One by one all the bubble series have come off the fence – Ryman’s Club, Baraou no Souretsu, and now the last of them. I wouldn’t say any of these are great, but they’ve all managed to more or less gain strength as they’ve progressed (though it’s very early with RC). It’s nice to have all the bubble shows make the cut for a change, even if the relative weakness of the season as a whole contributed to that. I don’t know which of the three I’ll rank on top at the end of the season, but right now they’re pretty tightly grouped.
The thing with Sabikui Bisco is, my usual reflexive skepticism to anything light-novel adapted seems pretty misguided at this point. It’s pretty obvious that the sensibility of this series is manga to the core. And what’s more, the attention to detail is really impressive. You don’t get the sense that anything happens just for the hell of it, or to conveniently prop up the plot. Everything seems on-point and relevant, and the level of complexity in the world building is impressive. When I’ve liked LN adaptations in recent years it’s been because they were older novels – I’m not sure how this one managed to slip through the cracks, but it’s pretty atypical for its type.
It all revolves around the Milo-Bisco partnership of course – a classic Boku-Ore pairing of the sort that anime has loved since time immemorial. But the supporting players are used very well, and this week it’s Pawoo and Kurokawa who claim the spotlight. I’m glad the misunderstanding angle with Pawoo and Bisco was resolved quickly (if arguably a hair too easily). The battle with the pipe snake (one of the best trippy monsters I’ve seen in anime for a good while) was a banger – lots of heroism from Milo and Bisco, and a noble sacrifice by Akatugawa. And almost no CGI either – this continues to be an old-school show in look as well as thematically.
Presented with what she’s just seen, it’s hard for “Mom” Pawoo to deny that Bisco is looking out for her brother. As for the rust eater, initially it looks like a disappointment – according to Bisco this is a normal Matsutake. But Panda-sensei is the genius here, and he (a bit of luck was involved too, to be fair) figures out that mushroom-keeper blood is the catalyst to activate the rust-easing potential of the pipe snake’s fungus. Unfortunately Kurokawa shows up and hoists the carcass with its remaining ‘shrooms (and shoots Bisco with a rust bullet) – it seems pretty obvious at this point that his agenda is to keep the rust threat hanging over society indefinitely.
Milo synthesizes enough for two doses, but Pawoo declines to take hers on the grounds that she doesn’t want to tip off Kurokawa that they’ve figured out the cure. She’ll take it, she says, after she uses the other dose on Jabi. But her real agenda is to secretly give that dose to Bisco, as he’s the one directly watching over her brother at the moment. And the big bombshell? Bisco is actually sicker than Pawoo or even Jabi, and he’s been relying on his skills to cover it up. Milo isn’t fooled, though, and he’s not taking no for an answer – he’s going to treat Bisco whether Bisco wants it or not.
If this dramatic partnership doesn’t work Sabikui Bisco hasn’t got a leg to stand on, really, but fortunately it does – damn well. Combined with what’s clearly a well-constructed and interesting premise and some of the most stylish Gainax-Bones homaging in years, the anime has a lot of firepower at its disposal and seemingly a good sense of how to deploy it. There was a time when this show would have been a lot less distinctive than it is now, but that just makes it that much easier to appreciate.