The name suggests something deep, bottomless. However…
There are lolis.
They are indeed cute.
Surrounding them is extraordinary scenery.
You can often ask anyone what Made In Abyss is really about. What you will get is a concerning variety of answers depending on the person you ask.
Though, I am almost certain that no matter what answer you get in return, given that you are not being trolled; it is correct.
The one hour special finale has me reminiscent about all of the past experience entailing Riko’s and Reg’s journey.
With Nanachi’s back story added, it becomes extremely hard for me to not include the one aspect Made In Abyss never intends to hide from us from the beginning.
For me at least, Made In Abyss has always struck the right notes when it comes to bidding farewells.
For a fantasy show, Made In Abyss manages to bring out some realism in saying goodbyes, not really your typical “see you later”.
You will wish that parting ways with your friends for the day can be as emotionally conveying as this; you wish that they would know without having to say anything painfully obvious. The fantasy-reality mixture of all farewell events combined, ranged from Lyza’s casual boast to Nanachi’s eternal wish of meeting Mitty someday, makes me wonder if my graduation could have been in a way like those instead of just grabbing a piece of paper, shaking hands and walking away. They make me wonder if leaving to another country would have the people I hold dear present, giving me their best regards with some positively unexpected motives. They make me wonder if this is what zealous soldiers have gone through when that time came.
These remain fantasized as we humans still allow the feeling of guilt run through our conscious selves every time we attempt to bid farewells. There are definite words to them; there are defining ways to do just so in every language. But hardly ever do we give the terms their proper use.
Variations of “see you (later)” are commonly used today as a surefire way of departure without accidentally letting down others. Some will even go the roundabout way of creating a short-lived future with a simple “until we meet again.”
While it is true that the opportunity seldom comes, there are certainly right moments to the use of “goodbye” or “farewell”.
Which brings me into Made In Abyss, where not a single departure was with a “goodbye” when all of them should have very well been.
Warning: Spoilers up to the finale!
“Damn it. Even though I’ve always been thinking all this time.”
For obvious reasons, bidding farewell to Kiyui has to be done in secrecy. What we get is exactly that. Quick and casual but still full of wonders as Kiyui will eventually grow up to realize that the last time he sees Reg can probably result in being tied to a legend.
Nat’s very own narration perfectly encapsulates how it feels to chicken out in fear, all the more reason to treat this instance of farewell as a one way trip with no return, at least from Nat’s point of view. Shiki on the other hand fully understands the risks Riko and Reg are going to encounter. He proceeds to wish them the best of luck instead of outright saying goodbye based on his knowledge of what goes in and out of the abyss.
Right here we should be able to see how guilt pretty much runs through Shiki as he toughens up to not give them false hope, only to completely switch his face into something no different to Nat’s as soon as he’s no longer in the duo’s sights. Nat on the other hand has been honest right from the moment he chickens out, passes the ‘job’ of Riko’s caretaker onto Reg as if he is her guardian… haha.
Riko and Reg, never believing in not returning in the first place, advance with いてきます / Itekimasu.
With various reasons as to why he comes to surprise the duo, Hablog shares a part where he has knowledge (and furthermore, real experience) of what goes in and out of the abyss with Shiki. He also knows the danger lying ahead as feared by Nat. Unlike the two, Hablog seems to be more accustomed to relics and recognizes Reg as the real deal. He is also a long way past his fear phase which leaves him to confidently place Riko’s caretaker job onto Reg. That’s two people now.
Once again, the duo depart with “We’re leaving now” while he replies with “off you go”. The casual feel within this instance of bidding farewell is immediately, roughly explained by Hablog’s suspicion.
Had he really knew that the day would come, he wouldn’t have had to go through an emotional departure. But because he did not really know for sure, he is now having a moment of ‘I wish I’d done that instead’.
Despite being able to cope with the aid of experience and self control, the duo’s departure happens too soon for him.
“If you come back and say, ‘It’s impossible, after all.’–it’d be so nice…“
I will admit that the duo’s farewell to Marulk is without a doubt the hardest one my heart has taken.
As the sentry of Seeker Camp, Marulk has experienced countless instances of people that come and go. Realism strikes again as this is obviously something experienced by all kinds of teachers; they remain in their place but students come and go. All of the precious bonds teachers formed with their students become weak right from the moment they part ways, rinse and repeat. Speed up the cycle and that is basically Marulk–he really does not have all the time to make friends. The people that visit Seeker Camp are on average way above his age anyway.
The duo’s appearance changes that for good. Marulk becomes keen on helping them feel ‘at home’ with the intention of not wanting them to leave early.
However, Riko’s determination pushes her to advance the progress with Reg, leaving Marulk to face harsh and hurtful rejection. Despite the time in which the bonds have formed is short, meeting the duo is undoubtedly the best experience ever for Marulk.
The more precious they are, the harder bidding farewell to them becomes.
At the same time Ozen gets the double departure treatment, one from the past and one from the present–like mother like daughter. She most definitely has been waiting for this very moment, the time when she would see Riko take off. And by witnessing just that, Ozen’s (irredeemable) memories of Lyza living true to her words has never make her feel more hysterical than right then.
One where true physical loss is experienced. Logic surrounding this departure can be painful to some individuals as we continue to wonder what would become of immortality. Some of us at some point wished it would be possible. Made In Abyss, with fantasy as its forte, explores possible conflicts of immortality and some ways it can affect those around any person withholding such miracle. In this case, it is a curse.
We humans still long for more life; we want to live longer for whatever purposes we see fit. Going past a hundred is truly grand, but hardly anyone really takes into account of what if humans can actually live forever, let alone any possible side effects such as loneliness.
Back to the show, Mitty is basically without humanity and sanity; she’s now a Hollow with the curse of immortality. This leaves Nanachi as the sole decision maker when it comes to Mitty’s existence.
Just think about how some of the terminally ill patients feel.
Except that Mitty cannot transfer her words, let alone her feelings to anybody. She is considered terminally ill by human standards and will most definitely be left to be all alone shall Nanachi meet an unsightly future–a dead end. Therefore it is only natural for Nanachi to put an end to her.
Made In Abyss also considers the fantasy of a real world medical practice banned in large amount of countries. When a grand opportunity that is Reg shows up, Nanachi takes this as a chance for a forced but absolutely necessary farewell to Mitty. It is what we in the real world consider equivalent to euthanasia.
Mitty may be gone but it is never the time for Nanachi to say goodbye as she believes they are truly bound by the abyss, dead or alive.
Made In Abyss showcases many scenarios where bidding farewell can potentially become the most emotionally challenging act in a departure. While it can be as easy as “I’m off” for the leavers, never can it be a simple “laters” for the ones staying when each and everyone of us have different kinds of personal experience and are facing unique situations.
Saying “goodbye” is truly difficult. Even when fantasized, there is hardly the right time for anyone to scream it loud without having to go through a second thought later.
When opportunity arrives however, promise me or anybody you hold dear that you will say it with all you’ve got!