Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Made in Abyss, where once you go down, you don't ever go back up for any reason.
In our last episode, Reg and Riko have made it to the second layer of the Abyss known as the Forest of Temptation. There they learn first hand that the dangers they faced in the first layer are child's play compared to what lies ahead of them. And they get this lesson very quickly when they find another cave-raider being eaten by a bird like creature called a copse-weeper, which is able to mimic the sounds of other cave-raiders to draw others into traps. Reg and Riko were smart enough to avoid it initially, but a blind sided attack catches them by surprise, with Riko being captured and taken up a bit to be fed to some hungry chicks.
Seeing this happen, Reg makes several attempts to save her with his extending arms, but is blocked by the other corpse-weepers. Realizing the chips are down, he calls out to an inner voice and uses an attack we only seen him use once back in episode one, which is basically him firing a beam of light and heat, decimating a bunch of the birds and freeing Riko, though he laments later that he could have just as easily killed her in the process.
With this harsh reminder known, the kids continue to make their way further down until they reach the bottom of the second layer known as the Inverted Forest, which apparently plays with physics as we see waterfalls that shoot upwards instead of downwards. After a close call with some monkey monsters, the duo finally reach the Seeker Camp, where Ozen, a White Whistle Habo warned about, awaits, upset to see Riko, and likely not for the reasons we think.
What kind of meeting will the kids have? Will the Seeker Camp be a safe haven for them? And who is that blue haired girl who is also here? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins with the Blue Whistle seeing Reg and Riko approaching the camp. She tries to call out to her master, but she's gone off to do other things. Outside, Reg and Riko are outside of the camp, with Riko immediately knowing that something is wrong, since there's suppose to be a look out to lower the gondola for them, yet there isn't anybody doing that. Reg suspects it's because a Red Whistle and a Robot have arrived, which may be making the camp wary of them. Still, with Riko's suggestion, Reg attempts to make his way up, but that's when he notices that somebody or something has his arms. Above, a White Whistle has grabbed onto Reg's arms, upset at see the brat is still alive. This is when the narrator returns, saying true secrets do not lie concealed in the darkness of night or in clever traps, but rather, are hidden deep within people. Well, yeah, that's where most secrets are going to be.
-The White Whistle throws the arms back as the narrator continues, saying that, by spending many moons in such an isolated place, their purity is refined and they gradually transform into strange enigmas. Are we still talking about secrets? Because I feel like you're talking about something else, mysterious narrator. As Reg has his arms returned, the gondola begins to lower to the kids. Well, they call it a gondola, but it looks more like a bird cage to me. Surly there is no hidden meaning here.
-With a nod, the kids get on the gondola and rise up to the Seeker Camp. Riko looks nervous... or maybe sick? Reg notices this and asks if she's alright, but the White Whistle instead praises her on enduring the ascent, though the strain is somewhat lightened around here, she still suspects that it's hard on children such as them. And while I do note that this White Whistle, who I believe is Ozen, has a two-tone hair scheme going the way her hair is done, it looks like she has horns. Surely there is no hidden meaning there, either.
-Riko nervously introduces herself, but throws up on the side of the bridge. Even a small ascent up plays havoc on her. The White Whistle knows her. More specifically, she knows of her mother, Lyza. She chuckles at how filthy she is... or of the action she's doing. Reg reacts to her identification, which causes her to realize that he's doing fine. Reg notes that she's very tall and suspects that she's over two meters tall. He then looks over her hair and wonders how she can smooth it down to get it to look like that? And then there's the white whistle, which looks more menacing than before. Reg suspects that this woman is Ozen the Immoveable, as she continues to stare at the kids with a hint of disgust. At least, I think there's some disgust there. It can be hard to tell sometimes, but I think it's subtle here. Then again, I'm thinking of Habo's warning and just looking for anything unusual here.
-Tonight's episode is titled Seeker Camp. And while i haven't been commenting on them, the title cards also show off something that appears in the Abyss. In this case, it's showing off the relic that housed the newborn Riko during her ascent up with Lyza and Ozen. I suspect it'll play a role here in tonight's episode.
