“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
After last week’s pivotal episode, Made in Abyss‘ latest offering allows us and Reg to decompress a bit, further showcasing the strength of its atmospheric storytelling. This is one of the series’ greatest strengths: it knows when to breathe. Made in Abyss has several layers and they’re not the ones that can be measured on a map of the titular Abyss.
Instead, it continues to offer bits and pieces that are part of the overall atmosphere of the show, leaving us as audience members and Reg guessing as to what is actually happening.
“But you know, less than ten percent of the creatures in the Abyss have even been named.”
-Riko to Reg, Made in Abyss, Episode 10
An essential piece of any adventure or fantasy story involves describing the fantasy world that the characters inhabit. Yet, telling or showing the environment is often a tricky endeavor. Too many expository monologues will easily send viewers running in the opposite direction and take away from the mysteries and wonder of the world that a series is trying to showcase.
Made in Abyss has done an exceptional job of dispensing facts to the viewing audience without tedium. Even longer expository passages from various characters in the series blend seamlessly with the visual and auditory storytelling. Made in Abyss‘ characters are experiencing parts of the Abyss for the first time themselves, which lends an authenticity to their words. The series plays with characters’ levels of familiarity with the mysterious Abyss to distribute bits of knowledge organically making the most of how much we, and the characters, do not know.
“That baby crawled towards the Abyss the moment she was let out of the Vessel, which is pretty darn creepy, right?”
-Ozen the Immovable to Lyza the Annihilator, Made in Abyss, Episode 8
“I like everything but the monster animation. It’s too weird and jarring with the rest of the show” has been a common criticism of Made in Abyss since its much-lauded debut.
In a world where praying skeletons hint at a cataclysmic end for a past society and the current generation has built their entire infrastructure around exploring a gaping maw in the ground the rough lines and blurred movement of the Abyss’ more fantastic inhabitants is jarring to say the least.