Made in Abyss 01 – First Impressions

If you didn’t know any better, you might think you’re watching movie. This beautiful series does not disappoint in its first installment.

“The City of the Great Pit”

This series not only feels like a big budget Ghibli production just from the first glance, it actually delivers on the kinds of things that suck you in to a cinematic world. Produced by Kadokawa (and a handful of others) and with studio Kinema Citrus, it definitely isn’t Studio Ghibli, although the inspiration is felt. The character designs and, more noticeably, various animals are quite reminiscent of the style. There is something unique about it all as well though. Visual significance aside, this series looks poised to pull off a deep (I’m going to keep using that) and intriguing story with the premise it is presenting here. A mysterious pit has been found in a remote are of the planet and a city has formed around it to facilitate the discovery of its valuable secrets. That’s pretty cool in itself, but there are other little things teased throughout this premiere that hint at great character involvement with the fantastical plot.

The main characters here are wonderfully unique and quite well developed in short order (too many puns here). I had some reservations with the character designs from the promos, expecting it to be far too childish, but it fits quite well with the story so far. These are kids, and to be more precise, orphans of those who have been lost in the abyss. That’s a dark set-up for something that seemed so innocent at first. The spunky lead Riko, a junior red-whistle, is determined to delve deeper in to the abyss despite her rank in an effort to find her lost mother. To her great fortune, at least so far, she finds a miraculous robot boy she names Reg. He is some serious Astro Boy kind of thing, with quite a few interesting abilities and a serious lack of memories. Rounding out the cast are a number of other orphan cave-divers and the staff of the orphanage, making for an interestingly layered character drama in an already intriguing world.

So what does this look like going forward? If the style presented here continues, especially after that absolutely stunning opening song sequence, it will likely be the most impressive series of the season. Ballroom dancing has nothing on beautiful fantasy worlds and cute orphans. As for the plot, I am definitely looking forward to finding out more about Reg and the reasons behind the technology found in the abyss from some previous civilization. If anything I almost wish this were a video game I could be playing, as the plot could lend itself well to that medium.

Episode Score
9.7/10 (Amazing)

Made in Abyss - 01 - Sunrise

Extra thoughts:

  • This OP, although not exactly an OP, is just brilliant. This is a cinematic style that pulls us in with ease, and I sure hope there is more of it.
  • Good news, the ending of this episode is another fantastic world-building song sequence!
  • The music is being done by a non-Japanese composer, Kevin Penkin. The english language song in a very modern pop style certainly carries very well over the visuals.
  • Naming a town Orth with a th in a Japanese series is just mean. It might as well be called Orsu. Katakana really isn’t a great system.

Next Episode: “Resurrection Festival”

Made in Abyss - 01 - Next Time

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