The Compass Pointed to the Darkness -| Review Score – 4/5
The Capital of the Unreturned -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Village of the Hollows -| Review Score – 4/5
Friend -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Concealment -| Review Score – 4/5
The Luring -| Review Score – 4.5/5
The Cradle of Desire -| Review Score – 5/5
The Form the Wish Takes -| Review Score – 3/5
The Return -| Review Score – 4.5/5
All That You Gather -| Review Score – 5/5
Value -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Gold -| Review Score – 4/5
Made In Abyss Season 2 had big shoes to fill after the heart-shattering and action-packed events in its sequel film Made In Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul. Like its predecessors, Masayuki Kojima, who directed the well-acclaimed psychological thriller anime Monster in 2004, is back to lead this anime project. Kinema Citrus is responsible for animating this work, and Australian composer Kevin Penkin is back to compose music for it.
This follow-up features 12 episodes. The first 11 have the usual run-time of 24 minutes each, while its season finale runs for 47. Like the sequel film, Made In Abyss season 2 takes place in one layer of the abyss and focuses heavily on the story told within that segment. While it doesn’t feature the same explorative vibe as its first season, Made In Abyss’s author, Akihito Tsukushi, created a fantastic yet barbaric follow-up.
The second season follows Riko and friends arriving at the abyss’s sixth layer (Capital of the Unreturned) after surviving the challenges of Idofront and semi-defeating Bondrewd. During their outing, our protagonists find the ruins of the promised Golden City. In this area lies a strange society full of bizarre-looking inhabitants called Hollows, who demonstrate human-like customs and roles.
Although Riko and her friends sense danger emanating from the Hollows and their village (Iruburu), the Hollows welcome them with open arms. During their stay, Riko and her friends uncover the hidden mysteries and horrific backstory surrounding Iruburu and its inhabitants. They discover this environment and its inhabitants’ connections to a suicide group called the Ganja and the Hollow princess, Faputa.
All this unravels into a horrific tale of bloodshed, misery, and suspense around every corner. While drenched in painful tears, everyone discovers the golden philosophy behind moving forward, surviving, and establishing individualistic goals. Although season two captures the same energy as the first and its sequel film in multiple ways, some issues pop up that hampers its chance at a flawless victory.
This season’s storyline is the most gruesome and mind-numbing tale to come from this series thus far. You’re certainly led to care about our current roster of heroes alongside the newly introduced characters of this season. I was at the edge of my seat, worried about everyone’s safety and anticipating horrible outcomes. Despite only taking place in one layer, there’s a great mix of horror, mystery, and suspense this season.
At the same time, it’s worth pointing out the many instances where comedic and innuendo activity may take you out of the experience. There were many instances where the innuendo content felt a bit overbearing and unnecessary. Considering the abyss’s grim and heartless nature, it made sense to incorporate these nerve-wracking scenes to remind fans of this show’s soul-crushing atmosphere.
The anime has its share of plot convenient moments too that could’ve benefitted from minor informative flashbacks to remind the audience of what we learned from folks like Ozen, Bondrewd, and others.
Otherwise, Made In Abyss’s second season delivered an impeccable story full of incredible plot twists, self-contained narratives, and ground-breaking information regarding Reg’s past life. Most of our new characters’ story arcs are wrapped up wonderfully, free of plot holes or contrived resolutions. Although the story has its weaknesses, I only had a few grievances with this season’s roster of characters.
While Riko had her share of emotional conflict with Maaa, some random Hollows, and Vueko, I think the anime’s downplaying her cave raider expertise and fighting ability. Riko could’ve assisted Reg and Faputa in taking down most monsters instead of acting like a tired-out damsel who needs saving. Considering she trained with Ozen, one of the legendary sovereigns in season one, I expect more from Riko in terms of being a noteworthy and capable heroine this season.
Tsukushi crafts a compelling narrative and distinct personality for each individual. Out of the new ones introduced, Faputa, was the best regarding impact and performance. I can see her becoming a fan-favorite moving forward.
As stated earlier, this season had a lot to live up to after the impeccable visuals and motion displayed by the Dawn of the Deep Soul film. While it’s not always on par with the sequel film’s cohesive visual fidelity, season two’s locales, scenery, character models, and fights met and exceeded my expectations multiple times. I couldn’t help but immerse myself in its gorgeous settings, whether our characters were crossing a bridge or exploring a cave full of water.
However, this wouldn’t be Made In Abyss without its gruesome body horror and traumatizing visual elements. While the first season had some difficult-to-sit-through instances, the second amplifies that feeling tenfold. These traumatic bits will have you going through the motions, which makes this anime a spectacle for everyone who watches it. Seeing the characters fight will make your heart pump while seeing them enduring harsh mistreatment and sorrow will make you tear up.
Unfortunately, Made In Abyss season 2 runs into a few errors along the way regarding Kinema Citrus’s use of CGI. While I didn’t find characters like Majikaja weird-looking, characters like Belaf and the turbinid dragon’s CGI forms just don’t work quite so effectively. Their structures and movements look jarring and off-putting. There are some examples where the characters’ 2D models weren’t on par with other episodes’ quality too.
As for the soundtrack, this season continues delivering top-notch music and voice acting. Although it’s been some time since the sequel film, Kevin Penkin creates a breathtakingly immersive musical score that will leave you entranced with the visuals appearing on your screen.
Like its visuals, the music elevates the show’s tension during its passionate and brutal moments, and I enjoyed every second of it. The opening and ending theme songs were memorable, enjoyable, and integral in helping me craft a tight connection with this show’s world and characters.
Music aside, the voice actors and actresses pulled off a phenomenal performance from this show’s start to conclusion. Everyone from Mariya Ise to new staff like Misaki Kuno brought their A-game this season and delivered remarkable vocals that will last with me for a lifetime. Whether the characters were speaking with each other casually or furiously, I felt the impact of their words.
Made In Abyss season 2 isn’t a flawless work of art, but it’s certainly spectacular. Despite taking place in one area, Tsukushi crafted a layer full of jaw-dropping visuals and beautifully-written characters that will leave an impression on any anime fan. Although this devastating and mind-boggling journey isn’t over yet, season 2 will go down as one of Made In Abyss’s golden chapters inside its bundle of warmth and darkness.
Verdict - - 8.5/10