-Anyway, inside of the camp, Ozen is shown Lyza's whistle and didn't think she'd ever see it again. It looks like she's scratching at it, as if trying to shape it into something else. We get a slow pan of the room, including a shot of Blue Whistle hiding behind a curtain. Riko asks for Ozen's name and confirmation that she found the whistle. Ozen, looking rather nonchalant, confirms her identify. Riko stands up and bows to her, thanking her for saving her. All while smacking her head on the table. Good think you got a hard head there, Riko.
-Ozen seems a bit confused, so Riko clarifies about the incident involving her birth and how she and Lyza carried the newborn up to the surface. Ozen smiles, which I can't help but think is a little creepy, commenting that the curse-repealing relic was heavy, and that long the way she thought about abandoning her many times. Yeah, I bet Lyza would have more than a few words about you abandoning her newly born daughter like that. Also, why do you sound like it's such a fond memory? Of course, during this incident, they have to leave behind the precious Bell. Darkly, she stares at Riko, saying that if she had left her there, that kid would have come with her and it's such a pity she did what she did. Yeah, Riko, I think you should probably forget about any other questions you have, thank her for her hospitality, and run like hell! Because I'm getting creeped out by her and we've only known her for a couple of minutes.
-That's when Blue Whistle shows up, probably to keep some of Ozen's darker impulses intact. After that dark moment passes, Ozen notes that Riko is a Red Whistle, and reminds her that she shouldn't be coming to a place like this. Luckily, Riko has a reason for this. She grabs the pack on Reg's back and shows Ozen the note, saying that she will be waiting at the bottom of the netherworld. So once Riko has asked her questions about the things Ozen knows of Lyza, she and Reg will be leaving. Oh, this can go in so many ways.
-Ozen understands, but then asks why they think it's okay for them to come here? Riko apologizes, but Ozen changes her tone slightly, interested in how a Red Whistle even managed to make it down here. She turns to Marulk, the Blue Whistle, and tells her to listen to what the kids have to say. Marulk doesn't understand why she has to do it, but Ozen says the tit's easier for children to talk to a fellow child. Riko, however, wants to ask more questions about Lyza, but Ozen has some things she needs to attend to and will hear them out tomorrow. Assuming she doesn't kill you in your sleep for any number of reasons I can think of.
-That's when Marulk presents the two with blue whistles. They're a bit shock about this sudden promotion, but Ozen makes it clear that it's just for appearance sake. She doesn't want to have to deal with the pain of explaining to other cave-raiders why a couple of Red Whistles are here. And for insurance, she'll be holding onto Lyza's whistle. She'll give it back in exchange for the blue whistles when they leave. So she's basically forcing them to stay the night, but then tells them to give their bodies a good scrub, because she can't stand how bad they reek of vomit. When she kills you, she wants you all clean so she can give a good reason why you two are dead.
-Riko gets all embarrassed by the comment and looks dejected. Reg pats her head as a sign of comfort, because several near death experiences have caused them to grow closer. Marulk realizes she has to attend to the kids, so she offers to show them around a bit. We get a panning shot of the camp, which is a rather large building. It was built within the hollows of a tree called a Great Porta. Even now, construction to expand the interior frame is still progressing little by little. Soon, they'll have their own small city here, because you need a place to put the crazies in, after all.
-Marulk comments that, from what she's heard, the roots of this Great Porta extend outside the Abyss, stretching all the way to the seafloor. Reg asks if that was verified, but unfortunately, it appears to be speculation. Still, she continues, saying that he roots take in nutrients that have accumulated on the seafloor, so the tree can grow this big even through the limited light that is reflected by the force field here. As the kids climb down a rope ladder, Marulk points to a wall that is inside of a tree hollow. This makes Reg wonder if it won't grow too big and end up getting all tangled up. Well, I'm sure it'll be fine... or it'll cause the whole thing to collapse on itself. One or the other.
-Marulk then leads the kids to what appears to be their room for the evening. The kids look other with awe as Marulk instructions them on where the bath is, though ti's actually used for washing Relics. They need to be all nice and spotless to sell to some idiot foreigners when they want to know what awesome thing it does. Riko doesn't waste any time and goes for a bath. She wants to be app presentable for when Ozen returns and will answer her questions before possibly killing her.
