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 is an anime for adults. 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.
Made in Abyss. So many people said so many good things about it around the web, as well as having tons of positive reviews.
I would assume I'm the minority here.
Made in Abyss is a show which follows two main characters- A girl called "Riko" and some kind of a mysterious robot called "Reg". They got "summoned" to the bottom of the Abyss by Riko's mother (which is probably the best cave raider out there).
Now, We have some great "world building"... kind of.
We see interesting layers of the Abyss, and interesting monsters and such, but one thing annoys me the most:
Riko is a kid, she
doesn't understand anything about the Abyss. Even full fledged adults who have cave raiding experiences of tens of years wouldn't make it to the bottom, so why would Riko get there? A random, normal, 12 years old girl.
So there she goes down there with the robot called "Reg". But let's not mistake- Reg isn't some "military robot" which is capable of some fantasic features, machine guns and stuff. He can extend his arms and has some kind of a blaster (and he collapses after using it).
We see already from the first episode what the horrors of the Abyss are. People sent from down there what they look like. Huge monsters with shields and shells. How the hell are these two kids supposed to beat the monsters? Not sure.
The show just feels extremely unrealistic, and don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with it being unrealistic, but it makes me think like this anime underestimates your IQ.
I can easily say, "Hype killed the anime". You see, it might be enjoyable to watch it, but I don't agree with all the hype and "Wow, such a good anime". This anime will definitely not be anywhere close to my AOTS (Anime of the season).
I think in these paragraphs I've summarised my opinions of the Story, which I'll give 5/10 and character, which will get 4/10.
I'll give art a 9/10. Not too much to say, but the anime "looks good" visual-wise.
Sound- While I don't find any of the soundtracks too interesting or unique, the OP is really good. 7/10.
Last words, enjoyment and overall, I rate it 6/10.
If you got to read the review before watching the anime and you are interested, please, do yourself a favor and watch it before reading anything else about it. The hype is too great you might find yourself hating this anime because of it (Like me).
"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." - Some anime bad guy, probably.
Well, I've gazed into this abyss long enough. I might get more enjoyment or value from staring at a literal black pit than watching another episode of this plodding, interminable slog of a manga adaptation.
Made In Abyss is enticing enough at the start. The art style, which reminds me of something like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance or Studio Ghibli's projects, is right up my alley. While I could take or leave the OP, the ED is catchy as hell (especially when those claps hit, my God). The
story's setting is probably its greatest strength, and I was interested in learning more about the Abyss, its inhabitants, and the mysteries it holds after the first episode. Even the characters were initially decent enough for me to want to see more of them. Hell, the second episode is basically a bunch of adults telling the MC in quick succession "Your mom's fucking dead, kiddo." How could I resist? What could go wrong?
The answer: The pacing. The painfully slow, drawn out, mind-numbing, meandering, excitement-killing pacing. That's what could go wrong.
I think the first warning sign was how it took three entire episodes to actually get into the abyss. Now, I'm not saying everything has to be all action, all the time, and there's always value in a good build up, but that felt like wasted time when so much of those episodes were spent on (seemingly) superfluous characters. You want to establish the setting along with Riko and Regu's motivations, sure, but it felt like belaboring the point to the point of tedium.
But while that at least served a narrative purpose, the following episodes utterly crash and burn. For a show that tries to tell us there's some sort of urgency, the pacing sure as hell doesn't reflect that. Worse, the beginning of every episode is taken up by an unnecessary, minutes long recap (a debilitating case of One Piece Syndrome). Then, to add insult to injury, it starts relying on cheap cliffhangers and cliche shonen bullshit as if desperate to convince you that, yes, things are actually happening and this is worth your time.
"Oh, we killed 15 minutes faffing about Ozen's house? Well, now she's acting weird. Spooky, right? Bam. Cliffhanger."
"Here's a protracted scene of Ozen just beating the shit out of Regu and nearly shooting Riko with an incineration cannon at point blank range. How do our heroes get out of this? Ha, they don't, she was just testing them! That doesn't feel like a cheap cop-out at all, does it?"
If Riko and Regu were dimensional enough, maybe they could carry the story, but they feel pretty flimsy as characters. I don't dislike them, but I'm not compelled to keep tuning in to see what happens to them next. A lot of people hype the show by mentioning how dark the manga supposedly gets, but if I'm not invested in the characters, then what does it matter to me if fucked up shit happens to them later down the line?
Look, I don't necessarily mind a show that's slow paced if it feels deliberate and purposeful. The Sopranos is 86 episodes of Tony Soprano going to therapy, dealing with his family, and eating gabagool, and that's perhaps the greatest television program of all time; its length serves the story because it is a complex and meditative character study. Similarly, you don't need action or fights for an episode to leave an impact. NGE Episode 15 is probably my favorite of the whole series, and that one features no angels or mech battles, and is instead "just" about Misato going to a wedding.
So understand that when I say nothing fucking happens in this show, I'm not asking for mindless action and instant gratification. However, I need something of substance - character, plot, a worthwhile mystery - and I'm not getting any of that.
Now, I've got nothing to say about the source material, because I've heard great things about the manga. I hope that this is just a lackluster adaptation that's failed to translate what makes the manga work into the anime format. However, I'm not going to continue watching a bad adaptation just because the original is supposed to be good. I'll just get around to reading the manga instead.
This show isn't the worst thing ever. It's pretty, and it's got a pretty good hook, but it's totally insubstantial and not worth your time. Instead of 13 episodes of Made in Abyss, you could watch any number of more worthwhile shows instead. Believe me when I say you'd have more fun playing cave explorer.
And by "cave explorer" I mean getting a finger up the butt.
I am only writing this review in light of the fact that other reviewers are giving the show 9 or 10 across the board.
Made in Abyss has some good things going for it, which I will mention at the end of this review, but it also has some very serious problems.
The pace of the story is erratic and generally sluggish, the characters do not behave in sensible ways, characters are developed for an episode or two and then abandoned, the logic of the world is essentially arbitrary, and the story brings up concept after concept in an intriguing manner, but never bothers to
pursue anything it brings up-- opting instead to just move on to something else (won't leave specific examples due to spoilers, but you'll see).
The good: The art is pretty good and the music can at times be very engaging.
Overall, Made in Abyss feels like someone took a much longer series, deleted 85% of the first two seasons, and then cut the clips together. It has the markings of a strong anime in places, but is not coherent enough to deliver.
