For those that are wondering, there won’t be any major spoilers, if at all!
Made in Abyss is brought to us by the animation studio, Kinema Citrus. A studio formed in 2008 by former members of both Production IG and Bones. The show is directed by Masayuki Kojima, who has previously worked with Madhouse, and headed shows such as Black Bullet, Monster, and Master Keaton.
The thing is, Made in Abyss doesn’t appear to be too closely related to any of those. Something, which I perceive as a positive thing. For a director to take on work somewhat distant in theme and setting from those that have come before, they must be confident; both in their own ability and the source material itself.
From the outset Made in Abyss has a very distinctive art-style. The characters have life in them, in their originality – their enigmatic presence. Of course, we are presented with a plot and backstory that regarded alone is in no way unique; How many shows have you seen in which the MC is an overlooked, underappreciated orphan coming from an otherwise privileged background. You might say too many… Yet, it’s not the ideas in themselves that are overdone, it is the way in which they are orchestrated. Made in Abyss holds its own in this respect.
The reason for that, is the beautiful, inspiring world it exists within.
The ‘Abyss’ itself gives me that old feeling of wonder, of being drawn into something so amazingly mysterious. It reminds me of being a child again; sensing that something is coming, bit not having a clue what that might be, or the form that it might take. Are those not the best moments entertainment has to offer? The things we go searching for whenever we dive into something new – only to find ourselves being disappointed over an over again? This is a category where you absolutely can not group Made in Abyss. It’s a breath of fresh air, a gem amongst the huge number of shows that are airing this Summer – many of which are frankly terrible.
One aspect that stands out is the outstanding detail in the background art. They don’t sit in the bargin-bucket section that so many anime seem to have slipped into; that genericism that flows throughout much of the still art. Watching Made in Abyss, I’m reminded of Studio Ghibli’s work, and the more recent films of Makoto Shinkai. Each piece seems to have been crafted to perfection, and it is this that greatly bolsters – what is already – a brilliantly imagined world.
After all, I’m a stickler for worlds where massive care has gone into creating the physical spaces, and not to mention the lore that is used to explain why things are the way they are. Much of the time, we are left in a new place, with new people, yet knowing nothing of its history. Some may think this information within Made in Abyss is unneccessary exposition. I disagree. It’s valuable to know the state of the world. It ascribes meaning to things that would otherwise be ambiguously sidelined. It helps us understand the motivations and the characters by offering us a perspective of their world, by knowing what they do.
This is my biggest praise for Made in Abyss – the meticulous detail that has gone into all parts of it; the art and animation, the characters and their stories, the world and it’s unreserved clarity. Culminated, it’s a wonderful example of passionate work.
If you have the time, watch it. If you don’t have the time… watch it. There won’t be regretful moment in there. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the show has to offer. Stick around for the review at the end of the season!
What do you think of Made in Abyss?
Thank you for reading, as always