-While looking over the room, Reg notices some flowers near the window sill. He identifies them as Flowers of Fortitude, which are also called Eternal Fortunes. Apparently they really are everywhere, even in this level of the Abyss. Marulk notes that Reg is a robot, but that there is something strange about him. Until Riko said otherwise, she thought Reg was human, so she was a bit surprised when she saw his arms extend like that. I mean, what normal human stretches their arms like that and aren't superheroes?
-Regs replies that he doesn't think of himself as a robot, just as some regular guy... who can extend his arms... and fires beat of intense heat from his hands. You know, just like any other regular human. I kid, but Reg does wonder what he is in the first place. After all, what other robots have the equipment he has, right? He then gives a rather intense stare at Marulk, who isn't certain how to take it. Reg actually has a question for her, and it is something rather strange, but fret not, if she can answer it, she will! First, Marulk, are you a girl? Well, that seems like a rather rude thing to ask! Do you have no shame, Reg? ...right, robot raised by Riko, which means he has no social skills.
-Speaking of Riko, we return to her getting all cleaned up, but then complains about it being too cold. Well, they do use this to clean relics. Outside, Reg, getting his answer, understands that Marulk has it tough, too, and that they both have their share of troubles. This gets Marulk to laugh, replying that she hasn't had anything that bad done to her. I'm actually afraid to ask where this conversation came from and where it's going. Fortunately, and I can't believe I'm saying this, Riko appears to them, naked, and sees them getting along, which makes her happy. They react accordingly as she apologizes, but she needs something to dry off with. Marulk blushes, covers her eyes, then runs away to get a change of clothes as Reg goes through the pack to find a towel. Riko, dear, have you sense of decency?
-Sometime later, Riko is wearing a new set of clothes, this time blue rather than her typical black collar. She's looking over the relics in the room as Reg appears, having just gotten out of the bat himself. At least he didn't come out naked like Riko did. Marulk appears and asks if they're hungry. They only have leftovers, but they're free to have some. Riko is more curious about Marulk, as she's the same age as them but is already a Blue Whistle. Marulk confirms that, typically, you can't become a Blue Whistle until your fifteen, but in her case, she was made an exception as she's the personal apprentice of Ozen, a White Whistle. I hope Ozen didn't select you personally, because I get the feeling that she wouldn't have selected somebody for the most wholesome of reasons.
-As Marulk begins preparing the meal for the kids, she explains that, after she had an accident and collapsed, Ozen found her and took her in. She's been here ever since. Riko is surprised by this and asks if she has any plans to return to the surface? Turns out, Marulk is sensitive to sunlight, so she can't live up on the surface. I can't help but think that sounds suspicious for some reason, but I'll let it slide for now. In any case, it's time to eat!
-Sometime after the finished the meal, and they really went into it, Marulk states that, ever since Ozen took her in, she's offered her services as a sentry here at the Seeker Camp. Wait, I think I just saw an animation error just now. As Marulk is explaining this story to the kids, Reg takes a bite of his meal. As he leans down and back up, his Blue Whistle doesn't move at all. It just stays in place, but it's rather unnatural about it, given that the rest of Reg's body moved. Moving on from that, Marulk was told that being a sentry would mean she didn't have to return to the surface time after time. Though she suspects that Ozen wants something deep down. I can't imagine what it is.
-Still, Marulk state that she's been well treated here, so it's all good. Riko notices that Ozen is rather scary, but she's a good master, isn't she? Marulk does pause at that, but returns a smile, agreeing with Riko's statement. Outside, Ozen looks over the Abyss, Lyza's whistle in hand. She flashes back to a memory of her, all with a smile, but Ozen doesn't appear to react to it at all. She's so stone faced here that you can't really be certain what she's thinking about, or what she might plan to do next. In any case, if she's as bad as we're led to believe, it isn't anything good.
-With the meal over, Reg and Marulk get to cleaning up. However, Reg has a question for his senior. What's with all the Relics they've got in this room? Riko has started playing around with them and he's worried about damaging them. Marulk says it's fine, though, as these won't be brought up to the surface, so Riko can play with them to her heart's content. The one's here are leftovers after sorting various Relics collected in this area. They're all grade-4 Relics. Riko reacts happily to that. Because everything makes Riko happy at this point.
