Brief Thoughts On: Made in Abyss – Dawn of the Deep Soul

Made in Abyss was a gripping anime when I first watched it. It presented a horrifying universe where the wonder and amazement of adventure is regularly contrasted against intense violence. I was really into it, but am—as always—terrible when it comes to keeping up with ongoing series. My friends were very disappointed that I still hadn’t seen season 2 of the anime. When they then learned I hadn’t even seen Dawn of the Deep Soul yet… I feared for my life.

PHOTO: Reg, Riko, and Nanachi arriving in a green field.

Staring up this movie, it didn’t take long before I was drawn back into the series’ universe. The world is still awesome and mysterious, as well filled to the brim with nightmare fuel. It was like putting a wet sock back on—instant discomfort.

The story resumes with Reg and Riko on the fifth layer of The Abyss. Now joined by the fuzzy Nanachi, who has become a mainstay party member. Unfortunately, the team now faces their greatest challenge yet. To reach the next layer, they must pass through the domain on Bondrewd. A fellow delver of much infamy, known for his highly-amoral research experiments. The kind of guy to whom informed consent is the punchline of a joke.

PHOTO: Bondrewd and his homies.

Bondrewd makes for an interesting villain. Especially if you go into this story expecting a typical mad scientist kind of character. Bondrewd is remarkably sociable and kind. He welcomes the protagonists into his home without making any kind of fuss or demands. This is what makes him so dangerous. He will do the most brutal, fucked up shit to people, none of which you can see coming because Bondrewd never shows an ounce of hostility. He defuses your wariness with his pleasant banter, but lose sight of your friends for a second and he’ll have you pinned to an operating table.

Making this even more complicated is the friendship that forms between our protagonists and Bondrewd’s daughter, Prushka. She adores her father, but also comes to cherish her friendship with Riko. This puts Prushka in a dangerous position. She’s aware that her dad wants to do terrible things to these kids, but they are out for blood as well. Nanachi especially has good cause for wanting Bondaddy’s head on a platter. When the situation turns openly violent, the results are extremely gruesome. Exactly what you’d expect (and want) from Made in Abyss.

PHOTO: Bondrewd is resisting Reg's arm while pulling an arrow out of his side.

One criticism I do have is that Prushka is a character I couldn’t get very invested in. She is so precious and unrelentingly wholesome, which in a story like this is just a death sentence. Why care about a character when they are so transparently a redshirt? This isn’t helped by how Dawn of the Deep Soul dumps Prushka’s entire backstory on you at the tail end of the film. You’re midway through the climactic final battle, but first let’s recap this character’s entire life. Including recycled bits from earlier in this very film.

Other than that, Dawn of the Deep Soul is an excellent continuation of the story. My only regret is that I didn’t rewatch the first season or its compilation movies beforehand. It has been years since I watched this series, so several details of its plot had become hazy memories. I feel that I would have gotten even more out of Dawn of the Deep Soul if I had refreshed these memories before watching it.

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