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EP. REVIEW: Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun


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Romuska
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 720
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 1:06 pm Reply with quote
It’s like every episode is an endurance test! I’ve read the manga but the directing in the anime is so damn good that I find myself struggling to get through some of the more brutal moments.
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Electric Wooloo



Joined: 19 Aug 2020
Posts: 235
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 1:29 pm Reply with quote
As someone who has caught up on the manga I won't spoil anything specifically, but just wanted to say that I'm enjoying this arc much more animated than in paper.

The "Flashback" sections were originally told as 1 chunk in the middle of the arc, and I feel that spreading them out as a concurrent story really helps build the mystery in a way that will lead to it landing much harder when we see what really happened to Ganja. The arc having such a foreign and mysterious setting also made it somewhat hard to follow in manga form having to wait months between installments.

Quote:
What made Bondrewd such a villain was his ability to completely disregard the bodies and the agency of the children he dissected in the pursuit of his scientific advancements, and the Village of the Hollows is kind of an extension of that ethos.


It's VERY interesting you bring this up. In a not insignificant way this arc is about agency. The agency some characters give up, the agency some characters discover they have, and how people, or Narahate, at the end of the day are basically the sum total of their choices and experiences through life. And how regardless of how much say you had in the choices that made you who you are, you do get to decide how you live with them and how they affect you going forward.

Anyways, really looking forward to this arc. It's gonna be a good one. Not Bondrewd level good imo, but the two arcs almost can't even be compared in that way since they have such different core themes.
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Andromeda18_



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 4
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:04 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
On the other hand, though, I genuinely don't see how you could argue that there isn't something about Tsukushi's fixations that is not blatantly fetishistic, and even for those of us that have been able to make peace with that aspect of Made in Abyss, this season is ramping up the intensity to levels that may prove to be too much even for fans of the series.


Actually, I can handle it just fine. It's brutal, no doubt about that, but I know what to expect from this show and that allows me to control how much I engage with it emotionally. It should be said that I've read some pretty twisted manga in my life (sometimes I even wondered about the author's mental health), so I guess I'm a bit desensitized.

Quote:
just wanted to say that I'm enjoying this arc much more animated than in paper.


I feel exactly the same way! It's usually the other way around for me, but some shows, like Made in Abyss and Land of the Lustrous, really benefit from being animated.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 979
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:14 pm Reply with quote
James once again revealing that he has absolutely no idea what "capitalism" is, using it in incredibly vague ways. Particularly notable considering that he's also reviewing Yurei Deco, an exploration of how some of the negative things people blame on capitalism occur in entirely different economic systems and concepts of value. The idea of Faustian bargains is a lot of things, but it's absolutely not "capitalist thought taken to its most self-centered and abstract extreme." Nor is feudalism capitalism, nor is barter, nor are systems based around "favors" in lieu of abstracted currency numbers capitalism. Those are all things that pre date capitalism, and exist in explicitly non capitalist societies as well.

Even a land of abundance where capitalism doesn't apply has hierarchy (such as in Star Trek), or social relations and popularity (as in Yurei Deco.)

Just a remarkable statement that can only be made by someone utterly ill-read and unfamiliar with the varieties of human life and societies.

James has this habit of identifying things that are objectively and overwhelmingly demonstrated by extensive experience and scientific literature as being less common in advanced capitalist countries as somehow indicative of capitalism, sounding for all the world like slavery defenders like George Fitzhugh.

Part of that, of course, being a paradox of open societies inviting criticism, and part of it simply unfamiliarity with alternatives.
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ANN_Lynzee
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Joined: 02 May 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:36 pm Reply with quote
Trying to figure out if you accused James of defending slavery here or not.

Listen, the interpretation posed here is that, whether technically correct or not, there are people that view unfiltered, worst-case possible capitalism as one that commodifies the human body at a base level. It's "Amazon has people peeing in bottles to reach utmost efficiency," degradation of the human self into one of purely economic value. This isn't spelled out in capitalist theory, but the end result of competition-driven "innovation" in many cases is offering the thing of value for the lowest price to outdo the competitor and everything falls into place after that. When the pink weirdo monster damaged Meilyn, a being that Riko stated was invaluable, the way it paid its debt is by having its body literally torn apart. "Capitalism doesn't literally tear apart bodies to recompense debt." No, not literally.

