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Made In Abyss is a Seinen adventure manga by Akihito Tsukushi, serialized via Takeshobo's digital publication Web Comic Gamma. So despite the cutesy looks of the main characters, don't be fooled for even a second.

The story follows Riko, an orphan who dreams of becoming a great cave raider, much like her mother, and solving the mystery of the Abyss. The Abyss is an unexplored enormous cave system inhabited by strange and wonderful creatures, along with mysterious artifacts. Generations of bold adventurers have been drawn by the cryptic depths of the Abyss, and over time came to be known as "Cave Raiders". Much of the Abyss remains shrouded in mystery, not only because of how the wildlife gets increasingly hostile and dangerous as one descends further down, but also because of "the Curse of the Abyss", a strange affliction that strikes anyone who tries to return to the surface after exploring the Abyss; the severity of said "curse" varies upon how deep one goes into the depths, from nausea and dizziness on the upper layers, to spontaneous bleeding from every orifice, unconsciousness, madness, and strange mutations on deeper layers, to the point where, as far as everyone knows, trying to return from beyond the fifth layer is a certain death sentence.

One day exploring the murky depths Riko stumbles upon a unconscious little boy, who turns out to actually be a Ridiculously Human Robot. Upon awakening the robot turns out to have a meek, but friendly personality and suffering from severe memory loss, having no idea who he is, where he came from, and how he came to be where he was found. Riko befriends the robot and takes him under her wing, giving him the name "Reg", and brings him along to the surface. Not much later, a mysterious letter for Riko arrives from the far depths of the Abyss. The writer of said letter claims to be Riko's long lost mother, Lyza, a famously bold and hardy Cave Raider and explorer, telling her to come the to bottom of the fabled seventh layer of the Abyss, where she is waiting for her. Included in her letter is descriptions and drawings of beings found on the lower levels of the Abyss, which much to Reg's interest includes a sketch of a figure who closely resembles himself. Compelled to find her mother, Riko then bids farewell to her friends and departs to the Abyss along with Reg in search for her mother, despite knowing of the risks and the fact that due to the Curse of the Abyss, she will never be able to return.

An anime adaptation by Kinema Citrus aired in Summer 2017, covering roughly the first four volumes, with a continuation already announced.

The manga has very frequent graphic content and body horror that's realistic, therefore it is not recommended for the faint of heart or stomach and not for all audiences. That said there's a huge payoff in action, mystery and a unique fantasy for viewers to commit to.


Tropes for the series include:

  • The Ace: Bearers of a White Whistle are considered Living Legends, the absolute best of all the cave raiders, and the most capable of exploring the Abyss' mysteries. With access to the Sixth Layer, they must be able to easily traverse hostile landscapes and confront the most dangerous monsters, spending months if not years at a time in the pit's lower layers. Furthermore, they must possess incredible tolerance to the harshest symptoms of the Curse. Many aspire to rise the ranks and earn a White Whistle of their own, one of them being Riko. Lyza the Annhilator in particular was described to be a standout even among the elites. Indeed, her prowess is hinted at by stories of her feats with Blaze Reap, the Everlasting Pick, and a flashback by fellow White Whistle Ozen.
  • Action Duo: Reg and Riko. Riko is a strategist with encyclopedic knowledge about the Abyss and its threats, Reg is a heavy hitter packed with enough firepower to destroy any obstacles blocking their path.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. The kids supposedly have to hide Reg from the adults so they don't dismantle him, but none of the adults suggest this, it's just what the kids think they would do. The orphanage has one stereotypical Evil Teacher, and Jiruo, who seems highly competent but takes an extremely hands-off approach, to the point of knowingly allowing Riko and Reg to escape into the Abyss as long as he doesn't catch them before they reach the second layer (he doesn't even come close). It would make sense for a skilled adult raider to go with them, and Habolg chases them down to do just that; but Riko convinces him not to. The whole story revolves around discovering what happened to Lyza, the most respected of all delvers, which is apparently a job for her twelve-year-old daughter, a robot with memory loss, and a mutant rabbit-child... instead of any adult explorers close to Lyza's skill level. So, in that sense, it's played straight.
  • Adult Fear: The entire town of Orth is bordered by a pit that goes down for literal miles. Kids become orphans on a regular basis because of this pit, and yet they're expected to scale and mine it for resources before even reaching adolescence, typically without adult supervision. In Episode 1 alone, Nat, a child, is knocked unconscious and nearly gets eaten by a giant snake monster, only for it to be distracted by the sound of Riko's whistle... upon which the monster chases after her instead.
