Back to Made in Abyss
It’s been a long time, you know? At least since the third movie that came out during the middle of the pandemic. Something which a lot of anime fans and/or fans of Made in Abyss missed out on? I’m kind of surprised that fans of the series wouldn’t want to know or even search for when their next installment of a show would come out. Especially when Dawn of Deep Soul is a sequel movie. I kind of wonder if it’s because Hi-Dive isn’t as much of a platform. I suppose that this doesn’t matter as much in the end if they found it eventually. Especially when the context of that film is needed for this season to make any sense.
It is a bit strange to return to this franchise as a series again. Maybe it’s because it took some time for this to come out. Or maybe it could be because this was such an unusual experience for this to come out because not a lot of other series are like Made in Abyss. At least in this current time period, because fantasy adventure series are so rare and the closest thing I can compare Made in Abyss is possibly berserk. That is something I am not as in depth from a manga perspective because I’ve only watched the anime series attached to it. There is a reason why this little, scummy sometimes gem stands out in the late 2010’s to now.
The Story of The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
From a current time period perspective, the beginning of this season of Made in Abyss is rather simple. Reg, Riko, and Nanachi are down in the sixth layer and get some exploring in. The characters head into this layer to eat some food, try to be safe, and explore a little bit. Something happens during the middle of the night. Prushka, Riko’s white whistle, disappears and that leads into a small hunt. A small hunt that places all of them into a mystical sort of holo city that is both gross and interesting. So from their perspective, they are just watching and exploring this city because they haven’t seen anything like this before.
The show itself leads into the backstory of this city. A young and abused girl named Vueko escapes and is a part of a mission to find the lost golden city. This is before the city around the Abyss exists. This team of explorers, including the captain Wazukyan, somehow survive the horrors of the ocean and the horrors of traveling down into a lesser developed Abyss all the way to the second floor. A lot of horrible things happen which lead to its creation too. Especially with this mysterious princess, Faputa, who can’t make it into the city for some reason. There are just a lot of elements at play there too.
The Holo City and Value
The crazy thing about the Holocity isn’t the fact that it’s populated with a lot of gooey holo creatures. Creatures that Riko, Nanachi, and Reg just don’t understand. It’s the system at play which just makes it so fundamentally strange. It’s based on a system of barter through value. A value system that does and yet doesn’t make sense depending on how you look at it. It is also incredibly creepy as well. For instance, the amount of value a person or holo puts into something is the value something is going to be traded for. The system in the holocity just works with that really unstable sort of system. That’s the whole reason why it can be considered creepy.
Especially when the value system is apparently based around little girls at the top. That means that some holos are very interested in Riko because everything she does has infinite value in that city. Same with our mysterious princess locked outside. The horrible thing is that the city will form these eldritch sort of limbs and will take everything from a being that breaks the rules of values. People can die from this as well as have their items just stripped away and given to the person whose sense of value was taken and given to the other person as a replacement. That isn’t even the creepiest part.
The thing about the city itself? It actually is functional as a city despite that. Riko, Reg, and Nanachi stay in a hotel that has a very creepy toilet. There are places to get food that may or may not be edible to human beings, but is very edible to holos. The city is also full of so many kinds of nice and kind people as well as those who will jump on anyone for value in the street corners. It is a very normal working city full of cute creatures and strange beings. Especially those left over from the explorational period 200 hundred years before this one started.
Rage, Gore, Backstories, and Faputa
There is a horrible backstory to this entire season. Something that one would probably expect from Made in Abyss. Why? Cause things have a thing to always aim for turning to the worst when it’s possible for the show to do so. The entire exploration into the golden city was terrible from the start. What do people need to survive? Water? What happens if the water comes from a creature that has all sorts of parasites in it that boiling it won’t cure the water from? People start turning into horrible eldritch beings and its predictable but absolutely horrifying.
Then there is the little girl, Irimyuui, that is attached to Vueko and really wants to have kids when that case is denied to her for some reason. Eventually, she gains the power of the monkey paw to just create as many babies as she wants. Babies that can’t breathe. Babies that are cut apart by our captain, Wazukyan, and use their blood and guts to help his crew stay alive and I have never seen something like that before. Especially when this little girl eventually became that city turning those normal beings into the holos that we see. This city has been alive for over 200 years somehow.
Out of all of that baby madness comes Faputa, Irimyuui’s last child and most powerful creation. A being very much like Nanachi except much more powerful and scary, waiting for her moment to strike. That moment came with Reg who lost his memory of her, but still will allow her to open up the door for something to allow her toA really interesting and complex sort of situation where she might hate what these people did to her mother, but she still has to protect her mother’s legacy all of a sudden and its some interesting and well crafted elements placed onto it too.
I’m going to be honest with you Faputa is the story of Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun. Everything was building up to her having these interesting and complex moments. The backstory is her backstory and even Reg is attached to her from the past she just can’t remember at all. By saying all of that, Faputa has taken up a lot of the camera’s focus to where she had a very long and exceptional arc throughout the entire show. She is the reason why this season of Made in Abyss is so good because the writing around every aspect of her life is incredible.
That just mostly leaves Riko to explore the city and its many sorts of values, people, and dangers placed around her. A very good role that puts her into the limelight, but it doesn’t help her change much other then Riko carrying a lot of the hopes and dreams of the former inhabitants of the city because they never were able to fulfill theres. So she does change, but it doesn’t feel like much. Reg at least uncovered something about the past he forget and Nanachi is still struggling to let go of Mitty, but did find a little bit of her to strengthen as she goes on her journey. They are still complex and changeable characters, but Faputa was still the star.
Is it Worth it?
This show is so hard to recommend to a majority of people. The same could be said for season one and the third film, but this series pushes things so much further than those. I mentioned the horror above of water with parasites and babies being cut to feed people in order to survive. The difficult part is that the music is good and the animation and direction in this season never misses a beat at all. It is still a passion project that Kinema Citrus put their heart into all of it. That means you can feel so much of what is thrown into the series and I do not blame people jumping ship halfway through when the true horrors of Made in Abyss are in full swing. It’s hard.
The danger for all of those disclaimers is that Made in Abyss is still writing very well and comes with a lot of thought and meaning behind every corner. That it does feel so comfy and leaves the viewer with some sort of good feeling. Well, as much of a good feeling that Made in Abyss can have because people died and the entire system itself breaks apart. That is sad and yet there is hope. This entire series is kind of like that because it really does want to explore everything it is with a realistic sense of tension. Made in Abyss is wonderful at so many things and you can see that in The Golden City of the Scorching Sun if you can survive its more messed up moments.