Rolling Review – Children of the Whales (07)

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Episode Synopsis:

Skylos’ attack on the Mud Whale begins, and the defenders are put to the test.  Meanwhile, a small strike team enters the lower levels of Skylos, searching for its nous in an attempt to sink it.  The battle on the Whale is pitched, but the strike team encounters only light resistance – until they are caught in an ambush and largely wiped out.

Episode Review:

Anime, I gotta know.  Was it something I said, that you hold this grudge against me?  Why do only I get the episodes where the pink-haired psychopath takes center stage?

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You are just the worst, kid.

So, pink-hair kid is back, and every scene with him in it is like dragging nails across my soul’s chalkboard.  At the beginning of the episode, I still had the wherewithal to, once again, question why this one person is allowed to have all the emotions they want in a society rigidly built on suppressing them.  There’s a scene early on where he’s rolling around in the dirt thanking God (wait, you guys have religion now too?) for the opportunity to murder people capable of feeling bad about being murdered, when I seriously wondered about all the other soldiers near him.

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In the episode, they just walk past him in the slow, plodding manner that the show believes passes for “purposeful march”, but you have to wonder if they’re not a little weirded out.

 

GUY A: Hey, Jim, you see that pink kid rolling around in the dirt laughing?  I think there’s something up with him.

GUY B: Hey, yeah, so I’m not the only one.  Do you think – and I know, it sounds crazy – do you think he has emotions?  He just seems so excited about killing people.

GUY A: Eh, it’s above my paygrade.  I’m sure some of the brass is keeping an eye on him.  Right?

GUY B: Yeah… (looks back at pinky shrieking something about fear and anger) …right.

 

I actually kind of feel bad for them now, having to put up with his antics all the time.  By the end of the episode, though, I was simply exhausted by having to watch him.

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Seriously, kiddo, no one, in the entire show, has called you crazy so far.  You can’t just use default B-grade self-serving villain lines when there’s no one engaging with you.  I would say that I want someone to kill him off, but I can’t even muster the hatred.  I just want him to stop existing; if he never showed up in another episode I wouldn’t even question what happened.

 

The rest of the episode is a boring drudge march in which every event is broadcast to the viewer long before it happens, and then it happens exactly the way you expect it to.  Suou gets emotional about the battle and decides to go somehow fight in it himself, and it’s like “Wow, I bet that isn’t going to work at all!  He’s going to get thrashed”.  And then he runs around for a few trying minutes until he finds someone to fight, and is promptly thrashed.  The strike team gets to Skylos and we cut to the command bridge, where some guy says “Just as planned.  We’ll take them out super easy”.  10 minutes later, that exact thing happens, just as he said it would.

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The strike team is near the objective, and they decide “Hey, there’s a long, dark passageway where none of our magic works.  Let’s send exclusively no-name side characters down there and leave all the plot-relevant people behind.”  Boy, I wonder if all the no-name side characters are going to die.  The show takes many agonizing minutes slowly, slowly revealing that, yes, they are dead.  I’ve never seen a war that is so tiringly predictable to watch.

So with the main story plodding along, I’ll focus on some of my other observations.  Like the little goggles that our main leads have.

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Those goggles right there.  Also, when did they get two pairs of those?

For the entire episode, there’s been a powerful blowing sandstorm – in which no one reacts in the slightest to all the blowing sand.  Doesn’t even faze them, their giant anime eyes impervious to all the flying grit.  But when it’s time to get in their boat, Chakuro makes a show of putting on his goggles.

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As if it matters at all.  About a minute later, while still on the sand ocean, he takes them back off and off they stay.  Why do you even have those?!

The sandstorm also brings another question with it.

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How do you guys even manage to feed yourselves?  Everything is going to be completely covered in sand when this storm is over.  I feel like someone carefully designed the Mud Whale and its interesting civilization, and then they gave it to some… child, and told him to put it through an action story, and he’s just slamming it together with his other toys with reckless abandon.

Redeeming features of this episode, you ask?  Well, shockingly, it’s better than Episode 3, my previous review.  Gone are the most egregious examples of CG, there’s less pointless standing around (though the pacing is still awful), and the art on display continues to be nice.

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Just ignore how Skylos could have ever produced art of any kind and you’ll be fine

Also, there was a nice little musical number in the middle of the episode, with Neri singing on top of some hideous fish with massive eyelashes.

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What are you even going for with that fish, show?

The song doesn’t fit with the atmosphere of the episode, doesn’t make sense in context, and certainly doesn’t make up for the other flaws this episode… but it is nice in isolation.  So there’s that.

