Respect Nature… Or Else (Made in Abyss)

Made in Abyss = complete!

With that I’ve now finished three anime (Madoka, Sora Yori, Made in Abyss) that may have ended up staying on my “to-watch” list for an eternity. Thanks everyone. All it takes to get me to watch some of these types of anime is some commitment. Feels pretty good, and I’m glad I was able to experience a few of these. As for Made in Abyss..

I’ll admit it, I was way off on this one. I mean the only reason I avoided it in the first place was because I thought the anime was comprised solely of chibi characters (which it basically is, to be fair) and I wasn’t too keen on that style. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can say that it was a pretty dumb reason to avoid the anime. I’m sure we’ve all judged anime unfairly due to things like this before though at some point.

I really should have just watched the first episode, because that’s all it took to get me interested. So to sum it up, Made in Abyss was an excellent anime. Thank you WeeaBroDerek and moyatori for the motivation!

I was definitely wrong to try and put this one aside.
I secretly knew I’d love it too. Can’t even keep secrets from myself these days.
Now let’s talk about the anime!

rabbit2.png

The Abyss

Hands down the best aspect of the anime was the abyss itself. Yes, the anime is built around the abyss. Everything from story / setting to the action and plot developments are all entirely dependent on the abyss. And they should be! The abyss is awesome. It reminds me a lot of the dungeon from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

The primary appeal of the abyss is the unknown. The further you go, the more dangerous it gets, this we know. But how does it get more dangerous? Creatures? Or the landscape itself? And how does the landscape start to change as you get deeper? How do the various ecosystems work? How does the abyss even exist in the first place? All of these questions and many, many more are a result of the unknown aspect of the abyss. Anything is possible, anything can happen – and we are diving right into it. It’s very exciting about watching the main characters Riko & Reg descend into the unknown, with absolutely no idea what they will encounter.

glee
Curiosity can be a dangerous thing…

The landscapes themselves were breathtaking at times. Fantasy landscapes galore, just what I needed in my life. I love how each layer of the abyss has it’s own unique look and ecosystem – filled with more danger the deeper it is.

Speaking of ecosystems…

The Creatures of the Abyss

The creatures of the abyss are just awesome. Some are critters, that scurry around living off who knows what, and are mostly harmless. Others are extremely dangerous. The deeper you go, the more dangerous they get. I can’t help but admire those hamsters and other critters that manage to survive in such a crazy place.

Many of the dangerous creatures felt a bit generic, like the flying ones. They may have had their own look, but they are basically your standard flying dangerous beast. Like a dragon or something. Despite this, they are a necessary part of the abyss ecosystem.

But others were really interesting. The hamsters for one, which dig holes through the cliff side to avoid being exposed to the deadly fliers in the area. That creature that uses a corpse and mimics it’s death cry in order to draw more prey near. Or that poisonous spiny one that uses *spoilers* to predict it’s prey’s movement. Oh and those little critters that become infected with parasitic mushrooms, that ends up being some sort of symbiotic relationship where the mushroom feeds off them but also keeps them healthy.

critters.png
Watch your back. These hamsters strike when you least expect it.

The creatures were just brimming with creativity, and I loved it.

Cave Divers

Cave divers enter the abyss in order to search for relics, which are just as unknown as the abyss itself. Relics, just like the abyss, have infinite possibilities. Sort of like how there is a devil fruit for everything you can imagine in One Piece, I suppose there are relics of all sorts in the abyss. Naturally this means cave divers devote their lives to their craft, looking to make it big and acquire some powerful relics to either sell or use for themselves.

Cave divers have their own power level system – whistles. The colour of a cave diver’s whistle corresponds with their ability and how far they can safely descend. Although I imagine they are never truly safe. It gives us a rough idea of how powerful a character is, as well as how dangerous their corresponding layer of the abyss is. Or it should at least, but we don’t really get to see any non-red or white whistles in action. I have no idea how strong a blue whistle is, or a black whistle, because we just don’t see them at work. Still, it has potential and maybe we will get to learn more about the various colours in future seasons.

habo
This guy seemed pretty badass. Hope we can see more of him in action.

There’s one thing about cave divers that really impressed me. Initially I had thought they were all about their ability to locate and acquire relics. In reality, these skills feel secondary to their real abilities: survival. Cave divers are treasure hunters, but the real test is living to tell the tale. Considering they can descend into the abyss for long periods of time, they need to be able to fend for themselves and survive the journey. If they can’t manage to survive out there, how can they expect to bring back relics? And learning this made me respect cave divers so much more, knowing that they are basically abyss survival experts as well as treasure hunters. Very cool!

