Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Made in Abyss Episode 4, “The Edge of the Abyss,” Riko and Regu make it to the first level, but they make a startling discovery: the mysterious package Regu had found in his backpack at the end of last episode was from the Leader, Gilo! That means he was well aware of their intentions. What’s his plan? Will he bring them back to the orphanage? And who’s the very large — and very, very fast — man who’s following them as they descend?
What’s In This Post
What I Liked
- Something that’s impressed me since the first episode, when Riko fell into the pit while escaping the crimson splitjaw, is how well these kids tumble. They know how to hit and roll, instead of just splatting into the ground and breaking bones. Riko demonstrates her skills in the OP (1:27). It reinforces just how much these kids have been through even at such a young age.
- So Regu used his stretchy arms to build a cage around the two of them as they slept (2:26)? That’s brilliant! And since they’re his arms, he can feel when something — like Riko! — touches them (2:49). He might not have his conscious memories, but he’s resourceful. He’s just the kind of companion Riko needs. I’ll be interested to see if he uses this trick again. I have a feeling it’ll be even more useful the deeper they go.
Yet another beautiful vista (I’m going to have to create an acronym for this!): The First Layer is as beautiful as anything we’ve seen so far. I just love this show’s animation, and the scenery is especially lush and fascinating (3:53).
- Wait — the Abyss is protected by a force field (4:20)? Is this new, or did I miss a detail before? And the force field’s distortion helps light the Abyss (4:26)? This world keeps getting more and more interesting!
- While I felt sorry that she lost her treasured Star Compass, I liked the world-building detail that Riko revealed in her reaction (starting around 7:15). Trying to hold back the tears, she told Regu an old saying: “All that which is taken from the Abyss will someday return to it. Whether it be an object or a life…” This world feels so real, and details like this are one of the reasons why.
- Gilo planted the package with copies of Lyza’s notes (8:21) in Regu’s back pocket. Even though we don’t get to see alot of him, he’s intriguing. He seems so calm and unflappable, and that seems to hide a shrewd and yet caring interior. The latter’s clear by his inclusion of a note warning Riko that he’s coming after them. Riko figured out that’s Gilo’s way of testing her to be sure she’s ready for the descent. Just as Regu’s her perfect companion, Gilo seems to be the perfect teacher to prepare her for this journey. Though I still laughed at Riko’s reaction when she read his note (8:40).
- The sound of the wind at the first level was distinctive and just a little scary (9:07 and again around 10:33). It reminds me of the sound of the wind at some wilderness locations in the video game Unreal, which at the time was insanely immersive. For me, this made the Abyss feel almost ancient and nostalgic. Interesting how memories and imagination can intertwine…
The first huge creature we meet since the crimson splitjaw was even more terrifying (9:58). Not quite a spider, about the size of Shelob from the Lord of the Rings, the Silkfang looks like it would have made a meal of Riko if she’d been alone. She’s done her homework, too: she knew that the creature wouldn’t leave its territory. I know I just lauded the world for being realistic. Now I’m seeing it can be a scary realism!
- I cannot get enough of the scenery in this show. The shots of ancient structures really fire up my imagination (11:22). They look mexhalonchy and lonely and yet dangerous all at the same time. Who built them? What happened to them? So many cool questions…
- I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by finding out that the lens on Regu’s helmet is some kind of optical sensor (12:52). Even though his attention was elsewhere, Regu was able to detect their pursuer’s approach using that sensor. And his eyes can switch to telescopic mode (13:12). I’m dying to know what he is — and who made him!
The show went to great efforts to show us how quickly Regu and Riko were running. That setup quite the dramatic scene where Habo catches up to them (13:49) — and he wasn’t even breathing hard! His rappelling so quickly was a nice touch.
- Good for Nat and Sigy! They were the ones who went to Habo to ask him to help their friends get to the second level (15:29). It’s too bad all four of them couldn’t’ve gone. I think their skills would have come in handy. But like I’ve said before, maybe it’s better for them to stay where they are.
- Riko refuses to let Habo guide her because she wants to finish this last test herself (16:41). I have to admire her integrity at the same time I wonder if she’s being reckless? The Abyss is a dangerous place. Shouldn’t she accept reliable help if it’s offered? Or maybe she’s making the right choice to see if she can rely on herself and Regu? I thought this was a great character moment! Kudos for Habo for understanding (17:00).
As if I needed more reasons to see them go deeper into the Abyss: Habo mentions that Ozen, the guardian of the Seeker Camp, is not only unusual, but was the one who helped Lyza carry Riko to the surface (18:16). While Riko’s really excited to ask Ozen about Lyza, Habo remained concerned for their safety. Just what’s Ozen going to do to them? And what’s with the horizontal lines on the walls behind them in this scene? Are they lines of sentiment — or artifacts of construction?
- Habo remembering when he lifted little Riko — well, littler Riko — up so she could see the Abyss over the retaining wall, was really poignant (19:39). “Sooner or later, I knew this day would come…” he says to himself. I just participated in my daughter’s wedding, so maybe this struck me because the theme of watching the little ones go off to start their own adventures is a so fresh in my mind.
Talk about a clarifying moment! As Riko and Regu are celebrating the victory of reaching the second level, a large creature explodes into the air beside them (21:23). Yeah, it’s beautiful, but is it dangerous? Will it leave them alone? They don’t know; and neither do we. This level is strange to Riko and us, so we’re going to experience it together. This isn’t the highest level of the Abyss, the level that Riko’s familiar with. Now things start to get (even more) dangerous!
The animation on the silkfang almost looked like something out of a Nintendo 64 video game. There was something about the shading that reminded me of those games. Was that intentional? Is it some kind of clue? Or just an artifact of the show’s production process?
Along the same lines: I haven’t thought about the video game Unreal for a while, though it remains one of my favorites. I remember playing it on a computer with a 3Dfx Voodoo video card (a Diamond Monster 3D card, to be specific). Early in the story, your character (it’s a third person shooter) steps out of the wrecked starship Vortex Rikers onto the face of an alien world. If you look up, you see a brilliant sun shining through hurrying thin clouds. It was absolutely beautiful, and it changed how I thought about video games.
Both of these ideas left me wondering: Just what is the Abyss? Is it a natural occurrence in this world? I’m beginning to doubt that, given that it’s capped with a force field — though whether it’s to keep things out or things in isn’t clear to me. If it’s not natural, then at least to some extent it’s artificial. But to what extent? Is the shading on the silkfang a clue? Is it a game like Unreal taken to a whole new level? Are the sentiment/construction lines other clues? Or are the clues too subtle for me to even recognize as clues?
For now, rather than try to figure it out, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ll just say this: I started Crow’s World of Anime to make sure I’d have time to watch anime that I enjoy, and Made in Abyss is turning out to be one of those series that makes me glad I did!
What do you think of the Abyss? Or do you prefer just to let the show unfold? 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 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