It’s very common to see anime fans constantly asking for recommendations that are similar to a series they like. Sometimes it can be difficult to align one anime with another, but sometimes the two just match. If you’re a Made in Abyss fan asking, “Should I watch SAKUGAN?” then the answer is a resounding yes, you definitely should. And here are a handful of reasons why Made in Abyss fans would love SAKUGAN.
Riko and Memempu
The first reason is how alike the main characters, Riko (Made in Abyss) and Memempu (SAKUGAN), are. Despite many of their traits stacking up with each other, even the few differences between the two make them unique to their respective series. They are two hyperactive kids with lofty goals in mind that are even dangerous for adults. Memempu wants to reach the place she keeps seeing in her dreams and become a Marker, Riko wants to reach the bottom of the abyss to see her mother and become a White Whistle.
In terms of personality, Memempu is more of a stubborn realist and Riko is more of an adventurous idealist. While Memempu is undoubtedly the smarter of the two, she has seven doctorates at the age of nine, Riko is also no slouch herself. Riko’s love for adventure with others nulls most internal conflicts among friends. Memempu, on the other hand, is a fan of working by herself and always runs into problems with others she works with. I could go on for days about how the two are such compelling main characters. If there’s any reason why Made in Abyss fans would love SAKUGAN, it’s because of how similar Riko and Memempu are.
Here’s a list of their similarities and differences instead.
- Identical goals
- Young, female, main characters
- Received an important gift/message at the beginning of the series
- Has a travel companion with an interesting backstory
- Always craving adventure
- Had those close to them that were originally against their goals
- Constantly finds their way out of life-threatening situations
- Has the gift of gab
- Knows how to mine for goods (weird similarity, but it’s true!)
- Both have parents that like to drink (Memempu’s dad, Riko’s mom)
- Memempu – realist with idealist tendecies, Riko – idealist with realist tendencies
- Riko is “the more, the merrier”, Memempu is more “I’ll do it myself”
- Memempu grew up in a home with her dad, Riko is an orphan.
- Riko has a group of friends her age, Memempu doesn’t.
- Memempu tries to act tough, Riko wears her heart on her sleeve
Reg and Gagumber
Made in Abyss and SAKUGAN also give our main characters a partner that tags along with them on their adventure. Both of them bring their perks but they couldn’t be any more different than one another. This is a good reason to watch SAKUGAN because it’s a completely different dynamic. Riko and Reg (Made in Abyss) are two friends on a dangerous adventure while Memempu and Gagumber (SAKUGAN) are a father/daughter duo going their own way. The one thing that Reg and Gagumber do have in common is that Reg can handle the abyss’ elements and Gagumber has experience being in the labyrinth.
What’s even more intriguing is that both have their own backstories and goals. Reg wants to learn about who he is and why he can survive the climates in the abyss. Gagumber wants to support his daughter while trying to mask his pain from a very dark past involving the labyrinth.
The two have way more differences than similarities. And with two main characters that are the same in many ways, having two partners being completely different from one another gives SAKUGAN a different kind of impact during emotional moments. Watch up to episode 8 of SAKUGAN to see exactly what I mean. Emotional moments between Riko and Reg in Made in Abyss drew a lot of fans in and similar moments between Memempu and Gagumber are definitely another reason why fans would love SAKUGAN.
Both Are Sci-Fi Anime With Different Themes
SAKUGAN and Made in Abyss fall under the sci-fi genre. Many elements in both series prove this to be obvious and it’s particularly a good thing given that sci-fi is one of the less popular anime genres. But their themes are what separate the two just slightly. Made in Abyss gives fans dark fantasy themes straight from the start in episode one. With many fantasy-like elements, such as the vast amount of different creatures and characters Riko and Reg encounter, sometimes Made in Abyss doesn’t feel like a sci-fi series.
However, the series does a fantastic job of reminding fans it’s undoubtedly sci-fi. SAKUGAN, on the other hand, has mecha themes. Don’t let the word “mecha” scare some of you. The action scenes in the series do involve giant mechas and there is some backstory to them. But the mecha themes are subtle and aren’t a primary focus of SAKUGAN at all. It’s another wonderful sci-fi adventure anime just like Made in Abyss. If you are a fan of sci-fi anime, both series present different themes under the same sci-fi umbrella in their own perfect.
Worldbuilding: The Abyss and The Labyrinth
To get a general understanding of how each is set up, the abyss has multiple levels and the labyrinth is the open world outside of the colonies. Both of them have many unexplored parts. Civilization in Made in Abyss lives above ground, besides the few who live in the abyss, and everyone in SAKUGAN lives underground (that we know so far).
Made in Abyss and SAKUGAN both present fans with amazing settings and phenomenal worldbuilding. The different levels of the abyss are vastly different compared to the labyrinth and all the colonies. While Memempu and Gagumber come across dangers on their adventure, whether it be kaiju or sleazy antagonists, no specific colony possesses a certain level of environmental health threats like the abyss does.
The two series do a great job of creating different environments that our main characters come across on their adventure. Each part of their respective worlds is completely different from the other parts. In Made in Abyss, different creatures live on different layers of the abyss that create dangerous scenarios for Riko and Reg. SAKUGAN’s problems do arise from kaiju out in the labyrinth and when they invade colonies, but a lot of the main characters’ conflicts are usually more personal rather than environmental like in Made in Abyss.
With each level in the abyss and the unknown of the labyrinth and other colonies, both Made in Abyss and SAKUGAN do a wonderful job of expanding their worlds always keeping viewers interested in what is coming next. Any fan of the worldbuilding in Made in Abyss will definitely appreciate it in SAKUGAN.
Both Are Extremely Dark
Remember how we all thought Made in Abyss was going to be this cute, fun adventure with a group of kids? And how we were all wrong by a long shot? Me, too. And SAKUGAN is going down that same road as well. What looks like an action-packed, father/daughter adventure at the beginning, Episode 7 and episode 8 have shown just how dark SAKUGAN can actually be. Made in Abyss showed us how brutal the abyss is on the human body. But SAKUGAN‘s darkness comes from backstabbing human connections and seeing a dark future that might lie ahead (Memempu’s dream). On the other hand, Made in Abyss‘ dark moments are slightly anticipated at the beginning of the series and hit hard when they actually happen.
Neither series shies away from being graphic. If you want a taste of how dark each series gets, Made in Abyss episode 10 and SAKUGAN episode 8 put it on full display. I will give a trigger warning now because there are extremely graphic scenes in those episodes. Would this be a reason why Made in Abyss fans would love SAKUGAN, though? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on the fan and what they enjoyed about Made in Abyss. Either way, it’s definitely one of many similarities between both series.
There is so much more we could compare between Made in Abyss and SAKUGAN all the way down to the smallest of detail. Both are so similar yet so different in a variety of ways. After watching the first few episodes of SAKUGAN, Made in Abyss fans will easily be able to understand the comparisons. Hopefully, this article encourages a few readers to give SAKUGAN a chance. The series is one of the best to come out of the fall 2021 lineup and it definitely deserves more praise.
All new SAKUGAN episodes air on Thursdays on Crunchyroll. Episode 9 will air next Thursday, December 2. Remember to vote for the series in our weekly poll!
Made in Abyss Season 2 will air in 2022. Fans can watch the latest trailer and find more information about season 2 here.
All images via Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime
©Akihito Tsukushi, Takeshobo/Made in Abyss Production Committee