You know, thinking about it now, I can’t believe I’m actually writing about this anime, but hey, it’s the eve of Halloween and that’s my justification for doing it. Thank you, Halloween.
Pupa is one of those anime that is just…unforgettable. I don’t mean that in a matter of praise either. I’m pretty sure it’s etched into the minds of everyone who has seen it and they can still hear the script loud and clear.
Pupa, for those of you who (somehow) don’t know, follows Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa – two siblings who were abandoned by their parents – as they find themselves led astray by some red butterflies that have suddenly appeared. Sounds cute and nice, right? Well, what they don’t know is that these butterflies trumpet the beginning of a cannibalistic nightmare which takes the form of the virus named Pupa. Yume, sadly, succumbs to the full effect of this virus and metamorphosises into a grotesque, monstrous creature with a desire for flesh. Thankfully, Utsutsu is only partially succumbed to the virus and gains incredible regenerative healing powers instead.
…Can you see where this is going? I hope you do. If not, basically Utsutsu is determined to make sure that the entire world isn’t destroyed by his sister’s new desire for flesh and he’s willing to sacrifice anything in order to do that, which ultimately means he allows her to eat his flesh. What a kind brother.
I can’t really comment on how good the story is because, well, the synopsis covers it pretty darn well. There’s not really any additional storyline to the show, so what you think of the show now will probably be what you think of the show if and when you watch it. The pace of the anime is quite quick, but there’s not that much to get through, so twelve episodes that are only 4 minutes long is honestly, for once, more than adequate.
It’s even more adequate when you meet the characters themselves. In such a quick-paced anime, there’s one thing is instantly lacking and that, ladies and gentleman, is good character development. I can’t even give it credit for the sudden development that the antagonist Maria goes through because, well, it’s not really expanded on like it is in the manga. It’s simply just confusing. The characters lack personality and are, pun unintended, quite two-dimensional. There’s nothing about them that really appeals to anyone. They’re just your average two siblings that could be background characters from any slice-of-life and you wouldn’t blink an eye. Until Yume transforms, I guess… Then you’d probably look twice.
The art is certainly not the best you’ll see. Honestly, I kind of like the sketchbook-like look that the backgrounds have, but the designs of the characters themselves aren’t exactly what I would have expected from an anime from 2014. I guess a lot of this was to do with the budget, which was probably ridiculously low. From what I can tell, though, the designs and everything isn’t too different from the original manga which is always a bonus, I suppose.
One thing I do like is the OST. Shock horror, there’s something good about this? Yes. The OST is actually, probably, the best thing about the show. It’s tense when it has to be, and somewhat more “cheerier” in the very rare occasion for such a mood to appear. The OP is certainly one that carries an element of spookiness. No doubt the layering of the vocals helps to bring this to life, but the use of the guitar and the intermittent keys certainly marry everything together. The ED is, admittedly, quite average in sound and features vocals that are simply not the best but are not the worst either. Like the rest of the show, it’s just “eh”.
I tend to disagree with people slightly on how much I enjoyed the show. I certainly wasn’t repulsed by it like some people are. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s on the same level as the likes of Mars of Destruction, which its often compared to, but it’s certainly not far off either. I’m not saying it’s not bad, because it is. It’s not got an average rating on MyAnimeList of 3.70 for nothing. I just think that the majority of people giving this a 1 straight up is somewhat of an exaggeration. It’s bad, sure, but it’s not awful. Perhaps I’m just somewhat sadistic and that’s the reason why I had a tiny amount of enjoyment of the show, but from my experience, I was enjoying it because it’s so ridiculous. It’s laughable.
I honestly don’t know what Studio Deen was doing here, I really don’t. But if you have a spare twenty minutes and you don’t have any drying paint to watch, or you just want to creep out a friend, then give Pupa a go. I can’t say you’ll enjoy it because, realistically, you probably won’t, but it’s certainly one that you’ll remember.
Image of Yume on the featured image by iiDawn.
4 thoughts on “Memorable For All The Wrong Reasons: Pupa Review”
Part of me really wishes this would get a new anime that takes the time to flesh out the ideas in this story. Because the hints of the larger story the anime gives are actually really interesting, but with the time frame and the focus these episodes have, you kind of don’t really see enough to know what is really happening or why. So yes, not a good anime as it is and genuinely gory and a little disturbing, but part of me would really love to see this story done well.
I somewhat agree with you and I think that’s why I tend to like this show more than other people who I’ve discussed it with. I definitely see the potential for Pupa to be great, but it’s quite unlikely that it’ll get another adaptation, in my opinion. Then again, stranger things have happened.
I feel like somehow this anime is made to promote the manga or do a recap before releasing like the last volume or something. It’s a shame. The story isn’t bad, they should have done full length episodes and followed the manga. Made a proper anime out of it. But as a recap for the manga it works alright. I like the manga btw. The anime works for me but only because I have read the manga. I think this is the only time I would tell someone to read the manga.
I think you’re probably right. They should have done full-length episodes, rather than collecting the story and forcing it into such a short series.