The world of Made in Abyss is a fascinating one. It is filled with strange creatures and relics of a time long forgotten. Most fascinating though, is the Abyss. At the centre of the town of Oosu, there lies a pit which stretches far into the Earth. No one knows how far or has ever made it down to the bottom. In the Abyss, there are a multitude of relics that can be found and sold to foreign countries. The brave people who go into the pit are called Cave Raiders and they form the backbone of the economy in Oosu, the buying
and selling of these precious relics. But it is dangerous work, and many die while in the Abyss. This story is about a girl named Riko and her friend, Reg who traverse the Abyss, hoping to find Riko’s mother and to seek answers about Reg’s past. Made in Abyss produced by studio Kinema Citrus has captivated the curiosity of its viewers through an excellent use of worldbuilding, great characters, and stellar art and sound direction.
Made in Abyss is a prime example of how to do worldbuilding right. The first episode starts off with some excellent shots of the Abyss. We see a waterfall and lush green vegetation as we are introduced to our protagonist Riko. To put it bluntly, the world of Made in Abyss looks gorgeous. To top it off, there is expansive worldbuilding that fleshes out the setting of the story. The first four episodes are chock full of worldbuilding but it is never boring. We are not told everything, but get to witness certain events take place and learn more about the world through it. A great example of this is the classroom in the orphanage. Riko’s mother is down in the Abyss and since her father is dead, she is placed in an orphanage. There, the children learn the skills necessary to become cave raiders. In the classroom where the children learn, there is great amounts of verticality. Their desks are attached high up onto a wall; they need to climb just to get to their seats. It’s with moments such as this that it becomes clear that there has been great care put into the world of Made in Abyss. This effort put in really shows and it helps to really immerse the viewer into the story.
The two main character that we have met so far in Made in Abyss are Riko and Reg or Regu. Riko is a bright bubbly person and loves just about cave raiding. She wishes to reach heights of fame comparable to that of Lyza, her mother and become a white whistler, the highest rank of all cave raiders. She is very inquisitive and her energetic nature is positively infectious. It was a nice touch to see how immature she is when thinking about the dangers of the Abyss. Reg is a robot who met Riko when he saved her from a beast in the Abyss. He had no idea how he got there but Riko had a hunch that he was from the bottom of the Abyss. He is quite shy and lacks confidence. He has recollection of where he came from and follows Riko into the Abyss to hopefully get answers as to who he is and where he came from. The great thing about these characters is that they react according to their character traits, but are not so far removed from reality that they act like a stereotype or a trope. Currently, they are developing into mature into multifaceted characters, and I hope it stays that way rather than regressing into simple caricatures.
The sound design and the artwork for this show is stunning. As I mentioned before, the background art is amazing. Props need to be given to Osamu Masuyama, who has also worked on beautiful pieces such as Your Name and Spirited Away. The sound design for this show was also amazing. It would be better if you just listened to it instead of me talking about it.
Overall, Made in Abyss is a story about a two friends as they adventure into the depths of the Abyss that is held up mainly by its worldbuilidng, art and sound, but also has characters that are great due to their well-roundness and their ability to entertain the viewer.
Open up an endless world of possible settings. A Giant hole in the middle of civilization, in which lies a gigantic hole dangerous to mankind. What could it be? How does it work? What lies within it?
Made in Abyss is one of my personal favourites of Summer 2016 due to its amazing setting, atmosphere, and world building with amazing execution along with an amazing narrative. It shows us the dangerous and more grim side of things while making it completely thought provoking.
We start off this adventure with Riko, a girl with curiosity and the need to adventure the depths of the Abyss thoroughly. With
no signs of fear, she heads on strong until her partner Nat gets into trouble with a creature. She does save him and with this, she meets a robotic boy named Reg. His origins at the time were mysterious and unknown to Riko. Thus their adventure as boy and girl, in search for a purpose begins.
Why do they feel the need to enter the Abyss? Why risk it all and go into a deadly place? For the search of Riko’s Mom and her whereabouts. Her curiosity and duty like feeling called her into the Abyss and Riko wanted to find the answer to it all. While they adventure and stray from what was called their home, they delve deep into deaths row. While they do this, their personality matures while they grow significantly as characters. Proceeding with caution and making the right decisions is all that matter. Because one little mistake and it may be then over for our adventurers.
Something I can appreciate about Made in Abyss is its use of colours and looking at the atmosphere within its full beauty telling us that great Storytelling isn't all they can do. While they're at it, why not insert a beautiful song while we look at some beautiful scenery? Setting the tone like that in the first episode and I knew that this series would be great.
I have read the manga before hand and seeing it brought out to life is much more satisfying. The way the voice acting is brought out, to how the creatures look, to the soundtrack. I might be praising the music too much, but I think it deserve just that much praise.
The objective here mainly is Riko and Reg in search for Riko’s mother and descending further into the Abyss, with more risks to come. The system of the Abyss is explained and how it works. Riko and Reg knows that this will be a very difficult trip. But they head in otherwise. Despite them being a lower rank (red whistle), they show bravery and proceeds.
Let me just say this to those who might not have a clue, but I suggest heading into this anime cautiously. It is by no means a kids show, so don't be fooled by the childlike artstyle. You'll find it more enjoyable and it might give you a more interesting experience.
What makes this anime for me is the atmosphere and the feeling once they go deeper and deeper. It seems ok at first, but as it progresses, the atmosphere becomes more dark and fearful along with an uncomfortable feeling. It's weird how Riko, who is only a little girl, dives into this deathly hole with little to no hesitation. Her drive is that insane. Which I find very odd in some ways. It's just not normal for a little girl to conceive all the consequences and dangers that lies ahead and just disregard those things in a sense and be on her merry way. Interesting how she's like that.
The art style and character design is not something you usually see, which gives Made in Abyss a more unique touch to it. The design will not appeal to everyone I'm sure, but I for one really appreciate how each character looks. With the Chibi looking artstyle to the very beautiful looking layers in the Abyss, the unique story, the execution, working together with the beautiful Soundtrack, Art, and animation, this anime is like ear gasms plus eye gasms. It’s very satisfactory.
As the anime progresses, so does Reg and Riko. They learn to trust each other better (although Riko looked like she liked Reg from the start with her happy go lucky attitude). They learn that the Abyss is no small thing and that they must learn that no help will come for them in times that they are in danger.
If there’s anything to complain about, it may be the fact that the narrative aspect of the show seems a bit slow. I found the character development to be ok, but overall this anime is my favourite of Summer 2017. I loved the death vibes as they went deeper.
The anime is mostly based around Reg and Riko and their adventure within the abyss. This is how you world build, this is how you make an adventure series, this is how you add violent scenes, this is how you create suspense, this is how to make someone truly cringe, this is how you execute storytelling correctly.
