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© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

Warning: This review may contain some spoilers

In This Episode

Our two cave raiders arrived at the fourth layer of the Abyss, The Cup of Giants. Pressing forward, however, Reg sensed a presence moving along with them, lurking from the distance. As they tried to make a run from it, the mysterious presence, a quadruped monster called orbed-splitter, halted them. Reg was prepared to face it, but Riko, scared and cautious, advised otherwise. As they tried to escape, the orbed-splitter’s attacks knocked Lyza’s pickaxe away and its spine pierced Riko’s arm, lethally poisoning her. Reg stretched his arm upward and began ascending to escape, forcing Riko through excruciating pain. In desperation, Reg wailed at Riko’s minute-left breath. At his cries, a mysterious figure appeared to offer the help to the two. They introduced themselves as Nanachi.

Raising the Stake

Never before had Reg and Riko met such a perilous danger that episode 10 has to offer. Sure, in episode four Riko was almost kidnapped, and Ozen beat Reg so bad. But, our two little cave riders had been able to escape them all. Both of them have always been close to danger, but otherwise remain quite far from death. In this episode, however, death is right on their side. For the first time, Reg and Riko are gripped by fear and numbed by helplessness. While it is quite easy to create a nuanced feeling of defeat in a story, making it devoid of any meaning is another problem. Put the protagonists before overwhelming odds and you’ve got the recipe; one that might be blind of any coherent values. But, handled well, it could unravel tales of such delight like no other. Episode 10 of Made in Abyss is such tale.

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

Early in the episode, Reg muses that he must protect Riko. This, I think, sets up a nice theme for the whole episode: of survival. Of course, back in the second layer, Reg already mused this over. But, what sets this latest episode from the others is its high stake. Having set off to the fourth layer, right in the belly of the Abyss, where the environment and monsters are at most dangerous. That realization in Reg’s monologue gives his musings of protecting Riko a gripping tension. We know that this time around will be different. And it is. Their encounter with the orbed-splitter changes the story’s dynamic.

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

The orbed-splitter is the greatest villain in Abyss series. Not because it is overwhelmingly strong for Riko and Reg to overcome, but because it chips away their strengths one by one. Its steel-penetrating spines make Reg unable to use his machine body to brutely attack the monster. Its speed makes Reg’s agility almost useless. Its acute perception makes Reg can’t fire his incinerator. It even snatches away Lyza’s powerful pickaxe. Slowly and surely, the orbed-splitter disarm their strengths before it finally delivers the final strike: mortally poisons Riko. With a lethal poison pinned into her hand and the curse of the Abyss afflicting her after she was taken to ascend to escape, Riko is on the brink of death.

© 2017 Akihito Tsukishi / Takeshobo / Kinema Citrus Production Committee

Suffering excruciating pains and almost passing out, Riko keeps herself as calm as possible while instructing Reg on what should be done. Desperate to help Riko, Reg’s suspicion on Nanachi disappears the instance they mention that they can help Riko. Facing a life-threatening situation, both protagonists are forced to show their true colors.

An episode filled with dread with a glimpse of hope of a new comrade at the end. Were I to pick a flaw, it’s the blood. The coloring is weird, more like a goo than a real blood. Aside from that, it’s a grim shift of tone to the series. A quite delightful touch, indeed.

The Indonesian Anime Times | by Paksi Pradipta

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