The Abyss—a gaping chasm stretching down into the depths of the earth, filled with mysterious creatures and relics from a time long past. How did it come to be? What lies at the bottom? Countless brave individuals, known as Divers, have sought to solve these mysteries of the Abyss, fearlessly descending into its darkest realms. The best and bravest of the Divers, the White Whistles, are hailed as legends by those who remain on the surface.
Riko, daughter of the missing White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator, aspires to become like her mother and explore the furthest reaches of the Abyss. However, just a novice Red Whistle herself, she is only permitted to roam its most upper layer. Even so, Riko has a chance encounter with a mysterious robot with the appearance of an ordinary young boy. She comes to name him Reg, and he has no recollection of the events preceding his discovery. Certain that the technology to create Reg must come from deep within the Abyss, the two decide to venture forth into the chasm to recover his memories and see the bottom of the great pit with their own eyes. However, they know not of the harsh reality that is the true existence of the Abyss.
#1: "Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite (旅の左手、最果ての右手)" by Riko (Miyu Tomita) and Regu (Mariya Ise) (eps 2-9) #2: "Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite (旅の左手、最果ての右手)" by Riko (Miyu Tomita), Regu (Mariya Ise), and Nanachi (Shiori Izawa) (eps 10-12)
Are you looking for a good, fun, light-hearted adventure? This has that.
Are you looking for a wonderful, sci-fi thriller? This has its thrilling moments.
Are you looking for wonderful chemistry between the characters? This presents that.
Do you want an anime with well-animated fight scenes? This gives us that.
Are you looking for an anime that has a wonderful staff backing it up, always checking to make sure they bring out the anime’s fullest potential, based from its manga source, faithfully adapting it? They both have, and do that.
Made in Abyss is an anime, that can abide to almost anyone’s taste in anime. I personally believe that Made
in Abyss is an anime and manga, that will ring throughout time as one of the best classics to come out in recent years.
Why? I’ll tell you.
As said before, Made in Abyss has a staff of people running it, that always checks to make sure that every episode is doing great, always trying their hardest into their works. A wonderful story, great character chemistry, a harmonious soundtrack, effects, and voice actors, and beautiful, fluid animation. All of that came onto the screen because of such a wonderful staff (except story, for the most part. Credit to the author, Akihito Tsukushi!). Everything about the series was able to grab me, and pulled me in like a roped hostage on a train or bank scandal. While that may sound rough, what is truly meant is that, just from the first episode, I could tell that Made in Abyss was going to be great.
In the first episode, it panels off immediately into a beautiful waterfall within the first layer of the Abyss, and then into an abundance of flowers, trying to make you feel as if you’re standing right next to the lead in their journey into the abyss. The staff did that to have world build for the viewers, but it was a lot more than that. With the waterfall, and pacing through the first episode, the waterfall and what happens after foreshadows what is to come later in the story. EVERYTHING that happens in the first episode, is foreshadowing the story within the Abyss. But, let me get back to what happens shortly after the waterfall and flower clip. We are introduced to the light-hearted driver of the story and her friend, Riko and Nat. They walk down a path, where they see a gondola, foreshadowing that Riko will be going down into the abyss. Then, she goes on an excavation to find relics, only to find a dead body in prayer.
And then.. The craziest part of the episode that foreshadows the darkness of the story.
A child, an inch away from death, from being eaten by the monster with the most peculiar characteristics, that will have importance in the show. The monster can be compared to that of a Manta Ray, a slug, and a snake.
Of course, because Riko is the main character, she cannot just standby and watch it all happen. So, she tries to attract the monster away from the child by blowing her whistle, and she runs away as hard as she can, and she gets hurt. Just when it seems everything is hopeless, A robotic child, or maybe I should say a knight in shining armor, saves Riko with a blast of light, and is found unconscious shortly after. Riko can’t just leave him, being the main character. So, she brings him. That robot’s name is Reg.
Thus, starts the wonderful character chemistry between the characters.
With the first episode, whenever the characters interact with each other, it always brings great joy for how well they work together. It might be that the leads are kids (no, not lolis, they range from ages 10-12, and Kiwi is, like, 4), but because they are kids, it makes me feel as if I, myself, am a kid again. Just watching them do what they do across the screen, pulls my heart even more into the story. It truly feels as though I’m standing next to them during their interactions. Due to the leads being kids, they give off the light-hearted sense of adventure. Living joyously, actively, and having fun. This is just between Nat, Riko, Reg, and Sigy. Don’t even get me started on the interactions with Lyza, Ouzen and Nanachi. Their interactions are some of the biggest reasons why this anime is great, along with the fight scenes. Lyza being the narrator, Ouzen being the badass grandmother, and Nanachi (My favorite!) breaking your average anime tropes. If you want to know how great they are, just watch the anime. After the encounter with Ouzen, the story shows that, not even the main characters have plot armor. The definition of humanity treads onto many uncomfortable grounds for its viewers to display dark desires from within.