  • Alien Lunch: Riko has cooked testicles in Chapter 44. She does a Shrug Take and keeps eating, though it's pretty spicy.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: After Riko get's stung by a poisonous barb in her hand she attempts to have Reg amputate her arm to prevent the poison from spreading to the rest of her body. The only reason she kept the arm was due to Nanachi's intervention.
  • Anime Hair: A person's hair curling in unnatural and gravity-defying ways is one of the more benign effects of prolonged exposure to the Abyss's force field. (Ozen's odd hairdo is deliberately styled that way, however.)
  • Archaeological Arms Race: A lot of the rarest, most powerful artifacts retrieved from the Abyss are seized or bought by the government and used in warfare against enemy nations. Other countries also have their own delvers, and things can get very ugly if two teams from opposing factions bump into each other in the Abyss.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The art style for the characters is very Puni Plush in stark contrast to the lush backgrounds and visceral horrors.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: There is a colorful market in the Capital of the Unreturned. There, the city's equally bizarre inhabitants exchange goods and services based on their assigned "value", which can be tangible or sentimental.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Averted with characteristic brutality. The Curse of the Abyss acts almost like a natural law, and like the cold reality of gravity dragging a commercial jetliner to the ground after a catastrophic engine failure, it pays no heed to how "kawaii" its victims may be. Most notable in the case of Riko, who contracts what can only be compared to magical Ebola on ascending from one of the lower levels. It's intentionally jarring to see a 12 year old girl who normally looks like like this borderline insane from agony, bleeding from every orifice, and begging another child to cut her arm off.
    • And then there's Mitty. After being forced to ascend in the sixth layer, she went from this to this.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Abyss is not just a hole in the ground: its insides are home to lush forests, upside-down waterfalls, oceans, golden cities, and the remains of long-lost civilizations.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
    • The layout for the orphanage's classroom is... unique. Seats are arranged vertically, with desks and chairs literally built into the wall opposite to the chalkboard. Children have to navigate the classroom by using rope stepladders to get to their spots and back down.
    • The Sixth Layer, the Capital of the Unreturned, is just plain weird; buildings twist and turn, mashing together like gnarled tree roots. Clock-towers stand virtually upside-down without crumbling. Many stairs turn sideways and lead into open air, and pathways stand on stilts that appear too flimsy to be supporting anything.
  • Body Horror:
    • The dangerous aspects of the Abyss have a plethora of ways to play merry hell on the human body. Evisceration, hemorrhaging, swelling, parasitism and much more. For example, when Riko and Reg enter the fourth layer, Riko gets impaled in the arm via a large porcupine monster's quill laced with venom and Reg has to bring her away before they all die from the porcupine's persistent attacks. However the only escape was up, so Riko was forced to go through the Curse while being poisoned by the quill and starts hemorrhaging from every orifice. The combined pain gets so bad that Riko practically begs Reg to amputate her poisoned arm, which Reg botches the bone-breaking and slicing procedures of. Thankfully Nanachi came to help and was able to save the arm and Riko's life.
    • The handiworks of Bondrewd the Novel hold truest to this trope.
    • In general the curse that occurs when ascending from the sixth layer results in this.
  • Bottomless Pits: Non-video game example. The Abyss is deep. It is very deep. According to the latest available map, the Abyss reaches beyond 20,000 meters below sea level. As a frame of reference, take the deepest known point on Earth (Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep, ~11,000 meters below sea level), double that length, and keep going.
  • Break the Cutie: The main adventurers are cute children. The Abyss is a merciless Death World. With such a setup, this trope seems inevitable. For the most part, though, it's subverted—no matter how much intense horror and tragedy the heroes encounter, they ultimately push through it and keep moving forward, without losing their optimism, sanity, morality or sense of wonder.