-As an example, Riko takes out the relic she pocketed from the last episode, the egg looking one. It's called a Sun Sphere. The other one she's holding her her hand, though similar, is actually more complex in it's shape, which is found in the lower levels of the Abyss. Marulk confirms that this is the case, then adds that about forty percent of the Relics collected around here are egg-shaped ones. Even though they're tools used by people in the distant past, they are quite mysterious. You do have to ask how eggs with some complex shapes like these were used as tools. Unless it was a different tool for a different job. Or you have to crack them open to get the tool you need. Like those little prizes you buy at the grocery store.
-Riko is jealous, because her cave-raider heart craves to excavate some. Marulk chuckles at the comment, saying that if she were to stay here longer, she's sure she could do some cave-raiding. This gives her the idea of asking Ozen if that's okay. So she asks hte kids to stay a bit longer so they can do some cave raiding around here. Riko jumps at the chance to do that, and Reg seems to be for it, as well. Marulk is happy because it's the first time kids around her age have come here, so she'd like to spend more time with the two of them so they can work together. Riko would also like to do that, as well. Oh, this is going to end in tragedy, isn't it?
-Riko, however, becomes reluctant, and apologizes to Marulk. Her mother, Lyza, is at the bottom of the netherworld and she still doesn't know how she's doing, so Riko isn't certain if she should be hurting down there or not. And because she can't be certain, she has to hurry. Marulk is disappointed by this, so to make up for it, she takes a seat and says they should chat as much as they can today. It's what Ozen instructed her to do, anyway. Well, the kids are all for that, because it'd probably be nice to chat with a Blue Whistle, even if she's the same age as them. And before her horrible death, because the death flags appear to be many for her.
-Sometime later, night has fallen and all three kids are sleeping. They must have had a good, long chat. Riko wakes up, though, because nature calls and it is one call you cannot ignore. As she makes her way to the bathroom in her half-sleep state, she notices a figure out of the corner of her eye. She goes into a nearby lit room, wondering if it's Ozen, but sees nobody. She then hears a noise further down. Because she's in the Seeker Camp and feels safe, she follows the noise into what appears to be a storage room. But, instead of finding Ozen, she finds this creature that appears to be a stingray that walks on land. It lumbers forward, knocking into a few boxes that collapses onto itself. This snaps Riko out of her daze and she makes a break for it, but hte creature, which actually looks like a human torso... if it was hallowed out, gets out of the boxes. Man, the character designer must have had a blast coming up with the creature designs, with probably the instruction being "be as creepy and as unnatural as possible."
-Riko returns to the room with the sleeping Reg and Marulk, but instead of doing the sensible thing like, say, waking them up, she instead crawls into Reg's bed to hide. Happy to know that she wasn't pursued, Riko pops out of the covers and wonders what she saw in her half-sleep state. And probably finds that she doesn't need to use the bathroom anymore. Yeah, I know, low brow comedy, but it's probably true, too. This is also where we reach the halfway mark of the episode, though technically we're sixteen minutes into a twenty-four minute episode, so... yeah.
-The next day, the kids have done some laundry, with one of the sheets being the bedding with a clear wet spot on it. Riko looks very embarrassed, with Marulk doing her best to comfort her, saying that she used to do that too until a couple of years ago. Reg, however, wants to know why it was his bed that she wet. Riko says that she did her best to find the toilet, but when she woke up in the middle of the night to look for it, she saw something. It didn't seem of this world, and given the kinds of creatures one would normally see in the Abyss, that is saying something. She admits to being incredibly scared and dove into Reg's bed as a result. Marulk laughs, saying that they never had any reports of ghosts at the Seeker Camp.