Made in Abyss does it all, with minor errors or flaws, it proves that little children going on a nice adventure isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Only watched it for the darkness later on everybody was talking about. I can't
say I regretted it though since the shock value was good.
Story: Children go somewhere they know might kill them, the expected happens. I haven't seen the whole thing yet but I'm guessing it's hard or tragic obstacle after another.
Characters: Riko is unchanging and is just energetic and determined. Reg is developed and changes a tiny bit about caring for Riko, but his moral values and mindset are nothing new and this in my opinion makes a bland character. In the end, they just fall into categories and aren't multidimensional, unlike
other anime MCs. So far they're predictable and uninteresting but that may change later.
This anime is unique and plot based. If you like interesting characters and good character development, I don't recommend this and you'll find it very boring.
On the other hand, if you like sci fi, symbolism, and predictable conflicts, or possibly children, I do recommend it.
This anime is getting more and more epic. The animation is really cool, not to mention the sound effects...I hope they reach the bottom of the abyss soon and hopefully, they'd be able to return to the surface and become White Whistles
I only have seen 10 episodes and omg this got intense real fast :S, I'm only halfway and I didn't expect it would be so intense O.o
I regret not picking this up because of the cover art . I'll binge this once it finishes.They have to make a game for this
BEST ANIME THIS SEASON BY FAR any one else think so?
A pit where the further you go down the more dangerous it is to return. It's a good series with a interesting idea, the kind of thing I would love to do myself.
Story: Orphans that grow up heading into the abyss, one day one of them meets a strange thing within it, and soon starts a journey to discover the truth of the abyss, It's the kind of thing I love. I always find dungeon and exploring and monsters enjoyable.
Art: it's amazing some of the best I think, really nice feel to
Characters: each one has their own personalities especially the main couple, and the side chars too, I realy hope the quality of this keeps up.
Enjoyment and overall: A great start so far, to a great series, hopefully this one won't let down, but it's high on my list of shows I wait each week to watch more of.
Welcome to the most overhyped show of 2017. Made in Abyss is a perfect example of an above average show that gets hyped up by every body which forces others into believing that the show is something it really isn't. I, for a change, am not blinded by "hype", and can see the flaws in Made in Abyss, which are quite numerous.
Story : 2/10
Sometimes it speeds up and gets somewhat interesting, sometimes it slows down and gets really boring. The show is basically boring up to episode 6, then somewhat interesting up to episode 9, and then a snoozefest until the end, unless you happen
to like the characters, which I didn't. Episode 13 is dedicated to the backstory of 2 characters I honestly couldn't care less about.
The story in Made in Abyss tries to be this grand mystery with multiple intriguing plot lines, but fails at doing so. One of these seemingly important plot points only gets a half of the final episode dedicated to it, the other is a superficial motivation for the main character to go down the Abyss. So the plot ends up relying on the adventures of Riko and Reg, which I must say, are the "interesting" part of the show.
Made in Abyss builds a vast, colourful world that it ends up forgetting to explore. Something that I was wondering while watching this show is "Do other countries exist? Is there anything beyond the mountain-island on which the characters live?", a question to which I didn't get a reply. What does the show actually explore then? The Abyss? Sort of, up to a certain point at which the main characters stop at a layer which happens around episodes 8-9. Thing is, the show starts exploring the world it has built around episodes 3-4, so that's only 4-5 episodes of exploration, in an anime in which the story is held up by the adventures of the main characters. You're left with an empty shell of a promise you were given by the set-up episodes.
All in all, Mady in Abyss is a spark of originality and good ideas with nothing to back those ideas up.
Although I'm not a fan of the artstyle, which lowers my mark a tad bit, I must say that the art in Made in Abyss is great. The world is drawn beautifully and down in the Abyss we can witness variety filled scenery in the various levels of the aforementioned shaft. However, since the show stagnates at certain points, some of the this scenery gets old.
The animation isn't outstanding, but for a show made in 2017, it's surprisingly not poor outside of the BD releases. The small chibi characters are easier to animate after all.
The OST is beautiful. The opening has some nice vocals. The ending is catchy. The voice actors all did an amazing job at their characters. This is the one point where Made in Abyss shines.
Why am I giving such a low mark to a show that heavily focuses on the relationship and adventures of 2 characters? Simple. 4/10 is for the 4 good characters of this show: Riko, Reg, Ouzen, and Nanachi. I will admit that these 4 are all quite charismatic and memorable. However, I hate kids, so I couldn't stand Riko and Reg most of the time. Ouzen, being one of the 2 characters I actually liked in Made in Abyss should have been developed more. I'd gladly watch an episode dedicated to her rather than the 13th episode which was dedicated to Nanachi and Mitty.
Made in Abyss never made it past the "it's ok" phase for me. It hang during its airtime at a 6, sometimes showing the potential of peaking at a 7, only to nose dive to a 4 with the boring last episode. It's one of the shows I'd switch on in the background while doing something else, only paying about 3/4s of my attention to the show.
Do you like adventure anime? This show isn't for you. Do you like captivating or relatable characters? This show isn't for you. Do you like empty promises? This show might be for you. Do you like eye candy? Watch Made in Abyss, otherwise, don't.
You can't say shows featuring a combination of lolis, furries and traps are all shit anymore because of this amazing adaptation of an exceptional manga. Bummer, innit?
We get to follow a story of a small girl going on a suicide mission trying to reach her mommy stuck in a deep part of a glorified manhole, which is possible only because she conveniently finds an overpowered chibi cyborg on one of her practice strolls. This guy also happens to represent the average male MAL user as he gets a boner every time he cuddles a loli, including furry lolies with unknown type of genitals. Nice.
You can find the full description of the cyborg at the end of the review.
Well, I mentioned a glorified manhole, didn't I. It is called "the Abyss", as the title suggests. It is as gorgeous as it is dangerous, the feeling of suspense and the visuals are both marvelous. As there is little known about deeper parts of the pit, the shroud of mystery thickens with every meter of our descent. No worries about backtracking, a convenient decompression syndrome called "the curse of the glorified manhole" makes sure our little girl is positively suicidal, because, go figure, jumping too high in this manhole may turn you into a blobfish (true story).
On a serious note, lets talk about the good stuff:
Environments are glorious. The complexity of the layers is something very rarely seen in the medium. Chibi character design creates chilling contrast between the innocence of the children and the darkness of the abyss. It works very well, especially in later episodes.
Visuals are spectacular overall, I very rarely, if ever, see landscapes/background so datailed and vivid. Huge bow before the man in the lead of the design.
