Sabikui Bisco, Vol. 3

By Shinji Cobkubo and K Akagishi. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jake Humphrey.

Sabikui Bisco, as I noted on Twitter while reading this volume, bases itself around two aesthetics: “cool” and “gay”. Both of these aesthetics are present and correct in this third volume, which wraps up the story arc the author had in mind on creation, though it’s clear there are more volumes coming. Now, it may come as a surprise that I am saying that this volume of Sabikui Bisco is really gay, given that, over the course of the book, Bisco marries a woman and the book ends with the two of them going off on their honeymoon. And yes, that does happen. But it’s irrelevant. Bisco and Milo is still THE pairing in this book, and even the flashbacks to the memories of the villain falling in love with another woman have Bisco and Milo laid over the two of them. It’s ridiculous, but that’s part of this series’ charm. It runs on ridiculousness. Ah, I suppose that’s a third aesthetic.

We open with our heroes celebrating, complete with quasi-religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, we then get the arrival of this book’s Big Bad, Apollo. He’s determined to return Japan to the way it was in 2028, and to do so he has particles that will convert anything – building, animals, people – into cities. Now some folks are belching out tiny buildings, telephone poles and power lines. To make matters worse… or possibly better… Tirol ends up being possessed by an an aspect of the villain who is on our heroes’ side, and tries to explain what’s going on. What follows is a series of extended battles against the encroaching citification of everything. But in order to get to that point, as I said above, Bisco and Pawoo are going to have to get married. Because the villain runs on etiquette, and it would be rude to interrupt a wedding procession, even if it’s heading off to defeat you.

Again, this book runs on cool as much as gay, and the cool in this book is very cool. The sheer imagery of the cities popping out all over people is stunning, and it will be amazing if it’s ever animated. That said, there are a few issues I had with this book. About 2/3 of the way through, most of the major characters except for Milo and Bisco get killed off one by one, and I’ve read enough shonen manga to know that there was inevitably going to be a resurrection at some point. Not to spoil, but yep. Sabikui Bisco is a shonen manga in light novel form, and that sometimes means it has the bad aspects of shonen manga as well. And the fact that this book runs almost entirely on aesthetic means that there’s not an awful lot of depth to it. We are never really going to see a different, more shaded side to Bisco or Milo. They’re who they are. And while I was asking for more Tirol in future books, “possessed the entire time” was not what I meant.

Still, this book doesn’t really need to be good in the way other light novels need to be, it needs to be good in the way that One Piece or Fairy Tail are good. In that respect it passes with flying colors.

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