Tone has been an interesting and impressive aspect of Made in Abyss. Sometimes, the show is pleasant and other times, it makes me downright anxious. I’m aware that the manga apparently gets dark but if these four episodes are any indication, this show is not pulling a Madoka or anything. It’s not as though the show gets dark all of the sudden, it’s just feels threatening throughout the experience and you get that feeling more and more with each passing episode.
The opening scene where Riko wakes up next to Reg with his arms forming a protective web around them just sets the tone for what they in for. It’s a visually stunning scene and you know, if it wasn’t for the curse or the monsters, the Abyss would be a serene place to explore. But knowing the threats looming in the corner, that protective web Reg creates really shows that they can’t afford to enjoy peace in a vacuum. They need all the rest they can get but who’s to say the Abyss will easily let them? I also like that the episode just cuts to them waking up. I want to assume they landed safely and took a nap or something but the skip in time really threw me off and made me anxious.
There are still pleasant moments throughout this episode. Riko and Reg cook and eat food together and they get to see sights so breathtaking that they might as well be on postcards. But it really begins to sink in that these two are largely on their own from here on out and you have to remind yourself that this place is crawling with monsters and curses people to extremely poor health. Reg’s robot arms certainly help traveling the Abyss and fending off monsters a lot easier for Riko but even he can only go so far before feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Habo shows up in the end to offer some help by giving Riko and Reg supplies and offering advice on the second layer. Still, his assistance feels brief in the grand scheme of things. Riko and Reg have a long trek ahead of them. The ominous atmosphere especially sinks in when the two reach the second layer of the Abyss since that’s entirely uncharted territory for them.
Even though Made in Abyss has shifted to Riko and Reg traveling together, the presence of the supportive cast is still felt. As I had thought last episode, Leader was onto the two of them and he leads a rescue party to retrieve them. But Riko is convinced it’s a test on Leader’s part and she thinks once she and Reg reach the second layer, Leader will back off and let them be. Leader has become one of the more interesting characters. He’s stern and strict with Riko but almost in a brother-like way and the possibility that his rescue is a test of sorts suggests that he’s willing to accept that Riko is ready to persevere through the Abyss. Meanwhile, Habo showed up thanks to Nat and Shiggy persuading him to check up on them. It’s nice to see that Riko’s friends at the orphanage still care about her and they hope they can make the journey safer, even in a small way. I kind of wish Habo accompanied Riko and Reg but I get why it’s decided he doesn’t escort them. This is Riko and Reg’s journey and if they are to persevere, they can only accept small tokens of assistance.
And now we’re onto the second layer, the Forest of Temptation. I’m really curious to see more of it since the past few episodes have been hyping up the many layers of the Abyss for so long. Knowing the show and the people behind it, I think we’re in for a treat.