First Impressions – Made in Abyss

Been busy with my summer job and summer course these past few days. Also went to ConnectiCon for a day. Time to go through the backlog of premieres….starting with this one.

And let me tell you, Made in Abyss resumed my anime activities on a high note. I already had high expectations for this show and yet this premiere was more than what I had hoped for. Leave it to director Masayuki Kojima of Monster fame to push a downright cinematic, even magical experience in this premiere. Every moment, even the silliest or most peaceful ones, just keep you engaged to the screen.

Kinema Citrus has done good stuff in the past but Made in Abyss may be their most stunning show yet. The bright colors, the locale designs, the lighting; it all pops out to you. Characters models also very expressively animated; I love how Riko is just brimming with energy even in her saddest or most frightened states and how her new robot friend, Reg (Regu?), has this neutral and almost distant look on his face.

The worldbuilding is particularly strong in this show. I briefly mentioned in my Season Preview that I feel fantasy anime often lack a memorable and interesting setting but this show doesn’t have this problem at all. Kojima’s crew did really well in portraying the Abyss as this mysterious and ominous location. The Abyss really does feel endless and with treasures, dead bodies, and monsters scattered throughout the place, there’s a lot of character and history to the place. I also find it interesting that Riko and her friends are members of an orphanage. That’s certainly a dark detail in something that looks this cutesy. It’s suggested that the children loot the Abyss to support the orphanage but that seriously makes their home sound like a shady front to something slimier.

There are a couple of other mysteries surrounding the plot. Riko desires to be an explorer like her mother but it’s kept vague if her mother went missing or is dead and there has been no mention of her father. Reg is also a big question mark since, well, he is a robot that Riko found in the Abyss. It’s established pretty quickly that robots aren’t common anywhere in the world, let alone a mysterious abyss. Riko suggests maybe Reg is from the bottom of the Abyss but if that’s the case, how did Reg even get to the level that Riko was exploring? I highly doubt Reg’s Bionic Commando arm got him that far. Regardless, this show has effectively established two motivated leads. Riko wants to be like her mother and explore deeper into the Abyss and if Reg really is from the bottom of the Abyss, then our little robot boy has a solid reason to help Riko with her dream.

Overall, this was a really damn good premiere. It’s always nice to seen a fantasy anime with such a cinematic and magical atmosphere. Obviously, it’s just one episode so I can’t quite say this will hold my attention for a full cour. But this certainly has my attention right now and I’ll definitely check out Made in Abyss next week.

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