Made in Abyss review

Apr 16, 2021

I don’t usually write reviews but this was the first manga I bought in great anticipation, and was quite disappointed.

None of the other reviewers explicitly address this so I’m going to highlight it big time — this manga contains pedophilia imagery. I'm docking three points for this because it left a bad taste in my mouth. I tried to justify it when they would tie up children in the air as a punishment for breaking rules. Aight, people strip their children to their underwear and throw them outside. This must be another version; a cultural difference. Okay, so Reg’s ‘realistic’ penis is constantly highlighted… for scientific purposes, right? Oh, an often shirtless Riko. I mean, she is just a kid and me calling this perverted is me unnecessarily sexualising a child right… it’s fine. It has got to be fine. Hold up, progressively detailed chest(s) as the manga goes on??? A number of the female underaged characters squeezing their boobs drawn right on the inner cover???? Describing a bunny hollow thing CHILD’s scent in her pants???? Alright, this is absolutely fucked up. I can’t introduce this manga to anyone sane.

I’m trying to make the point that in the beginning of the manga, the pedophilia imagery was mild; I dismissed it as the usual thing in anime/manga. I know that there are certain genres that highlight ‘sexual’ imagery, but this manga was doing so well without it. As the story progresses, it becomes more prominent. I believe this is for fan-service and not a vital part of the story. Who told Tsukisha pedophilia imagery was a good idea? Why did no one stop him from ruining a perfectly good story?

Aside from this, the storyline is a perfect escape from reality. It coverts a whole new world with a hole full of mysteries — the best kind of story to get sucked into. There is always something new to discover, something new to experience with the characters. It’s dark but it is also thrilling. You always want to know what will happen next, and what will really come out of their adventure to the seventh layer. There are so many possibilities.

The characters are also portrayed so well. I believe choosing to have children as the main characters of the story was a power move. In a world that starts out quite mystical, with the common darkness of poverty and orphan-ry, we meet Riko — a child with big dreams and the will to achieve them. She lives with her friends who are knowledgable and supportive. She finds Reg, an anxiety-ridden robot thing who has lost his memories. Cute, right? But the common darkness becomes pitch black the further they go down the abyss. Gruelling experiences, blood, sacrifices, loss of humanity, accidents, hopelessness all become very real. Still, none of the ‘bad guys’ truly feel like bad guys. The 2m giant lady who tries to smash the little robot into pieces is also the beloved mentor of Riko’s badass mommy. She is terrifying but she means well. The evil man of the 5th layer who grinds up humans and sacrifices children to the curse for scientific research is also, somewhat a doting father. Somewhat. You can’t truly hate him, for he knows too much. It is out of this search for knowledge that he ruins the lives of unloved children.

Honestly, I don’t think I have to say much about the rest; everyone covers what a ride this manga is. I really do appreciate and love the story but if it wasn’t for the sexualisation of children, this manga would be a 10/10 for me.



Made in Abyss
Made in Abyss
Author Tsukushi, Akihito