I’m finally catching up on Made in Abyss and I sure feel like I’ve been missing out. I was even going to include the ninth and latest episode in this post but since Riko and Reg leave the second layer in Ep. 8, I figured I’d say Ep. 9 for later.
First off, Ozen proved to be a really interesting character. We’ll probably not see much of her after Ep. 8 (an appropriate exit for her and Marulk) but she’ll definitely stand as a real standout in the cast. Part of what I like about her is her character design. She just towers over the kids and when she dons the hat and cloak, she especially comes across as ominous. There is also something very peculiar about her demeanor. She proves to be a valuable mentor for Riko and Reg but she sure has a very brutal way of showing it. That little test of hers was just uncomfortable to watch; I actually thought she was going to kill Reg. It ended up giving Reg great insight to the limitations of his physique and Incinerator but you can’t quite forgive Ozen for getting way into beating the little kid up.
I wonder if her means of helping our two leads stems from the kinds of physiological effects the Abyss has on people. She’s ventured as far as any other White Whistle has and it sounds like they’ve lost a bit of their sanity for doing so (Ozen even admits the other White Whistles are crazier than her). There’s also the relics embedded on her body to augment her strength (which presumably makes her age slower too) and I’m convinced that such a practice can’t possibly be healthy.
Regardless, Riko and Reg’s training under Ozen’s wing does help them in the long run. Technically, neither adventurer has gained any new skills but rather, they end up honing the skills they already have as well as their homework. Reg offers a lot of offense for the pair thanks to his robot arms but Riko’s knowledge of the Abyss and her survival training is just as helpful. This comes into play when they need to trap this weird warthog, hippo thing and Riko devises a plan to lure it with manure so that Reg can trap it with his arms. So while no one really develops new skills, the pair are able to accommodate for each other’s weakness and survive as a result. Since the two are adventuring down the Abyss together anyway, working better as a team is certainly a very valuable skill to have.
A lot of other crazy details were revealed in these two episodes. First is Riko’s connection to the curse-warding box (which is looks creepier inside). We already knew how the box helped Riko survive the curse of the Abyss but the fact that the box actually resurrected a then stillborn Riko came as a huge surprise for me. There is evidently more to Riko’s existence than I realize and I find that to be an interesting notion since we now have two main characters pondering about their origins. Second is that Ozen thinks Lyza is most likely alive somewhere in the Abyss. Turns out that the grave had nothing buried underneath. Again, I wonder how the grave came out and the note is still a big mystery to everyone but I suppose we’ll find out in due time.
We at least do see some flashbacks between Ozen and Lyza. As strange as Ozen is, she very clearly valued Lyza’s friendship (perhaps that feeling is what motivates Ozen to help Riko). I can’t help but seriously question Lyza’s decision to venture in the Abyss on her own while she has a baby to take care off. Even though Riko doesn’t resent her mother all that much and she did end up having a lot of supportive adults in her life, I still feel like Lyza was being really irrational here. At least, Lyza seemed a bit aware that she is being irrational; she almost made adventuring sound like an addiction.
And now, Riko and Reg’s time at the second layer has come to an end and it’s time to venture further. That third layer sure looks treacherous if it starts with a giant pit that people must fall through. I feel sorry for Marulk since this could very well be the last time Riko and Reg see him. I knew this strong friendship couldn’t last for long and I’m still saddened to see this trio part ways. I’m glad that Marulk was included in this little Seeker Camp arc however. It’d be a little boring if all Riko and Reg do is just go down further the Abyss. Adding Marulk helped make departing the second layer more emotional, like something lost as Riko and Reg must continue their journey.