This is an excerpt from my upcoming Top 10 New Anime of 2017 list.
Made In Abyss is a darn impressive adventure series. In its first 13 episodes it’s shown a level of craft and world-building that very few anime can express. If you’ve heard any of the buzz around Made In Abyss you’ll probably know that things get pretty dark, but it never lies about the harrowing abyss.
Before the real meat of the story even begins this show is already building a haunting anticipation, layering the gruesomeness of its world so thickly that the expectation of tragedy is almost as terrifying as the actual tragedies themselves. I say almost because no matter how much Made In Abyss prepares you to expect horrific things the actual reality is often far more shocking than you expect. It makes zero compromise in building the stakes of travelling down the abyss, and it rises to the challenge of raising those stakes the deeper it goes.
Despite all that I believe Made In Abyss is a series of subtle optimism. Awful unspeakable things happen and yet our main characters continue to pick themselves up, no matter how slow and painful that may be. They go through what they do for their goals, and they endear themselves not only through their immense strength but also their ability to continue finding reasons to smile.
There are some unfortunate issues with Made In Abyss, like the occasionally stunted pacing of its adaptation and its deeply uncomfortable interest in making sexually charged jokes about its child protagonists. But gosh dang Made In Abyss is a finely crafted work, and one that’s well and truly invested me in its long term development.