"Well akshullying" this relationship, which James is interpreting symbolically, to lob insults at him because you think the interpretation is closer to another economic system, is not bolstering conversation here. You had an opportunity to say "I found the society in Made in Abyss to be much closer these historical examples" and while you don't outright say it, I assume the implication is also "and capitalism isn't as bad by comparison."

Instead you don't offer any of that to the discussion, and whether you're aware of it or not, the entire tone of your post reads like it was written on a high horse.


Last edited by ANN_Lynzee on Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:51 pm; edited 5 times in total
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John the Dark Lord



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 164
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:37 pm Reply with quote
As much as I loved the review, I was also baffled when the word "capitalism" showed up. Capitalism is all about competition and growth, but the village forbids those things because you can only get something of value by giving something of equal value. Some guy in MyAnimeList even joked this place would be paradise to Thanos, because everything is balanced there. And balance is the last thing capitalism needs. Competition by nature creates unbalance.
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ZelosZoidberg



Joined: 23 May 2018
Posts: 389
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:11 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
spoiler[]since we basically have confirmation that the Faputa that reigns as the “Princess of the Hollows” is the same young girl that the Ganja recruited who knows how many decades (or centuries) ago]
Oh honey bless your heart....
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dm
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Joined: 24 Sep 2010
Posts: 1038
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:19 pm Reply with quote
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after it is all said and done, who is to say that surviving isn't the cruelest punishment of all?


Just ask Mitty?
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Electric Wooloo



Joined: 19 Aug 2020
Posts: 235
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:27 pm Reply with quote
ZelosZoidberg wrote:
Quote:
spoiler[]since we basically have confirmation that the Faputa that reigns as the “Princess of the Hollows” is the same young girl that the Ganja recruited who knows how many decades (or centuries) ago]
Oh honey bless your heart....


spoiler["It looks like the corpse of a giant creature..."]

The last transition of the OP with Vueko and Irumyui hugging transitioning into the cut of spoiler[Wazukyan first finding The Cradle of Greed] breaks my damn heart
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Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
Posts: 998
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:33 pm Reply with quote
ZelosZoidberg wrote:
Quote:
spoiler[]since we basically have confirmation that the Faputa that reigns as the “Princess of the Hollows” is the same young girl that the Ganja recruited who knows how many decades (or centuries) ago]
Oh honey bless your heart....



I'll blame this excellent adaptation for interweaving the flashback arc with the present.
(sidenote: wish Overlord's anime had this level of direction & writing)
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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 3076
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 4:22 pm Reply with quote
After watching the recap movies for a refresh on the first season and finally watching the 3rd movie right before this season started, these episodes feel so short Laughing

Great stuff regardless and can't wait for each episode. The Meinya scene was hard to watch, though not out of character for this series.
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Gem-Bug



Joined: 10 Nov 2018
Posts: 649
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 5:53 pm Reply with quote
I'm honestly surprised they didn't pass over the Meinya scene, let alone give us a full POV of its guts/anus getting smushed back in("Hey Bondrewd, check this out"). Surprised

I've said it before, but this arc went on for years, and the black and white of the manga combined with the amount of detail and strange characters/architecture made it hard at times to see what was going on. Seeing this animated in full, lovely colors is a real treat. Even the garbage stew.
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danpmss



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 659
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Andromeda18_ wrote:
Quote:
On the other hand, though, I genuinely don't see how you could argue that there isn't something about Tsukushi's fixations that is not blatantly fetishistic, and even for those of us that have been able to make peace with that aspect of Made in Abyss, this season is ramping up the intensity to levels that may prove to be too much even for fans of the series.


Actually, I can handle it just fine. It's brutal, no doubt about that, but I know what to expect from this show and that allows me to control how much I engage with it emotionally. It should be said that I've read some pretty twisted manga in my life (sometimes I even wondered about the author's mental health), so I guess I'm a bit desensitized.


I don't think it's much about brutality, and more about the fetishized child sexualization, which the author is knowingly found of. Though one could argue that goes into the "brutal" part as well if you are to consider that eroguro lolicon works with scatological elements are quite known in Japan and even people from outside are aware of that, through Shintaro Kago, Suehiro Maruo and alike (which, though not limited to those, did have particular examples all the same). But those are extreme erotic works, so that was the the whole point.