-Reg, however, wants to believe Riko. It looks rather nervous when he says that some living creatures that look like corpses and stuff must be real. Riko, however, counters, saying that such things weren't in her mother's sealed letter. That's when Ozen arrives with a faint smile, noting that they're having such an interesting conversation. Riko quickly apologizes, but Ozen apparently understands that neither that kid nor Habo told her anything. Riko is confused and asks more about it. Ozen asks her if she really wants to know, but the ever curious Riko can't keep that curiosity in check. In any case, if Riko wants to know, she should follow Ozen. Otherwise, she best forget what she saw. Uh... yeah, Riko, I know I keep saying it and I know you won't listen, but I really, really think you should get the whistle back and leave. Immediately.
-Marulk tries to dissuade Riko from going, but Reg offers his support by grabbing her hand, and soon, all three kids follow Ozen. As they follow the White Whistle, she explains that she heard from Marulk all about them, and just to clarify, they're trying to follow Lyza's trail, correct? After confirmation, she shows Riko the whistle, asking if it reached the surface. To her, this is all the prove she needs that Lyza is dead and that their journey to chase after her ends here. Riko is shocked by such a statement, but remains steadfast, asking Ozen where she found the whistle and the sealed letter. It was at a grave, but she seems to have forgotten how many days ago it was. It was in the fourth layer, in the far reaches of the Goblet of Giants, where there is a cluster of Eternal Fortunes. A grave had been dug there, and its marker is a pickaxe, one that looks rather familiar.
-Ozen goes on to say that Lyza always liked that place, which does show up a lot when we see her in the opening. Riko can't believe it. She takes out the letter and tries to say that her mother is calling for her, but Ozen shoots that down, saying that the handwriting is not Lyza's. She doesn't know how such a thing got mixed in there, but according to Ozen, Lyza wouldn't write something like that, even as a joke. This revelation shakes Riko to her very core, and because Ozen seems like the sadistic type, she gives a sinister smile and asks Riko her reason for aiming for the bottom of the netherworld once more. If the first half was the training wheels, the second half has so far been "They're off, so go down this steep hill that ends at a cliff."
-Riko, her resolve shaken, wants to check for herself. That's when Ozen gives an even more sinister smile, if that was possible, and thinks that's a fine idea. I am now of the opinion that this is a terrible idea. Ozen asks if Riko plans to dig up Lyza's grave? But Riko has more questions, like the connection between Reg and the mysterious figure mentioned in the letter. After a long, awkward moment of silence, Ozen stands up, giving a more subtle smile, and continues up the stairs. Run, kids! Run far away!
-They go up higher in the tree, where Ozen stops in front of a large set of doors. She says that these are her chambers, and as the door opens, I can't help but think there should be a sign that says "abandon hope, ye who enter here" or something. Marulk looks really worried as Ozen welcomes into her chambers. Which looks... rather normally, actually. Lots of books, some spare clothes, some plants. Nothing out of the ordinary. However, deeper inside of the chambers lies an artifact. White and pristine, one that Riko recognizes. Cue credits!
-The map of the Abyss goes lower, with the image of the kids at the Seeker Camp location. How much further will they go? You'll have to find out in the next episode, The Unmoveable Soverign.
If the purpose of this episode was to make Ozen as creepy and as untrustworthy as possible, the show nailed it. Given Habo's warning I was on guard with her arrival, but the entire episode, including her part in the second half, makes me think that Habo was underselling just how messed up this White Whistle is. It's clear that she has a major dislike for Riko, going so far as to say that she would have abandoned her at a moments notice, but I imagine Lyza kept her in line during the ascent up. But still, she also has the relic that Riko was in. What secrets does it hold, and why would Ozen hold it?
Then there's Marulk. She seems normal enough (though maybe she's actually a boy? Reg's conversation with her seems to suggest that could be possible, but unless the show says otherwise I'll keep referring to Marulk as a she for now), but something tells me, given how the episode ended, she knows more than she's letting on. And thinking on it, wouldn't there be more people at the Seeker Camp? It seems like keeping only two people here at any given time is really understaffing it, even with a White Whistle.
It's clear that there's something sinister happening here in the Seeker Camp, and with Reg and Riko's arrival, things are about to come to a head. What, exactly, does Ozen have in mind for the kids? And is she really as bad and as creepy as the episode made her out to be? Tune in on Friday to find out.
Until next time, remember, when going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, unless you find it really important to, never investigate an unknown sound in an unknown location. You just never know what you're going to find.