrow, Bisco's quiver is inexhaustible. [SP]


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