Quote:
In short, I wouldn't blame any of you for bailing on Made in Abyss, even when the new season has been so compelling thus far. It's still a magnificently dark and beautiful story, and I think it manages to stay just on the right side of the empathy borderline to keep its grossest shenanigans from completely destroying my ability to enjoy it.


This last portion summarizes quite well mine and many other people's experience with the series, specially going forward. Conceptually it's all really fascinating, but the author just has to put these elements that truly add nothing of value to the story other than fanservice for those who have the same kinks.

It manages to be just barely bareable enough not to completely ruin my experience with it (two that didn't do it for me that come to mind recently were Redo of Healer and Mushoku Tensei, which I won't even open the can of worms about in here).

More power to them, but to me it feels much like a story treating rape as drama and proceeding to sexualize the scene in question as if it was a porn (big problem I have with eroges that go very hypocritical with their themes because of stuff like this, considering they just smut it up and expect us to not treat it as such) lol

Oh no, Riko is dying, she pissed herself from the pain and is bleeding from every orifice. I should treat this as serious drama. Oh wait, nevermind, furry loli makes a fetishized remark about how shota robot is a pervert smelling her bloody and pissed clothes.

Aka, I wouldn't have much of a problem with it if it was something that was presented more tastefully AND had to do with anything at all thematically to even be in there, to begin with. But as it stands, it just there for kink sales at best and drags the quality down.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
Posts: 1466
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 8:08 pm Reply with quote
It seems reasonable to me to read the body-horror town as a metaphor for e.g. Marxist criticism of capitalism. It's pretty on the nose, really, with the horrific commodification even of one's own body. The role of barter threw me off a bit, but they seem to have magic floating semi-transparent .gif money (so it seems wrong to read it as primarily a barter-based society), and this is the only place I remember currency becoming much of a focus at all in Made in the Abyss. The 'equal value' idea also seemed a bit weird to me at first (suggesting that there's any objective way to balance "value" - or, utility - across different people causes microeconomists' brains to short-circuit), but in retrospect this just looks like a comment on the practical consequence of commodifying the human body and then equalizing Marx's "exchange-value". I don't say any of that because I think capitalism is an economic system that's easily improved on; it is a clear, large step up in any reasonable quality-of-life measure from pre-capitalist systems. But it does have its problems, and, even if it didn't, it's possible to recognize common critiques of it even if you don't agree with the basis of the criticism.

Some of the other features of the town feel less in step with that theme, though. Like -- I was expecting Prushka found some truly terrible fate, but she was, apparently, enjoying the hell out of being physically reformed into a musical instrument? What's the, uh, like, moral, there? ... if you happen to form a deep father-daughter connection with a pathologically cruel semi-immortal evil scientist and he turns you into a forever suffering goop creature, being physically transmogrified into a tool for other peoples' creative expression is, uh, a pleasant step up the commodification ladder?

EDIT: The Reg scenes from the movie (which actually had me wondering if I was going to watch this season; probably good for my emotional readiness that we had a 2-year break) bothered me more than the butt-centric stuff in the latest episode, although that was also uncomfortable. The .. implied rape of the girl in the past flashbacks, if I read that scene correctly? .. was also one of those moments where I was on edge, and just very thankful they didn't linger on it. I lean pretty strongly towards a lot of the fixation on children's reproductive & digestive organs being creepy in a way that doesn't elevate the narrative. On the other hand, the show also has a lot of places where body horror is used to incredible effect. It's probably hard to reach into the author's head and separate where those two streams are coming from; I wonder if an author with a lesser amount of weird creepiness going on would have managed to be as effective elsewhere.


Last edited by NeverConvex on Thu Jul 21, 2022 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
Posts: 998
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 8:35 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:

Some of the other features of the town feel less in step with that theme, though. Like -- I was expecting Prushka found some truly terrible fate, but she was, apparently, enjoying the hell out of being physically reformed into a musical instrument? What's the, uh, like, moral, there? ... if you happen to form a deep father-daughter connection with a pathologically cruel semi-immortal evil scientist and he turns you into a forever suffering goop creature, being physically transmogrified into a tool for other peoples' creative expression is, uh, a pleasant step up the commodification ladder?



Suffice to say physicality and Prushkka = nope. Meta-physically, she is happy her true "value" was being revealed.
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