The soundtrack album to this series is one of the best I have ever heard. Peaceful ambience emphasizes the mystery of the abyss, while the well executed build up in some of the more aggressive tracks accompanies our little friends during their struggles. Every environment has it's theme, also, which gives more substance to the world. Sound utilization in the final episode is a masterwork.
Japanese voice actors do a great job during the intense scenes. Nanachi sounds adorable.
Strongest points of the source material are definitely the coldness of the abyss, world design, dependence between the main characters and the consciousness that "there is no going back". Dark twists accompanying the story development are the main reason of success of the series.
This is the type of show that gives out the impression of cuteness and peacefulness at first, hints at something thrilling about the setting in the beginning, keeps the suspense troughout the entirety of the series and absolutely blows your mind with the climax. Time spent watching this show is a time spent well.
Reg, the Treasure of the Deep.
Our new champion, Reg, is a jungler. His passive, "artificial body", grants him immunity to auto-attacks and many skillshots. His Q skill, "graple", allows him to grab an object in his field of view and transport him and nearby allies to a target location. His W "restrain" wraps a pair of ropes around his target, immobilizing it, but rendering him unable to use his Q. His E, "empowered perception", grants him vision on nearby enemies. His ultimate is called "incinerator". After channeling energy into his palm, he fires a ray of hot plasma in a straight line, destroying everything in the way. Using "incinerator" forces Reg to sleep after ten minutes. This skill has a 2 hour cooldown. These game mechanics allow us to skip to the fun part of the story pretty quickly.
It is important to note that Reg reaches his full potential in a team full of underage female champions.
Lost destiny, power at a price, the tolls of exploration. That is what goes on to drive them, to lead destiny forward to a world behind comprehension. That is.... the Abyss.
It's certainly an interesting place to be sure. Those who return from it rarely bring back all its secrets, but receive worship regardless as more and more people are conditioned to go in and do work for their society. In that setting, this show is most definitely a journey, one where two young kids, drawn by their pasts beyond their understanding, discover a world where everything is dangerous and cooperation is a necessity.
Abyss is quite the interesting show. Being the critical standout in a generally disappointing anime season, it proved that having ambition and being willing to take risks to not sugarcoat content is very much appreciated, where something with a simple synopsis as "kids go into hole" can be so captivating, atmospheric, perilous, heart wrenching, mysterious, and even sweet.
Our story begins with our young protagonist Riko. Being an explorer in training, one day when in the titular Abyss, she is nearly eaten by a giant worm monster that wouldn't be out of place in Monster Hunter. Thankfully she is saved by a mysterious robot, seemingly unusual from anything she'd seen in the pit. The robot takes on the name Reg, and with both it being curious about its origin and Riko wanting to wonder what happened to her mother after a Call to Adventure, they set off into the giant pit, possibly to never return, but not before the show takes the time to worldbuild first and create a very distinct atmosphere for itself.
Worldbuilding, you see, is one of the show's greatest strengths, and one of the elements about it that stands out best, often in ways that are shown more than said. Upfront, it offers the pure exhilaration of exploring a rich fantasy world. Its compelling premise compacts the heart of adventure into two contrasting forces: fragile, ever-optimistic humans and the yawning, endless abyss.
The show's direction is wonderful at establishing scope, as when in the early layers of the Abyss, shaping shots to have an upward pan do wonders to illustrate the great vertical descent there is compared to the surface, and even in the orphanage where Riko is staying, nifty details like the elevation of desk chairs and the way White Whistles are practically revered as messiahs regardless of moral implications of their actions help give a sense of identity to the world. This is to say nothing of the different layers, uniquely designed monsters, and locations we see Riko and Reg head towards, characterized beautifully and designed with a special tone, while still conforming to the general rules of the world and the expectations initially set up. It makes the Abyss feel like a fully functional setting, even if there's still FAR more to see overtime to make it compete with say, the dystopia in Shinsekai Yori.
This is helped a lot by the production values. Kinema Citrus (Black Bullet, Barakamon) did a great job with this one. The landscapes are luscious, the character designs are nicely unique from the standard mold, the character animation is consistently smooth, and they really nail all the different details of the world visually. The soundtrack is even better, in fact it's phenomenal. Done by Kevin Penkin, an Australian composer who worked a lot with Square Enix, the soundtrack has a grand and wonderful feel to it. The beautiful atmospheric scenes are made even better with the excellent music choices, the tense scenes are truly tense, and even the quiet scenes can have very nice and memorable little melodies, it’s a win all around with great insert songs, starting from Episode 1 before the title is even revealed. I even give the sound design some points that come together with the character animation. Whenever Reg moves around with his metal armor pieces, you hear the little “chink” sounds as the parts move around in diverse ways. It’s a small element but goes to show a greater appreciation of little things, which is very nice if you want to give your show plenty of charm.
As far as the story outline goes, it feels like a "Castle in the Sky meets Cave Story scenario". The show's atmosphere seemingly prepares it for an adventurous tone through a variety of colorful set pieces, the two protagonists have a youthful energy that never felt dishonest with co-dependence on each other, and the way the fantasy elements are integrated are very much classic myth, rather than falling into the ever popular Isekai MMO worlds known in anime nowadays. It lets things sink in, and like the director's previous effort in Monster, many moments are presented free of dialogue to let the tone play out with a wonderful musical score, accurately representing the source material's panels and accentuating the thrills and plot twists, whether meant to be exhilarating or disturbing. Which brings me to the Cave Story elements, aside from the similar plot point of an amnesiac robot in a massive below ground system, Riko and Reg getting through situations can be VERY difficult, and what lies beyond the initial curiosity of adventure at times reaches very cruel and heart wrenching levels. They also both have a cute bunny involved in lab experiments. The horror elements of the story come through this way, a natural consequences of two kids being prepared for the outside world and how often they appear at death's door, with Episode 9 being one of the best examples on how hard it can be to adapt for everything the Abyss throws at them.
To the show's credit, these elements rarely come off as edgy, but rather, the tone is set right from the first episode to accommodate both the adventurous and underlying dread elements that it rarely breaks, and the idea of suffering a pain while trying to go back up the pit is well established and used to its potential, however heartbreaking it might be. Except for a slow gap midway through in which three episodes are spent in one location, the plot has a steady momentum as we follow Riko and Reg on their journey. It's amazing how a show description as simple as "kids go into giant hole to discover themselves" can have so much backing it up.
The characters themselves are simple in construction, but compelling enough to buy into their journey. The show mainly follows two characters, Riko and Reg, along with a handful of others they meet along the way including the super bro Habolg, the VERY tough love figure Ozen, and one other character introduced very late who was very entertaining in sardonic trolling as well as how the show concluded with her prominence.
