Made in Abyss – 11

Thanks to the careful ministrations of Nanachi the Hollow, Riko’s arm is stabilized and she’d given another 12 or so hours of life to play with.

Turns out Nanachi had been shadowing her and Reg since they reached the Fourth Layer, but only revealed herself out of pity for Reg, who mewled like a “lost little kid” when Riko went blue.

She warns Reg Riko is far from out of the woods: to save her life, he’ll have to go back out into the Goblet to collect a number of items within those 12 hours.

Then another sound comes from the tent, and Nanachi introduces Reg to OH GAAAAAAAH JESUS CHRIST WHAT THE HELL IS THAT … THAT THING? Honestly, after the “meat” Ozen brought back to life and last week’s gruesome ordeal, you’d think I’d be more desensitized to the horrors of the Abyss, but “Mitty” provides another, well, layer of darkness and dread.

Nanachi makes it clear that Mitty in her current form (which is barely a form at all) is nearer to the rule, not the exception, where Hollows are concerned. Both Nanachi and Mitty ascended from the Sixth Layer. Both were changed irrevocably, but only Nanachi maintained her humanoid form and mental faculties – an “exception among exceptions.”

Mitty is…well, hollow. For most humans who undergo such a transformation, death by their comrades usually follows, but not in this case. Nanachi not only hasn’t put Mitty out of her misery, but keeps her around like a kind of pet.

Perhaps it’s an act of penance. In some flashes of the past we see what is probably a pre-ascent Mitty—a girl with eyes the same reddish hue as the eye of post-ascent Mitty—and a younger, post-ascent Nanachi being praised by the White Whistle Bondrewd the Novel, who is happy “the experiment” was a success. Perhaps Nanachi and Mitty were the subjects of that experiment, and only Nanachi survived (relatively) intact.

Reg collects all the items on Nanachi’s list without too much difficulty, only to learn that just one of those items—the purple mushrooms that grow on shroombears—was necessary to save Riko; the other things were merely for Nanachi to eat. But Nanachi makes a good point: she cannot forage for food while tending Riko, so someone had to.

Reg is also instructed to wash Riko’s soiled clothes at a nearby riverbank behind Nanachi’s hut. The utterly gorgeous verdant landscape he beholds is peppered with graves, somewhat souring the awe with melancholy.

But Reg starts seeing things – the field of flowers of fortitude, Blaze Reap marking a grave – and also hears his own voice speaking to Lyza. He wonders if he buried Lyza, but remembers Ozen said “no one was buried” there.

The thing is, “no one” could be construed as “nothing human”—i.e., a hollow—but when back in the tent, what’s left of Mitty suddenly approaches a sleeping Riko. Does this behavior suggest that Riko’s presence is somehow drawing out the humanity in Mitty, like the mushrooms are drawing out the piercer’s poison? Does Mitty recognize Lyza’s daughter?

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Made in Abyss – 10

Riko and Reg’s first impressions of the Fourth Layer are that it’s very damp, humid, and majestic. the “Goblets” that give the Layer its name are filled with something that smells “vinegary”, which leads me to think it’s another kind of digestive juice you don’t want to be wading around in too long.

While looking for a place to camp (the first place they found had an odd presence shadowing them), they encounter an orbed-piercer – a predator that can kill them a heck of a lot quicker than gut juice. It’s a fearsome thing to behold – a growling yet unreadable red face with five holes, surrounded by shaggy white fur and poisonous barbs that can cut through steel.

Scary looks and pointy bits aren’t the only things in its arsenal – the piercer is also a lot smarter than the beasts they’ve encountered thus far, as Ozen warned them they would get. It’s quick, crafty, and thinks a step ahead.

Reg can’t get away from it, and in a matter of moments, three absolute disasters occur: they lose the Blaze Reap, their best weapon against tougher beasts (Reg dare not use his Incinerator); their umbrella shield is easily shattered, and one of the barbs pierces Riko’s left hand.

Reg has to deal with that quickly before the poison spreads and kills Riko, so he does something else that threatens her life: he escapes by ascending. In the fourth layer, humans start bleeding profusely out of every orifice, and that’s what happens to poor Riko.

