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Manga / Made in Abyss

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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 Deceptively 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 to the bottom of the fabled seventh layer of the Abyss, where she is waiting for her. Included in her letter are descriptions and drawings of beings found on the lower levels of the Abyss, which much to Reg's interest include 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 the first three volumes. Volume 4 and 5 were adapted in a feature film called Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul, released on January 17, 2020. In January 2022, it was announced that the first season will air on Toonami. A second season (with the subtitle The Golden City of the Scorching Sun) aired in Summer 2022 and adapted volumes 6-10. In January of 2023 a third season was announced.

A video game by Chime Corporation, titled Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness, was made for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It released on September 1, 2022 in Japan, published by Spike Chunsoft, and September 2, 2022 in North America and Europe, published by Aksys Games and Numskull Games respectively. Like the work it's based on it pulls no punches, having violent content warnings in all regions' video game ratings.

Also has a Spin-Off Anthology series featuring shorter works by various creators, Made in Abyss: Official Anthology.

The manga has very frequent graphic content and realistic body horror, so 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. It's well known for being voted best anime of 2017 by the Crunchyroll awards.

Tropes for the series include:

  • 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 Cave Raiders, 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.
    • Averted with Ozen. While her approach is brutal, she keeps her people alive, well, and prepared. Seven volumes in, she and her former apprentice are the only two known, benevolent White Whistles.
  • Aerith and Bob: Riko is a rather normal Japanese name, but many other characters have absolutely weird ones. Ozen, Srajo, Belaf... to name a few.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: After Riko gets 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 styled that way intentionally, though.)
  • 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 Cave Raiders, and things can get very ugly if two teams from opposing factions bump into each other in the Abyss.
  • Artificial Limbs: Some relics can be used as prosthetic limbs, such as the Third Works or the Gentle Knock. Reg ends up using one of the latter to replace his missing arm.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The art style for the characters is very Puni Plush in stark contrast to the lush backgrounds and visceral horrors.
  • Ascended Meme: "The rumble of scientific triumph" started as a translator joke. It went to become the title of one of the movie's tracks.
  • 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: In a show of power, Faputa instantly regenerates an arm and an ear.
  • 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.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: The description given, essentially word for word, for the effects of ascent from the Fourth Layer. Happens to Riko in one of anime's most infamous scenes.
  • Body Horror:
    • The various creatures of the Abyss have a plethora of ways to play merry hell on the human body. Evisceration, poison, swelling, parasitism and much more. In addition, there's the form the "Curse of the Abyss" takes when a Cave Raider ascends from the sixth level: it inflicts such havoc on their body that everyone accepts the reality that there is no returning once you've reached that level.
    • When Riko and Reg enter the Fourth Layer, Riko gets lanced 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 is forced to endure 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.
    • After being forced to ascend from the Sixth Layer, Mitty was transformed into a grotesque blob of flesh.
    • The handiworks of Bondrewd the Novel hold truest to this trope. Each revelation just keeps topping the horror of the previous.
    • The members of the Ganja Corps have their bodies warped by the water they're drinking, turning hard and into a stone-like substance. This causes their bodies to sort of bloom outwards to resemble the bark you would see around a tree, but without the wood the bark surrounds. The hands and feet are affected first, turning into what looks like tangled roots. Obviously it kills them, but leaves their face visible, so people always knows who the person was. It turns out that the water was actually a parasitic organism and the pool they were collecting it from was the remains of a creature that it killed the same way.
    • Ozen is the poster child for The Baroness. We get told her odd hairstyle is to cover battle scars. And then there's the 120 or so barbs embedded in her body.
  • 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: Mitty and Nanachi. The former goes into the Fifth Layer as a cheerful, friendly child and comes out a quasi-conscious and perpetually suffering blob of flesh. The latter is traumatized by being forced to watch their friend's transformation and having to complete what tasks Bondrewd set them to.
  • 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 Riko 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.
