Sabikui Bisco - or Rust Eater Bisco if you'd prefer it's English title - is one of the anime 'gems' of this season in my usually really bias opinion.
There seems to be two really conflicting opinions online regarding this anime - either people like it or they hate it. I haven't really found much more chatter about it.
And to be honest, that's the feeling I get about most animes these days.
People either outright hate something or love it - or sometimes, just sometimes, something is "meh". Worth a shrug of the shoulders, "meh".
I tend to outright just adore things.
And if I don't like something, I'll just turn it off and be unbothered by its existence in the world. If I don't like it, that's okay, someone else will love it! That's the attitude I approach entertainment with. Just because it isn't for me, doesn't mean someone out there won't adore it.
As with my favourite anime "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" Sabikui Bisco is an adaptation of a light novel series and I am really looking forward to hunting down the light novel series and buying them.
The world that the anime introduces us to is just fascinating and interesting, and I adore the characters. They're quirky, and weird, and funny, and so refreshing. Gosh, I get so BORED...
Guys, I get so BORED of boring characters.
Then, puff - a good - story just pops up - and I feel so refreshed.
Sabikui Bisco is set in a post- apocalyptic Japan - after everything in the world has been dramatically altered - and humanity is threatened by the after-effects of the apocalypse called "Rust."
In this world there are a group of people known as "Mushroom Keepers" and they have been persecuted for the belief that they bring on the Rust, for folk think Mushrooms cause Rust.
Is this the case? Do Mushrooms actually cause Rust? Or are the Mushroom Keepers actually trying to help? Whooooo....
The basic premise is a buddy story - with the two main characters seeking a MacGuffin - Bisco and Milo begin their journey at odds with each other, each 'wanting' the MacGuffin for the same reason - to save a loved one - but having very different internal needs. Not only are they at odds with each other, but their personalities are completely conflicting and over the course of story they gradually learn to appreciate the other, and form a friendship - not just a friendship - a brotherhood and a partnership - and each one is willing to sacrifice themselves to see the other (and their families) survive.
Here in the west I feel like we have a really narrow view of the word "love" ( or at least have developed a narrow view of it) - and when someone says "I love you" it's usually considered in a romantic sense, other than outside of family. So, I'm really grateful that other cultures have ways of expressing friendships, and the deep - deep connections between people - with the true weight that should be given to them and the true weight that the word "love" really deserves beyond just the "romantic" side of it. This is something I try and explore in my own writing because it fascinates me. The connections we have as Humans, and how those bonds form, and stories that can be woven around those beautiful connections that don't have to be romantic.
Like please - please - as someone who is single - and will probably be single for the rest of my life at this point - I really would appreciate more platonic relationships in which characters are not afraid to still say "I love you" to someone because of course you can love someone platonically.
Okay. Sorry. I'm having a rant. I accidently fell down a Tumblr rabbit hole while looking for pictures and got irritated at the sheer lack of - I donno - decorum - but the internet is freedom, yeah.
There is a scene in one of the episodes towards the end of the series that I found very profound, if you track Bisco's personal growth. He would never sacrifice himself for anyone other than the man he considers his father - this was seen in an episode in which Milo had to literally convince him to save a bunch of kids. Bisco has no qualms killing people in cold blood, and this is pointed out in the first episode, in which a character remarks that he carries a bow, and a bow is forbidden in this world because it means the person welding it cannot feel the weight of the deaths they cause. Bisco can take down entire planes, and whole regiments, with just a single arrow. He can destroy towns if he wanted too. They play it up for a bit of comedy, but, he is in fact, a wanted murderer.
Thanks to his friendship with Milo, Bisco comes to develop compassion for a world that has brutally rejected him, hated him, and wanted him dead due to his unique abilities. He doesn't have to like the world, he could easily turn his back on everyone, but Milo drags him kicking and screaming back into humanity.
I've noticed most people stop watching the anime at this 'profound cathartic episode' - because of what happens. Me, being the emotionally, invested person I am, cried - but I also totally saw where they were taking the story and had a good laugh about it. Totally predicted the ending. XD
It is really sad people stopped watching. Noooo. Don't do that! The transformation in Milo's character is really great, and a good example of what you can do - in a short amount of time - with grief and despair. Now, it's not perfect, and I totally would have liked to have seen it played out longer, and seen the effects of what Milo does to his body to achieve his goals have some consequences.
But you know, for the time constraint of 12 episodes, I think it wrapped up okay. Considering most television bores me within five minutes now, the fact that I finished a 12 episode series should tell you all it's a good story.
I don't want to say much about the world - or the story - or the characters - because I feel like those things need to be experienced as a viewer first hand. Though I will say on one topic:
Milo's sister - Pawoo - is the perfect example of how to write a "Strong Female Character" archetype - without making her unbearably annoying - but animes do this very well. For some reason women in anime seem to keep their femininity intact, and aren't written to throw it aside as if it makes them weak. I would totally cosplay Pawoo.
What I can say is that I adored the art style. It was so refreshing to see something bright, and popping, and different than everything else out this season.
I loved the opening title sequence too. It's so not the type of music I am into, but, I really started enjoying it after a few episodes and bopped around happily in my living room.
But yeah, mostly I adored the art, and the world building and I found the story interesting enough to keep me coming back for a few nights to finish the series. So, I am looking forward to a Season 2 - and I'm going to hunt down the Light Novel series and check them out, as discovering the source material of good animes is always so much fun.
Just - like with most animes these days - I'll stay away from the fandom and the online world entirely. I find the environment online around anime really disheartening and discouraging, and so bitterly negative. I used to prefer anime when it was less mainstream, to the days when I had to sneak into a game-shop and creep over to their tiny anime section, crouch down so no one would see me, and hunt through the collection. Those were the days when I would always get asked at the game-shop: "Oh, I guess you're buying this for your boyfriend, heh." Yeah, yeah totally buying it for my boyfriend. Eh, what boyfriend and how do I get one those?
When I didn't know an anime was good until I actually spent the money, popped the disk into the player and watched it all the way through - or spent HOURS, sometimes DAYS, waiting for something to download.
I know - I know - I sound just as negative. Sorry.
So - I suppose I can recommend Sabikui Bisco if you're into anime. I would say you'd have to be someone who already watches anime to appreciate it. It's very much not an anime that I'd recommend to someone who is a newcomer to the genre.