Riko on paper is a very simple character, an energetic girl who wants to find her mother with a positive outlook ahead of her regardless of danger. Despite this, I admired her character for two reasons, both for her optimistic attitude and her basically having a pinch of "murder hole street smarts". Certain elements of being a cave raider, even if a rookie, go a long way to show how resourceful she can be, and when going with Reg on this journey, she has more forewarning of protocols, mapping and certain creatures, enough to make it seem like she has proper experience for her journey, but not SO much that it makes it seem like she can maneuver around everything. Without Reg, she'd be disadvantaged, but not entirely nonfunctional. She was a sweet character I enjoyed seeing be enthused and hoped for her quest to succeed.
Reg, the robot, is a bit different. Coming from the pit itself without a memory, he's understanding the generalities of human interaction through being with Riko, and in a few cases, he's the one to take charge, having some nifty tools at his disposal but in certain cases at a heavy cost that could be devastating at the worst of times. Easy comparisons are drawn between Riko’s intelligence and societal upbringing but generally poor constitution, and Reg’s physical strength but lack of awareness or mental fortitude.
As a newcomer to the societal mores, rules, and general knowledge of the Abyss, Reg also acts as an audience insert, but not in a power fantasy way, more in the sense that he’s drawing lines between who knows what. Although Riko knows far less about the Abyss than her mother or her initial Leader, she knows a lot more than Reg, and this becomes invaluable throughout their journey.
In this way, their roles are sometimes reversed. Rather than Reg being sent as a gift to Riko for her journey, Riko is a gift to Reg on his journey because she provides him with necessary knowledge and training that he does not have. Together they create an interesting and compelling dynamic, with an additional sidenote that the way Riko was raised, she's conditioned to deal with many horrible things while Reg is not, making the innocuous robot's path to humanity ironically clearer. It's their journey, them having just enough to make it through and cover for each other, but still having to endure their way through many easily life-threatening situations that make Made in Abyss so damn compelling.
That’s not to say the show was always perfect. The low point was Episodes 6-8, and being stuck in one general location on one specific thing ground the journey to a screeching halt, and having a certain character make expressions that were…a bit extreme, even by this show. The character herself was very well executed in context, but it made things a bit more drawn out than needed.
There are quite a few...............awkward jokes, mostly innocent enough to let slip by but still noticeably weird focusing around the kids in odd, curious ways. Another thing would be the small supporting cast, but to the show’s credit, it knows when it needs to leave things to the main characters while still giving the sides some expression.
Finally, there’s the unfortunate general lack of a conclusion common with many adaptation shows given short lengths, but with the content we were given, it more than carried its weight. Plus, unlike other shows that shamelessly cock tease us with a cliffhanger, we get a legitimately beautiful montage scene to close off this portion of adventure. When it shined, it REALLY shined. The final double length episode especially is an amazing showing of this element, combining strong character climax with just enough inspiration to not feel cheesy.
Made in Abyss is a true gem, a shining pillar in a mostly bleak and disappointing season. Is it perfect? Of course not, but the amazing atmosphere, unique worldbuilding, solid tone accompanying horror and dread, and likable, compelling cast of characters make this a great series for what we have. I’d recommend this to anyone hoping for a fairly ambitious title or for fans of wondrous media.
I’ve always had a fascination for fictional stories about fantasy adventures that adds a bit of survival horror to the mix. The type that stick to my memories the most are those that follows a journey to the unknown. As such, Made in Abyss came as no exception when I discovered this adaptation. It’s a show bringing in mystique that captivated me from start to finish. An anime like Made in Abyss takes on an approach with dynamic emotions to heart and it’s really an anime that people shouldn’t miss out.
Reading the synopsis itself can feel a bit intimidated. As a manga reader, I was
intimidated at first when I realized what the series had to offer. The idea of a young girl journeying to the Abyss, a place with the darkest secrets and dangerous creatures really draws potential. What really bought my attention to heart for this show is how emotional the journey turned out to be. Make no mistake. Made in Abyss is more than just surviving in some unknown world.
My first impression of this show is its colorful character cast. We have Riko, a 12-year old young girl who often seems to bring trouble wherever she goes. Joining her in this adventure story is a young robot boy named Reg. These two brings together a journey with various emotions. To me, it’s this pair that carries the journey as they take on unforeseen challenges. Individually, the two aren’t too alike. In fact, Reg isn’t even human but he does express a lot of human behavior. The first few episodes makes it clear that Reg cares about Riko a lot as a friend. Similarly, Riko is fascinated by Reg because of his nature and she also values him greatly. What really makes this show stand out is their character chemistry. Between the pair, Riko is the brain while Reg is the brawn. This is easily evidenced with Riko’s knowledge with the creatures they encounter. On the other hand, Reg is physically tough and is able to perform difficult feats that Riko cannot. However, Reg is mentally weak and thus need Riko’s support to survive. Together, this pair really sells the emotional drama of this show.
Outside of this duo, we also meet their friends such as Nat, Shiggy, and Jiruo. The show only features them in the first few episodes as the main journey is undertaken by Riko and Reg. Nonetheless, their roles are also noticeable with Jiruo being the leader, Shiggy helping Reg, and Nat’s character chemistry with Riko. As the journey ventures on, we discover characters that are not so human-like and in fact possess otherworldly traits. Characters such as Nanachi and Ozen are featured in this season for their valuable roles. It’s important to realize that without them, Riko and Reg’s lives may have perished very early on. Ozen’s character also extends to relation with Riko’s mother during their past. The series cleverly convey their background stories that can be very appealing and also important. Speaking of Riko’s mother, she is her inspiration. Throughout the show, it’s made clear that Riko has an ambition to become just like or perhaps even surpass her. The background story regarding Mitty and Nanachi can also create various feelings for viewers as they realize the darker side of this anime.
While this anime stands out as a fantasy/sci-fi adventure, there’s also many mystery elements that shouldn’t be overlooked. The mystery of the Abyss itself is one of the biggest factors as it creates a fear of uncertainty. If you’re an anime only viewer, then you’re in for a ride. For Riko and Reg, they face dangers that tests their physical and mental abilities. The “Curse of the Abyss” is also a recurring ideal that is revisited between some episodes. No one is really sure exactly what it is but the show makes it clear that it’s something malevolent. Other mystery elements to take notice of includes the origins of the Abyss, Ozen’s motives, the White Whistles, and among others. The exposition of this anime is also very consistent and doesn’t rely on boring narratives to do the work. Technical terms are also made easy to understand. To be honest, watching this anime always invited me to think and anticipate what may happen next. I have read the manga but it still makes me wonder how this anime will handle the adaptation. After completing the show, I have to admit that it does it brilliantly. Despite being an incomplete adaptation and inserting in some original content, its selling factors hits their mark.
