Kinema Citrus’ 2017 anime adaptation of Made in Abyss is widely considered to be among the best shows of that year, as well as one of the best pure fantasy anime to come out in recent memory. But have you ever sat down to read the web manga on which it’s based? Akihito Tsukushi’s manga has been in continuous publication since 2012 and has reached 52 chapters in length, only 24 of which the anime has covered so far. Let’s delve deeper into this story to see what treasures we can unearth—this is why you NEED to read Made in Abyss!
The Worldbuilding Is Top-Notch
The Abyss is a richly detailed fantasy realm with its own natural ecosystem, history, mythology, and a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding town of Orth at its entrance. Each layer hosts scores of unique plants and animals that possess clever survival mechanisms, such as the massive Corpse-Weeper birds that lure human prey by imitating the voices of their captured companions.
The manga expands on this worldbuilding, primarily by introducing the Idofront research center on the 5th layer and the Village of Ilblu on the 6th. The mad scientist Bondrewd (who turned Nanachi and Mitty into Hollows) makes his home at Idofront, which Riko and Reg have to pass through in order to go deeper into the Abyss. We learn more about Nanachi’s history with the facility, meet Bondrewd’s peppy assistant Prushka, and finally discover who this scientist really is. Later, our adventurers reach the Village of Ilblu, an enclosed community home to hundreds of Hollows that have strange ideas about “value”. This place ties into Reg’s past and holds valuable secrets about the first delvers who ever ventured into the Abyss. It’s all so fascinating!
Tsukushi’s Art Is Unique and Creative
The anime’s art (especially the painted backgrounds) does an admirable job at capturing the essence of Tsukushi’s illustrations, but reading the manga is a completely different experience. The sketchy lines and soft shadows give the visuals a watercolor look, even in black and white. Clothes, creatures, and landscapes are heavily detailed, but not to the point of feeling cluttered. And on the rare occasion that Tsukushi blesses us with a color image, it’s a thing of beauty to behold. However, the unusual style makes the manga difficult to read quickly, so be sure to slow down and fully process the panels before moving on or you might miss something.
There’s Still So Much We Don’t Know
Even though the manga’s story is up to the 6th layer of the Abyss, there’s still no clear end in sight for Riko and Reg. We still don’t know the truth about Lyza, Reg’s full backstory, or what lies at the bottom of the Abyss. Joining the manga fandom now is a great way to engross yourself in the ongoing mysteries that everyone is still abuzz about!
Made in Abyss has its flaws (the infrequent publication schedule being one of the most blatant), but its world is a gorgeously crafted wonderland of fantastical creatures that you’ll come back to over and over. Jump right in, you won’t regret it!
What did you think of our overview? Have you ever read Made in Abyss? What mysteries do you want to know the answers to? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!