As if that wasn’t grim enough, Riko’s hand swells to three times its size, and before passing out, she tells him the only thing for it is to cut her hand off. Reg breaks the bone first and then fights back tears as he works away at the arm with his knife, but the blood attracts a cloud of bugs that interrupt his work.

Both Riko and Reg are saved when “presence” they felt before makes its appearance – a rabbit-like creature offering help.

After following the creature’s instructions and giving a very purple Riko the kiss of life (without a moment’s hesitation, or bashfulness), she starts breathing again, thank the gods. Their new friend then leads them to her very cool and comfy-looking home in a place where the Curse of the Abyss has no effect, and introduces herself as Nanachi, what the upworlders would call a “Hollow.”

Made in Abyss continues to plumb new depths of acute peril and danger, not treating Riko or Reg—who are only little kids after all—with any more mercy than their surroundings.

I knew things would never be the same the moment Riko’s hand was pierced, and the entire ordeal to stabilize her was simply gutting, as we weren’t spared the most grisly details (haring Reg breaking and cutting Riko’s wrist was bad, but so was watching more blood bubble out of her eye after he wiped it dry).

Here’s hoping this Hollow person Nanachi can work some kind of magic to save Riko’s hand, even if, as she said, it will never be the same. That seems to be the enduring theme of Abyss – the further down they go, the quicker it is to be slaughtered, and the more things will never be the same.

Sabagebu! – 10

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Momoka discovers an old treasure map, while desperately searching for money in her room. Totally broke, she hatches a plan: spin the treasure map as a jumping off point for an adventure and maybe, just maybe, Miou will cover the travel expenses for what Momoka believes will only be a handful of childhood allowance yen.

The plan works and then they jump out of a plane!

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Team Survival dashes about Momoka’s old town behind a pair of dowsing rods. Unfortunately, the rods work too well and anything of value attracts their attention. Even wealthy women’s faces, which surely cost a fortunate to make!

Then the team bumps into the Yakuza!

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But it’s okay! The Yakuza give the girls a ride to Momoka’s old house where they discover the treasure is an old poem from a purer hearted Momoka, who asks her future self to cherish friendships above money.

Kaya is moved by the letter and shares her own childhood poem, which Momoka mocks horribly before being shot to death. (end act 1)

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The papers are a buzz with rumors a national idol has gone missing! However, she’s just hiding at the survival clubhouse and has gotten fat.

Then she learns self reliance from Momoka, through Momoka’s grande speech about brutal self centeredness. Then she loses her excess weight and crushes the boy who scorned her. (end act act 2)

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“Oh! Maya died first again!”

The girls crash land in the jungle on their way to a survival game but fins themselves hunted by a quirky-but-deadly adversary who appears to dress his victims in ‘little mouse girl suits’ after shooting them to death.

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In classic predator fashion, the attacker is invisible and has a shoulder mounted energy weapon. Fear not! Momoka betrays all her friends and ultimately takes down the alien, who appears to be a cute’ish cat creature. Then Momoka is congratulated by an alien elder for being so devious and cold hearted… which results in the elder’s short life.

Then Kaya, who we assumed was dead earlier, shoots Momoka and the girls regroup in a hotspring… only to be ambushed by ALIEN style aliens! (end act 3. end episode)

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As should be obvious by the lengthy synopsis, this week’s episode was was packed with content and I can not begin to do it justice. In simple terms, Sabagebu! number ten is totally bonkers, has three totally unrelated acts that are each completely all over the place and the whole thing was excruciatingly funny!

From Momoka’s regular penchant for betrayal to Miou’s new found understanding that Momoka is actually, entirely, an awful human being, to Kaya finally getting the upper hand against Momoka (twice!) the show balances expectation with satisfaction. Kaya’s revenge in particular feels great, considering how often Momoka has dodge the bullet earlier in the season.

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From None of the elderly residents at Momoka’s old house caring (or objecting) to the invasion of teen girls to the cat-predator silhoette looking enough like Sally-Sensei to fake me out, this week’s little details were spot on too.

That’s it! I can’t hold it back anymore! Well Done Sabagebu! This week you’re getting a…

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