The Abyss itself is also filled with colorful world fiction. An anime like this really sets the bar for world building as each layer reveals its unknowns. The creatures our adventurers encounter are also unique and arouse various feelings. I can’t remember how many times I felt a chill down my spine whenever Riko or Reg stands in the face of danger. The emotional drama between the pair also feels very realistic. If you’re familiar with any survival horror media (books, tv shows, movies), then you’ll be surprised at how well this anime delivers its emotions.
Studio Citrus may not be a powerhouse name but they definitely deserve the praise for crafting such an interesting world. It has the right fantasy elements with its eldritch creatures, the eye-catchy backgrounds, uncharacteristic architectures, and creative horror. Indeed, a show like this has violence so expect some body horror and graphic scenes. Character expressions has a good deal of psychology that really brings out its survival horror content. For the character designs, it shouldn’t take long for viewers to get used to them. I actually find it unique as its main character cast is mostly children. They represent youth and potential as Riko and Reg embarks on their journey. The creatures in the Abyss possesses otherworldly traits that make stand out. These ranges from monster birds, deadly insects, giant porcupine-like beasts, and horrific snakes. In addition, this anime has ancient artifacts that each has their own unique traits. Visually, Made in Abyss is really a special show that is appealing to the eye.
Soundtrack is also impressive if we take a closer look at the voice mannerisms. Riko and Reg’s VA both deserves praise for their ability to step into the shoes of these kids. However, the most noticeable character in this anime would be Ouzen. I have to confess that Sayaka Ohara did a phenomenal job with her role. Thanks to her talent, Ouzen’s voice sounds haunting that always brings an eerie feeling whenever she appears. The words she speaks, the way she moves, and her personality is easily made possible with such a talented voice actress. The theme songs of the show holds a distinction of its fantasy themes. OST is eerie that helps this show stand out for its darker elements.
Made in Abyss is a solid example of how a fantasy-adventure/survival horror should be made. It has a small yet memorable cast of characters, an exceptional death world with its fictional elements, and emotional drama that is endearing to watch. The show doesn’t tell its story with narratives that may put you to sleep. Instead, it delivers its journey with the sharp instinct and stylish storytelling. This is an anime that isn’t easily recommendable to anyone. The pacing can take some patience to get by and it has a character cast that may not be so likeable. Still, give this anime a try. There’s an old saying that goes “success is a journey, not a destination”. For this show, I couldn’t agree more.
When I consider whether a show is worth watching there are three main factors I take into consideration: quality, entertainment factor, and the overall message.
Made in Abyss aired in the Summer season of 2017 and ran for 13 episodes; the last occupying a double time slot. It's about children who delve into a great chasm called "The Abyss" in order to find treasures to sell in order for their village to profit. The protagonists embark on a quest to find information about the main girl's mother.
Made in Abyss is very misleading about a lot of things, but none so much as the quality of the
show. The world shows much promise when it is introduced, but instead of answering the questions we have about the Abyss, the village they live in, the surrounding countries that trade with the village, and the inhabitants of the Abyss, we are left with more questions. The total lack of explained depth of the world is a big mark against the show since, although the premise sounds great, very little substantial detail is provided. Although the world building is mediocre at best, the plot keeps itself above the line and is intriguing enough to justify the slower pace.
The characters range from quite good to insultingly poorly written. Riko is a run of the mill child protagonist that keeps wanting to push further than she is capable of. She does get punished, which makes for an interesting turn in the plot, though the gratuitousness is similar to Evil Dead levels which detracts from the immersion. Reg is a walking plot convenience device. He can conveniently do literally everything that he is demanded by the plot to do, ranging from infinitely extending arms, an overpowered blast cannon with a minor downside, a near unbreakable body, and resistance to the curse of the Abyss. Since he also conveniently has plot amnesia, he is a lazily written character and nothing to be impressed by. The only impressive characters didn't have a large part. Ozen, who appeared halfway through, was plenty interesting and Bondrewd, appearing in the last episode, was a good charismatic villain. Nanachi is nothing to write home about, but nothing all that bad. She doesn't do much other than help the cast and have a sad backstory.
Presentation, in contrast to the weak characters and bad world building, is excellent. Made in Abyss was the best looking show in its airing season and one of the best this year. Kinema Citrus hasn't made a good looking show since Barakamon. The soundtrack was very appropriate and well made. There are several tracks that stand out. Kevin Penkin did most of the composition and was the correct choice for the show. His style is contemplative and artsy without sounding obnoxious, and uses the orchestra often enough to appeal to fans of orchestral music.
If a show is lacking in quality, like Made in Abyss is, entertainment factor can be redeeming enough to make a show worth watching. If you enjoy watching cardboard cutouts make their way down a dangerous, large hole that has pretty backgrounds Made in Abyss is for you. If you want something wholesome, Made in Abyss is not for you. A potential turn off is the gratuitous gore, abuse and fetishisation of innocent seeming children. Riko is wearing nothing fairly often in the show, Reg gets his genitalia inspected at multiple points during the show and there are a few scenes where children suffer in extreme ways, resulting in death some of the time.
However, the last episode, which involves children suffering, is the most entertaining part due to the charismatic and lawful evil villain. This episode also happens to have the least amount of Riko and Reg, which is a factor in it being enjoyable. Sadly, even in this episode children are fetishised which detracts immensely.
The short length (13 episodes) makes it hard to determine exactly what the message is. It seems to be that if you surround yourself with strong people that you will be able to work towards your goals effectively. This message is a selfish one, but accurate and not a bad takeaway. Bondrewd's episode has the message that progress at all costs isn't necessarily a good thing, but the rewards can be alluring despite the atrocities that need to be committed in order to obtain them. These are good messages, but they can hide the truth about this show.
Perhaps the most important takeaway is that although Made in Abyss looks like an alright show on the surface, there is a dark truth: it fetishises children and the author is a pedophile. This explains why many things happen in the show and presents them in a potentially different light. The target audience clearly isn't children due to the gory and violent nature, which means it's for teens and adults. The teens may be impressed by the edgy turn the plot takes, but there's nothing that an adult would like unless they're a creep that likes watching children suffer, or be fetished. Made in Abyss is a fetish show for creeps which passes itself as an edgy suffering trip for the youths and the people willing to sweep the disturbing truth under the rug. It's not a well written show, and it's not a worthwhile show. The entertainment value isn't nearly high enough to justify watching a degenerate show made by a pedophile.