    • Ozen does it again after Riko and Reg pass their survival training, though this time it was so they could mentally process and start planning for some of the horrors they could encounter while they were in a safe location with more experienced Cave Raiders that they could go to for advice, and scaring the crap out of them was just a bonus.
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: The doctor who visits Orth in a couple of side chapters and tries treating Kiyui looks identical to the "witch doctor" from the Gears' Maiden series of two illustrated short stories, two of Akihito Tsukushi's earlier self published works.
  • 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 cannibalizing people in general by eating Abyssal predators, makes Reg uncomfortable.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: You have the child labor at the top... then there's Iruburu, the city that turned body horror into an economy. The local currency is body parts; either someone else's or the trader themselves. It's strictly enforced, even with an "equal value" justice system. If you decrease the value of someone else's possession, the city itself will proceed to rip the flesh from your body until your "value" is reduced by the same amount as the damage you caused. It's handled in such a "matter of fact" way by the locals, they all come off as violent psychopaths. Good Thing You Can Heal...
  • 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, are 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.
    • Dialed up well above 11 with Iruburu, where horror is their economy.
    • Dialed up well above 20 with their predecessors, the Ganja Corps. At least one person is snatched up by a predator, and mutate a la Mitty long before the monster gets around to eating them. Before being snatched up, they were probably already fatally poisoned by the local food supply.
  • Conlang: Most of the Hollows have forgotten human language and those gathered in the Hollows village have created their own peculiar language. Cave Raiders who reach the village are basically like tourists visiting a strange foreign country.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • One of the punishments in Orth is being strung up naked by the hands and legs from the ceiling.
    • One of the punishments in Iruburu for vandalism is having a part of your body deemed of equal value as the damage you caused, torn out.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Subverted with the series' usual cruelty. Cave Raiders who venture into the Sixth Layer should be very careful when picking water sources, lest they accidentally drink Mockwater, a parasitical organism that disguises itself as a pond of clear, fresh water. It's practically indistinguishable from normal water and it can survive extreme temperatures, so boiling it won't kill it. Once ingested, the Mockwater lays eggs in the host's digestive track and attacks its flesh, dissolving them from the inside out. This creature is what decimates the Ganja expedition.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The town of Orth is a lively place; cave Cave Raiders 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. Cave Raiders are treated as martyrs, and their offspring are inspired to follow in their parents' dangerous footsteps. These circumstances however have helped the main characters 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. Much like decompression sickness, it gets worse the deeper you go because the amount and "weight" of Curse bearing down on you from above gets exponentially greater the deeper you are. Moreover, it does not apply evenly everywhere, with some crevices and passages being safe simply by virtue of being too deep for the Curse to seep into them. 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 (allegedly).
  • Cypher Language: Nether Glyphs originated from a mysterious ancient language tied to the Abyss, but were adopted by the people of Orth as their formal writing system. They're a substitution cipher using Japanese kana syllables.
  • Darkest Hour: As bad as Iruburu is, before everyone’s conversion to mutants, their only water supply in the 6th Layer turned out to be some kind of creature disguised as water. Everyone gets infected and Body Horror ensues. They attempt to use an artifact to save a little girl. It grants her wish, to be able to have ‘children,’ but they lack organs and constantly die, turning her wish into a nightmare. The situation improves, but not before sprinting straight at the Despair Event Horizon.
  • 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, Bondrewd 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 Cave Raiders. 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.
  • Died on Their Birthday: There is a mysterious disease that occurs on the surface around the Abyss where a person falls horribly ill on their birthday, and by the end of the day, they will have died. The mysterious disease is theorized to be the cause of the praying skeleton tombs that date back every 2000 years. The only known survivor of the birthday disease is Kiyui, who recovered in mere minutes after he was taken out of the Abyss' vicinity and taken onto the caravan fleet by Mio.
