Made in Abyss Episode 10: The Piercing Spine and a Cutting Decision
In Made in Abyss episode 10, “Poison and the Curse,” Riko’s enthusiasm to explore the fourth level makes Regu apprehensive; that feeling proves prophetic. After reaching the fourth layer, called the Goblet of Giants and part of “the depths,” an encounter leaves Regu with a heart-wrenching choice. Is he up to it? And the rabbit-earned Nanachi — is she there to help or complete the grim job that the orbed-piercer started?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
3 Favorite Moments
- Seeing Riko’s hand impaled with one of the orbed-piercer’s spines was one of those terrifying moments when time seems to slow down (8:23). Obviously terrified, she still maintained enough poise to begin explaining what to expect so Regu would know what to do. At the same time, the orbed-piercer was still on the move, so they couldn’t just begin treatment. In this scene, the foreshadowing at the beginning of this episode (where Regu was reminding himself of the Curse’s effects if someone tries to ascend from the fourth layer) paid off: we experienced the horror along with Regu as he realized the only way to save Riko was to ascend — and trigger the Curse.
- “First… you need to break the bone,” (14:00) Riko tells Regu, trying to convince him that he needs to cut off her left hand. Regu’s already drawn his knife, but he’s not ready at all. The necessity of breaking the bone first just makes it worse. To save Riko, he had to inflict terrible pain on her. And he’s not certain that she’ll survive! I’ve only rarely seen moments in fiction where I was so drawn into the character’s moment: I felt Regu’s panic and indecision. I felt his mounting panic. He saw no clear path forward. His world was imploding. The point of good fiction is to drive its characters into that moment, and then to share that moment with the audience. Talk about effective!
The scene before has us all in an emotionally vulnerable state. Then Regu discovers that Riko’s not breathing (16:56). His blind panic and emotional collapse as he cried, “Don’t leave me behind, Riko!” reminded me strongly of another powerful scene in one of my favorite works of literature. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, Samwise Gamgee finds an apparently dead Frodo Baggins, and Regu’s plea echo’s Samwise’s: “Don’t go where I can’t follow!” I first read that over 35 years ago, and I still tear up remembering it, if I’m not careful. Does that give you an idea of how I felt about this scene?
I hope the voice actors got paid well for this episode, because they certainly earned it! Miyu Tomita, Riko’s voice actor, conveyed such pain and terror that I couldn’t help but wince in sympathy. Regu’s voice actor Mariya Ise did such an amazing job that I channeled Tolkien, as I discussed above. That’s rare and delightful, if I can use that adjective in the context of this episode.
This week, the awe of exploration, with an occasional hint of danger, gave way to the brutally dangerous reality of the Abyss. The contrast between Riko in the beginning, where’s she practically dancing in delight at seeing the fourth level, and Riko at the end of the episode, where she’s reduced to being Regu’s bloody and broken cargo, is shattering. Only a few works of fiction have left me feeling this emotionally exhausted. It’s a testament to the creative team’s skill that I reacted this way.
The second half of this episode almost makes me sympathize with the post on Anime Amino that said Riko has no business going into the Abyss. Even though I don’t agree with that sentiment, this episode hammered home just how unprepared Riko was. She had decent theoretical knowledge, but her tiny frame just wasn’t up to it. Though to be fair, a lot of very experienced adult cave raiders perished even more quickly in the Abyss. Regu’s generally resourceful and not given to panic, but he, too was pushed past his limits this week. If Nanachi hasn’t showed up, their journey would have ended then and there — and Riko would have ended up a tiny seedbed, as Ouzen feared in a previous episode.
What did you think of the episode? Were you pulled into the narrative as much as I was? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Made in Abyss Episode 1: The City of the Great Pit
- Made in Abyss Episode 2: Resurrection Festival
- Made in Abyss Episode 3: Departure
- Made in Abyss Episode 4: The Edge of the Abyss
- Made in Abyss Episode 5: Incinerator
- Made in Abyss Episode 6: Seeker Camp
- Made in Abyss Episode 7: The Unmovable Sovereign
- Made in Abyss Episode 8: Survival Training
- Made in Abyss Episode 9: The Great Fault
- Made in Abyss Episode 11: Nanachi