  • Break Them by Talking: Overlaps with Secret Test of Character, when Ozen deliberately gives entirely too much information to the protagonist. Although a small amount of it is revealed to be false, most of it is information that she would have encountered sooner or later anyway, hence the need to ensure she doesn't Go Mad from the Revelation before she's in the lower layers.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both Reg and Riko suffer their fair share of jokes and embarrassment, and situations almost always seem to take a turn for the worse, but the two are resilient enough to press on forward to their goals.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: A strange example. While Riko obviously doesn't eat other human beings herself, she believes that consuming the flesh of predatory animals who have eaten people will give her the strength of those unfortunate victims. This idea, and the idea of indirectly cannibilizing people in general by eating Abyssal predators, makes Reg uncomfortable.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Nat tries to scare Reg with a story about a spooky magical disease that kills you if you look into a mirror on your birthday. Many episodes later, it turns out he wasn't making much of that up—there really is a mysterious deadly illness going around that seems to strike on the victim's birthday. Kiyui catches it, but suddenly and inexplicably recovers when he's taken to a boat off the shore of the island... implying that the illness comes from the Abyss, and isn't a disease in the usual sense.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Orth is a town with an economy dependent on exploring the dangerous Abyss. Its inhabitants, down to every last child, is fully aware death while cave-raiding is just part of the job, and have since accepted that as a regular part of life, to the point where they can be seen as remarkably blasé about tragic or frightening circumstances.
  • Conlang: Most of the Narehate have forgotten human language and those gathered in the Narehate village have created their own peculiar language. Delvers who reach the village are basically like tourists visiting a strange foreign country.
  • Cooland Unusual Punishment: One of the punishments at the orphanage is being strung up naked by the hands and legs from the ceiling.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The town of Orth is a lively place; cave delvers are treated like celebrities and heroes, there is almost nowhere you can go without witnessing a splendid view worth a thousand words, artifacts are worth good money and have varied effects that are, if not convenient, at least a good source of entertainment, and people seem generally content with their lot in life. Even the Belchero Orphanage isn't exactly what one would consider an Orphanage of Fear - orphans are given education and job training, and the heads running them are well-meaning and reasonable, if stern. Of course, the rosy and idyllic image of the town is made unsettling considering the rampant child labor, with children being fully expected to work and/or explore the Abyss before they hit puberty, and even dreaming of going down to more dangerous depths. Delvers are treated as martyrs, and their offspring are inspired to follow in their parents' dangerous footsteps. These circumstances however have helped the protagonists become Conditioned to Accept Horror for when they do go down into the Abyss and made them mentally resilient enough to weather horrors and predicaments that would completely debilitate a child from a culture with standards more closely aligned with the developed world of reality.
  • Curse: "The Curse of the Abyss". No one on the surface is sure exactly what it is, but there's something within the Abyss that induces increasingly harsh symptoms on raiders attempting to climb back to the surface, making ascension potentially riskier than even exploring. It's explained by Nanachi that the "curse" acts as a sort of weave, filling the Abyss with a sort of energy. It's easy to navigate through going down, but when you try to climb upwards it stabs into you and causes the symptoms. The effects are as follows:
    • Layer One - Light dizziness akin to Decompression Sickness.
    • Layer Two - Heavy nausea, numbness of limbs, headaches.
    • Layer Three - Loss of balance, visual and auditory hallucinations in addition to the above effects.
    • Layer Four - Whole-body pain, bleeding from every orifice.
    • Layer Five - Loss of all sensation, increased likelihood of self-harm.
    • Layer Six - Loss of Humanity, very possibly death.
    • Layer Seven - Certain death.
  • Daylight Horror: The Abyss, contrary to the implications of its name, is a brightly-lit place, with sunlight slipping past the Curse's barrier and washing the scenery in gorgeous lighting. That means little to the dangers lurking within. In fact, since the Curse of the Abyss both pulls light down from the surface and attracts more dangerous creatures, brighter areas tend to be more dangerous.
  • The Dead Have Names: Despite sacrificing countless children in his inhumane experiments, Bondrew remembers each and every one of their names and dreams by heart.
  • Death World: The Abyss is home to contained ecosystems as diverse as they are numerous. However, this means that many of the fauna and flora have evolved to become incredibly dangerous to cave delvers. Prospective raiders run the risk of suffering a downright gruesome fate with every dive, and that's not even touching the subject of the Curse enveloping the entire place.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Played for Drama in Chapter 43. While she takes a walk through the Narehate Village, Riko is lured into a dark alley, where she is attacked by a group of monstrous Narehate. If Majikajya's earlier explanation is to be believed, the guys want to dismember her to harvest her extremely valuable body parts (one of them does rip off a chunk of her hair), but the way they drag her into the alleyway, tugging at her clothes and restraining her with their sticky tendrils, makes the scene look like the beginning of a Naughty Tentacles Hentai. Thankfully, she is rescued before they can hurt her.
