Abandoned by their abusive parents and with only each other to depend on, siblings Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa find themselves led astray by beautiful red butterflies that have appeared in their world. Unbeknownst to them, these crimson winged heralds trumpet the beginning of a cannibalistic nightmare—a mysterious virus known as Pupa is about to hatch.
After succumbing to the full effects of Pupa, Yume undergoes a grotesque metamorphosis into a monstrous creature with an insatiable desire for flesh; Utsutsu, on the other hand, is only partially affected, gaining remarkable regenerative powers instead. Reaffirming the resolve to keep the promise he made to himself years ago, Utsutsu is willing to sacrifice everything in order to always be there for his precious little sister.
Pupa tells the story of a loving brother's desperate struggles to save his sister, while protecting the world from her uncontrollable hunger.
When I first heard of Pupa it seemed rather interesting and worth looking forward to. Based on the horror manga with the same name, Pupa tells the story about two orphaned siblings who only have each other to rely on after severe domestic violence. However, one day they are both infected with the Pupa virus which turns the younger sister Yume into a grotesque man-eating monster while the older brother Utsutsu gains regenerative abilities.
This is, to put it bluntly, an exciting premise and Pupa appeared to have all the elements to make a memorable horror anime. While there had been mixed opinions from those who
had read the manga, I figured that at the very least it would make for an experience unlike any other in recent years.
What I personally found to be noteworthy was how Pupa appeared to be the complete opposite of the recent brother and sister relationship trend in anime that often danced around incestuous undertones. Here we would instead have an older brother who had to sacrifice his own body to satisfy his little sister’s cannibalistic hunger. Rather than a cheerful outlook it was cynical one full of dread and hopelessness.
Ironically, much like a cruel joke, it was the actual anime adaptation itself that became full of hopelessness. You see, Pupa was originally announced in early 2013 yet all buzz around it quickly faded due to a lack of news. Months passed and finally a vague air date was revealed: the fall anime season. Eventually the fall anime season approached, however Pupa was nowhere to be seen. The staff apologized for the delay and announced the series would instead air in the winter anime season 2014. At this point in time there were also some bad rumors floating around, mentioning how Pupa would be a short five-minute anime and not actually full-length.
Today, we all know the result. Indeed, Pupa ended up only being a couple of minutes per episode. As you might understand, this is a format that makes the actual horror atmosphere a disservice. It is impossible to create a proper eerie atmosphere with such little time, especially if the story is to move forward in a reasonable manner. Speaking of the story, it is nothing but haphazardly told nonsense. It jumps from one event to the next with little to no explanation and ends in the middle of nowhere.
To make the story even more difficult to follow, Pupa suffers from heavy censoring for no obvious reason. It is also incredibly inconsistent – sometimes censoring a mere knife while letting loads of guns pass – and often covers the whole screen with censor beams, effectively destroying what little that was left of the actual horror.
Exactly to who is Pupa aimed towards? Fans of the manga will be disappointed with this mess of an adaptation while anime viewers will be utterly confused. I cannot come up with any good explanation myself other than that this is the worst anime I have ever seen.
Let me be frank here: I love this show. It is horrible. It is absolutely appallingly horrible. I can't think of a single good quality it has. I think Pupa is hilarious. I usually don't like anime humor, but, wow, this is crazy. It's not THE worst anime I've ever seen, but, yeah, it is up there. I love it though, because it's really confusing and disgusting and so amazingly poorly made all at the exact same time, which is kind of the best combination. I try to get like everyone I meet to watch the episode thats literally nothing but the sister character eating
off her brothers skin. I watched all of this show wide awake and stone cold sober and I have absolutely no idea what the over arching plot was about. And I really wanted to know what was happening because I was having a fabulous time and wanted to appreciate every second of glorious Pupa, but I don't think there is enough information in the anime to distinguish what the ongoing plot is about. Something about mad scientists? I don't know.
Basically what I'm saying is you should really watch this show. Everyone on the planet should sit through this amazing trash fest. It really is the best kind of bad. It's so sexual and complicated and repulsive all in the most incredible way possible. What it feels like is that they wrote the anime to be full episodes and then they got shortened to four minute episodes and had to scrap almost all of the plot. I have no idea if that actually happened or not, but either way that's the level the writing and pacing is on. Even if they had gotten 20 minute episodes, this show would still be fucking atrocious though. It's like 50 layers of appalling. It's like someone put Elfen Lied in a blender, dumped it on the ground, slipped on it, vomited, and spent 45 minutes lying in the blended up Elfen Lied vomit while someone else accidentally records the whole thing on their flip phone.
Also I should mention the theme song, because, wow, it's like nine awful metal songs playing at once. God damn. This is my favorite bad anime. What a show. Pupa 4ever.
Little can be said about Pupa that hasn't been said already. It combines some of the more...icky fetishes together into one cluster fuck, but then censors itself and fails to even entertain those few individuals it was aimed at. Imagine if the Human Centipede or Salo was censored down to a PG-13 rating. What the hell would be the point of watching?! The brilliant plot?! The splendidly written characters and dialogue? There is NOTHING left of value!
