Despite its cute and simplistic art style, Made in the Abyss is a terrifying adventure series filled with murderous monsters and gruesome body horror. Centered around a vast pit known as the Abyss, protagonist Riko stumbles upon an android-like machine after he saves her life. Together, Riko and the robot boy Reg descend into the abyss to find Riko’s long-lost mother. In addition to physical obstacles in her way, Riko faces an additional problem: the Curse of the Abyss – an invisible force field produced by the pit that will harm and disfigure humans who try to rise from the depths.
During the journey, they are faced with challenges from supernatural monsters and other cave divers who want to make sure they are skilled enough to survive the further layers of the underworld. One of these challenges comes in the form of a man named Bondrewd – an imposing and menacing figure who has no qualms about committing countless atrocities in the name of science.
Bondrewd’s uncontrolled genius
The White Flute known as Bondrewd is a scientist known for his discoveries of ancient artifacts and research into the mysteries of the Abyss. Bondrewd, who is generally feared among other cavemen for his cruelty, is often unchecked in his unethical and illegal work. All who attempt to apprehend him for his crimes perish, either by his own hands or from the dangers of the abyss itself.
Inhabiting the lowest part of the fifth layer of the Abyss, Bondrewd is a difficult individual to face due to the drastic effects of the Abyss’ Curse warding off unskilled divers attempting to reach him. Even if one were to evade the lurking monster to find him deep within the Ido Front Fortress, they would soon discover the dangers of Bondrewd themselves. Equipped with a weapon similar to Reg’s incinerator and other items, those unprepared for battle may meet a quick end – provided they are not repurposed for later experiments.
Bondrewd’s horrific experiments
Bondrewd is shown to be a skilled manipulator. His deceptively gentle bedside manner allows him to give his victims a sense of ease around him until it is too late to escape his life-changing experiments. Bondrewd has no problem experimenting on living people, even if they are children or will die as a result. Although it is unknown if he specifically seeks out orphans for his experiments, all experimentation shown to the audience involves children.
Knowing that he boasts a large number of child victims builds a steady sense of unease, especially since his unethical experiments don’t just end in the gross disfigurement of individuals, as seen with the cavemen Mitty and Nanachi. Bondrewd is also shown to continue mutilating his victims if it means standing to gain further insight into the effects of the Abyss’ Curse. Nanachi implies i Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul movies like Bondrewd have them using their cute and fluffy looks to get others, presumably fellow children, to be experimented on and murdered.
Bondrewd’s lack of consent
Bondrewd has also been shown to lack any kind of boundary with those around him. Proving to be a charismatic manipulator, he uses his ability to rally people to his cause to enlist a group of black flute henchmen known as the Umbra Hands. Using a rare relic known as the Zoaholic, Bondrewd is able to implant his consciousness into his team. This ability can be used to channel his mind through the Umbra Hands. Although the Umbra Hands are said to be willing followers of Bondrewd, it is unknown if they are fully aware of the extent to which they will be used to his advantage.
With his saccharine persona, Bondrewd is able to instill an instant sense of ease in those with whom he will later experiment. Although he is not known to outright lie to get what he wants, he leaves out important details about his goals to those he recruits to his cause. One such example of this is when he first recruits the children from Nanachi’s home, telling a grand story about helping him research the Abyss. While it is not untrue that they will assist in this, he fails to mention that his “helpers” will be used in gruesome and disfiguring experiments. His lack of consent also comes into play when, without warning, Reg is taken from his room to be brutally dismantled.
Bondrew’s disregard for human life
Although it’s hard to imagine how this sociopathic scientist could get any worse with this information, Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul the film highlights an even more sinister and gruesome aspect of Bondrewd’s obsession. His disregard for human life is not limited to random children, but even extends to himself and his family. Willing to sacrifice himself in the name of science, Bondrewd discards his original body to obtain a Life Reverberating Stone, the raw material needed to create a white flute. Even Bondrewd’s adopted daughter, Prushka, is not spared from his cruelty. During her upbringing, he is shown to take the time to slowly help her regain her sense of self after suffering the effects of the curse of the Abyss. But despite appearances, he doesn’t feel a sense of connection with her.
Prushka meets a sickening end when Bondrewd has her body dismembered to become a “cartridge” – a container filled with the barely living remains of an individual to be used to stave off the disfiguring effects of the sixth layer’s curse. After using the cartridge containing Prushka’s remains, Bondrewd is able to receive the Abyssal Blessing in his temporary body. This indifference to the life of his own daughter seems to prove a theory about the relationship between love and the blessing of the abyss, and shows that Bondrewd is prepared to manipulate the love of someone for an extended period of time if it brings him results.
Remembering Bondrewd’s victims
Due to the number of victims that Bondrewd accumulates over the years, it might be hard to imagine that he would remember much about each of them. Contrary to this idea, he seems to remember each of his victims’ names and even their aspirations. He is able to remember this information even after they are horribly disfigured from his experiments, have undergone the ascension curse to the sixth layer, or have been turned into containers. He seems to be able to remember his victims even after long periods of time, including the cavemen he throws into an inescapable hole.
It could be argued that Bondrewd remembering the names of all the victims of his experiments could be a sign of empathy. But when taking a more realistic view of his actions, serial killer confessions often show that perpetrators similarly often remember the names of their victims for years after killing them. If this real-world perspective is applied to Bondrewd, remembering the names and other identifying personal details of his victims could be seen as a trophy-holding method due to his valuing of knowledge over material possessions or even life itself.
Bondrewed the Undying
Knowing that Bondrewd has the ability to remain unfazed when it comes to paying any consequences for his actions is what makes him truly terrifying as a villain. An additional ability granted to Bondrewd through the Zoaholic Relic allows him to completely possess the body of another person to give him a sense of pseudo-immortality. Despite dying a total of three times (and possibly more unconfirmed times), his supply of bodies to inhabit may be endless if he is able to continue to persuade others to join his team of Umbra Hands.
Bondrewd’s twisted nature allows him to surpass many similar villains in anime in terms of the atrocities committed. While others can wipe out entire civilizations or planets, mass killings on that scale tend to be indiscriminate, as there is no way for anyone to know every civilian caught in the crossfire of a heroic battle. Bondrewd is different in this respect; he not only takes his time with his victims, but seems to savor them for every bit of information he can recall from them. His tactful ability to persuade others to his side and the dangerous artifacts that make him both powerful and essentially immortal make him one of the scariest villains in all of anime.