Long story short, I’m tired of this show.  I’m tired of boring characters with bad development, tired of pinko the shrieking sadism fairy, tired of predictability, tired of the color brown.  If in the next episode every character was wiped out and the Mud Whale sunk, my reaction would be “well, ain’t that a shame” and I would quickly forget it.  And you should too.


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Anime Review: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

coverSynopsis: The Dungeon stands tall above the town, and seems to extend infinitely beneath it, each level crowded with ever-tougher foes.  It’s the perfect place for adventurers to explore, find loot, and level up.  A fledgling adventurer, Bell Cranel, has recently come to town with dreams of greatness.  Now that he has found a Goddess to serve, and with only the clothes on his back and a knife, it’s time to pursue his dreams… and maybe find romance along the way.

Review: I admit that I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of a show called Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?  And indeed, all of the fanservice you would expect is present in the show, sometimes without any explanation or reason.  Despite this, I found myself really enjoying the show because of how solidly its world is built, and due to the likeability of many of the characters.  It ended up being a pleasant surprise, and a show I’m now fond of despite its shortcomings.

Let’s talk about those first.  Right off the bat, this show could be mistaken for a harem anime if it weren’t for all of the RPG dungeon-crawling action.  Women throw themselves at Bell, seemingly for no reason other than he exists.  With his Goddess, Hestia, it at least makes some sense, as Bell is the only person that serves her initially, and he’s pretty important to her as a result.

Is it wrong dungeon 33Their relationship, while semi-romantic (largely for humor), is in many ways the core of the show, and is handled remarkably well.  The same cannot be said for Syr, a waitress at the local Inn.

Is it wrong dungeon 12Having met him once in passing, she immediately begins presenting him with lunchboxes and fawning over him at every opportunity.

Is it wrong dungeon 43Every other waitress in the inn is similarly infatuated with him, despite his total interaction with them consisting of a few sentences or less.  It’s certainly more bizarre than it is romantic in any way, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, which it never did.  Then there’s Eina, who advises Bell on exploring the dungeon safely.  She, too, develops feelings for him, taking him on several dates in the guise of item shopping.  Or Tione and Tiona, two sisters that fall for him… well… even I’m not sure why.

This is, like, their first meeting
This is, like, their first meeting

Even the woman who becomes Bell’s romantic objective in life, one of the greatest living adventurers, Aiz, seems to fall for him almost immediately after rescuing him from the dungeon.

Honey, he has a mild case of harem-lead-itis.  It's incurable, so let's hope he can manage its chronic effects.
Honey, he has a mild case of harem-lead-itis. It’s incurable, so let’s hope he can manage its chronic effects.

On top of all that, the other Goddesses become interested in him solely because Hestia is, leading to the feeling that every woman on Earth will chase him at the drop of a hat.

Ladies, ladies, please.  There's enough Bell for all of you.
Ladies, ladies, please. There’s enough Bell for all of you.

As one might imagine from a show like this, fanservice is often present.  Rather than describe it all, have this gallery of examples.

All of that wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t also a strong sense of pandering to a male audience.  Bell is special because he can gain strength so quickly (more on this later), so he’s able to start off weak, get strong quickly to put his detractors in their place, catch the eye of seemingly all the women, and do so while being an earnest nice guy.

Take, for example, one of the silliest and most transparent straw men I’ve ever seen a show set up.  Bell is sitting at the inn, looking over at Aiz, who hasn’t noticed him and hasn’t talked to him since the day she saved him.  She’s at a table with the rest of her adventuring party, which includes some kind of wolf man.  For seemingly no reason, and without even noticing Bell is there, he proceeds to ask her, at length, whether she would ever consider going out with Bell.

Is it wrong dungeon 17 Is it wrong dungeon 18Just look at his stupid face!  All of this just to make Bell feel bad and you the viewer to feel righteous anger on Bell’s behalf.  It’s laughable.  Or take those twins from before.

This may be simultaneously the nerdiest and least likely line in the whole show
This may be simultaneously the nerdiest and least likely line in the whole show

Wow.  Male viewer, don’t you wish you had S-ranked abilities?  The ladies simply cannot resist such a man.