Another great attachment to the anime is the sound.
The soundtrack is beautiful. In an instant, from hearing the insert song from the first episode, I pre-ordered the soundtrack. The soundtrack sounds as if it came straight out of a game, and really has an adventurous beat to it. Thank you, Kevin Penkin. However, if I were to compare the soundtrack to the sound effects, the sound effects are some of the best sounds I have heard out of anime, especially when Reg shoots his arms or laser. What I can describe those sound effect as, is organic. With the voice actors, the kids sound like kids, and the old adults sound like old adults. But, when the intensity rises, comedically and dramatically, or narration within the anime, say, the fight scenes and Maaya Sakamoto (Her narration is wonderful to hear), the voice acting is great. It rounds about the sense of adventure, just like everything else the anime provides. With the voice acting, one can tell that there is passion going on behind the scenes.
One more thing to talk about that the anime provides is the animation.
I have not seen many anime 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! Will that motivate you to watch and finish Made in Abyss? ...No? Okay, then I’ll provide more than that to motivate you. Time frame 19:57 to 20:10 in the first episode. That should be enough to talk about the animation, because animation like that is all the anime will provide, making eye candy for the viewer. From the grainy wood, to the cavities on rock walls, and the sun coming over the horizon are wonderful details added by the animators.
Overall/TL;DR | Enjoyment: 10/10.
Made in Abyss is quite original in handling the fantasy setting, and I have to say that, I’m glad something like Made in Abyss was able to come by. How the author was able to build a culture around an enormous crater is quite plausible. Made in Abyss provides variety, satisfaction, and it even provides the knowledge of the author, such as medical assistance and ecological terminology. Made in Abyss is an anime I can universally recommend. A great story that compels the viewer to finish from the start, active and lively characters that can be described even more as such through their interactions, the wonderful sound from the soundtrack, effects, and voice actors, and the Ghibli-comparable animation. I utterly, truly, from the bottom of the abyss within my heart, recommend this anime to anyone who seeks a great story. Made in Abyss provides just that.
Note: To legally watch, you'll need an Amazon prime account, and then take the anime strike subscription. You can also take a 7-day free trial to watch it! The first volume (episodes 1-6) is currently out, and can be bought for Blu-ray or DVD at CDJapan. The second half will be released in December.
Note edit: Anime strike was taken down, so you just need a prime subscription!
Extra Note: The second half has been released for Blu-Ray and DVD! (7-13)
Made in Abyss isn't at all what it appears to be. Though it may seem little more than an adventurous children's anime, chibi art and all, it gradually reveals itself as something much darker, as Riko's and Reg's hopeless ascent continues, stumbles along, no happy ending in sight, death— and worse— awaiting them for each step they fall.
Many anime give off the facade of maturity: gratuitous gore, sadistic and loony villains, self-serving themes ripped from entry-level philosophers such as Nietzsche - features that make a story palatable to rebellious teenagers, rather than the adults they so desperately wish to be.
But Made in Abyss doesn't fall
into these trappings. It contains graphic, violent scenes, occasionally even outright disturbing, but never is there a moment where it feels unnecessary. It is a story of adventure, of survival, and of finding life within death.
Made in Abyss has one of the most interesting settings in anime. A city built around a giant pit, gaping downwards for tens of thousands of metres, its nature unknown, treasure and terrifying beasts awaiting any who wish to test their luck. What's at the very bottom of the pit? How deep can one truly go before death is an inevitability? In many ways, the pit is reminiscent of Hell: for each layer they reach, they encounter something more ghastly than the last, the stench of death progressively growing stronger. But Riko and Reg press onward, determined to find Riko's mother, no matter if they succumb to the dangers and find themselves a permanent resident of the abyss.
While there exists ample world-building, the story instead puts the focus on the duo rather than the world at large, preferring instead to carefully reveal the details of the world through their eyes and ears, evolving the viewer from mere spectator to active participant. You don't know much about the pit's third and fourth layers until they reach that part themselves, and the fifth and beyond remain a complete mystery because nobody has ever actually survived to tell the tale. It's an elegant way to keep the viewer interested: I don't want to be told what to expect - I want to see for myself what monsters and contamination and other awfulness await the further they fall, and so I find myself with the next episode playing as soon as the credits hit roll.
It can be difficult for some (myself included) to empathise with child characters in anime, but Made in Abyss does an excellent job of making the viewer concerned about and emotionally invested in the survival of Riko and Reg. Their friendship with one another is deeply heart-warming, as they have, much like real children, no ulterior motives, and genuinely enjoy their time together. They rely on one another, their abilities complimenting the other's: intellect and cooking in Riko's case, and combat and acrobatics in Reg's. There is no journey without the other— it is either two or it is zero. And so it is difficult not to have a visceral emotional response when one of the two is desperately, miserably trying to save the other's life.
