Worldbuilding in Made in Abyss
The world building within Made in Abyss is simply breathtaking in the care that is taken into creating it. From the very existence of the Abyss as a place where an individual can show their merit while being the resting place of many to the seemingly peaceful town above the Abyss’s borders, the show utilizes sweeping camera movements, character interactions, small moments that don't exactly progress the narrative, but give the world itself a feeling of liveliness and more to create the very distinctive world that assists in distinguishing this show from the others like it. Often, before Reg and Riko descend and after, there remains a distinctive focus on the scenery itself, from vertical movements to demonstrate both the depth and vastness of the Abyss, to the distinctive difference between the town of the regular people and that of the slums, or even of the difference between each floor, as the second continues. Every layer of scenery helps immerse the reader into this fictional world, while making it feel both alive and feasible in perhaps another dimension. Additionally, more of the world is exposed using exposition that is not bland, but rather fills in the missing pieces of the puzzle and answering questions that one may have. For example, the concept of the Abyss in itself is rather simple. The deeper that one goes, the more difficult it is to return to the surface. But, along with that simple premise, each floor has differing effects on the raider who seeks to ascend them. The most shallow layers have the least harmful effects, like vomiting to feeling nauseous while the deepest layers can lead to death or the transformation of oneself to an individual no longer truly human. The very possible effects of the Abyss may be dangerous, but the possibility of glory and exploring the unknown can only seek to bring people within its depths to test themselves, even if the cost of death. Additionally, when Leader spoke to Riko about her mother, not only is his role as the gatekeeper established, but also he and Riko are given characterization and more clarity on their motives. He wishes to protect her, but he gives Riko the information she craves about an individual not only dear to her, but dear to him. Even when Riko and Reg are spoken to by their peers, they too show care toward their friends, wishing to prevent them from embarking on a journey they may not return alive from. They are also established as true children, not adults in a childlike body. Their fears, worries and goals may seem simplistic, but with the dangers lurking in the Abyss, there is surely a need for caution and careful thought. Finally, many small moments and details continue to enrichen the world. For example, when Reg is about to leave, he makes sure to say goodbye to one of the youngest orphans, as he cares for the younger one like a beloved sibling. Or even Reg and Riko catching fish in their descent to feed themselves or even Riko talking about her Star Compass, these moments continue to help create the lively world that is found in Made in Abyss. Rather than the plot being clearly linear, there are these breather moments that boy only add characterization, but add extra dimension to the environment they find themselves in. Therefore, I cannot cover all of the world building aspects found in Made in Abyss, but the sheer number of its layers makes it a true contender for Anime of the Season.