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Made in Abyss – The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Made in Abyss – The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun episode 1, “The Compass Pointed to the Darkness,” Vueroeruko tried to leave her old wretched life behind. She signed up with Wazukyan, Belaf, and other social outcasts to follow where a strange compass led. The compass did not seem to have helped its previous holder, as Vueroeruko learned when they found his smoldering ship. Will it lead them to better fortune? Why had the other ship burned? And what did the man on the burned ship mean about a golden city?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Made in Abyss – The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1

Made in Abyss - The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1: Belaf seems like a wise sort

Belaf seems like an optimistic sort. That makes me very worried for him! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

I could always count on the first season of Made in Abyss to do two things: evoke a sense of wonder and evoke a sense of dread. It looks like this season is going to be adept at both. Which is good, and, well, I don’t want to say bad. But I’m wondering if I’m ready for this season! I mean, it’s been a rough couple of years!

Well, one way to find out!

My favorite quote in this episode comes from Belaf, who reminds me a lot of Meneldor from The Faraway Paladin (at least at first glance!). Belaf tried to reassure Vueroeruko. Her profoundly low self esteem (inflicted on her, as we saw during her tragic flashbacks) made her question whether she should even be there, following Wazukyan. I suspect she thought her luck might bring them all to ruin.

Belaf said that he had complete faith in their leader, Wazukyan, who also seemed to support her. Belaf went on to say (05:59), “ “In his case, even supposing the Golden City doesn’t exist, he will find it.”

That’s exactly the kind of mysterious statement I look for in this show!

Best in Show Moment for Made in Abyss – The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1

Made in Abyss - The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1: Nanachi's words moved Reg

Nanachi’s words moved Reg. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Setup: Resolve in the Face of Adversity

This show is just brutal. I completely understand why some people can’t watch it. As much as I loved and respected the work of art that was the first season, I’ve never been able to recommend it to anyone. Its unflinching gaze at how terrible people can be to one another appeals to my honesty, and I admire how it sets the stage for scenes of wonder or profound kindness. But the rest of me would rather the show skip certain moments.

Like the first three minutes of this episode, for example.

Made in Abyss - The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1: This episode went dark fast!

The show wasted no time going dark. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

I don’t usually do public service announcements, but if you have a low tolerance for torture, children in danger, children being mistreated, violence, or bodily functions, this might not be the right series for you. On the other hand, if you’re like me and felt the emotional power of the first season and/or the movies, then it looks like this season is going to be all that.

I’m going to choose an upbeat moment as my favorite in this episode. I know, that narrows it down, doesn’t it? 

The story followed Vueroeruko, Wazukyan, Belaf, and their team as they descended into the Abyss. I even had strong feelings of nostalgia as the team discovered the Curse. Felt sorry for the poor guy who fell victim to it, though!

Delivery: Amid the Horrors, a Kind Sentiment

They passed through this strange eyeball-looking creature that guarded the elevator to the Golden City. The scene showed Vueroeruko jumping in, then switched to a shot of Riko emerging inside the eye. Apparently, she, Reg, and Nanachi followed the same route as Vueroeruko and team had (sometime in the past, I think?). Seeing Riko again brought a smile to my face.

They noticed the smell of incense in the air, and Nanachi thought it might have been Bondrewd’s doing. She didn’t want to go back and ask him, and she said that his words were like poison. She wanted to stay far away from him.

Made in Abyss - The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1: It was nice seeing Riko, Reg, and Nanachi again

It was nice seeing Riko, Reg, and Nanachi again. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Instead, she said (17:38), ““I just wanna be genuinely happy about continuing on with you guys.”

Her words seemed so cheerful that just for a moment, I forgot about the incalculable dangers pressing all around them. It was like Made in Abyss in a single microcosm. That might be at the heart of why I hold this show in such high esteem: it puts characters I care about in mind-numbingly dangerous situations, then sees how they respond. Isn’t that what drama’s all about?

What did you think of Wazukyan’s attitude towards adventure? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Made in Abyss – The Golden City of the Scorching Sun Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. “I just wanna be genuinely happy about continuing on with you guys.”

    It sure is a microcosm of the show, which is, at the end of the day, about continuing on, come what may; not alone, but with someone. In Riko’s fortunate case, with two people.

    It is and has always been hard to watch, but I’ll certainly keep watching!

  2. Made in Abyss is special. The last I’ve seen of it is the Dawn of the Deep Soul movie, and… well, it showed us how Riku became a White Whistle, and it’s… terrible. Made in Abyss really is unflinching, looking at reality. But if that were all it does it’d be dull for me rather than effective. The Abyss is indifferent, and it’s a harsh place because people haven’t tamed it. And it draws people who are fascinated enough to brave any danger, and the more they see as they descend. the more it twists them. Most of the really cruel people we meet are more casually cruel; they sack people for their pet interests. The guy we saw in the opening moments was more the abusive type: we haven’t actually seen many of those so far. And Riko has the potential to become hardened against loss, retaining her bright personality, but pushing forward at any cost. She’s not that different from the other White Whistles we’ve met, or that boat adventurer. The place also seems to do things to your brain (the Abyss must physically change you, or it’d be hard to see how ascending can kill you). And the kindness in people doesn’t go away; it just sort of co-exists with the darker aspects of your psyche and the siren’s call of the Abyss. Most people we’ve met so far can be explained that way.

    And the current arc feels like conquistadors looking for El Dorado. I wonder if what we’ve seen is history (the explorers didn’t seem to know much about the Abyss; I mean who goes there doesn’t come back – well, yeah; you go down, but you don’t go back up again. That’s Abyss 101 these days. I wonder if there’s time dilation involved? What’s that golden glow? Some very stange radiation?

    I’d be very surprised if this wasn’t anime of the season for me. If it’s not, we’re going to get a *very* good anime. So far nothing comes even close (not to fond of this season so far.´).

    1. That’s a beautiful description of the show.

      I’ve also wondered what causes the golden glow. The title mentions the “scorching sun,” but it can’t be the sun’s light, can it? Though if time dilatation is involved, I guess it’s not impossible that some other kind of strange phenomena could bring sunlight deep under ground. If it’s really underground at all.

      Ever read the Nigh Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko? I wonder if the levels of the Abyss are anything like his levels of Twilight?

Please let me know what you think!

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