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, that they may become permanently disfigured or forced to kill or commit some other horrid act. This is seldom a concern for most anime, as the 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. Corpses, vomit, grossly deformed wounds, blood bleeding from and seeping into the eyeballs— 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, something I did not realise until the final episode when I looked at the source material and found out that, oh, the manga was still ongoing. This ceases to be a problem in the event of future seasons and adaptations, but will there be any? 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. But, I suppose, a faithful, if potentially incomplete adaptation is still preferable to the dreadful anime-only endings that plague many unfortunate adaptations. The story is too grand in scale, too personal for it to end after only thirteen episodes.
The story could have also done without the more sexual situations— the references to penises, and one ungraceful moment where Reg returns from trying to save someone's life, only to blush and freak out immediately after when he sees Riko being undressed. With how serious the mood was at that point in the story, it effectively killed all the tension that had been building for the entire episode. That's not to imply this scene existed to create sexual arousal in the audience— Made in Abyss has more integrity than that— as she was being undressed solely for health reasons, but certainly it was not a scene that felt in any way necessary. There's a time and place in the story for comedic relief, and that was not the time.
Made in Abyss is fairly impressive in terms of its sound and artwork. The background music starts adventurous and gradually becomes more ominous as the story progresses, even if the ending theme remains almost hilariously light-hearted and incongruently so— its lyrics being more appropriate to Barney & Friends than a graphic life-or-death struggle. While the artstyle may not be to everyone's taste, it at least remains detailed and consistent throughout the series (the map after the ending sequence being a nice addition), although there are perhaps two or three odd moments during the action sequences where the animation will suddenly become sketchy, for reasons that are mystery to me.
In one of the weakest seasons for anime, where interesting series may well be nonexistent, Made in the Abyss is a genuine surprise. While I might reserve claims such as it being the best anime of the year (Sangatsu no Lion takes that one for me), it is a truly special anime, one which had me worried and invested in the characters' fate in a way that very few anime ever have.
I want to see a future where Riko and Reg return to a happy life on the surface. But, much like them, I am determined to see their journey to its end, no matter the result.
I want to be honest. I was evading this anime and manga. My first impression was the picture of Riko, Regu, and Nanachi, I thought: An anime about children, with some strange plot, fanservice and maybe a big bunny. I was not expecting anything from this anime. I was preparing to skip and to "bury" it in a review, but now I can eat my own words. This anime is a jewel. The adaptation is incredible. It has a good narrative with an impressive artistic design, combined with the most beautiful soundtrack of the year and an acceptable character development.
An anime with a good
story. It has everything, mystery, emotion, sadness, love, action, tears and much more. The story could be straightforward and conceptually very simple, several details are added as the story progresses. The show highlights concepts such as friendship, trust, why the abyss became important to the locals and the curse that surrounds it without being too complicated for the viewer to understand. Also, we can observe the constant need to find the truth and the need to resolve the abyss' mysteries. Besides, the story blended very well with the art and soundtrack to produce a beautiful animation.
The abyss is an incredibly creative world. For me, it has its own set of laws where all the characters converge. The story never contradicts the abyss but uses it to propel the mysteries and characters. The plot is very attractive, and the details are revealed at the right pace to keep you hooked to the end. Also, some details are never shared, we can try to guess about them.
Lowering the abyss is a dangerous task. However, it is gratifying to see the consistency between hazards and depth. Perhaps the only negative point I have is that the story is not going to be finished as the manga is still going on. In addition, it was only adapted to chapter 26 of the manga. I'm sure we'll have to wait a while for an ending.
The main characters are Riko and Regu. I consider Nanachi and Ouzen as secondary characters but those two added important details to the story.
Riko radiates great enthusiasm. She wants to explore and to understand the abyss. Besides, she is anxious to go deeper because she wants to see her mom. She suffers, cries, worries, but always tries to be active no matter how weak she is. She is brilliant, but her body is not that strong. She trusts Regu unconditionally.
Regu. Is it a machine? Is it a hybrid? This character has a mystery that maybe will not be explained. He is powerful but lacks thoughtful analysis. For that reason, he is the best partner for Riko because she is the rational one and they trust each other.
Ouzen (Ozen): She is a human being but could be a monster. She does not care if you're weak or strong. She will show you the reality and if necessary will put you in your place.
Nanachi is more a survivor of the abyss curse. She (I'm assuming she's a girl) is very intelligent and has suffered a lot. However, there may be an error in her age. She might look young as Riko, but is she so young? I think she's older than Riko and Regu.
