「願いの形」 (Negai no Katach)
“The Form the Wish Takes”
How much pain are you willing to endure, until finally, you give up? A cautionary tale of sorts is foretold in this episode. Curiosity killed the cat and all that. Another brutal episode for S2 of MiA closing the arc of the first explorers and finally revealing everything in grand detail, from the small foreshadowing of Reg’s story, as he once saw Faputa in the distant past, and they both made a promise to each other, what exactly did it entail, is not entirely clear, but in the process, it made Faputa rip off one of her limbs and hand it down to Reg, they need it for what’s to come. A quick recap and the episode starts proper. Wasting no time as we dive into the finale of this hellish nightmare arc.
To me the most interesting key element of this story is two-fold, first is Vueko’s psyche, there really was nothing she could do about Faputa birthing tiny creatures and having them die a day later, except nurture that love, call them her children and teach her how to care for them as she once cared for Irumyuui, she has little choice but to tend to her as a grandmother. After all, it was her that wished for Irumyuui to get better and imparted the Cradle of Desire, or how I came to know of it as the Cradle of Greed. avarice for desire, greed for indulgence.
Second is Wazukyan and how seemingly he is working on autopilot, detached from his own reality so that he can actually process what he’s doing the horrendous acts and atrocities of sins he needs to commit in order to continue living during this nightmare, how he seemingly brushes aside death and primordial conversion like it’s nothing. He’s not all there so to speak.
In my mind, Faputa and Irumyuui are two separate entities, Faputa being born of the suffering Irumyuui had to endure and go through in order to have her wish fulfilled. There’s a certain prime-evil feeling to MiA. The loss of humanity and the effects of the curse turn those who seek its depth into primordial creatures, that might have once existed in a faraway past, or future for that matter. Becoming alien to us, as they are no longer part of our humanity. Their minds are no longer there as well, they become animals and run on instinct. Some of the hollows suffer that fate, especially those that go to upper levels in a quick manner. Others are much luckier. Nanachi for example, and the villagers, still are conscious. However someone like Maa, for example, isn’t so lucky.
I had a conversation with some friends recently, they told me a story about a family dog they had, the sweetest dog you’ve ever met, and they also had a female kitty, who got pregnant and had her kindle of kittens. In one moment to another, they found one of the kittens dead on the floor, guts splayed out of its body, completely lifeless. The dog had grabbed one from the kindle and played with it like it was some type of plush. My friend quickly moved the mother and the kindle to a safer place where the dog couldn’t reach them. However doesn’t that remind you of anything from the show?
The first seeps of darkness S2 had to offer, why did Maa treat Meinya in such a harsh manner, well the answer to that question is probably that, in Maa’s brain he thought it was some type of toy, not a living creature. And thus innocently played with it. Neherete’s run on instinct. And the way they view the world is probably more akin to that of an animal. Some of them anyway.
Another example of this would be Belaf, his transformation came because he couldn’t deal anymore with the way he was viewing the world, his lack of empathy for Irumyuui got to him, and he was unable to deal with it, and in the process, madness swept at him. He couldn’t take it anymore and asked for forgiveness in death. Being the first one to be transformed into the serpent-like hollow. His true form, the way he saw himself all along, a mediatory between that of good and evil, his self-aggrandizing speech (back in EP 01) follows his own morality, but is it really? Serpents have long represented duality, the middle ground between light and dark. Funny enough snakes also represent fertility in some cultures (of nature but nonetheless).
Vueko asks for forgiveness by literally throwing herself off a cliff, meanwhile, was Wazukyan really there? Was he just acting on automatic in order to save the people he brought down to this hellscape? And seeing Vueko act ‘out of character’ snaps him back to reality. Is that his way of asking for forgiveness? Wazukyan really made me think, his eyes are glossed over. Here’s the thing – usually ours are covered by our upper eyelids or a combination of the two, however, Wazukyan has none of those, his eyes are there but standing in between the two. Very few instances do they draw him like how you would draw a normal character. There’s a Japanese/Chinese myth that says, if the sclera shows underneath (Vueko) it means you are a good person and the world is out to get you, but if the sclera is visible above then it means you are out to get the world. Have you heard of that myth?
