「こどもたちの砦」 (Kodomo-tachi no Toride)
This week’s Sabikui Bisco acted as a short yet pleasant one-off with Milo and Bisco visiting a shantytown run by children whose parents were recruited to join up with Kurokawa’s private army. But while Milo and Bisco are figuring out how they can help the kids enough to be allowed safe passage across their commune, Pawoo has her own investigation to handle with a couple driven to the brink of madness.
NO CITY FOR OLD MEN
I’m not usually a fan of episodes about towns run by children because they usually exist to tragically murder the kids or have the kids channel Lord of the Flies or Children of the Corn as they end up being twisted enemies. But I actually enjoyed this because they managed to make the kids in Bisco far more competent in running a town and are quick to ally with Bisco and Milo once they prove themselves to be trustworthy.
It’s interesting to hear about life from the kids’ perspective because they’ve gone through so much since they had to take up the mantle of protecting the town on their parents’ behalf. And rather than acting as a hindrance or a harbinger of doom, it’s nice that Bisco and Milo’s presence did more to help them out than bring harm to them. With Milo curing the town’s illness and Bisco sniping at the flying blowfish, it ended on a kinder note for the time being that I appreciated. The action sequence was also pretty cool with Bisco firing arrows at the blowfish for every subway station that Kousuke could list to help him navigate towards his path to the Rust-eating mushroom
As they started helping the kids, it became all the more apparent what’s been happening to them from behind the scenes. Mainly, the fact that a curable disease known as Shellskin was spread throughout the town as the adults were misinformed of it being a Rust outbreak that could only be deterred by leaving their kids behind.
KUROKAWA UNDER THE BRIDGE
On top of the news that Milo could cure their illness immediately, there’s a lot of seedy news tied to how Kurokawa handles his business. I would imagine that it was a two-prong solution on Kurokawa’s end that the adults in their town were selected to serve him in their private army as their children were to be eventually fed to the flying blowfish swarms.
Although there are many details that Kurokawa would prefer to be a secret, he’s pretty much an open book as far as his motives go. How he coordinates himself during elections is transparent enough that even the kids knew that he murdered his political rivals during election years.
Masks were also a precaution on Kurokawa’s behalf with many of the members of his private military being comprised of infected outsiders conscripted to work under him. It also checks out from the last episode’s details of why Ochagama had been the host of a deadly parasite. It is troubling to see how Kurokawa found Jabi among the officers working for him, but with his reaction to being caught, I have some wishful thinking that he won’t be entirely in deep dung.
THE TOWN OF A THOUSAND CORPSES
On Pawoo’s end, there was an unsettling encounter she had with a couple who stayed behind in a ghost town so that they could repopulate their town with preserved corpses and statues made from said corpses. While it was sad to see how far gone they became since they decided to make corpse statues, it did make for an awesomely creepy scene where Pawoo sneaks into a lounge area to find a party of decayed bodies watching television.
At the same time, there was a more solemn backstory for the couple as the town they resided in was ravaged by a presumed Mushroom Keeper’s experiment. I say “presumed” because the identity of the Mushroom Keeper could be just about anyone, especially with his aim to use the townspeople as an experiment to inject them with Rust.
In my eyes, this is probably the most interesting detail from this episode since it begs to question who they had to be. Jabi and Bisco are well-aware that there are a few Mushroom Keepers who have sinister motives. But at the same time, human experimentation and bioweaponry also don’t sound too different from what Kurokawa dabbles into. It’ll be neat to see whether they’re identified later on and whether their allegiances are towards Kurokawa or if they’re a rogue Keeper that Bisco might have to cross bows with.