Warning: This review may contain some spoilers

In This Episode

Riko had finally found the secret Ozen was hiding, the Curse-Warding Box. It was no grand secret of the Abyss; it was personal. Riko was actually already dead and was only able to be revived by the powers of the Box. Due to that, Riko’s lifespan was shorter than normal human beings. Ozen’s terror continued as she tried to attack Reg, leaving the confused Riko alone.

Hiding Behind Cliché

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

This is where we see the payoffs for the many cliffhangers in episode six. The result is a clichéd prelude to the equally clichéd training montage. But just being clichéd does not make episode seven bad. In fact, I think using the clichés is a quite nice decision because it puts Abyss back on its track: a simple story of a hero’s journey. It is a nice episode, even if it still does not live up to its well-done early episodes. However, there is a faint gem hidden if one could see beyond all the cliches. Let me delve deeper.

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

It is good to finally see Abyss return to being a simple story, plot-wise. This episode, unlike the one before it, focuses on one thing only: Ozen. Through a pattern we seem too familiar with, we can immediately know that Ozen is not the creepy, evil person she’s portrayed to be. She is (well, to be) a mentor for Reg and Riko. Indeed this is the harsh-mentor trope (or call it something else, if you will) who gives a hellish training montage, much like Garp from One Piece or Master Korin from Dragon Ball. One might even think that Ozen’s portrayal is a bit exaggerated here. I mean, as creepy as her smile could become, as horrid as her face could become, Ozen would never fatally harm Riko. After all, we’ve known that she is somewhat close to Lyza. However, behind that cliché, we can see a faint gem that saves this otherwise so-so episode.

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

It is not whether the story is cliché or not, but how that cliché is used to enrich the story. And in this hero’s journey story, the training arc is the emotional turning point. Indeed, just like any other mentor trope, Ozen’s role is to point out (rather harshly) Riko and Reg’s weaknesses. In that regard, her cold, rather cruel personality fits Riko and Reg’s naïvety and amateurishness. Revealing what happens to Riko’s body, Ozen tells Riko that she could not traverse the Abyss as she could die at any time. To her weakness, Riko answers that she did not expect to live long, implying that, so long as she could traverse the Abyss to unveil its mysteries, she’s content. Ozen also points out that, even if Reg’s able to control his incinerator, the blast will knock him out for several hours and leave both of them defenseless in the Abyss. Unlike Riko, Reg has no answer to that. But, Ozen’s hint serves to strengthen his determination to protect Riko as he reminiscences Nat’s and Habo’s will to do so.

Although there are moments where exaggeration diminishes the story, this week’s Abyss is back to its foundation. Rather than focusing on a bunch of cliffhangers, it reverts to its simple storytelling. At the very least to my eyes, it has redeemed itself rather successfully.

The Indonesian Anime Times | by Paksi Pradipta

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