I always come back every season with a ting of hope in my heart. “Maybe this time a studio with some talented people WHO CARE about their work will make a show that will be worth watching.” A lot of seasons have come and gone. I would be lying if I said there hasn’t been any good shows for a long time. Many great animes have released over the last few years, yet I was yearning for something that wasn’t just a show with a great plot twist, or even a show that wrote believable and memorable characters.
I wanted an anime that stole
Made in Abyss was a series I never even heard of before Summer 2017. In fact, I didn’t even know of its existence till half-way through the Summer season. When I first saw the picture for the show here on MAL, I was unimpressed. The art came across as childish and goofy. The rating, on the other hand, was extremely high for a show I dismissed as “childish,” at first glance. Thank you MAL faithful, if it wasn’t for the oddly high score, I would have passed on this show.
Now, you aren’t sitting there reading this review to hear how I had the wonderful accident of crossing paths with this anime. You want to know why you should watch it. After all, you are probably wondering how this show got to the top 50 highest ranked shows on MAL. I’ll tell you how:
Firstly, the characters are the heart of this great anime. I can go on about describing how they look one-dimensional and at first you may be confused as to how these little children can even begin to be involved in a fantastical original story, but I won’t. You see, Made in Abyss isn’t a show to be described. It is a show to be experienced. The art, the music, and the characters are done in such a way that if you took a step back and analyzed it all, you would see the love and care the original manga author and the anime creators had for them. They aren’t just here to entertain the audience, they are here to take the audience on a journey with them.
The journey is full of trials and triumphs, heartache and despair, yet they aren’t shoved down your throat. It all unfolds naturally before the audience’s eyes. The originality drips from this anime like sweet and soothing nectar for my soul. My heart could only take so many “video game worlds” and “moe overload” animes. Finally, a fantasy adventure that doesn’t tell me how to think or what to feel. The only small complaint I can conjure for this master-level display of originality and heart is that the plot doesn’t start to unravel until the tail end of the series (see what I did there fellow Nanachi fans?), yet the world and characters more than make up for this small shortcoming.
Again, I could write an in-depth analysis on why the opening episodes are brilliant, how the music accompanies the atmospheric art and sets the tone for certain scenes, how the characters are naturally fleshed out, how the actual world the characters live in feels like a character itself, or how the story progresses at just the right pace. But I won’t. Listen, I may not know what you look for in an anime, but I can tell you why I love anime, and I why I continue to watch it even when more than half of the shows that come out every season are literal garbage. I want to find that one anime that can steal my heart. Even if it may be for one season. I want it to take me for a ride I won’t forget. Fate/Zero, Eureka Seven, Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist – they are all great animes, don’t get me wrong. However, they didn’t steal my heart.
The Abyss is a true wonder, it is the curiosity that draws us in and leads us to our inevitable metamorphosis that comes from growing up.
I always used to explore the forests surrounding my home as I child, I shared the same desire to explore the unknown as the protagonist, Riko, from Made in Abyss does. My friends and I would search for the forest for the fabled Bigfoot. We knew that we couldn’t venture too far lest we lose our way back (keep in mind that this is before we had cell phones) we were equipped with just the bare necessities to explore; flashlights,
a swiss army knife if we were feeling daring, and hats gloves if it was cold out. Not only was the forest populated by our imagination, it also was home to coyotes, bloodsucking ticks, and hunters. Looking back at my time in the woods I can safely say I’ve never been happier in my life, but simultaneously I can’t help think of how much danger we were in that we just simply couldn't comprehend due to our lack of worldly knowledge.
We didn’t find Bigfoot when we explored in the woods, or rather, we didn’t find the Abyss, but it wasn’t ever about finding it, it was about our journey.
And what a journey Made in Abyss is.
The show begins in the mysterious Abyss, following the protagonist Riko, a girl whose ambitions to explore often gets her in trouble. She and her friends search for artifacts in the Abyss to pay for their room and board at the orphanage they live at. The Abyss is a horrible and frightening place, but from the enchanted eyes of a child, it seems like a land of wonder. Like the real world, the longer you spend in the Abyss, the more you will begin to see its ability to harm you. The tone of the story is established immediately, Riko's irreverent personality prevents her from grasping the full danger of the Abyss until it is actually upon her.
The orphanage Riko lives in is in a town called Orth that was literally built surrounding the Abyss, the town couldn’t be more clear of a metaphor for childhood.
Fantastic world building is on display throughout the show; one of the best examples is in the early episodes when the townspeople rush to the edge of the Abyss as raiders emerge from the elevator, it instills the idea that the citizens are all intrigued by the Abyss, but only a brave few have the courage to tackle its hazards.
In the early scenes of the first episode, Riko is attacked by a horrifying eldritch monster in the Abyss while searching for artifacts, but she’s saved by an amnesiac robot boy and his laser ability, he is later introduced as Reg. She handles the ordeal quite well and is able to hide him from the orphanage leaders. Riko is almost instantly a 3-dimensional character; her eccentric personality immediately stands out from those of her friends, she has wild ambitions to explore the depths of the Abyss in search of her mother. I identified with her desire to explore, but with my newfound knowledge that comes from adulthood, I felt irony as she and Reg peered into the Abyss with wonder. Riko’s passion for the unknown and Reg’s questioning of his origin made their journey an engaging one indeed. Even the rounded character designs gave the impression that the kids were inexperienced to the true terrors of the real world.
From the very first episode to the last Made in Abyss resonated with me like a nostalgia trip, even though it's a world that I could never live in, the metaphors at play are what makes me connect so well with the characters.
The story arc follows Riko search of her mother and Reg’s journey to find his origin, it begins in Orth and progresses through the layers Abyss. In the beginning, they have little knowledge of what lies ahead, only inklings based on the records of past explorers. Their delve into the Abyss showcases how the real world is no place for children, but their ambitions get the better of them and now they have to grow up faster than any child should. Tension is driven by the dangers they face in the Abyss, fear of the dangerous beasts that lurk within is everpresent. Made in Abyss showcases excellently how tension can be derived from only two lead characters, tense moments are always tense because you can never be sure of how it will turn out for them. Whether they survive or suffer life-altering consequences they have to push forward, it always feels as though they're just kids stumbling to get a grip on the world they’ve been thrust into far too soon.
What prevents Riko and Reg from being able to turn back and return to Orth is “The Curse of The Abyss”. The Curse causes a human who ventures into the Abyss to sustain side effects if they try to return to the surface, the side effects range from a fever all the way to a violent and painful death depending on how deep you go.
