At the end of episode 10, a strange rabbit-like creature called Nanachi appears in the nick of time to save Riko’s life. It turns out that it actually –was- them following Reg and Riko before, and not the Orb Piercer – Nanachi merely didn’t want to interfere immediately. However, even though the fluffy newcomer has a great knowledge of illnesses, injuries and healing, Riko still isn’t out of the woods – it’s going to be a rough recovery period for her. Reg is determined to help out however he can, and through most of this episode is tasked with locating various plants, animals and fish that Nanachi has given him a list of. Some of these items are integral to Riko’s chances of survival – such as parasitic mushrooms that can restore her arm to (mostly) normal.
While Nanachi is an example of what the curse can do to a human body when ascending from the sixth layer, rest assured that ‘cute furry’ is actually an atypical example. Also residing in Nanachi’s home is the ill-fated Mitty – an example of the more typical result – by which I mean Mitty is a deformed, blubbering mass of parts. So uh, yeah. I take that back. The sixth level curse is not a better deal than the fourth.
However, close to Nanachi’s house Reg has a strange hallucination in which he hears his own voice apparently talking to, or even mourning, Lyza, as he looks at what seems to be her grave – before abruptly snapping out of it.
I was recently surprised and somewhat interested to discover that the mangaka of Made in Abyss did not actually confirm Nanachi’s gender one way or the other. In between episode ten’s airing and now, I actually read a great deal of the manga (so now I’m spoiled for upcoming events) and so I have seen their original human form – which is unhelpfully androgynous, unlike Mitty’s. The fact that Nanachi’s personal pronoun is the rough masculine ‘oira’ further complicates things. And don’t just think this is another case of things being less of a deal in Japanese due to pronouns not even being necessary in grammatically correct sentences – the mangaka even clarified via twitter that this is unknown or possibly yet to be revealed – which casts some doubt on the usual assumption that Nanachi is female. (After all, this is a series with Marulk in it). Because of this, I’ll be referring to Nanachi with the neutral ‘they’ from now on.
Anyway, that aside, there’s not a lot to say about this episode. Most of what happened in it was summed up in the manga within a page or so – instead of the brief summary of ‘Reg collected the ingredients’, we actually get to see him go after every one. I don’t think this is a bad thing – to be honest, it creates a rather peaceful breather after all the fast-paced trauma of the last episode – but its just not all that exciting.
Anyway, on to Mitty. (I’m actually wondering if that’s the correct romanization of her name, because the characters pronounce it like Miity rather than Mitty– which raises the somewhat morbidly hilarious possibility that it’s actually meant to be ‘Meaty’.) I remember being shocked and somewhat repulsed apon her reveal in the manga. Maybe it’s also because I knew what to expect, but in the anime she’s almost cute. Maybe it’s also because she’s bubblegum pink (which I didn’t expect, tbh) and looks more like some kind of awkward Digimon than a mass of viscera, but my reaction to seeing anime-Mitty was more pity than ‘oh god what’. That’s not to say she isn’t still disturbing, of course, with her gaping maw and staring eyeball.
As for Reg’s hallucination, its probably the most substantial piece of random returning memory so far, but it’s not exactly helpful – and he’s just as confused about it as the viewers would be.
Hey, remember the ‘birthday disease’ that got referenced several episodes ago and then never mentioned again? It got mentioned again! And, as expected, Kiyui has caught it and seems to be facing certain death. A travelling doctor shows up in Orth and takes him slightly outside the city to her hospital boat – where he suddenly makes a complete recovery, for reasons she cannot comprehend.
Meanwhile, back in Nanachi’s pad, the poison has left Riko thanks to Mitty. Her terrifying body apparently has the ability to neutralize poisons, so Nanachi was able to make an antitode from her blood. Mitty also seems greatly fascinated by Riko and won’t leave her side, and the two even have some kind of strange connection via Riko’s coma-space.
Since she still has plenty of time to recover, and Reg is still worried about anything like this ever happening again, he gets Nanachi to explain to him how it is that they are able to ‘see’ the Abyss and its curse. Nanachi explains that the ‘curse’ – which is actually the forcefield of the abyss itself – functions something like an invisible, mist-like blanket that does not harm anyone unless they move upwards, since that strains against it. However, that isn’t all – it’s something that moves along with any small movement, however subconscious, and that is how the dangerous predators that live in the Abyss are so efficiently able to hunt – all they’re doing is reading the tiny changes in the Abyss’s ‘current’ to accurately predict their preys next move. Using a special relic that functions like an earpiece, Nanachi gives Reg instructions on how he can beat the Orb-piercer by fooling its senses. However, he also comes across a random Black Whistle – so asks him to relay a message to the Orphanage: he and Riko will continue their adventure.
Since I didn’t see Made in Abyss on the charts for the new anime season starting in a few more days, it seems like it will be taking a break for at least one season. (That’s assuming it will have another season – HiDive seems to think so, and I certainly hope so, because the story is far from close to over at this point and it would be pretty silly for Nanachi to feature so prominently in the ending theme otherwise). I think this is definitely a good idea, because the manga definitely needs to be given some space to advance – or even finish, because honestly, an anime-original ending on this would be kind of bad. Speaking of anime-original, unless she appears in a part of the manga I’m not up to yet, I was surprised at the appearance of this doctor character back in Orth – and also surprised to see that Birthday Disease subplot brought up at all again – again, if it gets brought up again in the manga, it’s not in this arc. There’s an implication that the disease is simply caused by proximity to the Abyss, or being in Orth whatsoever, because even being slightly outside the city caused Kiyui to have a complete recovery.