In Made in Abyss episode 8, “Survival Training,” Riko and Regu attack their survival training with enthusiasm — almost as much enthusiasm as the creature that tries to eat them! “The Unmovable Sovereign” Ouzen reflects on her time with Lyza, especially the tragedy of Riko’s stillbirth and the real reason Lyza left Riko in Gilo’s care. Finally, as Riko and Regu prepare to continue their journey, Ouzen presents Riko with a powerful memento of her mother’s awe-inspiring nickname, the Annihilator.
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
What’s In This Post
Watching the Episode
The Award for Scout-Level Survival Knowledge goes to Riko for knowing she needed to find water first (3:25). Not much point in building a camp if you’re going to die of thirst!
Followed almost immediately (3:32) by the Award for Most Acting Like a Character in a Bad Horror Film going to Riko for seeing a red light and immediately running towards it. Even Regu was aghast! When is this girl going to learn to be more cautious?
Weren’t the rohanas beautiful (3:51)? They gave off a faint rose-colored glow, and their music reminded me a lot of crickets. They gave the scene an other-worldly air that reminded me of the fireflies at the end of Gate, Fire Dragon (episode 3) or the various glowing bugs on Pandora from the movie Avatar. Beauty aside, what made the scene real for me is how the rohanas acted as the rhino-hippo-wild boar thing surfaced (4:03). Not only did the scatter, they also got quiet. I feel like a broken record*, but I’ll say it again: the little details like this make the world real, so the drama has a chance to feel more vital.
Yea! They made fire (5:00). Oh dang. It attracts insects (5:03). Another cool little detail!
I was wondering if Ouzen would keep an eye on them, and it seems that she and her crew did (5:21). Maybe you weren’t worried and maybe you’ve decided to trust Ouzen, but I’m still a little skittish after seeing her smash floors with Regu! So I found this tremendously reassuring.
Coming as I do from a farming background, I think Riko’s idea for bait was brilliant (6:25). Living as I do now in a city, I can completely understand Regu’s reaction, too! After she froze when the rhino-hippo-wild board thing attacked and after she didn’t foresee the fire attracting insects, I was beginning to wonder if she’d lost her edge. Nope! She still has it. And Regu still freaks out. So their relationship’s intact!
I take it as a sign of solid story telling that Ouzen didn’t just start reminiscing (7:39); her underling’s observation that Riko and Regu were learning to depend on each other triggered The Immovable’s memories.
Her memories, too, could have devolved into exposition, but instead they were snippets of times when Lyza protected her, or wanted to drink with her, or just shared a moment of beauty with the field of Flowers of Fortitude (7:58). These were interesting little tidbits that helped us understand Ouzen’s perspective a little better.
Even the quick montage of Ouzen’s reaction to Lyza’s marriage (8:04) and Riko’s birth (8:07) flowed naturally from the narrative. And seeing her reaction to Riko’s cries within the Relic was almost a revelation (9:07): Ouzen the Immovable, who has only showed anger or delight in combat, was shocked. I tell you, when I watch a show or read a book, I live for moments like that.
I was surprised when Marulk shared that he’d cried the first night Ouzen left him alone for survival training (10:38). First, I had no idea he’d undergone the training! Then when Regu confessed that he’d been afraid when he’d been separated from Riko (10:53), Marulk seemed so relieved and almost affirmed. They’re both such sweet characters that it’s almost painful to think about the dangerous world they live in.
Did you laugh when Riko, who’d been sound asleep, jumped up for joy when Marulk announced that Ouzen wanted to eat with them (11:49)? I did!
So the farther one descends into the Abyss, the more subjective time becomes (13:16)? So from Lyza’s perspective, only a few days or months have passed, but to Ouzen, Riko, and Regu, years have passed? The opens some interesting dramatic possibilities…
The note that Riko had thought was from her mother is actually written in ancient text on a Relic that even Ouzen can’t tear (15:02). I wonder what the series writer’s setting up? I’m right there with Ouzen when she said (15:04), “What in the wold is waiting down at the netherworld’s bottom together with Lyza?”
