The "life-and-death sibling" story follows Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa, a boy and his little sister who find themselves all alone. One day, Yume sees a mysterious red butterfly and her body undergoes a strange metamorphosis—into a creature that eats humans. Utsutsu struggles to find a way to restore his sister.
What could I say ? Well... Pupa is highly disturbing. The main themes are incest, violence and more violence. Im not saying that I could dislike violent mangas (I highly enjoy reading Berserk) but here, the universe is not clear and the story is quite hard to follow; it lacks detail and logic in its development. The characters are empty and lack of real personality. The art is the only real value here; I have to admit that some scenes were wonderfully drawn, with much details, but a positive point won't change my mind on this manga: it isn't really worth the read.
I have read only the 7 scanlated chapters so far, so, this review is based only off of them, but I do believe they are enough for me to judge the manga, because, based on the summary of the untranslated parts, there doesn't seem to be much more to it.
Pupa claims it's a lot of things - "Horror", "Drama", and, most ridiculously, "Psychological". It's none of those things.
Basically, it's a guro hentai manga without any sex or nudity.
Well, no, that might be a little unfair of me. I have read guro henti mangas with better story, characters and art.
The manga tries to handle a difficult subject right off the bad - domestic abuse. Of course, it fails to do so in any meaningful way, and uses domestic abuse just for shock value, and as a plot device. The father who abused the main characters is not presented as a complete person, but just as a psychopath, plain and simple, which is the easiest way out when you don't actually want to deal with the implications of domestic abuse.
So, the domestic abuse is used as a reason for the main character being so protective of his sister.
Oh, and his protectiveness clearly veers into incest territory. Of course, this is never addressed, and it's played for comedy/fetish, to the point where he even enjoys her eating his flesh. Now, I would have no problem with this at all, if it wasn't so fetishized. I don't find that gross or disturbing, I just find it kind of...boring, and tired. Uninspired, if you will. It's just there to appeal to people who like that, and it isn't adressed in the story at all. Thus, the comparison I made before to a guro hentai manga.
Also, I have no problems with incest...when it's handled properly. But here, it isn't even addressed - it's just there. Same as all the other stuff.
All of the characters are really...flat. None of them have any sort of depth. The main two characters sure as hell don't, and the side characters(specifically the classmates of the main characters) might as well not be there, as their presence doesn't make too much of a difference.
The main character is the typical shounen protagonist - not to smart, but full of determination and will - that's rather bad, but I've seen worse.
His siter is...well, the stereotypical little sister, that clings to her brother, depends on him for everything, and can't live without him...so, a character made for little-sister fetishists, basically.
The other characters are not even worth mentioning. I already did mention their father, who is just a psychopath and nothing else, really.
I usually dont' care much for the art, but since this is supposed to be a "horror" manga, I do have to mention it.
In short, it's rather bad. The majority of doujins I have seen have better art. The majority of the aforementioned guro hentai mangas have better art.
The gory scenes are, well, ok for what they are though. I have seen better, but if you like gore, you will probably find them to be fine, at best. But there's no horror here, just a lot of gore.
In conclusion...this is pretty weak manga. It's got gore, if you like that. It's got some little-sister/incest fetishism, and guro fetishism, if you're into that. But, that's about it. I would even say that reading a guro hentai manga might actually be better than reading Pupa, because at least you can masturbate to those. They might even have a better story and characters. In fact, they probably do.read more
What to say about Pupa? It's dark. Depressing. Brutal. Revolting, no doubt (as you can probably draw from the summary). It doesn't hold back in showing the suffering between our two protagonists, as they are thrown into a world of chaos, and left to fend for themselves.
Before we continue, let me clear up some misconceptions about this manga that you might have:
- Yes, the relationship between the main characters is unusual for siblings, but not to the point of fanservice-y, exaggerated sister/brother complexes. Their relationship is justified by their horrific past (which I won't elaborate on for this review's sake). I'd actually consider it to be almost symbiotic. Neither can live without the other, as they've been left with no one else to depend on for so long.
- Yes, it contains cannibalism. Well, if you can consider the monster-like form that the infected take on to be even remotely human. (There is a scene where you see a human eating another, though it's not as explicit as you'd think). This manga doesn't shy away from drawing the gut-feasting scenes either.
And now, let's talk about the plot. Infectious, man-eating disease? Been there, done that. As the name implies, it transforms those afflicted with the Butterfly Virus into a horrific, butterfly pupa-like being that craves for human flesh. Our two protagonists are thrown into this confusing world of the Butterfly Virus, and the story follows them on their struggle to become normal again. Various mysterious, underground organizations dedicated to the research of this virus become involved, and our protagonists are left to find out just who - or what- they can rely on.
As I've noted earlier, the art in the more suspenseful scenes is very detailed and horrifically gory. You'll see human guts spilling out, heads blown off, eyeballs plucked out…you get the idea. The expressions of horror and malevolence on the character's faces are also well drawn - you can really get a foreboding, "oh crap!" sentiment from it.
The art in the more normal scenes is an almost sudden contrast to all this. For the most part the almost cutesy appearance of the characters - namely, our female lead (the sister) - will throw you off. I find that it gives it a greater shock factor though, because soon you'll be seeing these poor innocent kids go through absolute hell.
Basically, you'll need a strong stomach and an open mind to read this. I've found myself cringing as I try to imagine how much pain - both physical and mental - our poor protagonists are experiencing as they strive for a better, normal life while putting their horrific past behind them.
While approaching the end of the second chapter, I've found that the story seems to be headed towards a very generic, predictable path. I can't say I've been amazed by the plot, despite the shocking but revolting gory scenes. I'm always left expecting both of the characters to "man up" or at least attempt to fight back against the antagonists. To me, they just seem like the punching bag that functions as the source of "shock" and "horror" - and that's what makes Pupa just another generic horror manga.
As a horror manga, I wouldn't say that it's so frightening that I'd call it nightmare fuel, but if a depressing, merciless story chock full of slimy bits and gore is what you're craving - go for it.read more
If you enjoy incest, gore and a lack of story then you would probably enjoy this. However I don't think anyone enjoys the latter of those things which is probably why so many people hate it. Though it may be unfair to say there was no plot, it was just awful and hard to follow with practically no character development other than the brother and sister. And even they didn't have much depth to them. The only part of this manga that is simply "not shit" is the art, which is surprisingly good.
I am also very justified in my criticising of this manga as I took the time out of my life to read the entire thing. I now realize that this was a mistake and I want my valuable time back. If you are thinking about watching this -or god forbid you have already started- then I suggest you read this last part to yourself a few times; It's shit! read more