You got to love the tone in Made in Abyss. Even in a safe haven as the Seeker Camp, Riko and Reg’s visit has as many tense moments as there are fun ones.
Much of that lies in the contrasting personalities of our two new characters: the White Whistle Onzen the Immovable and her assistant Marulk. Onzen is easily the more ominous of the two and even her character design and any time she is on screen supports that notion. She clearly holds a grudge against Riko and Lyza since she’s the one who painstakingly carried baby Riko in the Curse Warding Box several years ago. At the same time, Onzen isn’t fully against Riko and Reg’s decision. Rather, she acts more curious about the pair as though she is testing them to see if they really are adamant about going deeper into the Abyss.
I don’t really get the point of Marulk being a trap; it’s just another use of a cliche that seriously needs to die. But I really liked watching Reg and Riko befriend the little assistant. I feel bad for Marulk since he’s all alone in the Seeker Camp with Onzen and he rarely gets the chance to talk to people the same age as him. I almost kind of wish Riko did accept Marulk’s offer to stay longer and look for relics (it’d even be a good excuse to explore the second layer some more). Considering that Riko’s pals at the orphanage have all but disappeared from the story, I’m sure Marulk will also disappear once Riko and Reg leave the Seeker Camp. It’s becoming a recurring theme, in fact, where the exploration of the Abyss makes strong friendships less of a priority.
At the end of the episode, Onzen reveals to Riko that she found Lyza’s belongings near a grave on the fourth floor. Even worse is that the letter calling for Riko is not Lyza’s handwriting. That begs the question how the note ended up with Lyza’s other stuff. Riko knew it was a possibility (Nat even pointed it out a few episodes back) but I doubt she is truly deterred. She probably is upset that Lyza being dead is more of a possibility now but Riko deserves to keep exploring to see the grave for herself. Even then, there is still the mystery surrounding Reg himself.
I am also curious about the Curse Warding Box that Onzen kept and its apparent connection to the monster that attacked Riko the night before. Is the box a sort of prison for monsters from deeper layers? It almost feels like a allusion to Pandora’s Box if that’s the case; with monsters crawling out of it but nevertheless the safe haven for Riko whom Lyza hoped could make it to the surface.
- Kind of crazy to think Made in Abyss is about halfway done. When I really think about it, this show does pace a bit slowly. I doubt we’ll get to see the bottom of the Abyss in this anime but hopefully we’ll get to see other layers soon.
- The amount of mild to full nudity for Riko and Reg has been bothering me. It’s not really sexual (thank goodness) but I don’t really get why it’s there (apart from fanart…). It’s a frankly super distracting element in an otherwise really strong show.