Wow! Ouzen gave Riko Lyza’s old weapon (15:17)! As cool as that is, I immediately wondered if it was over-powered, thus removing some of the dramatic opportunities of Riko’s descent. Then Ouzen let on that it was actually in pretty bad shape, so it won’t last much longer (15:49). So, far from dampening the drama, it actually adds to it!
Talk about tearful goodbyes (17:51)! I think Marulk’s going to be terribly lonely without Riko and Regu. I think he got used to being alone, and then when the two heroes showed up, he got to experience the happiness of friendship again — only to have to say goodbye!
And speaking of lonely… Can we even understand how Ouzen feels (18:34) as she stands back, watching the departure, alone with her own thoughts — and still talking to Lyza?
For some reason, seeing Ouzen, that pillar of strength, possessing a strength beyond mortals, yet standing there all alone, felt terribly sad.
So Lyza had to leave Riko alone out of fear for her safety (19:29). I guess there are consequences to being a White Whistle. Even Lyza, nicknamed the Annihilator, couldn’t be everywhere at once. To keep her daughter safe, and to preserve her own dreams of exploration, she decided to leave her in Gilo’s care. It didn’t seem to be an easy decision, either!
Ouzen didn’t just arbitrarily decide to tell Riko that she was “a living corpse” (20:35). She told Riko at Lyza’s request. Not to terrify or dishearten the girl, but to make her aware of “how much of a miracle it took to make it so that she’s able to move at all…” I don’t know about you, but the vitality and joy in Lyza’s smile as she said that (20:49) made me forget to breath for a moment.
Do you think that the Great Fault almost looks like an access port to a starship’s main drive (21:55)? The sound, the light — it looks like the product of advanced tech. At least, that’s the first impression I had. Plus, the flow of air looked to be coming out of the fault.
* You young ‘uns reading this might not know that a record, a primitive vinyl analog sound recording, sometimes got dirty or scratched — such historical artifacts were likely before your time! When a record got scratched, one moment of sound could endlessly repeat. Thus the phrase “broken record.” No, I don’t feel old even though the technology that replaced records, CDs, are themselves on the way out, and we’re several generations into new formats for digital recordings.
Reflecting on the Episode
Boy, did Ouzen look upset at Lyza marrying Torka or what? Ouzen seems to be the sort to keep people at an emotional distance, so her reaction suggests she felt a deep connection to her apprentice. A connection she didn’t want to share! It must have hurt quite a lot to see Lyza marry; but even more to see Lyza mourning the death of her husband and apparent death of her newborn. Ouzen’s been through a lot, but that seems par for the course for cave raiders — and especially White Whistles.
This leads me to wonder what effect Ouzen’s time in the Abyss has had on her emotional landscape. You know the scene where Riko and Regu were saying goodbye? Ouzen could have been there, but she chose to be alone with her memories of Lyza. I wonder if she really perceived herself as being alone? Or were her memories so vivid to her that she actually felt Lyza’s presence?
I also wonder if the time’s subjective for the person in the deeper layers, or for the observers? I know that seems like a strange question, but we still know so little about the Abyss that I’m not sure the answer’s clear. I’ve not read the manga, so I have no idea what it says about this question, but I’m beginning to wonder if we have the assumptions backwards. Is the city Orth and its inhabitants the real world, with the Abyss being the aberration? Or is it the other way around? Is Orth the dream, and the deeper one goes into the Abyss, the closer one gets to reality?
I doubt that’s the case, but what got me thinking about this was first the discuss of how time seemed different to those deeper in the Abyss, plus he writer of the note (the one we’d thought was from Lyza) used an ancient script. It just got me wondering which end was up, so to speak.
What did you think of the episode? Did you find Ouzen’s solitary memories to be melancholy? What, if anything, stood out to you in this episode? 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 9: The Great Fault
- Made in Abyss Episode 10: Poison and the Curse
- Made in Abyss Episode 11: Nanachi