Made In Abyss: Journey Before The Last Dive
Little kids exploring the wilderness and discovering the lush lands while occasionally meeting some friends along the way might be like a typical walk-in-the-park type of anime. Then we stand in awe with the massive spectacle of surroundings and different creatures just swarming around what seems to be like an endless canopy of adventures.
But in all its cuteness lies a dark story that might fool typical anime-watchers at first. What seems to be just a sweet pleasure walk going from the top to the bottom of the Abyss turns out to be something made out of our horrors. And the more we dive deeper, the more we feel hopeless.
The story follows a young orphaned girl named Riko who lives in an orphanage in the town of Orth. On an island surrounded by mountains. In the middle, a vast hole descended to the deepest parts of the earth. The townspeople call that place the Abyss. Explorers, merchants, adventurers, and thrill seekers called Cave Raiders descend to the Abyss to gather artifacts, items, tools, and several remnants that might indicate a civilization that lives there. However, deep inside the hole lies something called "The Curse of the Abyss." The more you descend to the pit, the harder it is to ascend back. Legendary cave raiders, such as Riko's mother, Lyza, went in so deep that she could not get back. She sends messages of her reports and findings that she learns while traversing down the cave.
Born with an immense spirit, Riko tried to follow in her mother's footsteps and decided to descend to the Abyss. One day she met a humanoid robot named in her descent to the first layer and was rescued by him. She called him Reg. After reading the message that her mother sent to the surface, noting that she would be waiting for Riko at the bottom, she and Reg both decided to go down the Abyss even though she might not be able to see her friends again.
Made In Abyss' world is not explicitly defined, especially on how large it is, and we can't assume its size or something. However, what we know of is the island where the hole is situated and the town above it. How well-structured it is tremendous in the world of Made In Abyss. The Abyss consists of several layers, with each having a different world of its own. Let's journey through each one of them and see how we can survive these layers, even if it's a bad idea to try to go down the Abyss.
1st Layer: The Edge of the Abyss (0 - 1,350 meters)
Strains of Ascent: Light Dizziness and Nausea
The first layer is the most normal-looking out of all the layers. A gondola is available in town if you want to arrive on the first layer. The place is mostly a vast sunny land with lots of grassy rockfaces. In this layer, there is also something that they call Praying Skeletons. There is no definite explanation as to why they died praying. Still, the townspeople mentioned that they are the remains of a civilization that existed 2000 years before the current timeline.
The first layer is where inexperienced Cave Divers go. Most of the animals living here are harmless. However, if you are still a young Diver, you can still feel the pain of the ascent which could lead to vomiting and dizziness.
Still, with excitement and enthusiasm in mind, you descend the first layer. You had a quick check or two of your gears and know you are now prepared to start your journey. Since you are a semi-experienced diver, your trip to the first layer felt like a breeze. No hiccups, challenges, or pressures as you slowly progress toward the second layer. You may have encountered a few wild creatures but evaded them quickly with your experience and wit.
2nd Layer: The Forest of Temptation (1,350 - 2,600 meters)
Strains of Ascent: Intense Nausea, severe headaches, numbness of limbs
You are now going to the second layer of the Abyss. Suppose you are overconfident because you have surpassed the first layer easily. In that case, you will be surprised because the second layer is where the danger level gets elevated a couple of steps higher. The environmental change from a sunny first layer to a somewhat dark rainforest with massive vegetation would surprise you. Inexperienced divers are not allowed here, not just because of the more dangerous animals but also because the strains of an ascent become incredibly dangerous to the health. Primary navigation gets much more difficult because of how confusing the sceneries are.
In this layer, you will find what they call an Inverted Forest. The strong winds and updrafts from the Abyss flip the environment, making it look like the trees are inverted. Even the waterfall here flows upward because of such a phenomenon. Luckily, if you are careful or knowledgeable enough, you will eventually reach the Observation Camp, where a White Whistler named Ozen resides.
Everything feels different, starting from the second layer. It feels like the story is like the Abyss itself. You begin to feel the heaviness not only of the curse but the future tragedies that it could bring. From here on out, the story's adventures go on a darker tone.
