Made in Abyss Episode 2: Hiding in Plain Sight and a Mother’s Choice
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Made in Abyss Episode 2, “Resurrection Festival,” Riko and her friends discuss where Regu came from, and the conversation veers into embarrassing territory for the robot boy. While city prepares for an important festival, Riko receives surprising news about her mother — and the news has an ominous footnote.
What’s In This Post
What I Liked
Some of the text during the credits (like at 1:16) is in the language of Orth; Japanese is superimposed. Realistic language increases a world’s depth and believability — look at what Tolkien’s various strains of Elvish did for Middle Earth!
The description of the effects of ascending from Abyss trips of various depths (starting around 2:11) reminded me a lot of the bends. I has previously associated that only with deep sea diving. After some research, I found that deep cave explorers actually have to be careful about that! The more you know…
I had to feel sorry for Regu after Sigy asked Riko to list the robot’s features (3:33). I’m not sure when she had an opportunity to conduct such a thorough exam (maybe in the last episode after they hid him in her room but before they restarted him?), but Regu seemed humiliated at the level of intimate detail she included. On a more serious note, I noticed that to Riko, the whole episode seemed antiseptic and scientific. Sigy and Nat sympathized with Regu, but they didn’t object in general to the kind of data Riko shared. They reacted only to the parts that made Regu embarrassed. I like when a story’s world has such a huge impact on its characters.
At 4:19, Nat’s statement “I got the stick out” shows just how decent Nat is. That exercise could not have been pleasant!
I have to give the kids credit for practical courage: they knew they couldn’t hide Regu, so they tried to pass him off as a newcomer (5:17). They hid him in plain sight!
At 6:00, the Leader (Gilo) wasn’t alarmed at Regu’s mechanical hand. His main concern was whether the hand was strong enough for cave exploring, so apparently Gilo is used to this kind of thing. I’m still trying to get a handle on this society. It’s an unexpected mix of modern and medieval technologies.
The architecture inside Riko’s aunt Laffi’s store (starting around 7:57) is a good example of this dichotomy. Riko’s watching birds clash through a powerful telescope with advanced instrumentation; but she’s surrounded by ancient-looking windows and furniture. I know that overall the look is steampunk, but Made in Abyss has its own distinct look. I mean, there’s no way I’d mistake this world for the one in another steampunk-inspired show this season, Princess Principal!
Regu’s going to have to be more careful about showing his unusual attachments (8:58). I know he wants to be helpful, but I’m not sure how the grownups will react if they see his mechanical hand is much more than it seems.
Another testament to the amazing detail in this show: the windmills in the distance (10:05) are turning. You can barely see them. I doubt most folks would notice if they were stationary. A lot of the shows I enjoy, even if they would display such a detail, would have made them part of a static background. But Made in Abyss wouldn’t settle for something so mundane!
During the puppet show that taught the kids (and us!) about the whistle hierarchy, I wondered where the flower petals floating through the air were coming from. Then we get to see Regu blowing into a contraption that sent them flying (12:20). Yet another cool detail!
A more sobering aspect of that same scene (12:25) was that they were all celebrating Lyza the Annihilator’s return after 10 years — but only her White Whistle actually came back. Looks to me like they’re preparing the kids for a different definition of “return” or “victory.” Or maybe there’s a nuance here (given how the episode ends) that I’m missing?
Gilo took the time with Riko to reminisce about his experiences with her mom as his instructor (14:48). He really didn’t need to, but he wanted to put her at ease. It’s a harsh world, but it doesn’t seem to be inhabited by cruel people. I have to say that’s a bit of a relief (though I know it’s all subject to change!).
Well, it’s not inhabited entirely by cruel people. As far as the orphanage’s director is concerned, the jury’s still out…
Wow! So Riko was born in the Abyss (17:07). And her mother chose to sacrifice almost everything — including her primary mission, the bodies of her fallen comrades (18:06), and her prestige (18:24) — to get Riko home safely. The Leader even pointed out that Lyza’s choice set the stage for Riko to become who she was. Gilo seemed wistful as he said that…
I was wondering why she was called Lyza the Annihilator. At 19:25, we learn that she “settled the score with the foreign country…” Guess the harsh punishments in Orth aren’t the only indication of brutality in this world! If violence is necessary to survive in the Abyss, then I’m guessing Regu’s strength will be a vital asset.
Sigy and Nat are trying to figure out why Riko’s in such a good mood (19:45), but they can’t agree on an answer. It took Regu to do the obvious: go ask her. He’s a practical robot!
Riko was awestruck at being inside the Cave Raider’s Guild headquarters (20:33). She aspires to be a White Whistle someday, so it was satisfying to see her react so respectfully. Even Regu seemed impressed.
The episode ended on a bomb shell (21:46): Lyza the Annihilator is waiting at the bottom of the Abyss (for Riko?). Well, the exact words were “netherworld’s bottom,” but I’m interpreting that to mean the bottom of the Abyss.
Riko tries to get an insect to land on her finger during class. Apparently, that’s against the rules, but the Director’s punishment seems to disproportionate that I have to wonder again: just what kind of civilization is this?
The last scene raised many questions. Why aren’t the creatures Lyza reported in any of their guides? Was the information suppressed? Or was its delivery delayed — maybe because Lyza had sealed it, could it be opened only after her death? Is Regu (with older components?) the robot Lyza sketched, or is he part of a fleet? And just what did Lyza mean by saying that she’ll be waiting “at the netherworld’s bottom?”
Aside from the ongoing high quality of the world’s presentation and the vibrant characters, what struck me most about this episode was Lyza’s radical choice regarding her daughter. She risked everything to bring Riko back to the surface. The show went to great pains to set up what that choice meant. This world revers the White Whistles, and among them, they most revere Lyza the Annihilator. She enjoyed universal acclaim, and she was strong enough to put that all at risk to save her daughter. And then she went back into the Abyss and finished the jobs she had set aside.
I hope we get to see more of Lyza. She seems like an amazing character!
Were you surprised that Riko was actually born in the Abyss? What did you think of Lyza’s choice? 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 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 10: Poison and the Curse
- Made in Abyss Episode 11: Nanachi