    • Although Riko was born the normal way, she also experienced an elaborate metaphor for childbirth. She was born in the fifth layer of the Abyss, put in a giant box-shaped relic—which stretches open to reveal a fleshy womb-like interior—and pushed up to the surface by her mother Lyza (with help from Ozen, Lyza's close friend and midwife). She was actually stillborn, but the box brought her to life during the ascent, making her metaphorically born from the Abyss itself.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening of the anime is sung by Miyu Tomita and Mariya Ise, who voice Riko and Reg. Nanachi's voice actor, Shiori Izawa, joins them for the ending tune.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The further one goes down into the Abyss, the more monstrous creatures one will encounter. In fact, the deeper layers, the Curse can morph humans into these as well.
  • Eldritch Location: The Abyss. It is littered with treasures unique to the rest of the world, some with miraculous and physics-defying properties, and is home to entire worlds divided between the layers, each carrying their own host of monsters and mysteries. Not to mention what happens if one were to try climbing back out...
  • Equipment Spoiler: The White Whistles are inspired by South American death whistles. Knowing this spoils the shock of learning about how White Whistles are made as death whistles were made by the bones of sacrificed humans.
  • Fantastic Flora:
    • Orth's national flower is the Eternal Fortune, or the Flower of Persistence. It's a five-petal white flower that grows nearly everywhere in the Abyss, not picky at all about what altitude, nutrients, or space is available as long as it can set its roots in something. It's multipurpose too, as people use it for ornamental gardening, incense, drying into a cooking spice, and scattering for celebrations ranging from birthdays to funerals.
    • Extreme examples exist in the depths of the Abyss. The petrified trees in the First Layer appear to still be alive, with green leaves and stone trunks, and it just gets stranger from there. The Forest of Temptation on the Second Layer is made up of plants found only in the Abyss. These look fairly normal, other than having enormous root systems and pointing toward the center of the cavern. Then, they all flip upside down when the Forest inverts itself. Lower down, the Fourth Layer is named for the Cup of Giants, massive goblet-shaped plants that fill with water as adults but are protected by acid as saplings. These replace each other in 2000 year cycles.
  • Food Porn: Even on the crux of madness and injury one cannot deny a damn good meal. Riko is incredibly proficient in making savory dishes with whatever is at hand and ingredients scrounged from the Abyss itself, turning otherwise disquieting ingredients into delicious dishes, lovingly described by the author. The practice keeps our protagonists sane and motivated in the Abyss, alluded to by the extended cooking segment in the anime's ED. They're even one of the reasons why Nanachi decides to stick around with the team rather than going off on their own and/or committing suicide.
  • Forbidden Zone: Due to how hostile they are to human life, deeper layers of the Abyss are forbidden for lower-ranked explorers. Only White Whistles are allowed to freely roam all layers. And even among White Whistles, going beyond the fifth layer is considered a one way trip. Of course, our heroes' intention is to cross all of them and reach the bottom of the Abyss.
  • Foreshadowing: When they reach the fourth layer, Riko mentions that the giant "goblets" are for trapping prey. Not long afterward, as they walk across one, a porcupine-monster corners them and tries to kill them. The unpleasant aftermath is also hinted at way back in episode 1, when Riko falls while being chased by a monster and briefly thinks her arm might be broken—the "orbed-piercer" they encounter poisons Riko's hand, and Reg ends up breaking her arm while trying to cut it off to get rid of the poison.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": White Whistles who are finally confirmed "dead" or "missing in action" are not given a funeral to mourn them. Instead, the people of Orth host a grand festival celebrating their accomplishments like a wake, complete with shows, music, souvenirs, and flower petals scattered about like confetti.
  • Gender Is No Object: Orth's society is meritocratic, and female delvers are seen as often as male delvers. Two of the introduced White Whistles are also female. The Abyss itself also doesn't care what gender its victims are.
  • Ghibli Hills: The First Layer of the Abyss. The landscape is more surreal than in most examples, with enormous stone trees and cliff faces honeycombed with tunnels, but it's no less idyllic. The ruins of an ancient civilization can be found in the caves, but the scenery generally looks untouched by humanity. Predictably, it's still a hazardous environment where Abyssal predators sometimes kill untrained Delvers.