Marketing skills: -10/10
Let us do a little math. Let us say hypothetically that 1 in 1,000 people have a sibling incest fetish and 1 in 100,000 have a
cannibalism "vore" fetish. Assuming these unusual fetishes are independent events, the number of people with both a cannibalism and a sibling incest fetish (the target audience of this show) would be a whopping 1 in 100 million people. The global population in 2015 is 7 billion, so the target audience is 70 sick motherfuckers on the entire planet, that would actually enjoy this show. I fucking hope those 70 people are happy, because we other 6 billion 999 milllion 999 thousand 930 people are NOT!
"I'm gonna eat you up Oni chaaaan!" "Oh yes little sister, please eat me!" (chomp) (slurp) (moans of pleasure). Rinse and repeat for 12 God Damn episodes! At least each episode is short!
As mentioned above, the bright lights of censorship prevent this from even having the macabre fun of a Cannibal Holocaust. I'm convinced that everyone involved with this production simply hated Mankind.
"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me" - EVERYONE after watching this series!
Pupa is a symbolic story of an abused maiden, Yume, who upon entering puberty develops an abominable and perilous love for her older brother Utsutsu. Seemingly a series which only caters to those who are gratified by gore and incestuous lust, Pupa actually explores, more than most other “imouto shows”, the complexities of the tabooed love between siblings.
Perhaps most importantly, understanding of the series’ themes necessitates recognizing the circumstances surrounding the siblings’ childhood, and the Freudian psychoanalyses which the author may well have been inspired by. Sigmund Freud pioneered the field of psychology during his time, and a significant portion of his revolutionary findings
can be summarized into the notion that powerful childhood experiences, even if the subject does not remember said experiences, can subconsciously and drastically affect the development of libido and bring about what is known in psychology as “sexual aberrations”.
Yume and Utsutsu grew up with an abusive and sadistic father, their only solace lying in each other. Utsutsu seeks comfort from his sole purpose of defending his beloved sister, whereas Yume is soothed only by her brother’s protecting arms. Yume is, metaphorically, a pupa containing the unnatural feelings imprinted into her subconscious during her childhood. Fast forward to puberty, and these feelings undergo a metamorphosis into a “monster”, in this case her monstrous lust for her brother. Both Yume herself and her surroundings realize the abominable nature of her love, yet Utsutsu remains in complete denial as Yume’s love has always been a natural and pivotal part of his life.
There are several factors which gives rise to this interpretation. Yume morphs into a monster in a set time-cycle, and requires feeding in this cycle. This is comparable to the menstruation cycle which initiates during puberty, and the cyclical inclination to sexual activities which arises from it. While this depiction is blatantly simplified and even sexist, it is not completely unjustified as a symbolic representation of an especially anomalous case. The infamous feeding sessions are, as many suspected, metaphors for sexual intercourse. Both parts are reluctant to this act; Yume is afraid of hurting his brother for her own selfish desires, while Utsutsu is unable to derive sexual enjoyment from intercourse with his sibling, hence his suffering during feeding. Yet, he is unable to leave his sister in misery, and Yume imminently succumbs to her lust. Interestingly, neither characters perceive the act as perverted or sexualized, further proving the psychological derangement of them.
As Yume and Utsutsu fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, their conflicting feelings are depicted as outside forces which seek to interfere with their relations. Both are chained and tormented by unknown institutions, which they are eventually forced to confront and demolish. Perhaps they shatter the barrier erected by the morality of society, as symbolized by the slaughtering of the soldiers? Or do they overcome the innate biological repulsion toward incestuous acts, symbolized by the malign scientists? Yume’s and Utsutsu’s struggles with themselves as well as each other are undoubtedly convoluted, and Pupa provides an interesting and unconventional depiction of this strife.
Any analysis above is only that of the writing and themes, and it is important to keep in mind that the anime is an adaptation by studio DEEN of the manga original. As is widely established, the animated Pupa’s production values are certainly not top-notch. While the animations are completely inexcusable, I personally do not find the art or sound too terrible considering that most shorts are not visual spectacles. Though this is rather inconsequential in its evaluation. More importantly, the short length of the adaptation has simplified the story to the point that it scarcely contains anything beyond vital plot elements. Add to this the frequent interruption of the narrative and the pacing problems it imposes, it becomes rather difficult to form an emotional attachment to the characters or the story.
In conclusion, I do not think Pupa deserves all the ridicule and hatred that is being dished out. It provides a fascinating and unique symbolic illustration of the overused incest trope, complete with a hint of psychoanalysis that it deserves. Yet, when subjected to the magical touch of studio DEEN, it becomes a terrible series from every perspective other than the psychological.
Incest, loli, extreme gore, and cannibalism are just some of the subjects considered taboo but they are not really rare in anime. Can you guess which taboo anime shows have found their way to this list?