Then when Wazukyan finally regains his you could say ‘normal’ expression, when he reaches out to Vueko, when she’s finally falling and he catches her, he finally smiles. This is when he finally snaps and returns to reality – so to speak. Has he been so out of it that he doesn’t register reality anymore? He did eat mantis after all on the boat. (in the manga he eats cockroaches (ew!))
In a sense, everyone got their wish fulfilled because after all, it was Irumyuui’s children who saved them. And got them out of the sick state they were in. However, even though Vueko also entered the village and was imprisoned inside of Irumyuui, she didn’t transform and kept her original form, I still wonder why that is.
Thankfully things are about to calm down a little bit as they are about to get more action-oriented as the finale of S2 of MiA creeps closer! Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
Well, as usual lately with this show I needed a bit of reflection before I could jump right into writing. There are certain anime where the experience is so singular, one can’t in good faith measure it against any other series. The things that bother me about Made in Abyss are not trivial, but when one takes a step back and considers that only MiA could evoke that in me, it’s more a token of respect than criticism. If it were less profound than it is, it could never unsettle the way it does.
That said, my reservations are no less real. I have reservations about this whole arc (and thus, season) to be honest. I don’t know where Tsukushi is going with this, and if pushed I might say the whole thing feels rather misguided. But then, fairness dictates that I reserve judgment on that until the resolution. How can I decide whether it’s misguided until I see what the point of it all was? As brutal and terrible as the Bondrewd arc is, it felt essential and organic to the larger story in a way Retsujutsu no Ougankyou doesn’t – yet. But the “yet” part is the key to that sentence.
The way I see it, there are two minefields that Made in Abyss eternally has to navigate. The first is fetishism, which tends to become a bigger issue with the intensity of plot slows down. That hasn’t been much of a factor for a few episodes, not surprisingly as the plot has been in high gear. The second is torture porn – which is a type of fetishism I suppose, but where this series is concerned rather in its own category. Prushka’s story flirted with descending into it constantly, but for me managed to avoid it because of how interwoven with the larger plot it was. Right now, this season has yet to achieve that balance.
It seems as if Wazukyan – and where Tsukushi is going with the character – is the key to everything. What does he represent? Even Bondrewd had nuance enough for some to argue against his evilness, but compared to Wazukyan he was pretty cut and dry. What Wazukyan is doing here – effectively cooking and eating Irumyuui’s children alive – is horrific. Not only that, he’s used the Cradles of Desire to manipulate her into the position of being a factory for sustaining his flock. But whereas Bondrewd did what he did effectively out of greed – intellectual greed if nothing else – Wazukyan can be argued to have done it to save his party from certain death.
I think Wazukyan represents in the end the prophet, the true believer. Unlike most prophets he actually is what he claims to be – he sees things others cannot, and is guided by what he sees. And he clearly believes that any action is justified if it enables his visions to come to life. So for him to force feed two Cradles to Irumyuui knowing (or at least suspecting) what they would do to her was fine – his flock would die in this place otherwise. While Vueko and Belaf checked out and preferred to die – or lose themselves – rather than pursue this course, Wazukyan was unwavering. And it’s clear from his interactions with Vueko that he had no reservations about anything he’d done.
The upshot of all this, then, is that Irumyuui herself is the village. In a perverse and warped expression of her wish to be a mother, she becomes a literal sanctuary for the entire group (and presumably others eventually, as delvers descend into the area). The price the others must pay is to surrender their bodies to her and become hollows, never able to leave her again. Unable to follow this path Vueko becomes a part of her in another way, linked with her now inhuman mind, and providing solace to the souls of her lost children. All but one of them, that is.
This is where Faputa enters the picture – the last and most perfect of Irumyuui’s offspring. She takes the Cradles with her when she leaves, effectively banished, but Irumyuui is somehow sustained by the presence of the hollows inside her. One can only imagine the hatred Faputa was literally born with, presumably most of all for Wazukyan. In the present she speaks to Reg of the promise he made to her, which of course he cannot remember. One can guess that it involves his doing what she cannot to destroy the village, which the Reg we know today would be horrified at being asked to do. But Reg is becoming expert at being asked to do that which horrifies him, and it seems as if what happened with Nanachi and Mitty was history repeating itself.
