Multiple male idols, including TXT‘s Soobin, SEVENTEEN‘s Woozi, and NCT‘s Taeyong, have recently come under fire for consuming or recommending a manga-turned-anime series titled Made In Abyss.
At first glance, the series, originally published in Japan, seems like a run-of-the-mill fantasy manga. The story follows an orphan named Riko who lives in a society that lives around and explores the “Abyss,” a hole that goes deep into the earth.
Made In Abyss follows Riko as she descends into the Abyss, searching for her long-lost mother, a legendary Cave Raider.
However, its content, as the story progresses, takes a darker turn and involves graphic violence to children, among other things, leading to the backlash idols are currently facing.
For example, the head of the orphanage where Riko and the other children reside punishes her by stringing her up nude and beating her, something many have found unnecessary. This scene is around a second long in the anime version available on Amazon Prime and makes up a panel in the manga.
The first episode also shows Riko discovering her future adventure partner, a robot, and experimenting on him — which includes her putting a stick in his anus.
More than anything, many viewers of the show are left shocked by the violence against children throughout the program.
During episode ten, Riko is horrifically injured and pees on herself as another character is forced to render aid by administering medicine as a suppository, in addition to her arm being partially severed.
In the climax of the first season, children are experimented on and forced to deal with body horror as their physical forms change as a result of the Abyss’s magic. During a sorrowful scene, the robot, Reg, has to kill a friend who transforms into a shapeless, mindless blob.
While graphic violence and scenes of abuse to children are controversial, many have accepted similar subject matter as part of the storytelling. However, in the case of Made In Abyss, the author is a source of contention.
Akihito Tsukushi, the series’ author, is considered extremely problematic in the manga/anime space. Viewers have noted that he is a “lolicon” (an adult who is sexually attracted to prepubescent girls) based on his artwork and questionable interview, like keeping an elementary school girl’s uniform displayed in his room and smelling the stuffed toy version of one of his child characters daily.
He loves describing all of Nanachi different body parts smell. It's also been proven that he regularly smells his Nanachi plushies. So let’s call him what he is a pedophile 🚨 pic.twitter.com/LKMZ96RpGA
— Mochi (@garden_mane) November 19, 2023
One fan has even said that they hope that the writer can finish the manga before he is ultimately sentenced to jail time for pedophilia.
His behavior makes it easy to understand the negative connotations surrounding the series. It is also worth noting that the series has been edited for publication in different regions, including South Korea, and the manga and anime differ in some aspects, like additional artwork available in some versions.
One reader even stated the nudity in the series is not meant to be sexual in nature, but the extras drawn by the author in some publications definitely give that feeling.
The version available and aired in North America on Amazon Prime and Crunchyroll are rated TV-14, unlike other series that have earned a TV-MA rating. It is also reported to be heavily edited in the South Korean versions of both the manga and anime, though there are still traces of the original’s grotesque scenes.
The consumption of media featuring violent and abusive behavior toward children has often been debated, and Made In Abyss appears to be another instance that has left many avid manga and anime consumers conflicted.