Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.4
It's been a good while since Made in Abyss has seen fit to grace us with an adventure that is both relatively uncomplicated by its larger mythology and also, you know, fun. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, and it also isn't as if “The Luring” doesn't have its tinges of the dark lore that surrounds this strange Village, but it's one of the first unambiguous wins that the kids have earned in a while. Sure, some of the Hollows seem to have died (at least, insofar as any of them seem capable of dying), but Riko's smarts and bravery win out in such a way that Made in Abyss runs the risk of putting a genuine smile on its audience's faces. That glimmer of hope might be the most surprising discovery that the Sixth Layer has had to offer so far.
It makes sense, the way Vueko explains it: the villagers are bound to their Village, so if the Hollows go out to hunt or find glory in battle, the Luring exists to bring any prospective claim or bounty to them. They're brave critters, and some of them are even kaiju-sized warriors, like Juroimoh, who has taken over Vueko's position as the third of the Three Sages. Sadly, not even the hulking Hollow's suspiciously veiny and phallic greatsword is able to take down the swarm of lighter-than-air-worm-things and their Queen. He may be a hero to the Village, but he's not our hero. That honor goes to Riko.
Honestly, it's really just great for Riko to have her own chance to shine at the center stage of the action again. Nanachi's character development and Reg's dark transformation stole the show in Dawn of the Deep Soul, and the poor girl spent most of the final third of Season 1 in a coma. Does she have a preternatural connection to the veiled Curse of the Abyss? No. Can she fire a massive beam of unholy destruction from the palms of her robot hands? No (unless you count the detached arm of Reg's that she carries around with her, but you know what I mean). Riko's not the muscle of the party, nor is she its mage, but she's got the guts of a fighter, if nothing else, and she's smart as a whip when it comes to any matter of survival that doesn't concern her own sense of self-preservation. Our girl has a plan, some locks of hair to spare as an emergency savings, and she has enough of a grasp of the Hollows' language to organize her own little task force. She even has Prushka's fancy new evolved White Whistle form to call in the big guns (read: her loyal robot buddy) if she needs to.
Reg's penchant for making friends comes in major handy, and it's just the booster shot of genuine loyalty and empathy that Made in Abyss sorely needed after so many weeks of doubt and cruelty. Majikaja comes through when he saves Riko from donating whatever it was from Belaf's “bargain”, and he debuts a slick battle version of his exoskeleton on top of that. Moogie the restaurateur organizes a militia to fend off the invading monster before Riko can come up with her game plan, and Maa even manages to squeak out a redemption arc when they attempt to sacrifice themselves to rescue Riko. Thankfully (and I never thought I'd say this about Maa), Reg is able to save ol' Grampy-Ass when Prushka Mk. II gives him a nifty power boost, plus a corresponding palette swap. Again and again, we've learned that the only way to survive this Abyss with your humanity intact is by being willing to give up your own wants and needs to protect and inspire others, and Riko is living proof of that philosophy.
The Village, on the other hand, seems to be a testament of what happens when everything you do, and everyone you encounter, can only be framed by whatever value they represent to you. The stone-crafter may have done Riko a solid by fixing Prushka up, but he also goes out of his way to point out that it was also an indulgent act, because of course we all needed to know what makes this monster literally cream its proverbial jeans. When Riko explains that her selflessness is technically self-serving since it all feeds back into the Raiders' concept of giving a little kindness to receive some in return, Moogie reminds her that she shouldn't expect the same level of kindness from the Hollows, who are so defined by their most deep-rooted desires that their very bodies and souls have been unnaturally twisted to accommodate them. Even poor Nanachi has fallen victim to the allure of pursuing their longing despite what their instincts already made clear a long time ago. Mitty doesn't want to live as an eternal Hollow, but Nanachi can't bring themself to admit that again. The first time was already almost enough to break them.
Next week, it seems that Vueko is finally going to spill the beans on what made this Village into the dark paradise of hell that it has become. I'd say that I am looking forward to learning the truth behind the Hollows and Vueko's imprisonment, but I know Made in Abyss well enough now to realize that I ought to be terrified instead. I may not be able to read the sausage graffiti that Wazukyan calls a face nowadays, but Vueko can, and whatever Faputa is, Wazukyan is apparently terrified for whatever might happen if and when Riko get's mixed up with the Princess in her quest to save her friends. That can't possibly be the good kind of omen.
Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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