The following contains spoilers for Made in Abyss Season 2 Episode 1, “The Compass Pointing to Darkness,” now streaming on HIDIVE.
Since July 6, Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Burning Sun is available to stream on HIDIVE. This is the second season of the anime and continues the story of Riko and her friends’ descent into the Abyss. However, before jumping straight into this second season, there are a few other bits of Made in the Abyss media to consider, namely films.
There was a grand total of three feature films Made in the Abyss films distributed between seasons 1 and 2. Fans who might have skipped these films initially will wonder if they were right to do so. To clear things up, here’s a look at what was covered in these films and how they relate to the Season 2 premiere.
The main story follows Riko, a Cave Raider seeking to reach the bottom of the Abyss. She thinks her mother is waiting for her downstairs. The journey is long and dangerous, but she has drive, an encyclopedic knowledge of the Abyss, and the friends she makes along the way to help her through it all.
The first two movies The dawn of travel and Wandering Twilight, are mostly recap movies. They are composed almost entirely of scenes taken from the first season of the anime. There’s a little original scene in each of them, but they don’t add any necessary new information; they are primarily there to appeal to anime fans. Together, these two movies cover everything you need to know or take away from Season 1 in about 3/4 of the time. If one hasn’t seen the first season, these films are a good option to streamline the process. Otherwise, they can be ignored.
The third movie Deep Soul Dawn, is where brand new content begins. The film begins precisely where the first season and, by extension, the first two films left off. Besides being original content compared to the first two films, her story is also canon for the manga. If you want to follow the story of Made in the Abyssthis movie must be watched.
The real question, however, is whether one can watch the first episode of the new season without watching any of these films. For the most part, the episode in question, “The Compass Pointing to Darkness,” begins by telling a story almost completely detached from Riko’s. Rather, it follows Vuelo “Vueko” Eluko and his group’s descent into the Abyss some time before the area around it was ever settled. In this regard, Vueko’s story is a prequel to Riko’s.
Whether one can jump straight into this episode and with it the season depends on the amount of Made in the Abyss you have watched. Since this episode is mostly a prequel, they can technically skip everything that came before it and just keep following what happens. Riko’s story isn’t necessary to understand what’s going on with Vueko here.
However, viewers would be doing themselves a disservice by not seeing previous episodes of Made in the Abyss first. Many of the episode’s shots are based on places Riko has explored during his descent. As this is the older fans’ second visit to these sites, all the interesting details and world-building regarding these locations are glossed over.
On top of that, the difficulty of the Abyss is also undermined by this prequel. For Riko and company. every step taken in the Abyss has been a test. They are constantly threatened by the curse of the abyss, as well as by anything or even anyone who lies in wait for them. Vueko’s group has some difficulty with their descent, but if they went through any of the same gruesome ordeal as Riko, it hasn’t been shown. Streamlining the descent like this prevents newcomers from appreciating the value of how far Riko’s group has come.
Also, the last third of the episode returns to the perspective of Riko and her friends. Their story picks up where the third film left off, making it clear that it’s necessary to watch it. This is effectively where skipping movies will come back to bite viewers.
With all of this in mind, anyone planning to watch season 2 should keep the movies in mind as follows. If one has already watched the first season, the first two films can be skipped. If one hasn’t watched the third movie yet, it should be done before watching season 2. Once all the material from these movies has been watched, one can feel free to jump straight into The Golden City of the Burning Sun with Riko and her friends.