「アビスの淵」 (Abisu no Fuchi)
“The Edge of the Abyss”
Indeed, we can always rely on Reg to… lend us a hand.
I apologise for nothing.
Curiously enough, even though I was talking about how the journey has started with Episode 03 last week, but the full truth of it doesn’t really hit home until the end of this one. It’s not that the adventure hasn’t begun, per se—Riko and Reg are already camping out, eating weird, and fighting for their lives, and it’s a great introduction to the routine of these cave raiders. But it does not fully represent the true nature of their expedition. The two aren’t just here to see the sights and have a picnic. They’re off to the bottom of the Abyss, and there’s no guarantee they can come back. In the first stratum, they’re still within reach of the surface. The adults will look for them. They can still turn around. It’s when they hit the second that they reach the point of no return.
So as e,otional as the farewells were last week, they were not complete. We saw it all from the perspective of the children who sneak away. Now we get to see it from the perspective of the adults who let them go. If you recall, I talked about how part of me was hoping that Leader would have stopped Riko and Reg before they ran off, because that’s what adults are supposed to do: keep children out of danger. So when they don’t do that—even as all parties recognise that the Abyss is nothing if not dangerous—it requires explanation, and I’m glad that Made in Abyss does not skimp in these world-building details. Hence the very angular yet very stylish Hablog, who quickly assumes the role of Riko’s father figure. His farewell, as a representative of the adults, weren’t quite so emotional, because his relationship is not quite as fleshed as the one between the children, but it’s clear that he cares for the kids. So he’s not letting Riko and Reg go out of negligence, but out of a cultural reverence for the Abyss and its relics. The Abyss giveth, and the Abyss taketh away. It’s an important perspective for us to have, and helps us interpret what we know of this world. They’re not sending orphans into the Abyss as a sign of abuse, but because the Abyss is such an integral part of their lives. And they’re not choosing to abandon the red whistles who wander into the second stratum as a sign of neglect, but necessity. It’s not that nobody will help them. It’s that nobody can help them. The pain of the parting is two-way. For those that journey downwards, they leave all on the surface behind. And for those on the surface, their loved ones who take the dive go out of reach. Even if they wanted to, there is no aid to give.
I can see this journey into the Abyss being more oppressive as we go, not just from the beasties, and the disease, and the restless nights, but just from being deep beneath the earth and alone. It’s already been telegraphed that not everything is going to go well—7 minutes in and they’ve already lost their fancy compass. Not an auspicious start, to be sure.
Full-length images: 04.