(Warning: Spoilers for Made in Abyss)
The story of Nanachi and Mitty is heartbreaking, as you will know if you’ve seen in the 2017 hit Made in Abyss. Not a lot has been said online about the nature of the emotional experiences of Nanachi throughout this tragedy. I’ll go over some of it here. I won’t be spelling out the whole story of what happened, but rather, I’ll focus on how Nanachi felt.
Mitty and Nanachi were once humans. They were orphans, and once Bondrewd brought them together, they became fast friends. The two became closer to each other as the other children around them disappeared, never returning from the experiments with Bondrewd. For Nanachi, Mitty was even more than a best friend. She was family. Mitty was all Nanachi had in the whole world. That’s one reason Nanachi stays so tirelessly dedicated to Mitty.
When Mitty was changed and deformed into a monstrous yet pathetic creature because of Bondrewd’s experiment, Nanachi was traumatized. She must have felt many painful emotions. Horror and disgust at what was being done to her and to Mitty. Grief at losing the Mitty she knew– the true, human Mitty. Depression and guilt over surviving unscathed. The sadness was so powerful that Nanachi decided she didn’t deserve to live unless she dedicated her existence to supporting Mitty.
That’s not to say that a sense of responsibility was all that drove Nanachi. Taking care of Mitty was also something she did for herself. It was the only thing she had to give her life purpose and her mind motivation. Bitter as it was, a sense of fulfillment came from living with Mitty, and trying to find a way to let her rest in peace. This way, Nanachi satisfied her need to be with Mitty, her feelings of responsibility and guilt, and her need for purpose and direction. However, the sense of horror and grief never really ended.
Nanachi’s life with Mitty wasn’t meant to last forever. A way to put Mitty at peace, a way to end her endless suffering, was the permanent solution needed. Thanks to Regu and his power, fully destroying Mitty once and for all became a possibility for the first time.
Remember, Mitty most likely wasn’t sentient or conscious– or if she was, then even less so than an animal. Keeping Mitty as something like a pet would be a disgrace to the human girl’s memory. Besides, there is a good chance Mitty is suffering, like being trapped in a bad dream for eternity. Even if Mitty were conscious, and aware of more than pain and desperation, Nanachi couldn’t take care of her forever. The burden was slowly crushing her emotionally. As if it wasn’t hard enough to look after oneself in the depths of the Abyss! She had to care for two.
For all these reasons, Nanachi decided to have Regu put an end to the creature that was once Mitty. It wasn’t an easy choice. Nanachi cried and cried about it. Aside from the agony of parting with the last remnant of her family, she didn’t know what do after it was over. What would happen to her sense of purpose? Will the weight of her survivor’s guilt increase once Mitty is gone? In episode 11, Regu makes a demand that must be met if he is to kill Mitty; Nanachi must not kill herself. Hearing this, Nanachi becomes somber and disheartened, saying that Regu is striking a hard bargain. This suggests that she was planning to commit suicide after Mitty was destroyed. Clearly, this is a difficult choice for her.
When Mitty was finally put to rest, Nanachi grieved, and will probably continue to be somewhat depressed and directionless for a while after. But instead of being wholly swallowed by despair, she found a new sense of purpose, or at least something interesting enough to stay alive for. That be joining Regu and Riko on their quest down into the Abyss.
In a way, putting Mitty down brought psychological and spiritual peace. It was necessary in order for Nanachi to move on with her own life. Mitty’s death was fulfullment–but again, a bitter and painful one. Can you sympathize with Nanachi? Her grief, depression, or guilt? The impossibly difficult choice she had to make? Made in Abyss can be a heavy show, and the best example of this is the story of Mitty and Nanachi.
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