  • Disguised Horror Story: Don't let the puni-plush art style trick you for a second — it's that sort of gorefest where Body Horror and gory mutilations are displayed in full glory. Your first wake-up call is when Riko gets hit by the Curse of the Abyss in Chapter 19 and bleeds out from every orfice of her body, and it just gets worse from there.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Iruburu and Orth mirror each other. In Orth, people leave the town to travel into the abyss, to collect artifacts, which are exchanged for money. The high mortality rate of abyss explorers provide the town with a continuous supply of orphans. In Iruburu, the citizens can’t leave the town, and would be considered living artifacts, by Orth’s standards. Instead of artifact hunting, the Iruburu citizens harvest their own bodies for wealth. Its almost as if Iruburu is Orth, with the ‘exploration’ piece removed.
    • Several of the constructs in the story obey MMORPG rules; such as upper level creatures being semi-passive with very small territories they’re reluctant to leave. You have the level 6 power players with cool artifacts and armor sets, which make them virtually unstoppable. Then you have Ozen, the power-leveler helping newbs, and Bondrewd the griefer.
    • Played for Drama in Chapter 43. While she takes a walk through the Hollow Village, Riko is lured into a dark alley, where she is attacked by a group of monstrous Hollows. 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.
  • Double-Meaning 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.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Nanachi planned to off themself if Reg didn’t make them promise to join them on their colorful adventure, in exchange for mercy killing Mitty.
    • Vueko after the sixth layer curb stomps the Ganja Corps, and results in her surrogate daughter being horrifically mutated, first into a meat production plant, and then into an entire village, tries to jump off a cliff but is stopped by Wazukyan.
    • Belaf is strongly implied to have this state of mind from the guilt of eating Irumyuui's children by the time he willingly offers himself up for sacrifice as the first controlled mutation.
  • 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 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. Most importantly, those who spend a long time exploring the Abyss tend to start surrendering pieces of their humanity to it, physically and/or psychologically. Even those whose personality remains mostly benign, like Ozen, tend to gain a serving of Blue-and-Orange Morality.
    • The Village of Iruburu has distinct rules separate from those that govern the rest of the Abyss. The curse doesn’t exist within it. The village itself operates as sort of a banker, judge, and jury. When someone joins, their soul is read and dollar values are attached to absolutely everything about them. An act of violence is considered vandalism. All nearby citizens know immediately the dollar value of the damage done, and removes that value from the perpetrator. Even their organs have value, so the value extraction process can get pretty squicky.
  • Emergency Transformation: The citizens of Iruburu took on their Hollow forms to continue surviving in the Sixth Layer.
  • Enchanted Forest: The second layer of the Abyss is the Forest of Temptation. Its upper regions consist of a forest of trees topped with giant, lilypad-like leaves that point toward the center of the abyss. The lower part is known as the Inverted Forest because it grows upside-down on the underside of the layer. Here, the trees' crowns form solid surfaces that cave raiders can hop between to get to either the Seeker Camp for shelter or the sides of the Abyss where the wildlife is less aggressive, though the extreme updrafts in the area make this more dangerous than it looks. The Forest of Temptation is the first part of the Abyss where encounters with deadly and deceptively intelligent wildlife are common.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Riko has cooked testicles in Chapter 44. She does a Shrug Take and keeps eating, though it's pretty spicy.
  • 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.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: We're introduced to the three sages of the Iruburu village in order: Wazukyan, Belaf and Juroimoh. Some time later, Vueroeruko off-handedly mentions that she's one of the three sages, meaning there's a odd one out. Indeed, Juroimoh lies - it's a manifestation of the village's will and has never been human.
  • 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 main characters 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.
  • Free-Range Children: 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.
  • From Bad to Worse: Happens a lot. Yet, this is part of the series’ charm. It's always hyper-aware of the implications for what’s happening. When it shows trauma, it knows it's traumatic and never glosses over this, which gives every step taken an emotional weight that few other franchises can match.
  • 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 Cave Raiders are seen as often as male ones. Three 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 Cave Raiders.
  • 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 Cave Raiders.
    • 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.
  • Hive Mind: Heavily implied. Some of the characters were born human individuals. Circumstances within the Abyss resulted in them getting copied, or detached from any one material form. In each of these instances, its implied their consciousness wasn’t copied, but instead was extended.
