Made in Abyss Review…What Makes Us Human?
The story of Made in Abyss follows the peculiar robot boy Regu and his human friend Riko as they embark on a perilous journey into the depths of the Abyss in search of Riko’s long-lost mother. During their travels, they have to learn first-hand about all the different types of hazards that lie within the Abyss. Riko is ultimately quite helpless and incapable of defending herself or traversing difficult terrain, so Reg helps her out with his multi-purpose robotic arms to get the job done instead.
But above all, they both feel very believable. Riko is very humane in nature and quite quickly becomes someone you want to cheer for, and even Regu is surprisingly genuine despite being an amnesiac robot of unknown origins. However, they know not of the harsh reality that is the true existence of the Abyss.
I have not seen many anime shows with such fluid flowing animation besides those of Ghibli films. Speaking of which, the background animator of Made in Abyss comes from the Ghibli films!
It can be difficult for some to empathize with child characters in anime, but Made in the Abyss does an excellent job of making the viewer concerned and emotionally invested in the survival of Riko and Reg. Their friendship with one another is deeply heart-warming, as they have, no ulterior motives, and genuinely enjoy their time together. There is no journey without the other. It’s difficult not to have a visceral emotional response when one of the two is desperate, miserably trying to save the other’s life.
A Word of Caution…
Some caution should be taken when watching Made in Abyss, as it is by no means a happy adventure. With every episode, there is fear that one of them may die, that they may be betrayed, or forced to kill or commit some other horrid act. This is seldom a concern for most anime. Most protagonists will always survive and reach some sort of happy ending to their story. But not Made in Abyss. It makes very clear that bad things are inevitable, which, given the setting, is perhaps only appropriate. Made in Abyss is by no means something that should ever be viewed by children, and even adults would do well to prepare themselves if they are not accustomed to these sorts of horrors. The abyss is not a wonderful land of treasure, but an awful place where awful things happen.
There are still some minor issues with the story, however. Most prominent is the fact that there is as of yet no actual ending. Will this be where the anime ends, in the middle of their journey? “Hey, this is the end of the anime, so go and read the manga” is not quite what you want to hear when you are emotionally invested in an anime. The story is too grand in scale for it to end after only thirteen episodes.
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Made in Abyss Characters
Regu is a robot who appears to be a little boy. His actual age, origins and even name are unknown, as he can’t recall anything about his life before his encounter with Riko. Riko named him Regu after a dog she used to have.
Regu’s body is extremely durable and resistant to physical damage and is much lighter than its size would suggest. His arms can be extended to be 40 meters in length, and each of them has a built-in Incinerator relic. These high-powered beam cannons are capable of reducing to ashes almost anything. However, his Incinerator is a weapon of last resort as even a single shot depletes the body’s energy almost completely, which in turn makes Regu lose consciousness for 2 hours ten minutes after its use. Having an artificial body, Regu may be one of the only intelligent beings completely immune to the Curse of the Abyss. Because of this, he is sometimes referred to as an “Aubade,” or, the “Treasure of the Deep.”
Despite being a formidable fighter, Regu is rather shy and unassertive. He blushes easily and often cries when in distress. Unlike Riko, Regu becomes easily flustered when in danger, and must often rely on Riko’s judgment in difficult situations.
Riko is the only child of the legendary cave raider and white whistle Lyza “The Annihilator.” When Riko was two, her mother went missing during a quest to the bottom of the Abyss.
By the age of twelve, Riko attained the rank of an apprentice, giving her the rights to wear a red whistle and explore the shallowest level of the Abyss.
Riko is a good-natured and energetic child. She has a quick and inquisitive mind. Riko is resilient and stubborn and, while not much of a brawler, her ability to keep cool under pressure and make rational decisions in the heat of battle allows her—along with Regu’s help—to successfully tackle many of the dangers the Abyss has to offer.
Nanachi is so-called “Final Form”—a survivor of ascension from the sixth level of the Abyss. Madness and/or death are not uncommon results of such an attempt. Due to certain circumstances, Nanachi was able to keep their personality and mental faculties intact. Their body, however, was deformed beyond recognition.
Nanachi’s gender or sex is never expressly stated. Talking about themselves, Nanachi uses the gender-neutral pronoun “oira.”
Not much is known about Nanachi’s past—they were born in the Far North region of Sereni, lost their family and home at a young age and were taken to the Abyss by treachery.
Nanachi looks very young, but their vast knowledge of the physics and ecology of the Abyss seems to suggest they’ve lived there for quite a while. They also appear to be an accomplished healer with significant surgical skills and knowledge of medicinal plants and such. Most of the time Nanachi is cool and reserved. Their ironic attitude often borders on being sarcastic and even cynical. However, behind this mask, Nanachi hides a kind and gentle soul capable of deep compassion and selfless devotion.
Mitty is an amorphous creature that lives with Nanachi on the 4th Layer of the Abyss.
She (Mity) used to be a regular human girl in the past. Her current appearance is the result of the ascension from the 6th layer forced on her by Bondrewd. Her condition caused her soul to be imprisoned within the amorphous carcass which was previously her body, though she’s unable to communicate in any significant way. In her current form, she is also “immortal,” in that stab wounds or other similar injuries cannot affect her whatsoever.
At the end of season 1 in the anime, Nanachi wants Regu shoot and kill her with his Incinerator. This”erases” and rewrites the rules of the Abyss so she(Mitty) could finally be at peace.
This scene almost killed me. I cried for two days.
Have you already seen this anime or read the manga? What did you like or not like about it? Let me know in the comments below!