Header Ads

Made In Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul (2020)

When you look deep into the Abyss, what do you see? All-consuming darkness that pierces your soul, or the promise of something more?

Dawn of the Deep Soul is the third feature film depicting the story Made in the Abyss. The movie depicts the events following the first season, as the trio finally comes face to face with the famed white whistle Bondrewd. The story is an adaptation of volumes 4 - 5 of Akihito Tsukushi's manga of the same name. The film itself is directed by Masayuki Kojima, who also directed/storyboarded several episodes of the show along the previous recap films leading up to this release. The staff of Kinema Citrus continues to take the lead of bringing the world of Made in Abyss to life.

I will admit, going into this film, I already had some idea of what to expect. Thanks to the manga, I had read about halfway into the story that the movie depicts. However, after watching the film thoroughly, I can honestly say I am so glad that I didn't continue reading the manga. As beautiful as the books are composed, Made in Abyss is a story that is tailor-made for animation.

Much like the original show, this movie is not for the faint of heart. The Abyss is appropriately named for all the horrors that exist in its dark depths. From parasitic insects that eat humans inside out to the sheer horror of what the Abyss' curse will inflict on your body, there is no shortage of anxiety-inducing moments in this film. Something that the cute art design of the main protagonist does not communicate. However, Riko, Reg, and Nanachi are all strong enough characters to see both the audience and themselves through this harrowing adventure, which is good since there are no shortage of tension, graphic violence, and Akira level depictions of body horror.

The film's real terror is not so much the Abyss itself, but its antagonist Bondrewd. If you have already seen the anime, the anticipation of his demented nature is already there. But it is here that we get to see his twisted ambition toward the Abyss on full display. The emotional lynchpin being the introduction of his daughter, Prushka. A character I didn't expect at getting attached to as much as I did. Most anime film-centric characters (though she was also in the manga) have a hard time becoming likable since they only have so much screen time to worm their way into our hearts. But thankfully, the movie takes the time to flesh out her history, and her story culminates in a tragic arc that unlocks the next leg of the protagonist's journey. 

Much like the show, the backgrounds and character animation continue to be some of the best ever seen in the Japanese animation industry. Selling the depth and scale of the environments and how the characters interact with them. But I have to say, I continue to be the most impressed with Kevin Penkin's score that he has crafted music that is both beautiful and haunting at the same time.

I usually am not the type of person who enjoys horror. Let alone come back for more when I know things will only worsen for the characters. But I'm reminded of my time growing up watching Don Bluth films, "Secret of Nimh" and "Land Before Time". Characters whose goals are so personal that they are willing to go to hell and back with just a hope that they will one day reach them. Despite all the twists and turns my stomach took over this film; I am genuinely grateful that I saw it.

Riko, Reg, and Nanachi's journey will continue, though they have passed one hell of a speed bump. I hope to be there when Sentai Filmworks choose to continue the show. For those of you who feel the same, let's keep pushing through our Abyss and see what awaits us!



IN A NUTSHELL: An adventure into an unknowable darkness which is equal parts horror and heartfelt.