Like growing up, you can never turn the clock back, and the further you delve into the Abyss the harder it becomes to return. Once you’ve experienced the unseeable horrors this world has to offer, you can’t return to innocence, you have no choice but to muster up your courage and persevere onwards.
Emotional moments punctuate the narrative’s high points, and they are always impactful, as they’re mostly evoked by the Curse and its allegory the permanence of growing up. Whenever the characters were forced to make a life-altering decision that accelerated their worldly experiences I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like if I caught Bigfoot when I still had the imagination to innocently explore the world. The Curse drives a significant amount of the show's conflict and it's a great concept that is astonishingly well executed.
I have naturally found Bigfoot through experiencing the world over time, but Riko and Reg have yet to reach the bottom of the Abyss, even so, their journey is an unforgettable one. Their hardships were my hardships. Thanks to an acute understanding of the coming-of-age genre, the story makes a science-fantasy story surprisingly human.
Visually, Made in Abyss is stunning, environments appear with the level of detail that approaches realism, gaze at it long enough you will uncover horrors disguised in the details. Each layer shook up the formula and added new visual pleasantries that I dare not spoil. Built upon metaphors, I never struggled to find a nonliteral way to view the show during my time watching it.
The visuals add plenty to the characters as well. As I mentioned before, the round character designs and so much to make them into believable kids. The characters appear much simpler than the environments, which may bother some people, but it never got in the way of my enjoyment. All of the characters have dispositions and mannerisms that went very far in establishing their personalities, some of them never even needed a line of dialogue to be understood, which is especially impressive considering their simple appearances.
Sound effects are visceral and comprehensive, from the sound of an uncouth character eating food to the shrill shriek of the hamster-like creatures. The musical score is, without a doubt, the best I've heard this year and possibly the best I've heard in an animated series ever. I’ll be listening to it for years to come, reminiscing on the experience that it compliments so well.
Made in Abyss is one of the most resonant animes I have ever experienced. I’ll be returning to it in the future to relive my childhood, and to pick up on details that I missed my first few times I watched it.
Final Score 10/10
I loved every minute of it from beginning to end. Keep in mind that the story is not over and hopefully it will be renewed for a second season because by the end of Made in Abyss there is much left unsaid about Riko and Reg's adventure.
“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”
Perhaps Nietzsche had something to say about this show as the longer I watches it, the more I’m consumed by its captivating landscapes and eldritch horror found within its depth.
[Contains Minor Spoilers]
Located on the island of Ōsu where its single defining feature is an one kilometer wide hole, that is speculated to be over twenty kilometers deep, Made in Abyss follows the pair of Riko and Reg as they progress on their one-way journey to the very bottom. The biggest strength is its immersion that Made in Abyss submerges its viewers with
by crafting an entire society that has every facet of it revolve around the mythos of the Abyss. Everything from the hierarchy of the cave raiders, the harsh reality of the orphans left behind, and the general nihilistic attitude towards the Abyss is expertly encapsulated by visual cues like the color of the whistles awarded to each cave raider, the town’s architecture or the rituals that are reverently performed in respect to the giant hole in the ground.
Whereas other fantasy shows, that feature a singular towering dungeon, has its characters ascending and conquering its levels, Made in Abyss goes the opposite direction with its descent into the unknown, the unrelinquishing power of the Abyss to dominate all those who enter into its domain. In addition to the nightmarish creatures found below is the presence of a curse that exponentially worsen when a diver attempts to go back to the surface which depends on how deep they are. In effect, if one wants to reach the bottom of the Abyss, they can never return to the town of Osu. This isn’t a cheap gimmick for it pushes our characters past the point of no return and pays off in spades in some truly heart-wrenching moments later down the road. While the main plot-line of two characters going to lowest layer may seem simple but the way that is meshed together with interesting characters, danger and the prevailing ambience of mystery is what make this show so special.
Moving away from contemporary anime character designs, Made in Abyss characters have a very cute style of rounded faces wouldn’t be out of place on a children morning show. Given the utter ruthlessness of the Abyss, it presents an odd juxtaposition to have these two polar opposite meld together and only adds to the distinct vibe of the show. Reg, being a robot originating from the Abyss, remains an enigma due to his memory loss but still acts like like a child due to his programming while Riko is relentless on fulfilling her desire to go to the bottom of the Abyss. Individually, they are not the most compelling characters but it is their inseparable bond that is the real draw and it only grows stronger, the deeper they go. For while Reg is powerful with his integrated firepower and grappling hands, the knowledge and drive that Riko brings to the table forms a symbiosis relationship that neither is going to reach the bottom without one another. While Riko does have the maturity of a twelve-year-old girl at the end of the day, she is quite believable when view within the context of a society that trains its children to excavate for ancient artifacts kilometers below the surface in a hostile environment full of carnivorous monsters. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the cast but they range from childhood love to suffering personified to being unsettling and menacing in their pursuit of experimental research.
Animated by Kinema Citrus, known their work on Black Bullet, Barakamon and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, this is probably the studio’s best visual work to date. The real star is the how the Abyss is shown in both its vibrant and foreboding nature that shares many parallels to the many critically acclaimed works by Studio Ghibli. It comes as no surprise that the show’s art director of Osamu Masuyama is actually a former background artist from Studio Ghibli. Under his direction, there is a real sense of verticality and expansiveness that stretches to the void. Furthermore, complementing the gorgeous background art is the soundtrack composed by Australian-born Kevin Penkin where he uses an orchestral ensemble supplemented by electronic effects to give the abyss its sound. However, as good as his standard tracks are, the insert songs seems to be the popular with the audience with its hip-hop influence and haunting vocals.
If I had one complaint about Made in Abyss, it would be that the show doesn’t offer significant challenges to its two main characters until the last third of its run-time. All the elements are there in the background with nature of the curse, the ferocity of the creatures that inhabit the abyss and the adversarial geography of its individual layers but they are fully realized towards the conclusion. The fault doesn’t lie with how the anime was produced but rather the plot progression found within source material of the manga. I have a feeling that the production staff was very well aware of this issue and did everything its could within the constraints of a one-cour show with a slightly above-average run-time of thirteen episodes along with a double-length finale. In the end, they did an admirable job of pacing out the plot without rushing its story or creating an original shoddy conclusion.
It is so refreshing to have a fantasy adventure that stands alone on the merits of its world building, atmosphere and journey without dipping into the more unsavory aspects found within other shows of its genre. For a show to leave its audience only wanting to venture deeper into Abyss’s hauntingly beautiful and terrifying mysteries is indeed a very commendable accomplishment.