It’d be an understatement to say that the continuation of the Made in Abyss anime is highly anticipated. When it aired all the way back in 2016, it surprised almost everyone and swept the board at the Crunchyroll awards, and fans have been waiting to see what happens next ever since.
And it looks like they won’t be in the dark much longer, as at this week’s premiere of the series’ first compilation movie Journey’s Dawn, details surrounding the previously confirmed sequel project were finally shared. It turns out that, instead of adapting the next arc in the form of a TV anime like previously, it will be adapted as a new theatrical movie titled Dawn of Deep Soul. A new key visual for the sequel film was also unveiled via the official website:
Reactions to the news were mixed at first, given the jump from TV to film, but having read ahead in the manga, I’m pretty okay with the decision. The forthcoming arc set to be adapted, which is often referred to as simply ‘the Bondrewd arc’ after its main antagonist, is quite action-focused, leaving behind a lot of the lengthy dialogue and exposition scenes that came before it. It’s already common knowledge that the pressure of weekly anime can lead to even the best of staff and studios making errors in their animation, or perhaps not having enough time to refine scenes to be the best they can be, so the less pressured environment of making a theatrical movie – especially one that has no release date attached to it at the time of writing – should allow the staff to do the breath-taking action presented in the original manga by Tsukushi Akihito justice.
What’s more is that the action-orientated focus of the arc means that the structure of twelve or thirteen 24 minute episode might affect how well it can be paced without adding in filler scenes. Even in the manga, the monthly publication schedule led to some less-than-perfect pacing. Indeed, the latter half of the arc is pretty much just one, continuous action scene, which would work much better in a theatrical movie, delivered all at once, then split up between four or five episodes of TV.
Furthermore, I believe that the ‘arc’ itself is not very well suited to having an entire season of television dedicated to it, as it’s action-heavy premise and the way that it delivers on so many plot points set up in the previous Nanachi arc means that it probably would have been more suitable as the season finale to season one. So to have it all play out continuously as a film will probably alleviate some frustrations that may have come from it being adapted into a TV anime, namely that it doesn’t advance the plot as much as the previous arcs (although what happens in it is still very important to the overall series).
As of the time of writing, however, we have no concrete information beyond the key visual and the fact that the sequel project will be a movie, so we can’t do much more speculating. But I’m incredibly happy with the decision the staff have taken and hope that this will allow them to make the continuation of the anime truly as subarashii as it can be.