The question the final four episodes of the season will hopefully answer is what Tsukushi’s point for all this has been. What message is he trying to send through this scenario, through Wazukyan – and how will what happens in Iruburu connect to the story as it moves forward? Season Two of Made in Abyss is certainly no less brilliant than the first (or the film), but my assessment of it is more dependent on its ending than the first season was. I expect a journey with these characters to be as full of pain as it is of wonder, but at the end of it, I need to be able to understand what all that pain was for.
I find it troubling that Irumyuui is being punished for her desire as if it were a bad thing. It would be one thing if Irumyuui was so consumed by her desire that she began taking advantage of others. Desiring parenthood is not a bad thing, so why should she be punished for it?
I think it relates to longing for something you can’t have, symbolizing how you can want something so badly, it rips apart your very being, destroying all logic. But again, this doesn’t fit Irumyuui- she wasn’t a warped person, she was a kid who wanted to have children-a desire that a lot of kids have. Unfortunately, this wasn’t possible for her- but it’s not as if she acted out on it, prior to getting the egg. I suppose the egg itself is the corruption, twisting innocent desires into nightmares.
It was hard to watch Wazukyan rip the babies away from a crying Irumyuui, then proceed to chop them up-alive. Belaf and Vueko are both horrified, feeling responsible for allowing Wazukyan to do what he did. Both are guilt-ridden at not being able to resist temptation. For Belaf, it was making the stew and keeping the village (and prophecy) alive. For Vueko it was not taking a side- unable to stand up to the villagers nor able to end Irumyuui’s suffering. Both want to end their lives because they have difficulty confronting their sins. Vueko is honest with herself that it’s for selfish reasons, whereas Belaf tries to assuage his guilt by convincing himself that it’s for Irumyuui.
When Vueko contemplated killing Irumyuui, a thought-provoking point was made about whether putting someone out of their misery is a form of selfishness. Another person may not comprehend another’s hell, especially if it is a hell of that person’s own choosing. To take them from it would be imposing on them. However, I’d have to disagree- in the case of abuse, the person should be removed to safety. In the world of MiA, of course, there is no safe option out-any way you look at it, you’d end up dead-killed by angry villagers, crazy beasts, or your own desires.
Wazukyan is cool as a cucumber-is it that he has no conscience or is he putting on a brave face for the others? Yet, he is just as desperate as the rest- even using an egg on himself. Though he never says what his wish was, I’m assuming it had something to do with survival.
Apparently, Vueko’s cave was Irumyuui’s head. It now makes sense why the villagers feel ill in the “cave”- no doubt it is Irumyuui’s intense rage. Irumyuui wished to be a mother. By feeding the villagers and cradling them in her protective barrier, she becomes everyone’s mother. Of course, that’s not something she’ll ever know-it’s not like you could tell her they are eating her children. I guess this would make Vueko the village’s grandmother due to how she nurtured Irumyuui and the souls of her dead children. I imagine things are going to get worse for the village now that Vueko has been removed from Irumyuui.
Things are starting to come full circle. If Faputa, having inherited her mother’s grudges, desires to destroy the village, then it’s obvious what her promise with Reg was. It is one heck of a promise that Faputa is willing to rip her own ear off to give to Reg in exchange for fulfillment.
I feel sickened at how Irumyuui was taken advantage of. When Wazukyan realized they could live off her young, he farms her offspring and implants a second egg to make sure she keeps going. Then, the villagers make themselves a part of her, transforming into creatures. That effectively ties her to them, rooting her to the village (not that she had anywhere else to go). They used her, yet she must still sustain them. They effectively gave up their humanity the moment they took advantage of Irumyuui, living off her young. Yet, what other choice did they have? They either die from the water or live off of Irumyuui-a gruesome option typical of MiA where there is no happy alternative.
Full-length images: 39.