But the worst example is probably Lilliluka, who I (and the show) will gratefully just call “Lilly”.  She is a supporter, a person that assists adventurers for pay, usually by packmuling or with supportive abilities.  Her backstory is one long, tragic disaster that doesn’t so much try to pluck at your heartstrings as slam them with a ham-handed mallet.  Orphaned at an early age…

Is it wrong dungeon 92…then pressed into service by cruel, greedy adventurers…

Is it wrong dungeon 94…she joins Bell because she figures he’s an easy mark and because she now hates adventurers, stealing from and eventually selling him out, only to be beaten some more…

Is it wrong dungeon 103

Seriously, dude, have you looked in a mirror recently?  That looks unhealthy.
Seriously, dude, have you looked in a mirror recently? That looks unhealthy.

…and left for dead.

Is it wrong dungeon 104All this despite pretty much all of the adventurers we’ve seen up until this point being pretty decent people, and having no other mention in the show of supporters being regularly mistreated.  It’s the perfect setup for wonderful, nice, caring Bell to come along, forgive her for leaving him to die horribly…

Is it wrong dungeon 106and to be the first adventurer she’s ever met who will share his dungeoneering earnings with her fairly.

Is it wrong dungeon 66D’aww.  Doesn’t that just warm your heart, male viewer, because you could be a halfway decent human being too, and apparently that’s nothing short of the Second Coming in this universe?  It’s just so… blatant, it’s almost insulting, really.

All right, so that was an awful drubbing I just gave the show.  What could there be that would still allow me to recommend it to you?  There are two things, really – the world, and, surprisingly given everything I’ve just said, the characters.

Let’s start with the world.  It’s a pretty clever and detailed take on what an RPG would look like in “real life”.  To start with, there are the Gods and Goddesses.  These are the various deities of a number of cultures (Greek and Norse mythology feature heavily, with a smattering of Japanese and Indian stuff thrown in) that have come down to Earth to live alongside/help the mortals.  A mortal that wants to become an adventurer joins a deity, becoming part of their “Familia”.  In exchange, the mortal is granted the ability to become much stronger and gain skills, magic, and levels.  This is much more direct than usual – a character’s stats are printed right on their back:

Is it wrong dungeon 125With the proper coaxing from a deity, these can be read…

Is it wrong dungeon 5…and converted to what amounts to a stat sheet on paper.

Is it wrong dungeon 6Even skills and magic are tracked this way.  One key aspect is that, while there are all the stats you’d expect, including MP, there is no HP stat – characters can take exactly as much punishment as they would without being an adventurer, with only their improved stats making them better than a normal human (so no one can just tank hits because they have thousands of hit points).  Many of the other trappings of RPGs are present as well, with inventive twists to make them fit better into this kind of storytelling medium.

Leveling up is not a matter of just improving your skills; it requires a life-changing event, like a boss battle, after a grand adventure.

Is it wrong dungeon 118 Is it wrong dungeon 119The learning of magic is an appropriately byzantine process, involving grimoires and an intense soul-searching.

Parties of adventurers become necessary for survival as one descends into the Dungeon.  The town has a complex economy – one can buy equipment from up-and-coming crafters for cheap, splurge on an item from a big name, or make a contract with a blacksmith so that they will be the sole person creating your equipment.  Magic weapons are powerful, but break after too much use, and there is debate among adventurers as to whether or not they are worth it.

Is it wrong dungeon 141The Dungeon is both terrifying and beautiful in its own way, with varied foes and environments that constantly change.

Is it wrong dungeon 124

I get chills just LOOKING at this place
I get chills just LOOKING at this place

Quests can be issued by deities at the adventurer’s guild if they need help, and the guild provides a service that is like a personal trainer for dungeoneering.

Is it wrong dungeon 49What I’m getting at is that this is a richly imagined world, where many of the common systems found in videogame RPGs are present, but in clever ways that feel natural.  It’s clear that this world was really thought through, and that’s what separates it from just being a harem with fantasy or RPG trappings.  I love the idea of the “Familia” – each one is essentially a guild run by its governing deity, who oversees the growth of his/her adventurers.  They are immortal and their adventurers are not (and death is quite common), but the legend created by each of these Familias is what endures.

The other thing I liked, pandering and fanservice aside, are the characters.  Bell’s eventual adventuring party of Lilly (once we’re past her tragic backstory) and a blacksmith named Welf make a good team together.  Hestia, the Goddess Bell is pledged to, may be a bit silly but clearly cares for him.  Many of the other adventurers met along the way are interesting in their own right, and there’s plenty going on besides Bell’s personal story.

Still, it’s hard not to like Bell in his pursuit of Aiz, his struggle to become stronger, and his relationship with those around him.  It’s refreshing to see a character that really has to work, to train, to get better.

