“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.” – MAL Synopsis
Made in Abyss is simply amazing. Without even digging deep into it, I’d say it’s a 9/10 go watch it. Author Akihito Tsukushi’s story was brought to life beautifully by Kinema Citrus. This show has some of the most intriguing world-building and design that I’ve ever watched. This is a short intro but it’s that great and the less I say in detail the better viewing experience it will be. But I still have a review I want to write, so here we go!
Story-wise, this show has a lot going for it. The grand mysteries of the Abyss are intriguing. There are so many questions that present themselves early on in the story (some which get answered this season some which don’t), like how did the Abyss get there, what is the Abyss really, what is the curse of the Abyss and how does it work, etc etc. Couple that with the journey of our main two characters, Riko and Reg, venturing down into the deep Abyss in search of Riko’s mother. It a very personal story mixed with a grand adventure and an even grander mystery and some really (and I mean really) twisted and dark moments. It all comes together so perfectly, It’s amazing how well written and directed this series is.
Characters are another thing this show nails. Riko is brave and adventurous. Reg has a mysterious origin and some cool powers. Their relationship is really cute. Riko is 12, and who knows how old Reg is (but from the looks of it he’s around the same age at least mentally), but there’s some romance there. Reg clearly has feelings for Riko and Riko cares for him a lot too, Reg also gets put into a lot of awkward situations which are cute (there’s a few penis jokes lol). Outside of them, the characters we meet on the surface level are solid enough. A mix of other children that Riko grew up with and adults that look over them. The characters that we meet in the Abyss are finally more interesting though. Ranging from straight-up scary to kind and help, to sadistic. Everyone in the Abyss has their quirk about them which seemingly and somewhat confirmed comes from their time in the Abyss. Last but not least Riko’s mom Lyza is such an interesting character that we learn a little about. From what we see of her the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Riko and she are just alike in every way. A lot of pivotal characters also have moments where we get to hear their inner dialogue and it adds a lot to their characterization and the story as a whole. The characters in this show are all interesting in their way and ultimately add to the mystery of the Abyss.
Animation and art style are what makes an anime unique a lot of the time. For Made in Abyss the art style can come as a bit childish. The characters have more rounded features and if you just looked at a glance someone might think that this show was for kids (also cause the main cast are kids/preteens). The character design works well for the show as it’s a dichotomy between the childish character design, age of the characters, and overall wonder and joy an adventure like this would normally give off; but then, in reality, this show is very very mature and has some dark moments. Besides all that, the world is just stunning. Each layer of the Abyss is unique and distinct from the other. From the tame flatland that is the first layer to the dark forest of temptation where everything is upside down that is the second layer. Or the 400m vertical shaft that is the 3rd layer or finally the overgrown forest of fauna that oozes a sense of danger that’s the 4th layer. This show has a lot of diverse environments with each one being strikingly beautiful in its way. Seriously you could screenshot any scene from this show and use it as a background, it’s seriously impressive how beautifully and consistently this show is animated from start to finish.
Paired with the stunning scenery and animation, this show has a soundtrack that is just out of this world (maybe it’s from the Abyss? :0). I think I might say this phrase a lot in terms of a lot of things in my reviews and my list. But seriously this soundtrack, and use of it, is quite honestly maybe the best in any form of media I’ve ever seen. This whole soundtrack has been on my playlist for a while now, and it just evokes so many different emotions. Shutout to all the composers and artists featured on it. There’s not much here to say besides its phenomenal, and it greatly enhances the show.
Before I give my final thoughts, I have to quickly mention the first two movies. All they are are recap movies, with a few extra scenes of Lyza added in. The show is only 13 episodes and probably isn’t that much longer than both the movie’s run time combined. So I say watch the show and look up the added scenes on YouTube if you can find them. The movies kind of cut out a little too much for my liking, maybe I wasn’t paying attention but I feel like they just almost completely skipped the 3rd layer. So if you’re new to the series I say just watch the show. If you’re like me and watched the show when it first released and want a refresh, then the first two movies are great for that.
This is probably my least spoiler-ly review that I’ve done yet and that’s for good reason. There are so many mysteries to uncover in this show and I feel like I would be robbing anyone who reads this of the best experience if I were to mention or even hint in the slightest as to what those were. With that being said though, it’s a testament to this shows greatest that I still had a fair amount to talk about. Everything this show does works together in complete harmony to make for one of the best mysteries that I’ve ever had the joy of watching. Made in Abyss is a must-watch for anyone.
Final Score – 9/10