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⛏️ REVIEW: Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul

“Because your question searches for deep meaning, I shall explain in simple words” ― Dante Alighieri

WARNING: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the first season, read my first review.


Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul is a dark fantasy science fiction adventure film that serves as a sequel to the first season of Made in Abyss, which is based on the manga series by Akihito Tsukushi.

Taking place right after the events of the last episode, we follow Riko, Reg, and their new furry companion, Nanachi, to the fifth layer. But to enter the sixth layer, they must enter a research facility, the Ido Front, guarding the gateway to the sixth layer of the Abyss. A White Whistle named Bondrewd is in charge of the facility, and he's a mad scientist who does unethical scientific practices, including cruel experiments on children. He's responsible for turning Nanaci and Mitty into Hollows.

Not much of a choice, the children enter the facility and are greeted by a girl (same age as Riko) named Pruska, who works for Bondrewd. When they meet Bondrewd, he offers the children to stay for the night, but Nanachi still feels uneasy after what he did to her and believes there's more than meets the eye.

From left to right: Reg, Nanachi, and Riko

Despite being an epic high-budget film, there are only five characters and that's not a bad thing because they're only a few to keep up with. They're all unique and flawed (in a good way).

Riko is still your typical smart 12-year-old girl - however, after her life threatening injuries from the last episodes (almost losing her arm), she's still determined not to give up on finding her mother. She knows there's no going back.

After Riko's recovery, Reg is more cautious and protective toward Riko than ever before - vowing to protect her at any cost. Despite being children, the protective masculine Riko and the vulnerable feminine Riko have this strong non-romantic chemistry and bond that works well. 

Their new companion, Nanachi, is a rabbit-like creature who's very experienced with the dangers of the Abyss. Like Reg, she doesn't want anything to happen to Riko, and she's very agile since she isn't human. However, unlike Reg, who's a robot, Nanachi is vulnerable to the dangers as well and not invisible.

Since the last episodes of the first season, these kids have been physically and emotionally scarred; they've learned from their mistakes and are now more cautious than ever. Riko has matured a little, Reg is more protective, and Nanachi is über cautious. They stopped being kids; all they think about now is one thing - survival. This is how much they've changed.

In this movie we're introduced to two new characters:

Pruska is a young girl who is sweet, curious and loves to explore. She spends most of her time alone, except for the company of Bondrewd and his assistants. She dreams of making friends with kids her age and becoming a cave raider when she grows up. Pruska is an important character in the story and plays a significant role.

Bondrewd is not your typical villain - he's one cold-hearted bastard and probably one of the best antagonists I've ever seen. He has a strange point of view on how he sees things. Bondrewd is a standout villain, whose cold-heartedness is matched only by his unorthodox worldview. His character is one of the most compelling and well-crafted antagonists I've ever encountered in any movie. The way he sees things is both strange and fascinating, making him a formidable force to be reckoned with. He is frightening and manipulating, yet he has some charisma, which makes him hard to hate.
Earlier, I said he was a mad science, but it's not the clichéd kind you're thinking of. Bondrewd is the "purest" form of a scientist. He pursues science for the sake of science alone. It's a perfect example of the dangers when curiosity supersedes morality. The character's English voice actor, David Harbold, does a great job on the character's suspicious and menacing voice.


 With its fusion of science fiction, dark fantasy, and adventure elements, the story is very original and nothing cliché. Heck, you don't have to be a fan of anime to enjoy this (and the show). It's well-balanced and compressive. The movie is like a very long episode with a higher budget. If you've never seen the first season and watched this first, then you'll be confused about what's going on.

Now, by the time you get to the second act, that's when the snowball effect starts. It's by far the darkest and most messed up story arc and is not for the faint of heart, so I could see you not liking it or even finding it too disturbing. Like season one, there are some awkward moments, but the film's story is very mature and never holds back.

The animation style bears a strong resemblance to the iconic Ghibli style, and one can immediately notice that it was made with a larger budget. The level of detail in each frame of animation is impressive, seamlessly bringing the characters and their movements to life. The backgrounds are breathtakingly beautiful, with every element thoughtfully designed to complement the overall aesthetic of the animation. Although it was made digitally, the hand-drawn animation and background art still capture a natural and organic feel, immersing the viewer in a world that feels both familiar and fantastical.

Australian composer Kevin Penkin returns to deliver another great original score that perfectly captures the dark and ominous atmosphere of the fifth layer. The music is fresh and never repeats the same themes from the previous season. The English dubbing is excellent, and the voice actors deliver outstanding performances. In addition, the sound effects are impressive, especially when experienced in surround sound.

Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul is an exceptional cinematic experience that seamlessly carries forward the captivating Made in Abyss franchise. The movie features a riveting and mature storyline that grips the audience from start to finish and is complemented by stunningly beautiful artistic animation that amplifies the emotions and depth of the narrative. The characters are skillfully crafted and highly likable, drawing the viewers into their world and making them care about what happens to them. The immersive soundtrack adds another layer of richness to the already impressive audiovisual experience. Overall, Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul is a must-watch movie that combines enthralling storytelling, breathtaking visuals, and an excellent soundtrack into a truly unforgettable cinematic experience. Recommended for those who want to continue to the series. - Æ

This is certified kino. I give it 9 out of 10 white whistles.

Article Author: Æ / Images: © Akihito Tsukushi / MiA Committee


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