Is it wrong dungeon 19And once he gets there, the simple joy he takes in knowing that he’s finally getting somewhere.

Is it wrong dungeon 7One of my favorite moments is when he finally acquires a magic spell, Firebolt.  Magic has been something he’s always wanted, and he is overjoyed to have it.  Immediately he runs into the dungeon, using his spell for all it’s worth, and it brought a smile to my face to watch him go.

Is it wrong dungeon 86An honest, earnest lead is quite the long-toothed trope in anime, but Bell really sells it in a way that feels unforced, natural.  He’s impossible not to like, and his exploration of and exploits in this carefully crafted RPG world are worth a watch.  Just try to ignore all the fanservice.

Rolling Review – Children of the Whales (03)

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Episode Synopsis:

Soldiers from an external civilization attack the Mud Whale, killing and injuring many with a combination of guns, melee weapons, and thymia.  The citizens of the Whale, wholly unused to violence of any kind, are largely helpless.  Chakuro, in disbelief over Sami’s death, attempts to fight, but is stopped cold by the realization that the soldiers are humans of the same group as Lykos – and by the appearance of a sadistic enemy fighter that revels in the carnage.  Ouni, freed once again from prison, kills all of the attackers he comes across in retribution for two of his friends.  Lykos, apparently sister to the mastermind of the invasion, is left behind as an experiment as the soldiers withdraw. 

A week separates the Mud Whale from the next attack by Skylos, and its inhabitants will need to make some difficult decisions in the coming days…

Episode Review:

This show is coming apart at the seams, and it’s painful to watch.  There’s a lot of individual elements I could cite that are causing it, but at a high level, the show’s greatest flaw is its terrible pacing, both at a story level and at a scene-by-scene level.  At the story level, we have just barely been introduced to a fairly large cast of characters, the somewhat alien world they inhabit, and the complex structure of their society.  It is the third episode, and half those characters are dead, the world has been shown to be full of murderous clowns (literally), and their society has been shattered.

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It is nigh-impossible to take you seriously.

Now, this could all be good stuff (well, maybe not the clowns) if we had any investment in the characters or world of this show.  Instead, I dispassionately watched as the Bozo Brigade slaughtered their way through the village, including at least two named characters.  And I couldn’t have cared less.  Why would the show bother setting up such a complex and interesting world… and then exploring about 5% of it before destroying it?  Whatever the characters or the society does as a response to this attack, it won’t feel like anything important is changing because I have so little idea how things were before.

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Oh, Lady Taisha… I almost cared that you died.

On a scene-by-scene basis, it’s clear that the show’s creators have no idea how to pace… well… anything.  Throughout the episode, we jump back and forth between about 4 different places, but it never seems like anything is happening during the jumps, so everything feels drawn out and painfully slow.

The Jester Guard attack anyone they see on sight… unless some characters need to talk to each other literally in front of them.  Then they’ll sit by while the dialogue plays out, oftentimes visible on screen as they just stand there, waiting to be acknowledged.  Once they are, they’ll trudge a few steps forward before something else interrupts them.

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This kid was slowly running away from that clown guy for, I swear, half the episode.  He’s been standing there while this tearful scene goes on for nearly a minute.

Yet when it’s time for the main character to fight, his target is suddenly tearing across the fields, wielding weapons with speed and finesse. Other Mime Force members stand around awkwardly, vaguely menacing some kids as they advance on them, slowly, over the course of about 10 minutes, before finally throwing a spear to kill one of them.  Then they stand by while the kids agonize over the death.

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About 5 Farce Battalion guys are just off to the left, waiting for Ouni to finally decide to kill them with that spear after he delivers his monologue

Ouni is somehow instantly a skilled and deadly warrior, taking out several of the supposedly trained enemy the moment he gets serious – despite never having known conflict before.  And it’s not just action scenes.  Characters quietly talk, no hurry apparent, while gunshots ring out in the distance.  Lykos charges into battle, but by the time we cut back, she’s talking to the invasion’s leaders like they’re old acquaintances, with no establishment of how we got here.  Soldiers are standing around documenting the battle with pen and paper while 50 feet away there are pitched street battles and mass executions.

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Come for the fighting.  Stay for the bureaucracy.  The Prankster Platoon – now recruiting!

It also doesn’t help that the quality of animation is starting to fall apart.  Backgrounds and static character shots still look really good.  But Lord help you when the animators try something that requires fluid action or, even worse, perspective.

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What is… how?

