MADE IN ABYSS: JOURNEY'S DAWN

Edited by Ariel Landrum and Christopher Edelen
Photos from Sentai Filmworks, LLC

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There have been many great adventures told, some of my favorites coming from Jules Verne. But a new favorite of mine, taking place in a beautifully detailed world worth exploring every inch of, is MADE IN ABYSS: Journey’s Dawn.

I had the privilege to attend the U.S.A. red-carpet premiere on March 15, 2019, alongside Director Masayuki Kojima, Producer Shimpei Yamashita, Composer Kevin Penkin, and the Music Producer Hiromitsu Iijima. In store for the evening was the movie, a Q&A panel, and a classy after party at none other than the Ritz-Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles. Now, I was unaware of the anime this movie was based off of, which had won Crunchyroll’s Anime of the Year, so I went into this treat with fresh eyes.

Arriving at L.A. LIVE’s theatre amidst the heavy traffic of limousines at the venue, I was already anxious to see what was in store. The line of eager fans went down the block and as I was soon to find out, had a good reason for doing so.

Once I’d made my way to my seat I admired the sheer size of the screen. It had to be one of the largest I have ever seen, and I have seen more movies in theaters than the average person.

Once I had settled in for the experience, I noticed the chairs set-up for a Q&A panel after, which seemed tantalizing. And so, we all waited patiently in the dark for our own individual journeys into the Abyss.

It began, relatively innocent and lighthearted at first, which was a bit surprising since there is an age restriction on the film. But not so long after, I figured out the reasoning behind that restriction. We are introduced into a world of vibrant colors, terrific animals, and a premise. Some time ago an island was discovered, with an Abyss in the center of it, the bottom of which has never been found.

Inside the Abyss, there were relics of great value and creatures of great violence. The Abyss promised you everything: “life and death, curse and blessings”. This lured many adventurers to come in search of these relics, to “challenge the Abyss,” and test their might.

Over time, the settlement next to the Abyss where the cave raiders once camped between excursions became a large city. . This city is where we meet our main character, Riko, daughter of the most famous of all the white whistles who ever ventured down. A white whistle is the highest-tier cave raider, a hierarchy beginning with novice red whistles. Riko herself is a red whistle, and her journey begins when her mother’s literal white whistle surfaces from the Abyss, with an enigmatic note: she is waiting for her at the bottom.

Riko, who is already a fanatic for cave raiding and the Abyss, eagerly gets ready to sneak out and make her journey downwards despite her young age. We soon meet her companion on this long and arduous journey, Reg, playfully named by Riko who used to own a dog with the same name. Reg is an extraordinarily rare relic from the Abyss, a robotic boy who does not know his purpose, but quickly becomes Riko’s friend and protector.

Without spoiling any of the many twists and turns that soon come, I can divulge that this world fully thought out, and animated gorgeously. You truly ache to find out what is in the next layer down, as each looks vastly different. It reminds me of Dante’s Inferno, one of my favorite reads in terms of a detailed fictional world where each piece, or layer, is different from the last.

The characters burst with life, and some boast extreme intrigue, like Ozen the Immovable. She is someone who puzzles viewers to no end, until she has revealed everything that she knows and become an absolute favorite amongst the characters.

During the Q&A we learned that the sequel film, titled Wandering Twilight, will cover the remaining episodes of the first season of the anime, wherein a new and even more intriguing white whistle makes an appearance.

I will leave it at that, but for those who have seen the first season, you know who and what awaits us farther down in the Abyss. I hope to see you all at the next premier in this exceptional franchise.

Follow Dylan B. on Instagram: @dbmasks