Made in Abyss and the desire to explore the unknown

It’s been a long time since an Anime series connected with me on an extremely personal level. Sure, in the last year I’ve given incredibly high ratings to various shows, and I even found a new perfect 10 in the form of the second season of High School DxD.

But those shows were rated as such because I found them very entertaining and, for the lack of a better term, “good”. They didn’t really connect with me in a personal way like many of my long lasting favourites have done in the past.

And then I watched a little show called Made in Abyss.

I’d heard that this show was amazing from a lot of people who’s opinions I trust and just about everyone I spoke to about it assured me that it was most definitely my kind of show. “It gets dark later on”, “a lot of messed up things happen in this series” and “the plot twists are incredible” are just a few of many things that had me incredibly hyped to get around to watching the show.

I actually watched the first episode of Made in Abyss back when the series originally started airing and I wasn’t really sold on it as much as I’d hoped, given the hype that was surrounding it at the time. I even wrote about it on this blog. Back then, I praised the shows sense of adventure, its incredibly detailed world building and its gorgeous visuals and animation, but I was also of the opinion that the show hadn’t done anything particularly interesting or outstanding.

But after rewatching that premiere and actually finishing the show, I regret having written any of the negative things I said in that post, because it turns out that Made in Abyss’ sense of adventure is really all it needed to successfully captivate me as a viewer and sell its story to me.

I like “dark” stuff. Most of you probably already know this by now. I like it when messed up things happen to good characters and I enjoy watching said characters overcome terrible situations and heartbreaking misfortunes because I find it’s a very satisfying and fascinating way of telling a story. I feel that too many shows play it “safe” nowadays and don’t go “all the way” when it comes to embracing the darker side of storytelling and human nature, and when a show doesn’t do that, I get really excited because that’s just how my taste is.

Why am I even saying this at all? Because based on everything I’d been told I expected that the dark stuff that happens in the later parts of Made in Abyss to be the stuff that I’d enjoy the most and that they’d be the reason why I’d end up giving it a high score in the end. Yet, while I most definitely loved all of that stuff and found that yes, it did service the narrative positively, it wasn’t the primary reason for my enjoyment.

I still loved all of it though

The show’s sense of adventure and the character’s desire to explore the unknown and discover new things about the world and themselves actually ended up being what I enjoyed the most. Because it connected to me on a very personal level to the point that I was emotionally moved to tears by the time they decided to set off on their journey down into the Abyss.

In case you’re new to my blog, or ended up missing it some how, I recently quit my full-time job to travel around the world with my wife out of a desire to see what the world has to offer us, to explore the unknown and to find ourselves and our place in the world. And I watched the majority of Made in Abyss while on this wild adventure, which made its focus on the child-like wonder of exploring a new and incredible place connect with me on a level I never even considered possible.

I watched this show while relaxing in the rural city of Chiang Mai. I watched this show after winding down from a long day of my own, real world adventure. I even watched this show while sleeping in a cramped bunk during an overnight train journey while everyone else, my wife included, was fast asleep. And that alone made the series such a joy to watch and so much more relatable to me than it would have been if I’d just watched it from the comfort of my bedroom.

I saw much of myself reflected in Reg, a confused and somewhat unsure, wandering soul who will do everything he can to protect and aid his companion and best friend Riko. I saw my wife reflected in Riko, a sweet, charming and determined young woman with a can-do attitude, a positive mindset and an adventurous, impulsive spirit that drives her desire to explore the world before her. And I saw our adventure in these foreign lands, away from our comfortable home life, in Reg and Riko’s adventures in the beautiful, wonderful but also scary and sometimes terrifying Abyss.

Made in Abyss is one of the greatest Anime I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Not just because it’s an incredibly well written and emotional story. Not just because it’s setting is incredibly well crafted and deeply explored. Not just because every single frame is breathtaking in its visual presentation and the music is god-tier. But because it represents everything that makes up my current lifestyle and relates to me in a way that I never even thought was possible.

I’m grateful that this show exists and I’m even more grateful that it connected with me on such a personal level because I’ve missed this feeling. So damn much.

And yes. You should watch it.

What were your thoughts on Made in Abyss? Did you the show connect with you in a personal way? Let me know!

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‘Til next time!

13 thoughts on “Made in Abyss and the desire to explore the unknown

  1. Dang Leth, you’ve left me speechless here. How am I supposed to respond to such a sincere and brilliant post? Your love for Made in Abyss and your travels really shows through here.

    Good job, can’t wait to see what you and your travels sees next.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that my love for both of those things showed as much as I intended them to! This post really was one from the heart.

      I look forward to eventually sharing more about my travels with all of you! The travel blog project is coming soon!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was one I didn’t get quite as into as a lot of people, but not because of what the show does wrong, but because it just hasn’t finished yet. It is the opening to a novel where the rest wasn’t written and there’s nothing worse than reading a good book and having someone snatch the second half out of your hands. Hopefully the second season brings this story to some kind of conclusion or at least points us in the direction of a conclusion. Because if this story maintains the quality of this first part, once it has an ending it will be one of those anime I’d rewatch again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely see where you’re coming from with those thoughts, and honestly that’s likely the reason it didn’t get a perfect score from me.

      As far as I know the Manga is nearly finished, so hopefully by the time the second season rolls around it will have wrapped up by then so we can get a full adaptation.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard good things about that series and heard about how dark it could be. I might consider watching that anime, but I hope the hype is real and not just a bunch of heaped on praise with no base to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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