Made in Abyss: Retsujitsu no Ougonkyou – 05

It’s pretty much a given that if Made in Abyss isn’t doing something to roil your guts, it will be soon enough.  There are pretty much two modes with MiA, “horrifying” and “about to be horrifying”.  While the main trio were still uncharacteristically split onto three separate tracks as we begin this week, it’s Riko’s that seems likely to generate the next big shock moment.  And that’s not even factoring in whatever “the luring” is (the soul quakes at the pondering of it).

First, however, we check in with Reg, who’s managed to get himself lost.  He’s still being chased by the “lanky dragon“, and in general the local fauna doesn’t seem to care for him much.  After the dragon has caused him to plummet into a giant pit – and chipped his arm – it’s only Faputa’s robot that saves the day.  As it turns out he can speak human language, using the voice of Takeuchi Ryota, and he doesn’t like Reg much either.  He notes that things seem to go to pieces when Reg is around (clearly he too has know Reg for longer than a day) and urges him to leave the village as soon as possible.

Reg again seems tantalizing close to finding out what he is, but is left with only teasing hints.  There are references to the “Shourou Layer”, and the robot refers to itself as an “interference unit” – and Reg too, though that seems to be its generic term for anything robotic.  Unlike Reg it cannot leave the layer where it was placed, so if there’s to be any hunting for further truth it’s Reg who’s going to have to do it.  He’s inching closer to his origin story, but each agonizing step feels like a journey of thousand miles.

Most of the meat of this episode is with Riko, who takes a few moments to learn the local language from the restaurant lady.  As for Wazukyan he likewise (still) speaks her language, and seems still to be a pleasant enough sort but offers very little in the way of conversation.  When Riko asks for the shopkeeper’s help in finding her friends, she’s directed to try the Doguupu – “within the eye”.  The villagers don’t go there, she explains, as a sickness overcomes them when they do –  but as outsiders, it’s a logical place for Riko’s friends to have gone in search of answers about Iruburu village.

In hindsight it was pretty selfish for Riko to drag Maa along – or allow Maa to drag itself along.  When they descend into Doguupu she finds a series of caves, and hears a human voice – one that turns out to belong to none other than Vueko.  What is Vueko doing here in this “sticky place”, surrounded by the beings that perform the balancing?  She’s s a prisoner, that’s clear even before she tells Riko.  This is a very ominous conversation, with talk of the extremely evil origins of Iruburu, and how opposing its creation is what got Vueko imprisoned in that underground cavern in the first place.

Vueko cannot free herself, but Riko can do so – and does.  We don’t know how long Vueko has been down there but ironically, it seems to have kept her human when all of her companions have become hollows.  She leads Riko to where her senses have told her one of her friends is – Belaf’s lair –  and indeed, Nanachi is with the sage and Majikaja.  But she’s asleep, and Belaf informs Riko that she sold herself in exchange for Mitty.  But how can this be Mitty?  It can’t – as it turns out it’s a copy, created by a transaction between Belaf and Bondrewd, and now being used as an unkillable food supply by Belaf.

Considering what Belaf gave up for “Mitty”, and that Nanachi gave up the entirety of herself, it’s not going to be cheap for Riko to buy them back.  Hair and nails aren’t going to cut it (no pun intended).  The preciousness of human children in Iruburu may make all of Riko a bit too much of an ask, but Belaf informs her that it’s going to take both her eyes, both her legs, or half her innards.  In almost any other series you’d say there was no way it would come to that – but Tsukushi?  Knowing he might actually go through with it is what makes Made in Abyss the uniquely unnerving experience it is.  But does the fact that this is a bogus Mitty mean Nanachi overpaid, and drive down the price?  If I were bargaining in Riko’s position, I’d certainly make that argument…