The weaponry on display by the enemy army also fails to impress.

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It looks like someone quickly copy-pasted those float-a-boat crafts in front of that gorgeous background painting

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These things look so thrown-together that you’d think someone would have been like “You know, I think we can get the idea of the invasion across without the siege weapons.”  And they’re not even the worst!

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Ep 3 -_2017-10-25-18h13m18s246.png
This guy.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Ep 3 -_2017-10-25-18h13m34s296.png
This guy is the worst.

Seriously, if I’d wanted to watch a show with stupid clown villains, I’d go watch Grenadier again.  Also, it’s a minor thing, but if you’re going to dress your clown warriors with cat ear hats that have impossibly dumb bells hanging from them, the least – the LEAST – you could do is actually have those bells make noise when they move.  Then there’s my least favorite new element introduced in this episode, and you know it’s going to be a doozy after the rest of this nonsense.

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Ep 3 -_2017-10-25-18h11m18s632.png

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Ep 3 -_2017-10-25-18h10m38s052.png

As you can probably guess, this is the cliché enemy who just loves causing pain, torturing innocents, and laughing as people cry in front of him.  He’s taken a special “liking” to the main character, and the thought of how long it’s going to be before Chakuro fights and defeats this guy, during which time we will be subjected to endless gloating, is exhausting.  His wholly unnecessary existence is going to be a drag on the entire show, I can feel it in my bones.

So! I know what you’re asking – it’s only three episodes in.  Can the show be salvaged?  Is it worth watching at all?

……

………

Maaaaaaybe.  Maybe.  The show, for all the faults listed above, does still summon up some pretty stunning scenes, at least visually.

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau Ep 3 -_2017-10-25-18h18m57s986.png

I still have some curiosity to learn about this world, even if what I really want – a lot more slice-of-life episodes on the Mud Whale – is no longer possible.  If the show slows down, a lot, between now and the next attack, there’s a chance they can pull off something interesting.  Watching how the society adapts to its new reality, watching the various characters come to grips with the need to defend themselves, watching what happens when the village elders (who basically knew this could happen and never told anyone) try to continue leading and guys like Ouni or even Chakuro challenge them – that could make for some interesting episodes.  Here’s hoping they can pull it off.


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Rolling Review – Made in Abyss (12)

 

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00016.jpg

Episode Summary:

Riko spends another episode unconscious and recovering, making this a dialog-heavy episode primarily between Nanachi and Reg.  Oddly, we also spend a while back on the surface, as Leader tends to one of his small charges as they fight off a fever.  The episode ends with a fast-paced action sequence in which Reg saves a Black Whistle from the orbed-piercer, and gives him a message to deliver back to Leader that they’re still alive and pushing onward.

Episode Review:

Sometimes I’m not really sure where this show is going, and the beginning of this episode is a prime example.  Back on the surface, Kiyui is fighting a deadly fever.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00001.jpg
This little guy

We spend the first few minutes watching Leader talk to a pharmacist from a trading fleet as they try to save him.  Leader goes quite in depth describing the “Birthday-Death Disease”, an increasingly prevalent illness that exclusively kills orphan children on their birthday.  As soon as Kiyui is brought to the trading fleet’s ship, he recovers almost immediately, leading to the unspoken conclusion that something about being near the Abyss is causing it.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00004.jpg

And then we cut away back to Reg, Riko, and Nanase without further explanation.  Now, I appreciate worldbuilding as much as (and to be fair, probably more than) the next guy, but it’s hard for me to understand why we had this sequence.  Unless Riko is going to mysteriously die on her birthday while deep in the Abyss (as opposed to dying from the multitude of horrors down there or from the random “maybe you’ll suddenly stop” effects of the Curse-Repelling Vessel), I can’t see what we gain from this other than a needless confirmation that humanity isn’t really welcome near the Abyss, and that life is especially unfair for people in this show.  Oh well, at least there was a shot of a really cool ship.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00007.jpg
Nice boat

Seriously, that thing wouldn’t look out of place in a Miyazaki film.  Moving along, we’re treated to an explanation by Professor Nanachi as to how the Curse functions on a mechanical level.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00025.jpg
…Why do you have so many pre-prepared, handmade bulletin board thingies?  Those can’t be easy to make.

Simple and effective, Professor!  The Curse is like an ever-increasing set of pieces of cloth that let you through easy but hurt when you push through them on the way up.  It’s apparently caused by the same force field that allows light to make it all the way from the surface to down here, and as with so many things in the Abyss, WHY WOULD YOU MAKE THAT?!?  Why.