3rd Layer: Great Fault (2,600 - 7,000 meters)
Strains of Ascent: Aside from the usual symptoms, Vertigo combined with auditory and visual hallucinations also take place
You have decided to push through. The second layer proved not enough of a challenge, so you decided to wander to the entrance of the third layer. A massive pit with rough edges is quite normal, especially for someone like you who is trained to rappel on sharp cliffs. It is much easier to scale down, especially if you have a good hook and rope. You can rappel down without much problem. However, the catch is you need to evade all the predatory flying creatures along the way. Since you are scared and don't want to be their next meal, you decide you can work your way downwards through a network of caverns. But then, if you have poor navigation skills, you will lose your way and still get eaten by those that live inside the caves.
You will see unusual things in the middle of your journey down a four km-long tunnel. Several ships with their bows sticking out appear on the wall. You start to wonder if the Abyss is artificial or a natural occurrence. As you descend, you hunger for its history and what's at the bottom.
When you reach 250 meters above the end of the 3rd layer, you will notice some eggs attached to the tunnel wall. When they hatch, the creature drops to the 4th layer. It may sound crazy because you only have one option: to go deeper and hopefully not encounter these creatures.
4th Layer: The Goblets of Giants (7,000 - 12,000 meters)
Strains of Ascent: Pain from all over the body and bleeding.
You are now in the fourth layer, The Goblets of Giants. You will first notice that it is a pretty wet environment. However, it is not your primary concern; the place is foggy due to the warm water beneath your feet, which envelops the surroundings. Your vision is now blurry, and you cannot see what's in front of you. Still, you decided to take a few steps forward until you reached the edge, or somewhat like an edge, because you noticed that the place was oozing with different chalice-like plants that capture water. Then you see a porcupine-like creature covered with poisonous spines because it wants its prey to suffering pain before it eats.
Luckily, you were able to reach Nanachi's hideout. It is unaffected by the curse. You now have time to enjoy going up and down the stairs without worrying about the strains. Then again, you start to wonder, if there are places the curse is not present, was it artificial as well?
You continued on your journey and were able to reach the 9,000th-meter mark. You are in awe because of the beautiful garden that you see. This place is the Garden of the Flowers of Resilience, which the people in the village often discuss. It also makes you relax a little bit, especially after what you have gone through. Right then, you know you can still turn back and, hopefully, survive on your way up. Otherwise, you continue.
5th Layer: Sea of Corpses (12,000 - 13,000 meters)
Strains of Ascent: Sensory deprivation and loss of perception.
You are now in the fifth layer, the Sea of Corpses. You remember that this part of the Abyss is the thinnest, so you get excited again that you will finish this one quickly.
You are pretty dirty already because of the long journey. You look around and see a sea of some kind. It's tempting, but you remembered the teachings back in the village. The water is filled with hungry creatures, and even if you can avoid them, you know your only option is to sink because if you try to swim back to the surface, you will die because of the curse. Instead, you gaze at the crystalized parts of the surroundings and quickly identify that the waters from the 4th layer might have spilled through here and created a sea.
You got curious and took a sample of the crystals. It is mud. As you try to inspect it more, you notice that it's mixed with crystallized bones. That is why this layer is called the Sea of Corpses.
You went to the deeper parts of the layer and, luckily, now in the Ido Front, An operating base operated by one of the White Whistlers named Bondrew. He let you in and noticed that even at this layer, electricity exists. It seems that the facility used the energy generated from the sea. You rested quickly and wandered around. You notice that you need to ride the elevator to get to the 6th layer.
This is it. If you take one more step forward, you know you cannot turn back. Rumors from the village tell you that you can still return intact without losing your humanity, even if you are in the 5th layer. But to do so, you need to be extremely lucky, which you think you are. However, the moment you go down to the 6th layer, it will be your last dive. Trying to go up from there means suicide. You take a long sigh and go back to your quarters to rest.
Tomorrow, you decide to continue.