In anime and manga works, the popularity of characters and topics of conversation tend to be biased toward the main characters and heroes. However, it is the existence of the “shadows” that makes the “light” shine brightly.
In the 12th installment of “Enemy Character Biographies: Where’s Their Aesthetics?” we’re going to take a look at the charm of Bondrewd from “Made in Abyss”.

“Made in Abyss” is a work that portrays the “longing for the unknown”.

Riko, one of the main characters, embodies this. Her mother is a legendary explorer, and she is always on the lookout for the Abyss. She is curious about everything, resourceful and brave.

However, there is someone who embodies this “longing” from a different angle. It is the Soverign of Dawn, Bondrewd. He stands in the way of Riko, Reg, and the others, and is Nanachi’s fated opponent, and is called a “hardcore bastard” and a “prick.

However, Bondrewd is more than just a scumbag villain, he is an important character because his principle of action is also “longing for the unknown”.

A truly evil person doesn’t think of himself as evil.
Bondrewd is one of the “White Whistle,” the pinnacle of the explorers. His achievements as an explorer have been enormous, and he has done things that “no one had ever done before” (according to Habolg), such as opening up inviolable routes and setting up bases that make it possible to operate in the depths.

As a result, he was given the nickname “Sovereign of Dawn”. The word “dawn” means the opening of night. It means that he is a person who has shone light on the unknown world that was shut up in darkness. It is a very positive and beautiful alias, but at the same time, he does not hesitate to use any means necessary to achieve his goals, such as conducting atrocious experiments on human subjects and cultivating routes that are willing to destroy the environment.

The thing that shook the viewers and readers the most during the was probably the invention of the “Cartridge”. This device, which sacrifices a child to shoulder the curse of the rising load of the Abyss, is revolutionary, but at the same time, it is not something that any sane person would do. And yet, he carries out such a brutal act in a gentlemanly tone.

From an objective point of view, Bondrewd is the very essence of evil. But I don’t think he sees it that way. He doesn’t operate on the basis of good or evil, but only on the basis of a thorough search.

It is often said that a truly evil person doesn’t feel that he is evil in the slightest, and this is exactly the case with Bondrewd.

However, it is also a fact that the history of the world has been pioneered by people who have lost their minds. The first person to cross the Atlantic, the first person to circumnavigate the globe, or the first revolutionary who overturned conventional wisdom, all had a side of outrageousness. We are merely following the path blazed by such outrageous people.

In this respect, Bondrewd is certainly worthy of being called the “Soverign of Dawn,” the one who brings the opening of night. The film’s sense of giving such a positive and hopeful nickname to such a person deepens the overall theme of “longing for the unknown” in a multifaceted way.

Why did Bondrewd call Riko “this side of person”?
There are many memorable lines in the film, but one of the most important in terms of the theme of the film is when he says to Riko, “Maybe you’re much more this way than I think”.

Riko is a protagonist with an overflowing spirit of exploration. She is fearless in the face of the unknown, studious and calm in her grasp of things. Her mind is always more curious than afraid.

Riko, who was severely injured by poison in her arm in the fourth layer, asked Reg to cut off her arm. She asked Reg to cut off her arm, not at the joint of the elbow, where the pain is relatively less, but at the very edge of the affected area. As Nanachi later explains, Riko was thinking of continuing her adventure even though she was in a critical condition. Her mental strength is astonishing.

And Riko has a very experimental spirit. When she picks up Reg, she examines him all over while he sleeps, and she even hints that she is experimenting with his sense of pain.

Riko is executing the strategy of using small animals as decoys in the third layer. At that time, after saying “I’m sorry,” Riko says, “I wish I could have eaten it well”. I wonder if she was more interested in what it tasted like than in sacrificing a small life.

Riko sacrificed a small animal, while Bondrewd sacrificed a human child. The difference between them is huge, but the difference is only in the scope of what can be sacrificed.

In a way, Riko and Bondrewd share the same “yearning for the unknown” and the willingness to sacrifice in order to achieve it. As Bondrewd says, Riko may be “on this side”.

The protagonist who has a “yearning” and a “questing spirit” gives the viewers and readers dreams and hopes. However, “Made in Abyss” also depicts the cruelty and harshness that “longing” leads to. Longing is not always glittering. The existence of Bondrewd shows the multifaceted nature of “longing”.