How Summer’s Best Anime Put a Heartbreaking Twist on Pokémon

Contains spoilers for Made in Abyss Season 2!The Pokémon franchise has featured various tragic stories over time, but one anime managed to top all of those with its own heartbreaking version of a Pokémon. Despite their many appearances and types, Pokémon all generally share certain characteristics like communicating only through their names and being distinctly non-human. The anime Made in Abyssversion of this sort of creature shares those characteristics but manages to make them inherently tragic.


Made in Abyss is an anime made by Kinema Citrus based on the manga of the same name by Akihito Tsukushi. It follows Riko and her robotic companion Reg as they venture into the mysterious Abyss and encounter the various characters and threats contained therein. In the second season, Riko and her friends encounter a village filled with strange creatures known as Hollows. These Hollows come in many sizes and shapes, much like Pokémon, but they can generally communicate using actual human language. This makes sense, as it is eventually revealed that these Hollows were all once human beings who were transformed through magical means. However, one of these Hollows can’t easily communicate, despite once being human.

Related: Pokémon-Human Hybrids Exist Within The Series’ Universe

Maaa is a pink Hollow that resembles a sheet ghost. They can only communicate by saying their name just like a Pokémon, but they are able to evoke quite a range of emotion through this one utterance. Maaa initially serves an antagonistic role after severely injuring Riko’s pet Meinya, an act for which they are severely punished for by the Hollow village’s rules. After losing the doll that was their most prized possession and having various body parts torn off, Maaa becomes an ally to Riko, seemingly regretting their past actions. They are present at Riko’s side for the rest of this Made in Abyss arc, protecting her and serving as a friend despite their limited ability to communicate. All of this causes Riko to make Maaa a new doll to replace their old one, which clearly means a lot to them. Heartbreakingly, despite all this character development, when the Hollow Village is destroyed at the end of the season, Maaa disintegrates, their last act being to watch over and protect Riko while she is unconsciously escaping.

Made in Abyss’ Maaa Turns to Dust And Shows How Tragic Pokémon Could Be

Riko waking up and looking for Maaa after they have disintegrated is a truly heartbreaking moment, made all the more tragic by the amount of growth Maaa displayed over the season. Many Pokémon do have arcs where they grow closer to their trainers and learn new skills, but the kid-friendly franchise rarely shows these Pokémon die, despite often involving them in brutal fights. Maaa’s death and the effect it has on Made in Abyss’ protagonists shows how emotionally powerful it would be if Pokémon did decide to kill off one of its main character’s Pokémon.

Of course, Maaa’s entire character arc before her death was also emotional, with her brutal punishment and reaction to seeing Riko’s gift being incredibly touching. The Pokémon franchise does manage to feature some similar plot points with their creatures as well, but its general tendency to have to keep things light for its younger audience can frustratingly hamper the impact of these moments. Through Maaa, Made in Abyss shows the deep emotional impact that Pokémon could have if it featured darker and more mature plot lines.

Made in Abyss Season 2 is available to stream on HIDIVE.

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