We’re also treated to a few light moments when Nanachi makes her patent-pending Netherworld Stew.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00014.jpg
Does everyone have a trademark stew in this show?  Reg, you gotta get started on yours!

Described as both looking like and having the texture of mud, it’s nutritious, filling, and almost completely unpalatable to poor Reg, who shoots a look at Nanachi that’s equal parts accusation and pity.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00015.jpg

It’s one of those moments when you chuckle, but it’s tempered by the crushing knowledge that once Riko awakens, she and Reg will leave this oasis of safety and continue on to places of almost impossible danger.  So, good job making these scenes of levity feel precious, show.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00029.jpg

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Thanks, Nanachi, you really know how to – did you say “predict the future”?  Oh come on!

The show makes sure to maintain a sense of “everything is wrong just below the surface” with a shot of (what I assume is) Riko’s unconscious mind that is… quite unsettling.

Made in Abyss Ep 12 -_00032.jpg

Yeesh, I don’t even know what I’m looking at and I’m unhappy.  They’re a talented bunch, the guys making this show.

The relatively easy-going episode ends with a shocking request from Nanachi to Reg, and a tiny flashback of Nanachi’s past that serves as a warning of what might lie ahead, clearing the way for a final episode that’s all downhill, both literally and figuratively.


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Rolling Review – Made in Abyss (09)

Made in Abyss Ep 9 -_00043.jpg

Episode Summary:

Riko and Reg leave Ozen and company behind and descend through the Third Layer of the Abyss.  The center of the shaft is smooth and impossible to climb down with Reg’s arms, so the pair finds their way down by using animal dens.  In one of these dens, a powerful creature attacks them, and Reg is forced to use his Incinerator to kill it.  This leaves Riko alone in the Abyss for two hours while he’s unconscious.  She immediately gets herself into trouble, but perseveres through it, finally coming to the realization that she couldn’t have made it without Reg (who finally awakens as the episode closes).  It’s a lesson that will surely be reinforced frequently as they approach the Fourth Layer.

 

Episode Review:

The show makes a hard shift away from the compressed time on display in the previous episodes, putting every minute of Riko’s fight to survive the Third Layer without her protector into clear focus.

Made in Abyss Ep 9 -_00002.jpg

I must say I prefer it this way, as the exploration from the characters’ point of view is much more interesting than having a summary of what happened, as we did with Ozen’s survival training.  There’s plenty to take in, from the strange ecosystem of the Abyss…

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Stone-cold Riko prepares to throw live critters off a cliff to distract local monsters

…to the ruins of the civilization that lived here…

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A boat embedded in the wall?  That must make for quite the story.

…to the unique structure of the caves here.

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Of course, while I’m enjoying the scenery, Riko and Reg don’t have that luxury.  Riko’s impetuous exploration quickly places her in mortal danger.

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As with the hippo from last episode, Riko stands stupefied in front of her impending doom, with only Reg’s quick intercession keeping her alive.

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Well, both his quick intercession and his LASER HANDS, that is

This attracts the attention of an even larger monster that the pair are barely able to evade before Reg falls asleep, giving Riko a warning not to move until he awakens.  Riko, finally aware of how tenuously she clings to life down here, sits down to wait and – oh, who am I kidding.  She immediately, like within 5 seconds, realizes she’s hungry and decides to go find food, dragging Reg along with her.  She doesn’t seem to have a single self-preservation instinct in her body, a point made crystal clear when she follows the scent of fruit deep underground (red flag!) to find it emanating from a glowing (double reg flag!) hole in the ground (klaxons to full power! Sound the alarm!).  Instead of wondering, she steps right up to it and is eaten by a large plant filled with digestive juices.

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To her credit, she quickly realizes the position she’s in and begins stabbing her way to freedom.

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She gets points for determination and quick thinking, but if this had been anything but a stationary monster with a slow death by disintegration, that probably would be the end of the show right there.  I don’t know what it’s going to take for Riko to start assessing her surroundings before charging ahead, but she really needs to learn that lesson soon.

The rest of the episode sees her confront an upward slope, which under normal circumstances would be a minor inconvenience, but here in the Abyss is a nigh Sisyphean climb.

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On that terrible incline, she confronts auditory and visual hallucinations caused by the curse and comes to the realization that she couldn’t make it without Reg.  As Reg finally awakens and the two stand at the entrance to the fourth layer, I hope she takes that lesson to heart, because things aren’t getting any easier.


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