  • Harmful to Minors:
  • Herbivores Are Friendly:
    • Inverted with the orb-piercers, a species of venomous, porcupine-like giant creatures native to the Fourth Layer. They are algae eaters, but they are ferociously territorial and will attack whatever trespasses into their feeding grounds, making themselves the most dangerous animals in the entire layer. A particularly large, aggressive specimen considers the entire central column of the Abyss to be its territory, and is responsible for the deaths of over a hundred delvers.
    • A lesser inversion-example is the hippo-like creature they meet during Ozen's training session, which attacks Riko when she tries to take water from its pond, and later tackles Reg and hurls him into a tree for no particular reason. This is very much Truth in Television for real hippos, which are herbivores but also extremely territorial and aggressive.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Because the Sixth Layer is considered the point of no return for delvers, White Whistles who venture past this threshold have given up the thought of ever returning back to the surface for the sake of discovering the Abyss' deepest enigmas. They can send up records of their discoveries below, but in effect no longer exist to the rest of the world outside of that.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Abyss' lower Layers have inviting and cute names such as "the Sea of Corpses" or "the Final Maelstrom".
  • Ironic Name: Lyza's signature weapon "Blaze Reap, the Everlasting Pickaxe..." which is in such bad shape when given to Riko that Ozen guesses it only has a few more hits left in it. While the "everlasting" part of its epithet actually comes from the endlessly reusable gunpowder inside that gives the weapon its explosive impacts, the irony of a weapon with "everlasting" in its name being on the verge of falling apart remains.
  • Just Before the End: It's revealed that the "praying skeletons" have been found in batches in various layers of the Abyss coinciding with 2000 year cycles. The implication is that every civilization that lives near the Abyss suffers some sort of catastrophe every 2000 years. It's no coincidence that the next 2000 year cycle is about to hit and many people in Orth are starting to die of mysterious causes right before their birthdays.
  • Justified Title: "Made in Abyss" applies to multiple things within this work:
    • The Abyss is home to many artifacts that are valued on the surface world.
    • Reg is a robot who's more than likely to have originated from the Abyss' very bottom.
    • Riko, who was born in the lower layers of the Abyss before being taken up to the surface for safety.
    • Nanachi became what they are due to the Abyss' influence.
  • Lost Technology: The best way to describe the Abyss' artifacts. The surface world has little idea on how to reproduce them, hence why the town of Orth can make a living off auctioning the fruits of their excavations. Reg himself is a walking example, and his goal is to discover his origins.
  • The Lost Woods: The Forest of Temptation on the Second Layer. Like the version of the Ghibli Hills on the First Layer, the setting is beautiful but has a definite surreal element to it (particularly when it flips upside down, and the waterfalls start falling up). Also like the First Layer, it is considerably more dangerous than it appears.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The village in the Sixth Layer lures its visitors with treasures and comforting illusions, eventually trapping them there.
  • Lured into a Trap: One species of monster bird in the Second Layer are Voice Changelings that mimic the cries of their most recent prey to attract other members of said prey to be killed by the rest of the flock. Humans are one of their prey species.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Cave Raiders are traditionally responsible for training up people (oftentimes children) into future delvers, who would follow in their masters' footsteps and raise the next generation of delvers, and so on. For example, Ozen mentored Riko's mother Lyza, who mentored Jiruo, who mentored Riko and Reg. It's a necessary process, given that the Abyss has ways of cutting people's careers (and their lives) short.
  • Mercy Kill: As a rule, Cave Raiders kill people who have gone to the Sixth Layer and tried to come back since they are warped by the effects and lose their humanity. Reg does this for Mitty, after Riko confirms that she's suffering in her current form.
  • Mundane Utility: While helping out at a shop in the village, Reg uses one of his grapple-arms to snag a jar from a high shelf. Bear in mind there were two adults in the room, and his identity as a Robot Kid was still a secret. Luckily, neither of them see his flying hand, and the shopkeeper doesn't question how he retrieved it mere seconds after the customer asked for it.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Reg's extendo-hands usually fly in a straight line until they hit something, and can often reel back to him in a straight line as well. (His cable-arm goes slack and has to be retracted if his hand fails to grab its target, so the arm presumably doesn't counteract gravity as the hand flies.)
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Mitty's voice actress is not credited until the very last episode of season 1 in order to hide that she used to be a human girl before she was forced to ascend from the Sixth Layer, and the Abyss' curse mutated her into what she is today.
