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There’s something about exploring the unknown that has fascinated mankind for ages, so it’s no surprise why anime that tackles this theme is so popular. The world of Made in Abyss pits those who have a curious nature against a primeval world that is inhospitable to humans. Generations ago, a hole known as the Abyss opened up, bringing with it both untold treasures and horrors. Those known as Cave Raiders came to explore it and delve into its depths, with the promise of fame, wealth, and answers to the Abyss’ many mysteries. Rika, daughter of the greatest Cave Raider Lyza, yearns to follow in her mother’s footsteps. When word reaches her of her mother’s passing, she receives a mysterious note convincing her that her mother is waiting for her at the bottom of the Abyss. Together with a mysterious robot boy named Reg, she makes her descent. But for the young Rika, it is an assured one-way trip, and she may not live to see the end of it.
Made in Abyss is the most stunning anime of Summer 2017, featuring beautifully drawn backgrounds and incredibly emotional world building. It’s rare to see such magnificent creativity come together in anime theatrically, let alone broadcast. It’s very evocative of beautiful, imaginative worlds from other famed storytellers, and with each episode, it pulls you further into the story. For those looking for similar shows to watch that keep you intrigued throughout, here are our 6 recommendations for anime like Made in Abyss.
Similar Anime to Made in Abyss
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 - Apr. 2011
Mahou Shoujo are typically young girls who put on a brave face to safeguard the world from despicable evil. While that remains true in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, there’s a lot beneath the surface that will astound viewers. Madoka Kaname is a simple young student, who, along with her friend Sayaka Miki, is your basic, typical middle school student. When the new transfer student, Homura Akemi, enters their class, they also encounter a magical creature known as Kyuubey. Kyuubey promises the girls that he will grant them any one wish if they become magical girls and the two consent. Akemi, however, warns them to not listen to Kyuubey, as she is already a magical girl who took a similar deal herself. Thus the stage is set for one of the most psychological and dramatic anime plot lines seen in decades.
Like Made in Abyss, not everything is as happy and cheery in this anime as it may seem. They both share dark and sinister undertones despite both starring young, chibi-looking characters. It’s forgivable that one might watch both and think that they can expect a somewhat relaxed, cheerful viewing considering how both anime appear. It isn’t until both shows pick up steam that the brutal truth of what awaits the characters really sets in. If you’re looking for a dark, gritty anime that isn’t everything it appears to be, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a recommended watch.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Trailer
2. Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk (Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2008 - Jun. 2008
The Tower of Druaga has many legends surrounding it. Everyone knows that it is dangerous, but things are about to change within it. The demons within the tower are about to be weakened thanks to the divine protection of Uruk’s god Anu, and everyone is waiting to get in on the action. Jil, a plucky, young adventurer has had a difficult time in his short career. But now allied with new team members and a new resolve, he hopes to gain fame as a hero and conquer the Tower of Druaga.
Like Made in Abyss, untold horrors keep humanity at bay from the riches promised deep within the Tower of Druaga. Adventurers in both stories either try to make a name for themselves or gain vast fortunes by entering these perilous locations. While there are more traditional fantasy elements in Druaga, fans of adventurers motivated by fame and fortune will enjoy Druaga no Tou.
Tower of Druaga Trailer
3. Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2015 - Jun. 2015
Despite the English name of the DanMachi series, Bell Cranel is not a run of the mill skirt-chasing protagonist. He’s just a hopeful young lad who knows he’s destined to become a great hero like the legends of old. When his life is saved by the beautiful Ais Wallenstein, he falls in love at first sight, and sets off on his quest to become an adventurer worthy of her. Together with his goddess Hestia and allies, he begins an arduous quest to conquer the dungeon and make a name for himself.
Adventurers in the DanMachi world earn a living by exploring the dungeon, just like the cave raiders in Made in Abyss. The dangers faced in both the Abyss and the dungeons of DanMachi are certain death, as the monsters are actively trying to kill the servants of the gods they ally themselves with. Bell is just as motivated to catch up with Ais as Rika is to reach her mother Lyza. If you’d like to see another series with a motivated protagonist defying death itself, DanMachi is a great anime to watch.
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka PV
Any Anime Like Made in Abyss ?
4. Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo (Children Who Chase Lost Voices)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: May 2011
Watase Asuna has lost her father, and her mother is never around due to work. This leaves the young girl on her own, with only the fascination of listening to strange voices over a keepsake radio left to her by her father. One day, she is attacked by a mysterious creature, but is rescued by a mysterious boy named Shun. She later encounters his brother Shin, and the two find themselves in the brothers’ home world of Agartha after being pursued by enemies. There, she discovers that the dead remain in some form, and if she wishes to have any hope to return to her world, Shin and Asuna must work together.
Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the movie is beautifully drawn and bears a very distinct look. The somber tone of the anime is marked with death, much like Made in Abyss. With the cheery visuals and young characters, it can be deceptively tense and gripping at times. If you want to watch a beautiful anime with a memorable plot and sad undertones, this is another great watch.
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo Trailer
5. Log Horizon
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2013 - Mar. 2014
Players of the virtual MMORPG Elder Tale are trapped in a realistic world based on the game and unable to log out. Log Horizon follows the exploits of Shiroe and his friends and allies who join him in a clan of the same name. While many of the same game features remain, the world is populated by real people instead of NPCs, or “people of the land”, as they are called. The veteran players are discovering just how much of their new world is a game, and how much of it is real. With not everyone agreeing on the best way to co-exist in this new world, the players are forced to find a meaning to their new lives and search for answers as to why this happened.
Unlike similar anime like Sword Art Online, Log Horizon has a more adventurous feel to it. Shiroe is a calculating individual and quickly uses his knowledge of the game to become the pillar of the new world. He helps other players who were whisked up in the mayhem as well, many of them young and defenseless like Rika herself. These newcomers to the world of Elder Tale seek to level up by following Shiroe’s guidance, and together, the players find their place in a much larger world. If an exciting show full of wonder and adventure is to your liking, Log Horizon is a must watch.
LOG HORIZON Trailer
6. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2016 - Mar. 2016
Six strangers awaken in the game-like fantasy world of Grimgar with no memories of their past lives or journeys, only their names. To survive in this new world, they join together as soldiers in the Reserve Army, those who battle monsters for a living. As beginners, they face a host of new challenges, with each choosing their own specialization and class to better serve the group. Throughout the series, there is much grief and struggle, while just surviving to see the next day trumps searching for a reason for why they’re there to begin with.
The group in Grimgar is very close knit, much like Rika and her friends at the orphanage. Even though they have not known each other long, they come to rely on each other for basic survival. Unlike other fantasy worlds, Grimgar is very gritty despite a beautiful pastel-like art style. The show explores the more desperate side of how adventurers fare than in other shows. They experience the fear of facing a goblin, even though they’re usually defeated in one strike by other heroes, they pose a great challenge to these beginners. It’s a fight just to see tomorrow for these poor souls, just like the cave raiders in Made in Abyss. If you’re willing to stick it out till the end with these characters, you’re going to find an exciting ride in this series.
Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
Adventure, wonder, excitement - we crave these elements in our favorite stories. Made in Abyss has delivered on every aspect as it pulls in viewers with its captivating setup and sympathetic characters. The other shows on this list bear similar aspects as well. Do you have any other series that you feel deliver just as much excitement? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!