“Dawn of the Deep Soul continues the epic adventure of plucky Riko and Reg who are joined by their new friend Nanachi. Together they descend into the Abyss’ treacherous fifth layer, the Sea of Corpses, and encounter the mysterious Bondrewd, a legendary White Whistle whose shadow looms over Nanachi’s troubled past. Bondrewd is ingratiatingly hospitable, but the brave adventurers know things are not always as they seem in the enigmatic Abyss…” – Sentai Filmworks synopsis
Man oh, man. This movie was a ride. The latest installment of the Made in Abyss series continues the greatness of the show that came before it. Everything great about the show is great here and in some instances even better. Dawn of the Deep Soul evoked so many different emotions out of me that it’s hard to put into words. Like I said with my last review of this series, just go watch it if you already watched the series. It’s seriously amazing. This review isn’t for anybody who hasn’t read the manga chapters or watched the show/movies that lead up to this, as I will be talking about things that might be seen as spoilers to previous events.
This story continues the adventures of Riko, Reg, and Nanachi as they venture down into the 5th layer The Sea Of Corpses. The only problem with their journey is that they have to get past the white whistle that occupies the 5th layer, Bondrewd The Sovereign of Dawn. This story is pretty self-contained to dealing with Bondrewd. Our main characters are very much focused on dealing with the situation at hand and not looking forward or backward too much. This is not only great for a movie but also because Bondrewd has been built up as this giant evil obstacle that our cast has to face in order to proceed since Riko and Reg met with Ozen. There’s some really good foreshadowing in this movie like the burning of the flower fields in the 4th layer in the beginning by Bondrewd’s Umbra Hands (basically his mind-controlled minions). After the cold opening and title sequence, we see our characters make their way down the 5th layer and Bondrewd’s layer. We meet the only other character in this movie, being Prushka. Prushka reveals herself to be Bondrewd’s daughter and seems to care for him which makes every event until the conclusion of this movie even more heartbreaking. We also get to see a lot of cool abilities used that come from the Abyss and learn more about the curse of the Abyss, which is really fascinating.
In terms of characters, there are really only five in this movie. Those being Riko, Reg, Nanachi, Bondrewd, and Prushka. I mean technically there’s Bondrewd’s Umbras but there isn’t much characterization to them. All five of these characters are phenomenal in this movie, but to me, the standouts would have to be Bondrewd and Prushka. Bondrewd’s entrance is one of the best in anime. The way our cast just trembles in fear as all we can hear are the footsteps of him and his Umbra’s as they approach them. The way the camera distorts and moves and the footsteps are made to sound like Riko and co’s hearts beating. It’s just amazing, then on top of that Prushka just runs to him as a daughter would to their dad. The power dynamic between Bondrewd and Nanachi is also explored which is nice to see. Bondrewd is the type of menacing character that I really love. He and Oruchimaru, from Naruto, are of the same breed of mad scientist who are just morally empty and will do anything for science and to achieve their vision. What make’s him so great is that a way it can be seen is he is ultimately what people become in the Abyss. We’ve seen no indication in this show of anyone exploring the Abyss for the greater good or to better humanity. Everyone that explores the Abyss does it for their selfish reasons and Bondrewd is just the only one morally bankrupt enough to do whatever it takes, no matter how utterly evil it is (and this movie shows just how truly evil his actions are), to obtain what he wants. That quality about him even gives him a slight redemption at the end but it also begs the question. Was he always this morally bankrupt or did the wonders of the Abyss do this? A question we may never get the answer too but nonetheless, it makes his character great.
Prushka is great also. The more we learn about her the sadder it gets. She just seems so pure. It’s honestly a cruel joke that keeps getting played on us viewers that we should expect by this point. Why is it always the purest character? Moving onto Nanachi, she really goes through a lot emotionally in this movie. Having to return to the most horrible place you’ve ever been in your life would take a toll on anybody. There’s a lot of trauma that she has to deal with in this movie, and it’s executed well. Reg is still dealing with the mystery behind his origin (which gets even more mysterious during the movie) and also finding a way to keep Riko and Nanachi safe without using his ability. Riko goes through a lot, both physically and mentally, just like her comrades. I won’t touch on that here cause this is as much of a spoiler-free review of the movie as I can give. The events that these characters go through just strengthen my point I made earlier, that this was going to be their biggest roadblock thus far in every way shape, and form. And overcoming this means they have a really good chance at overcoming what’s to come in the 6th and 7th layers and beyond.
The animation is just as good as always and in some places even better. We have a hefty amount of heavy fight scenes, that are all animated beautifully. Whenever Reg uses his incinerator, or Bondrewd uses any of his seemingly endless abilities, it always looks amazing. The 5th layer itself isn’t really all that interesting though. It’s the shortest layer of the Abyss but it’s also the widest. It’s just a lot of grey flatland surrounded by water and then Bondrewd’s facility. Nothing really to write home about, the previous layers (especially the lower part of the 4th layer) are all visually more stunning. Although maybe you can make the case that it fits the themes of the movie. There’s a lot of gore in this movie, and it’s gory. Some scenes might even be too much for some people and I understand. This series has a way of shocking me even when I know how dark it can be.
This is gonna be quick, but the music on the soundtrack is still out of this world. The use of the main theme towards the end could bring a man to tears (maybe it did…) and whenever the soundtrack swells up for a moment in the movie it’s always great. I really can’t praise the soundtrack more than I already have.
I’d assume that if you watched Made in Abyss and enjoyed it. That you’ve already watched or planned on watching this movie. If you haven’t seen it yet or are holding out for any reason then stop. Just do it. This movie is everything that made the first season great and more. I couldn’t be happier that this great work is being faithfully adapted into an amazing series and could only hope that we get another great installment sooner than later.
Final Score – 10/10