Plenty of people have already pointed out that the last shot of the OP now features the Seeker Camp staff and not Riko’s friends at the orphanage. I agree with the consensus that Nat, Shiggy, Kiyui, and Leader are probably all out of the picture now. It’s a slight shame since I quite like the folks back at the orphanage (especially Nat and Leader) but then again, Riko and Reg kind of reached a point of no return at the second layer. That said, it certainly speaks to the quality of Made in Abyss that even the minor characters were noteworthy.
Last episode felt as though the fact that Riko and Reg are journeying on their own really starts to sink in. This episode lets another thing sink in for the viewer: that the wildlife in the Abyss will try to kill you. And it’s weird because the creatures themselves don’t look that scary (they are extremely well-designed though). It’s how they prey on humans and eat them that just makes them extremely unsettling. At the beginning of this episode, Riko and Reg encounter a Corpse Weeper, a bird that eats humans and can mimic the voices of their recent victims. That alone is just uncanny but even more dangerous is that its mimicry even signals its brethren that more food/humans are nearby. I knew deep down that Riko wouldn’t get eaten by the Corpse Weepers but that scene really had me thinking that Reg might not be able to rescue her.
Fortunately, Reg is able is able to use his Incinerator (that laser cannon from Ep. 1) in time to annihilate the flock of birds. But something to note is how Reg feels about using that powerful weapon. As helpful and powerful as that weapon is, Reg is unable to shake off the fear that he could’ve killed Riko with that shot. That thought ultimately results with a nightmare he later has in the episode where Riko not only get eaten but also gets obliterated by the Incinerator. Good grief was than a nightmarish moment in the show and it almost establishes Reg as a possible threat to Riko’s well-being (it is possible that he might harm her). For now, that cannon will have to stay as a serous last resort.
And you know, it seems as though Reg is the only one of the pair who thinks about this kinds of stuff. In a later, much more lighthearted scene, we see Riko and Reg eat Corpse Weeper meat. It’s apparently delicious but Reg is a little freaked out that Riko cooked the bird that just tried to kill her. Riko, on the other hand, has no issue about eating the meat and finds it to just be another fun moment in her adventure. I want to say that her attitude stems from how she was raised. After all, that orphanage raises children to become explorers and that whole village promotes the job as the best profession in the world. I wonder if that trait of Riko will be explored in future episodes. She’s still enthusiastic about heading to the bottom but surely that mood will die down as the later layers of the Abyss begin to get more difficult to survive. Reg might need to keep a close eye on her; he considers the direness more than her that he’s practically become a conscience for the girl.
At the end of the episode, Reg and Riko reach the Inversed Forest. That place might honestly be my favorite location so far. It’s just cool to see everything upside down; even the waterfalls flow upwards. The Seeker Camp is also located here and I have to wonder how that place can even operate. Surely, the Curse would eventually kick and mess up the employees. Our two leads were warned last episode about Ozen and yeah, she might be a huge obstacle for them. The fact that she can hold onto Reg’s Bionic Commando arms certainly gives that impression.