Progression

So we have two ways to track progression. One is the whistle colour system, and the other is the depth of the abyss. Both give us a relative idea of the power levels / dangers that Riko & Reg are currently facing, or will face in the future. I especially love the depth of the abyss as a system of progression. It’s so simple and works perfectly thanks to the unknown nature of the abyss. You just never know what creature or plant or whatever is going to pose a major threat as you descend further into the abyss.

pond
Be careful around that pond. It’s probably dangerous.

I wouldn’t say that progression has played much of a role in the anime so far, but it’s great to have everything set up for future seasons. I have a feeling that descending the abyss will be only the beginning of Reg & Riko’s story, and so having an understanding of their power level as well as everything / everyone around them will be important.

Enemies

One of the major appeals of Made in Abyss to me was that the primary antagonist is not a person, but the world itself. The abyss, creatures of the abyss, plants of the abyss, etc. are the enemy. Just surviving is a form of victory against this enemy. I really enjoyed this dynamic, because it felt so fresh compared to your standard villains. And I feel like this will continue into future seasons. The abyss itself will always be a threat to consider.

critters2
I warned you! Now you’re surrounded!

With that said, I’m not sure how I feel about an actual villain being introduced into the anime. As I mentioned earlier, I have a feeling that there is more to the story than just descending into the abyss. I feel like the anime won’t end there. And so it’s only fair that actual villains are introduced. The abyss may be threatening, but it’s not an active threat like an individual is. So it’s a little disheartening to see, but it’s also completely necessary. That’s how I view it anyways.

Lyza

Shinobu is that you? I didn’t expect to see Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade in Made in Abyss! She may go by the name Lyza in this anime, but that isn’t fooling me.

This is just a minor point, but personally hearing the voice actress for Shinobu (Monogatari) playing the role of a badass, legendary white whistle just fit perfectly. I couldn’t think of a better fit. While we don’t see Lyza very much in the anime, we do hear her voice often enough.

Also, Lyza is pretty mysterious. She’s legendary, but we don’t really get to see why she is legendary. They call her the “annihilator”, but we don’t really see why they call her the “annihilator”, we only hear stories. I’m hoping we get to see more of her in future seasons, both for her voice and to learn more about her character.

lyza

And with that I’ve exhausted my notes for Made in Abyss! I know I didn’t really talk about the characters at all (besides Shinobu). The environment and overall setting of the anime were much more impressive to me. The characters are all right, but nothing about them really jumped out at me or left much of an impression. While they are important in the sense that they are our guides through the abyss, as individuals I don’t care too much for them. You could replace them with anyone really, as long as I get to see more of the abyss. Maybe this will change with future seasons.

critter
The hamsters left a good impression though. I won’t forget you!

I’m definitely looking forward to the 2nd season of this anime! I would also recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys fantasy settings. The abyss truly is a fantasy paradise in many ways.

Until next time!
Thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “Respect Nature… Or Else (Made in Abyss)

    1. I enjoyed all of the layers so far, although some were pretty short lived. Very diverse and drastic differences between them all, but it’s not often you get to see so many different fantasy landscapes in one anime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, as long as the characters don’t straight up die I’m not too concerned with their well being. Not really attached to them at all – maybe I subconsciously have something against chibi characters? Or I secretly want the Abyss to win somehow.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The OST is amazing! I love The First Layer, it reminds me of the music from a JRPG in a town or on grassy plains or something like this. Actually, a lot of the tracks remind me of various games, like Zelda or Tales games.
      Maybe this is another reason why the fantasy aspect of Made in Abyss really drew me in.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Almost everyone I know has seen this anime, and they all seem to enjoy it a lot. For me, what keeps me away is that it’s a fantasy series. Not much of a fan of fantasy, though I’m always open to watching this in the future if I can get someone who hasn’t seen it either to watch it with me. That old dude has an epic beard though. I want one like that!

    This also sounds like it shares an issue I have with many fantasy-ish series; the setting become more engaging than the characters. In fantasy anime, I typically don’t find myself caring about the characters much. I’m sure you’re more likely to cry over the death of one of those Hamasters than the main characters lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, *spoilers* a couple hamsters don’t make it 😥
      I can completely understand what you mean about fantasy though! I agree that often the characters feel too average compared to the actual setting they are in – it just doesn’t bother me as much because I love fantasy settings too much. And Made in Abyss has a very good fantasy setting, one of the better ones out there for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Studios HATE him! Find out what Yomu thinks Grancrest Senki did wrong… (Grancrest Senki Review) | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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