The City of the Scorching Sun really bares its name this episode as Team Riko explores the new layer of the Abyss and escapes the dangers, as well as make discoveries. I really like episodes like these because it gives us a great look into the Abyss and what oddities and characteristics it has. Also we get the most of the beautiful background art because that is (chef’s kiss) perfection. The Abyss continues to amaze me with how wildly different each layer is, and this layer is really mesmerizing (even with the danger).
This was a great exploration episode as it was mostly Riko and the others looking around and making discoveries. This includes marveling at the ruins and buildings around them and what material they’re made from, seeing the creatures Riko’s mom mentioned in her letters, as well as running away from the geothermal vents. Sitting over a sort of scrumptious meal of eggs from one of the creatures, Riko recounts sort of eating something similar back in the orphanage. I really liked this moment as Riko reminisced about her time there and her friends. My memory is probably hazy, but I don’t recall Riko mentioning the orphanage much. So I thought it was really nice that Riko told Nanachi about her friends and even drawing them in the dirt. It brought up the idea of sending them a letter to tell them that they’ve finally made it to the sixth layer and they’re doing well. They drew a little portrait of themselves which I thought was really adorable, and sweet that they included Nanachi too. Sending a mail balloon up to the surface from the sixth layer is a difficult task and honestly, after seeing all the layers so far, Riko’s mother’s balloon making it to the surface from an even deeper part of the Abyss is a miracle. The creatures and explosions and everything would make a simple balloon get destroyed so I have to wonder how that happened. Anyway, wishing and believing with all their might that the balloon will reach the orphanage, the mail balloon is promptly taken from a large flying creature.
The very last line in the episode was very ominous, but now I’m starting to piece together what MAYBE is happening here. The next morning after the balloon send-off was botched, Nanachi awakens to the letter next to them with Riko and Nanachi’s portraits being crossed out, with a certain symbol that sort of looks like an upside down stick figure over Riko. And what’s worse, Riko realizes that Prushka was stolen from her as well. They deduce that someone is spying on them while also having stolen from them. Things turn even weirder and now gross when they find little dead creatures with…their butts sewn shut with Nanachi and Riko’s hairs inside them. WHY? I don’t know but very nasty. Following the trail of the scent thanks to Reg, the group make it to their destination.
It’s a colorful place filled with a whole civilization of creatures and robot-like things too. They don’t attack Riko and the others but watch them intently. They get greeted by one of them, a sort of robot by the name of Majikaja. He makes it seem like someone did take Prushka from them, and the episode ends with him taking them to that “person”. The last line, those that return to the place are not able to maintain their human forms, there’s something about it. Judging by the OP visuals, Vueko’s group is going to remain an important part to the story and I think…this may just be them. They were a fairly large group and they explored the sixth layer and I think in their time they entered this area and lost their human forms and are this group of creatures. Perhaps they needed the Your Worth material for a good reason, and that could be to change themselves back? Maybe I shouldn’t speculate so much in just the second episode but the last line of the episode just made things more curious.
If that’s not it, I do wonder how Vueko’s story will tie into all this.