  • Only One Name: All of the characters, except for White Whistles, who have special titles like "The Annihilator." Reg is named after a dog because he forgot his original name, but for everyone else the explanation is unclear. There may simply be so many fatalities in the Abyss that most kids end up orphaned and family names have been forgotten.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Downplayed. The Belchero Orphanage exploits child labor, but the kids are no more afraid of their instructors then they do a strict parent. In fact, some even enlist into the orphanage to undergo training as cave raiders, hoping to gain a better standing in life.
  • Point of No Return: The frontier between the fifth and sixth layers is considered this, as the ascension curse of the sixth layer is pretty much fatal to human beings. The sixth layer is called "City of the Unreturned" for this reason.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Most of Bondrewd's weapons and technology is powered by orphans that he has literally reduced to a liquid medium. In addition, the special whistles White Whistles carry around are made from humans, and Prushka is turned into such a whistle. Riko's one, to be precise.
  • Power Trio: Nanachi joins the team in chapter 26 after Reg does them a favour, making the protagonist's team effectively a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits composed of a high-functioning Attractive Zombie girl with barely any combat prowess holding another girl's Soul Jar after chapter 38, a Hollywood Cyborg with a Superpowered Evil Side who will likely never grow up and a jaded formerly human Abyss mutant bunny person who can see the Curse and is highly experienced with the Abyss' tribulations.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Just because the Abyss is a dangerous place doesn't mean there aren't plenty of small animals living within. Many of them are absolutely fuzzy and adorable. More importantly, they are a good source of food.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Wild nature dominates the Abyss landscape, but there are traces of civilization left standing to be explored, be it a lonely tomb from past millenia, a pirate ship embedded in a cliff-side wall, or the grand remains of an ancient city.
  • Rule of Seven: The Abyss is divided in seven layers: The Edge of the Abyss, the Inverted Forest, the Great Fault, the Goblets of Giants, the Sea of Corpses, the Capital of the Unreturned, and the Final Maelstrom.
  • Scenery Porn: The art in both the Manga and the Anime Adaption is breathtaking. The town of Orth itself is sheer eye-candy, and the natural glory of the Abyss is lovingly and richly detailed.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A milder and more fantastical example than most, but the diameter of the Abyss is supposedly "about 1,000 meters." This would make it roughly the size of a golf course, which clearly doesn't make sense given the size of its ecosystem and the city surrounding it. The "correct" size is hard to estimate, but would probably be at least ten times that. Given the nature of the Abyss, though, Alien Geometries could explain this.
  • Sea Monster: A few appear to exist in the Sea of Corpses, although the danger presented by the Curse of the Abyss at their depth means that no one who travels down into the sea is likely to come back up to describe them. The protagonists see one, a behemoth that looks like an anglerfish, while making the Final Dive to the Capital of the Unreturned.
  • Secret Test of Character: Ozen initially acts hostile to Riko and Reg in order to test whether they really have the determination to reach the bottom of the Abyss.
  • Shout-Out: One of the small animals in the OP for the anime is white with a pink circle in the middle of it's body with a white bushy tail. It's basically a smaller Kyubey in terms of design. Fitting considering that both shows look kid friendly at first due to Art-Style Dissonance but are actually very dark anime filled with abominations.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The extremely cutesy ending theme often has this effect.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The characters' names are completely made up, so their spelling in Latin alphabet is more or less up to the translators and public consensus. Riko/Rico, Reg/Regu/Legu, Lyza/Lisa, Nanachi/Nanatchy have all been found.
  • Spoiler Opening: The ending animation clearly shows that Nanachi will join Riko and Reg on their journey. This doesn't happen until the the final few scenes of the first season, and Nanachi doesn't even appear outside of the opening/ending animations until episode 10. It's partly a Late-Arrival Spoiler; Nanachi is prematurely featured in the ending because of their popularity.
  • Starting a New Life: After discovering that it is impossible to return from the Sixth Layer as human beings, the members of the "suicide squad" that Veko was a part of decide to begin a new life in what they call the Golden City of the Shourou. Its members eventually become the founders of the Narehate village, Ilblu.
  • Stepford Smiler: Discussed. Shiggy comments that Riko's overly-chipper behaviour might be her way of coping with her mom's apparent death, but Nat says there's no way she has such a complex personality, she is just that cheerful. Reg thinks they should just ask her how she feels.
  • The Strength of Ten Men: The Thousand Human Pins are said to grant whoever wears them the strength of a thousand men.
