Kevin Penkin’s score swells as Riko and Reg’s message balloon breaks through the clouds of the first layer. The balloon is battered, broken, has been mended once, and yet somehow managed to survive the four-layer journey that Riko cannot. It reaches the surface because Riko cannot.
Landing conveniently in the exact same location where Riko discovered Reg, Nat and Shiggy easily find it. They carry it back through the town of Orth as the sun sets, and the petals of eternal fortune flowers line their path home.
Through this scene, Made in Abyss visually bookends its first anime season. The petals, present during Lyza the Annihilator’s Resurrection Day in the second episode, now welcome Lyza’s daughter home in a similar fashion. Shiggy and Nat discover Riko’s message where she found Reg, effectively recalling a time when she was physically present in their lives. Made in Abyss is a series that weaves a tapestry with myriad threads, knowing precisely when to return to a specific visual frame or memory.
One of the frequently-cited limitations to the human imagination is an inability to imagine certain things beyond the scope of experience. More often than not, the act of dying in a dream leads to the dreamer waking up suddenly. We know of death as a concept, but it’s difficult to imagine because there is no way to simulate the experience in real life other than actually dying. Your brain will not only instinctively fight to keep you alive, but it also — being the organ tasked with coordinating your existence — naturally eschews the idea of non-existence.
The premiere episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride establishes Chise Hatori’s outlook on life as one of apathy. She no longer cares for her own well-being and sells herself into slavery because of this. Chise’s fluctuating mental state makes up the backbone of the series’ narrative. Much like the tagline “April showers bring May flowers,” our introduction to Chise marks both her distressing past and her hopeful future.
In sixth grade, I joined concert band. I was the only girl in the trombone section. There were only about five of us in total, including a kid from my elementary school, Ben. We were friendly acquaintances but not close friends. Ben was the funny kid, and as the funny kid, he thought it would be cool to gross out the rest of the band by waiting to release his spit valve until it was as full as he could make it. He would then release it on the floor in front of the section.
Spit has grossed me out ever since.
When Chito (Chii) pulls her hand out of Yuuri’s (Yuu) mouth in the first episode of Girls’ Last Tour, there is an audible pop. Yuu’s face stretches before releasing Chii’s hand and a trail of spit shines in the air. It’s a disgusting and funny scene to watch. Chii puts Yuu’s spit to good use — it allows her to pinpoint the direction of a breeze that eventually leads them out of the tunnel — but these slime trails of spit are also visceral reminders of Yuu and Chii’s existence.