The characters look good together because their traits are very different. The show portrayed them very well. However, I would consider the characters as the weakest link in the series. Do not get me wrong, they are good, but they were not explored enough to explain some parts of the story. At times I felt that we just touched the surface of these characters. There are some background questions, and I'm sure we will get the answers in the future.
The best of the season. They pay attention to details. For example, in episode one at the end, we can see the talent of this group when they combined the shadows and the lighting at dawn and created a perfect movement. The precise colors and design created an impressive effect that for the spectator's eyes could be one of the best of the year. That quality remained throughout the series. In addition, the choice of colors and a smart move adjusted within the scenes helps you to focus on what matters, not forgetting or letting go of the details if you choose to focus on other parts of the scene.
The action sequences have an excellent design and do not lose quality. They also combine very well with the sound mixing.
With one word I want to praise this "exceptional" sound.
The OST has several scores that help the storytelling. For example, a mixed composition such as "Underground River" (Ep1, Disc1), "Hanazeve Caradhina" (Ep1), "Swings and Roundabouts" combined with an intelligent sequence, an impressive story and a witty artistic direction created the perfect environment to catch any viewer and make them anxious for more. We can find another example in the score "The first layer." This score helps to add to the plot the feeling of the unknown and the expectation for the future.
The music runs in the best time possible. It creates excitement, drama, conveys feelings to viewers and makes the plot and characters shine.
The songs Deep in Abyss (OP) and Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite (ED) are the perfect complement to this anime. These songs are very catchy and have a great rhythm.
Finally the VO. I'm not used to talking about it, but in this case, the voices helped to portray the characters. For example, Ouzen's voice. That voice adds excitement to the scenes and creates a great twisted mystery to the character.
I really liked this anime. It does not matter if the characters were not explored in detail, no matter the lack of answers about some characters or if the story did not end. The show brings a lot of excitement to any viewer. The story is solid, well structured and consistent almost all the time. The pace is good and the details never hurried. Another good point is that they followed the manga so none could complain. The art and sound led the narration out of the chart.
I was tempted to give a 10 to this anime, but the questions about the characters and the unfinished story lowered the score. Unfortunately for us, we do not know if we will get a continuation of the anime in the future, but it does not matter. I recommend this anime, the art, the adaptation are exceptional with a unique soundtrack. It was the best of the season so skipping it will be a mistake. In the end, I became a fan of this story and I don't regret it.
PS: Yes! Another messy review by Pipe and I didn't proofread again, sorry.
It's been a long time since I saw an anime which manages to immediately get you captivated as much as Made in Abyss did. At first glance it might look like a kids' show of sorts, but you really couldn't be much further from the truth. This is a pretty dark anime past a certain point, but even before that it's still fantastic.
Made in Abyss is a perfect example of an adventure anime done right. When I first started watching it, it reminded me of the feeling you get when you jump into some beautiful-looking open-world RPG for the first time, as the world of
Made in Abyss simply looks stunning. The environments are breathtaking by themselves, but the nature of the giant hole into the underworld known as the Abyss is also so fascinating to think about. Just what could lie down there? How could such a thing possibly even exist? It teases your imagination with its unique flora and fauna, and there are so many mysteries to unravel about both the Abyss itself but also the main characters' personal intrigues which are related to it. It's like a legendary dungeon which is just begging to be explored to see what new fascination lies just around the corner.
The story 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, and what kind of strange creatures inhabit it. The main characters are both children and as a result still quite immature in nature, yet they're still filled with unwavering determination and courage to push onwards. Riko is ultimately quite helpless and incapable of defending herself or traversing difficult terrain, so Regu 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. There are also a handful of side characters making appearances of different sorts throughout the show, but while most of their roles are relatively brief, they all feel like they serve a purpose.
It's not just a well-written and exciting adventure anime though, but past a certain point the story also becomes very serious. In an almost Madoka-like twist of fate, it's like the author suddenly snapped his fingers and decided to take the series to the next level, which resulted in one of the most gruesome anime episodes I've seen in a long time. It was legitimately hard to watch (you'll know it when you see it). However, this only serves to further add to the feeling of peril and caution when trying to proceed further down into the Abyss, because the viewers are shown first-hand that this place is not to be underestimated. The show may have childlike characters and beautiful environments, but death might just lurk around any nearby corner nonetheless.
Made in Abyss is one of those anime which may be fairly straightforward in nature, but is still just so interesting in so many different ways that it's hard to stop watching. You never know what you're going to find next in this fantasy-like place, and the danger and intensity of the Abyss is showcased so well in order to get the appropriate atmosphere across to the viewers. It's beautiful yet deadly at the same time. It may have merely been a potential dark horse when the season started, but by the end of it there's no question which horse won the race any longer.