Hideyuki KurataMitsuki SaigaNatsuko HaraMade in Abyss
Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
Also known as: Made in Abyss: Retsujitsu no Ougonkyou
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Masayuki Kojima
Writer: Hideyuki Kurata
Original creator: Akihito Tsukushi
Actor: Hiroaki Hirata, Hiroki Goto, Inori Minase, Kana Ichinose, Kimiko Saito, Mariya Ise, Misaki Kuno, Mitsuki Saiga, Miyu Tomita, Natsuko Hara, Ryota Takeuchi, Shiori Izawa, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yuka Terasaki
Keywords: Made in Abyss, anime, fantasy, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24357
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 9 June 2023
Made Abyss
Bloody hell.
The strongest anime currently being made is Made in Abyss. (Or, as whimsical fans have called it, Uncle Lovecraft's Fun Time Murder Hole.) A huge part of its uniqueness comes from the contrast between its style and substance. Our heroes are lovely, drawn in beautiful-but-cute soft lines that wouldn't shame Disney.
HEROES: 1. Riko is a ray of indomitable human sunshine and one of my favourite anime protagonists. 2. Reg is a dopey amnesiac robot in the form of a little boy who's Riko's best friend. (His arms can extend to up to 50m long and he has an incinerator blast that could vaporise a row of buses, but also knocks Reg himself unconscious.) 3. Nanachi is a fluffy bunny. Literally.
WORLD: Riko is diving ever-deeper into the Abyss, a pit of hell monsters where you could be poisoned, eaten, bisected, mutated into a non-human blob or used in lethal experiments by a Mengele-a-like. Any of these could happen at any time, or worse. The horror of the Abyss can be so intense that it's actually quite hard to describe, but even that can't compare with the emotional hammer-blows this show has inflicted on its audience.
That's Made in Abyss. It can be gruelling, but at the same time it's not. It's beautiful and lovable, but it would be as black as the pits of hell if it looked as dark as its subject matter.
In this season, Riko, Reg and Nanachi have reached the Sixth Layer. It's famously impossible to return in human form from a descent this deep, because the Sixth Layer's curse is to mutate you into a usually mindless heap of meat. (Every layer has its own curse.) Or you might immediately die in agony, which some might regard as a better fate.
...and there, of all unlikely things, our heroes find a village. No, its inhabitants aren't human.
This is weirder and more abstract than Season 1. I'm full of admiration for it, because of how hard the show's pushed the boat out. It takes courage to make your worldbuilding this impenetrable. They must have lost some of their audience here. This village of utterly alien beings has values I don't even really understand, let alone agree or disagree with. They speak an incomprehensible language (although Riko starts learning it). The finale has weird blob things doing jaw-dropping things for reasons that would be hard even to explain to a normal person.
It's a charming village. It can also be sinister, but its inhabitants are lovable (and often of questionable sentience). It's a relatively safe place on the Sixth Layer and in most respects it's a place where our heroes can rest. (Note the words "relatively" and "in most respects".) But it also has an origin, which is both Abyss-weird and Abyss-horrible. (Note the two-tone hair colour of that girl in ep.1, because you'll be seeing her again in a context that'll make it harder to realise who she is.) All this is strong enough to give power to a season finale that stars barely comprehensible beings doing things for barely comprehensible reasons.
And, yes, it's powerful. I can't promise that it'll make you cry, but you should expect to come close.
Riko gets off relatively light this season. Nanachi gets a surprise. You'll realise there's a lot we don't know about Reg (and there's still a ton we don't know even after this season). And then there's Faputa.
This show is an anime masterpiece. I realise how dangerous it is to overpraise something, but it is. Watch it from the beginning and it'll annihilate you. I'm talking of the whole, though, and that word doesn't fit Season 2 in isolation. It's too strange and abstract for that. It's powerful, but viewing it on its own would be an odd experience. As a piece of the whole, though, I admire how brave and boundary-pushing it is, even at the cost of sacrificing some of its audience. I wouldn't lose it for the world.