  • They Would Cut You Up:
    • The kids have Reg pose as a human boy and join the Belchero Orphanage, because they fear the authorities will take him away and dismantle him if they discover he is a Treasure of the Abyss.
    • Nanachi is concerned about this happening to herself, if she were ever discovered. Since most Narehate found so far are unthinking, unreasoning things that Delvers usually Mercy Kill upon encountering, she fears that anyone who discovers her will want to experiment on her to determine why she's an exception.
  • Time Stands Still: The Unheard Bell has the power to stop time.
  • Too Much Information: Riko is certainly thorough in her examination of Reg's features while he was inactive, if nothing else. Aside from testing his durability with fire and drilling, she goes on to explain how she tried to look inside Reg's rectum with a ruler, only for it to break off halfway inside him, and how realistic his penis is. The other orphans had to cut her off before she could traumatize the poor boy further.
  • Undead Child: To her own extreme horror, it turns out that Riko was stillborn in the depths of the Abyss. The curse-warding box didn't help her to survive the Curse in the traditional way, but in fact brought her back when the lifeless infant corpse was placed inside during ascent.
  • Underground City: The Capital of the Unreturned in the sixth layer. Nobody knows how an entire city ended up down there, but the few reports that have made it to the surface describe it as a City of Gold. A small part of it, Iruburu, is still inhabited by former delvers who relinquished their humanity to the Abyss or became trapped by the city.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played straight with Shiggy's plan to sneak Reg into the orphanage, and his related scheme to disguise Reg as a human orphan so he can join their school/labor-camp. Both cut straight from "I've got an idea" to the idea in action, and both seemingly work perfectly. It later turns out that Jiruo/Leader knew all along that Reg wasn't human, but this doesn't affect the plot. Averted with Riko and Reg's plan to catch an unruly hippo-beast; they explain it in detail, but nothing goes wrong.
  • Vicious Cycle: A deadly catastrophe befalls the Abyss and its surroundings every 2000 years. The exact details are unknown, but it always leaves behind a ruined civilization and hundreds of corpses buried in the same ritual position. At the beginning of the story, the current cycle is nearing its end, and there are signs that whatever causes the cataclysm, it's starting to wake up.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the animé, when Nat vomited because of the Curse of the Abyss (the sound of him vomiting could be heard, but his face was out of the frame when he vomited). The manga doesn't afford him that amount of discretion.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: Naturally. Starting from the encircling cliffs of Orth.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 10 of the anime (chapter 19 of the manga) marks the point where the series makes a hard shift from a whimsical adventure with dark undertones to an all-out Trauma Conga Line.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 12: "Please, kill Mitty for me."
    • Episode 13 contains a colossal one regarding the true nature of Bondrewd's experiments and what happened to Mitty:
      Soldier: It'd be different if [the orphan children] were cave raiders, but taking children, who'll never be able to return given the strain of doing so, is simply... From a humane perspective...
      Bondrewd: Oh, no need to worry. For I am not making use of them as humans, you see...
    • For the manga, Chapter 36 has Bondrewd mentioning the names of the cartridges dropped out from him. One of them is Prushka. It turns out he experimented on his adoptive daughter and turned her into a cartridge.
      Bondrewd: Ahh... It has truly been a wonderful adventure, hasn't it? Prushka...
    • And in Chapter 43:
      Bodyguard: The village is a closed cradle. If you get trapped, your value is shifted.
  • Wham Shot: In Chapter 19 of the manga/Episode 10 of the anime, the reveal of Riko's hand pierced by one of Orby's poisonous spikes. There is no dialogue, no movement, no music, almost no sound, just the protagonists' looks of shock and terror as they realize what has just happened and its horrible consequences.
  • The World Is Just Awesome:
    • The manga is rife with double-page spreads showcasing the amazing scenery of Orth and the Abyss.
    • The first episode of the anime ends with one, when Riko shows Reg the dawn in Orth: as the sun rises over the mountains, both the city and the Abyss are slowly bathed in light. Reg watches in awe from the top of the hill.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time seems to run slower the deeper you are in the Abyss, and it's easy to lose the track of time. Ozen claims that one time she made what she thought was a two-week-long trip to the fifth layer, but when she returned to the surface, she discovered she had been gone for months.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Even before the start of her adventure, Riko is very aware of the fact that she isn't going to return from the Abyss.

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