  • Hope Spot: Prushka grew up as Bondrewd’s adopted daughter. If he raised someone like her, he can’t be all bad, right? Then he mutilates her off-screen, and turns her into a disposable curse decoy, about the size of a canteen.
  • Human Resources: The special whistles White Whistles carry around are made from humans, and Prushka is turned into one. Riko's, to be precise.
  • 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 2,000-year cycles. The implication is that every civilization that lives near the Abyss suffers some sort of catastrophe every 2,000 years. It's no coincidence that the next 2,000-year cycle is about to hit and many people in Orth are starting to die from a mysterious illness on their birthdays.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In the anime version of the Third Layer, there is a monster that lures rodents into its maw with the scent of fruit. Riko falls for it, and has to cut her way out of its stomach.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: This was the case for the village that came before. The fact that Irumyuu couldn't have children due to her body was the reason she was exiled for her curse.
  • Mature Work, Child Protagonists: The manga features a very cute Puni Plush art style and initially presents itself as a light-hearted adventure story about a young girl named Riko and a robot boy named Reg exploring the mysterious titular abyss. It doesn't take very long before the series stops pulling its punches by having the main characters thrown into literal life-or-death situations, trying to survive against barely-known creatures that can easily kill and eat them, having to deal with all manner of sicknesses and injuries, Body Horror caused by a literal curse created by the depths of the Abyss, a completely deranged Mad Scientist who performs all manner of horrific experiments For Science!, and many more mysteries and horrors all Played for Drama the deeper they go down.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Cave Raiders are traditionally responsible for training up people (oftentimes children) into future Cave Raiders, who would follow in their masters' footsteps and raise the next generation of Cave Raiders, 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.
  • Mega Dungeon: The titular Abyss is a multi-layered cave system that is regularly challenged by explorers for its relics and unique wildlife. Just the known locations are deeper than any discovered place on Earth and from a certain point, it becomes a One-Way Trip.
  • 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, who was forcibly turned into an immortal blob of flesh after being exposed to the Curse of the Abyss who can't be killed by any other means and suffers in horrible pain when she's injured.
  • Mood Whiplash: Most of Season 2 Episode 1 deals with the start of both the flashbacks to the Ganja Corps and the trio leaving for the Capital of the Unreturned, both of which are quite serious... then we get a prominent bit of Toilet Humor about Riko having a Potty Emergency, complete with loud pooping SFX, acting as some Bathos for the intense seriousness.
  • 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 sees his flying hand, and the shopkeeper doesn't question how he retrieved it mere seconds after the customer asked for it.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All the white whistles can qualify as this on some level. Bondrewd’s lead-up feels dreadfully understated after seeing the full extent of his depravity. Lyza the Annihilator’s reputation portrays her as a violent hothead, and alcoholic. It's kind of horrifying to know she’s one of the more liked white whistles.
  • 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.)
  • Nobody Poops: Averted when Riko needs to go number two during the party's descent from the fifth to the sixth layer. Nanachi asks her to at least wait until they're out of the diving bell, but Reg says that, though it may be unsightly, it's better that she do her duty in a relatively safe place rather than running the risk of quite possibly dying while seeking privacy in an unexplored environment teeming with monsters and dangers.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: An in-universe example. As the group makes their way down into the sixth layer, they come across the body of a fellow Cave Raider with a black whistle. Most of the group reacts with curiosity... save for Faputa, who refuses to get anywhere near the body, saying, "He's dead... but he's terrifying!". The group then notices that, despite being dead long enough for the elements of the sixth layer to effectively mummify the corpse, the creatures of the Abyss haven't touched him, making it clear there is something imperceptibly but profoundly wrong with him. The effect is extremely unsettling.
  • 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.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Nanachi, on at least two separate occasions, reflects with concern on a couple of quirks Riko shares with Bondrewd, and the man himself sees her as a kindred spirit after she instantly figures out the purpose and inspiration of his experiments.
