anime | review
Made In Abyss
by Tim Georgi
Kids. As most of us had been one at one point (and some of us still tend to act like one, even as adults), we know that kids can be mean. This is the basis of a highly emotional and well-crafted tale that take us into the coming-of-age story that is so prevalent in anime, but pushes us way beyond that simple premise and into a world where we have little choice to feel the impact of the choices and actions of this particular group of individuals.
After transferring into a new school, a deaf girl, Shoko Nishimiya, is bullied by the popular Shoya Ishida. As Shoya continues to bully Shoko, the class turns its back on him. Shoko transfers and Shoya grows up as an outcast. Alone and depressed, the regretful Shoya finds Shoko to make amends. “A Silent Voice” is a moving coming-of-age drama that depicts the struggles of adolescence through its memorable characters and beautiful animation.
Elfen Lied largely takes place in the town of Kamakura, around 60 km south of Tokyo, and focuses on a newly mutated species, called “Diclonius.” Their appearance is similar to humans, but with several differences, namely horn-like protrusions on their forehead and the presence of invisible telekinetic arms called “vectors.” A Diclonus called Lucy was being held in a facility built for experimentation, just off the coast of Kamakura. She manages to escape from her high security confinement cell and begins to wreak havoc on the facility. She kills scores of people on the island and manages to escape into Sagami Bay, but is injured in the process. She washes up on the beach in Kamakura, but her injuries causes her to develop a secondary, childlike personality.
Lucy is found by two locals, university student Kohta, and his cousin Yuka. They take her in and eventually decide to call her Nyu, since that’s all she can say when they first find her. As the series goes along, Kohta and Yuka become involved with the numerous, often brutal, attempts to recapture her by a Special Assault Team and a number of other Diclonius, who shift frequently from oblivious to murderous.
A key point of debate throughout the series is the Diclonius propensity towards violence. Many have a vendetta against humans, and have ambitions to wipe out the human race and populate the world with their own species. It is disputed and contradicted during the series as to how Diclonii develop their violent behavior, whether it is part of their genetic DNA or whether it stems from abuse by humans.
If a Diclonius vector penetrates or even so much as touches a human male body, the “vector virus” is transferred to the human, causing their children to be born as Diclonii (when born from humans they are called “Silpelits”). An incident involving the escape of a child Diclonius during Kurama’s early years, where the Diclonius’ vectors penetrated him without causing him pain, resulted in Mariko being born a Diclonius and Kurama taking precautions against a recurrence by urging Bando to be sterilized. All Diclonii (Silpelits) born from human parents are sterile and female. There is only one Diclonius that is actually capable of reproducing: Lucy, the “queen”.
I was fortunate enough to have been able to get tickets for the theatrical re-release of A Silent Voice. It was a brilliant and yet overwhelming experience. My initial thoughts as I walked out of the theatre was that it was a story that was powerful, gripping, painful, happy, sad and full of hope, all smashed together into one movie.
A Silent Voice
Yoshitoki Oima, KODANSHA/A SILENT VOICE THE MOVIE PRODUCTION COMMITTEE
Run Time: 130 min
Street Date: April 2, 2019