“I wonder who wrote that? It’s written overly large in crooked penmanship using old nether glyphs without any of the simplified forms. On top of that, the paper it’s on isn’t even paper. It’s an unknown relic. It looks all worn out, but it really surprised me. That thing can’t be ripped, even with my strength. What in the world is waiting down at the netherworld’s bottom together with Lyza?”
-Ozen the Immovable to Riko and Reg, Made in Abyss, Episode 8
Riko opens her eyes to an upside down view of Reg’s face.
Even something as familiar to Riko as Reg’s face is inverted the first time she opens her eyes at the beginning of their journey. The fact that the above framing is thanks to Reg’s protectiveness does little to assuage the sense of foreboding that permeates the entirety of Episode 4.
Although the two are surrounded by a safety net of sorts, the visual message is loud and clear: Riko and Reg are well past the first threshold and into the belly of the whale.
Using specific visual framing, Made in Abyss doesn’t let us forget that Riko and Reg are past the point of no return.