  • 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 than they do a strict parent. In fact, some even enlist in 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 the "Capital of the Unreturned" for this reason.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Bondrewd's curse-preventing Cartridges contain orphan children that he has surgically reduced to the minimum collection of flesh and organs needed to be alive.
  • Power Trio: Nanachi joins the team in chapter 26 after Reg does them a favor, making the protagonist's team effectively a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits composed of a resurrected girl with barely any combat prowess holding another girl's Soul Jar after chapter 38, a Ridiculously Human Robot 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.
  • Puni Plush: Riko and Reg, along with all the other child characters, are drawn with soft, curvy designs that avoid nearly any use of sharp angles. This gives them an overall "young and innocent" look, which stands in sharp contrast to the adults of the series, most of which are drawn with very angular and drawn features, making them look haggard and world-weary. It also serves to amplify the sense of their vulnerability when exposed to the dangerous denizens of the Abyss.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Riko's crew, after Nanachi joins. The Subterranean Bandits are likely one as well, since Ozen describes them as "a bunch of good-for-nothings with nowhere to call home on the surface."
  • Rape as Backstory: Vueko’s character backstory begins with her being repeatedly raped and brutalized by her adoptive guardian as a child.
  • Rasputinian Death: Bondrewd's first depicted death. He's shot with a crossbow bolt injecting parasitic larvae that eat you from the inside, taken down to the sixth layer and back up, which causes death or horrible mutation, and finally, his lower body is crushed by a giant boulder.
  • 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.
  • Robot Buddy: The Interference Units that were with the Suicide Squad. They essentially acted as both their guides and the reasons for their survival.
  • 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 millennia, a pirate ship embedded in a cliff-side wall, or the grand remains of an ancient city. None of it is connected by any hint of infrastructure or makes any sense. The Capital of the Unreturned is a mostly intact ruin but looks melted and warped.
  • Rule of Seven: The Abyss is divided into 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.
  • Running Away to Cry: Nat tries to dissuade Riko from going into the Abyss by pointing out how long her mother has been gone, concluding that she almost certainly died a long time ago. This causes Riko to immediately run away in tears.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Riko bows to someone to thank or apologize to them, expect her to hit them with either whatever hat she's wearing or her ponytails.
  • R-Rated Opening: Unlike the first season which initially maintained the illusion of being a light and soft story before revealing its true colors later on, the second season's first episode starts with Vueko recalling how her adoptive Abusive Dad would torture her both physically and strongly implied to be sexually, setting the tone for how the story will continue ramping up the nauseatingly dark atmosphere the first season and third movie built up.
  • 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 main characters see one, a behemoth that looks like an anglerfish, while making the Final Dive to the Capital of the Unreturned.
  • Searching for the Lost Relative: The inciting incident and majority of the plot revolve around Riko searching for her long-lost mother.
  • 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.
  • Shameful Strip: A stock punishment for misbehaving children in Orth is to be strung up from the ceiling completely naked.
  • Shout-Out: One of the small animals in the OP for the anime is white with a pink circle in the middle of its 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 or Mitty/Meethi 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 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 deciding to begin a new life in what they call the Golden City of the Shourou. Its members eventually become the founders of the Hollow village, Iruburu.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • White Whistles themselves are extreme personalities because only such a person would consider living in the Death World of the Abyss and they use performance enhancers to stack the odds overwhelmingly in their favor.
    • Riko as an unaugmented human survives primarily on intellect and luck. The only characters that have the strength and abilities for directly fighting the monsters and other dangers of the Abyss are either not human in the first place or not ordinary humans anymore.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: When Reg asks Nanachi to promise him they won't kill themself after Mitty dies, they answer that they can't die when they still have Riko to treat. Reg then presses further and asks them to promise they won't kill themself even after Riko is saved. They hesitate for a second before agreeing, indicating that they did intend to die… The scene shows both how perceptive Reg can be and just how much guilt and depression Nanachi was hiding behind their snarky façade.
  • The Strength of Ten Men: The Thousand Human Pins are said to grant whoever wears them the strength of a thousand men. Ozen has a whole bunch of them.
  • 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 themself, if they were ever discovered. Since most Hollows found so far are unthinking, unreasoning things that Cave Raiders usually Mercy Kill upon encountering, they fear that anyone who discovers them will want to experiment on them to determine why they are an exception.
    • Actually happens at the Idofront. Bondrewd’s crew "examines" Reg, cutting off an arm and nearly taking a leg as well before Nanachi stops them.
  • 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.
  • Translation Convention: At first, the bizarre language of Iruburu is untranslated, making viewers just as confused as the main trio when the villagers speak. But starting from when Riko asked to learn the language, more and more of the words started getting translations as if the viewers were learning with her, until by Season 2 Episode 9 the dialogue of the villagers gets fully subtitled, and amusingly the first example of fully-translated dialogue makes note that most of the villagers don't understand the language of the main characters/viewers.
  • Translation Nod: One English fan translation comedically translated a sound effect used in a major moment of the Idofront arc as "rumble of scientific triumph". When it came time to adapt that part of the story in the "Dawn of the Deep Soul" movie, composer Kevin Penkin gave that same moment an appropriately named track.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In this universe, your childhood is/was/will be awful. No exceptions. It can be anywhere from creepy BDSM stuff, to tattooed with a ‘rejected’ message because you’re not ‘birthing stock,’ to straight-up mutilation.
  • 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 Cave Raiders who relinquished their humanity to the Abyss or became trapped by the city.
  • Undressing the Unconscious:
    • After Riko gets vomit all over her clothes and faints, Reg takes off Riko's clothes in order to clean them.
    • Happens again a short while later, when Riko suffers the curse of the fourth layer, which includes bleeding from every orifice, while already suffering a nasty wound from an orb-piercer. Reg returns from gathering ingredients for an antidote to the orb-piercer's venom, only to see Nanachi stripping an unconscious Riko nude. Nanachi points out that leaving her in blood-and-urine-soaked clothes would give her a rash and tosses the bloody clothes at him to go wash.
  • 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.
    • Invoked by Nanachi to help Reg fight against the orb piercer. It can read the Abyss's force field to predict movements, so Nanachi drip-feeds Reg instructions from a safe distance, since it can't read his plans if he doesn't know what the plans are.
  • 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.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Tepasté and Cravali spot a group of off-duty Umbra Hands hanging out at the Plummet Pub, a popular tavern for Cave Raiders.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the anime, 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 at that momemnt). The manga doesn't afford him the same discretion.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Unlike in the first season where we got several Vomit Discretion Shots, the first episode of Season pulls no punches and directly shows Vueko puking her guts out from seasickness.
  • Walk into Mordor: The Abyss has several features that inhibit the use of vehicles for exploration, the most notable of which are its incredibly inhospitable terrain, the wide variety of dangerous fauna that make their homes there and the Curse of the Abyss, which afflicts anyone ascending from the Abyss to ailments that range from merely unpleasant to fatal.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: Naturally. Starting from the encircling cliffs of Orth.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: The abyss is a massive, unexplored cave system full of mystery, including odd creatures that live in the depths. The people living near the abyss get all their food from there as a result, and while this is normalized, the food from the abyss still tends to be so grotesque many people find it disgusting even In-Universe.
  • 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 main characters' 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.
    • On the surface, Orth has a funeral tradition that involves dropping flower petals and plaques with the name of the deceased into the Abyss. Reg stumbles across where they land on the sixth layer. The time dilation is so strong that the plaques fall like rain.
    • There are living Hollows in the Sixth Layer that are over 1,900 years old, but going by what Wazukyan says, for them its only been 150 years since they became Hollows.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Made In Abyss


Loss Of Humanity

The Strain of Ascension from the 6th Layer of the Abyss is the most severe yet known. If you're lucky, the ascent will kill you. If not...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / BodyHorror

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