You know what?
I wasn’t originally going to review this anime. I wasn’t even aware of it’s existence. I was going to review Unbreakable Machine Doll, but this was far more worthy of a review. Before I start, however, let me give you some background.
I love the horror genre, with an odd passion. I enjoy movies like ‘Let The Right One In’ or ‘Psycho’, and video games such as the Silent Hill and Resident Evil franchises, to an extent. However, while there are a variety of outstanding horror movies and videogames, there are very little decent horror anime. The only ones I know of, that are pacible, are ‘Another’ and ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ (Tokyo Ghoul one day. Don’t you worry, Kaneki!). When I was informed that a horror anime known as ‘Pupa’ came out in 2014, I thought it would be nice to add it to my list of anime to review for the year of 2014. And since I learned it consisted of three to five minutes episodes, I might as well finish it in a day!
I deeply regret that decision.
Pupa began as a manga series, which ran from March 2011 to December 2013, with five volumes. An anime adaptation was released by Studio Deen, and originally ran from January 2014 to March 2014, with twelve episodes. Like I’ve mentioned before, the episodes were generally three to five minutes long. And before I go on, there may be spoilers ahoy. I usually tend to keep my reviews spoiler-free, but I can’t help myself.
The plot revolves around brother and sister, Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa. Make sure you remember that they’re siblings, because it’s shoved in your face during the entire anime. Even though that they are just the sweetest, cutest lil’ pair of siblings, Yume happens to be infected by a rare disease known as the ‘Pupa’ virus, which can turn the host into a disgusting monster, and gives them a craving for human meat. However, the disease gives the host the power to heal themselves.
Yume experiences, what should have been, a powerful internal conflict, involving the fact that she hates eating humans, but has no choice to. But, that was interrupted by the constant screams for ‘Onii-chan!’. I am sick and tired of feeble-minded anime girls who constantly cry for Onii-chan. In the words of Shion, from Higurashi: “Crying for Onii-chan? I’ll give you something to cry about!”. Though to be fair, Higurashi isn’t that great of a horror anime either.
Moving on, Yume is discovered by a psychotic researcher known as Maria, she is tested upon, and soon learns that Utsutsu is also infected with ‘Pupa’ virus. In order to satisfy Yume’s constant needs for human flesh, Utsutsu gives his body up to his monstrous sister to eat upon, whenever she is hungry, knowing that he can always heal himself afterwards. However, he still must endure the pain of being eaten alive, everyday, for the rest of his life.
Let me start with the characters: Utsutsu and Yume are BORING. They have zero character outside of “I love my big brother” and “I love my little sister!”. They also have a stereotypical abusive father, and a masochistic mother. I’ll let the criticism write itself for that one. The only character who was remotely enjoyable was Maria. She has a psychotic passion for things that she does. Everything in the world, she views as a guinea pig. She reminds of a bit of Professor Stein from ‘Soul Eater’. I’d love to see a psychological horror anime about her!
Another large issue with this anime is the animation. Most horror anime need a stunning look in order to get scares, or at least decent animation. However, the animation for Pupa is god awful. The blood looks horrifically fake. The way Yume eats into her brother doesn’t even look the slightest bit convincing. The anime also uses CGI for the ‘symbolic’ butterflies that are constantly shoved in your face, and the CGI doesn’t even look that great! The only decent moments of animation were the monsters that the anime created.
You may be thinking that I’m being too harsh on this anime. After all, the episodes were extremely short. However, there was another anime that had developed characters and an interesting story, with shortened episodes: It’s called ‘I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying!’. Go watch that instead of this.
Was the anime scary? No. Nope. I’m mildly disgusted that I’ve been let down with such a disappointment. The anime relies on cheap gore to deliver scares. The gore was poorly animated and executed. The scenes where Yume eats her brother aren’t the slightest bit disturbing. However, to give credit where credit is due, Utsutsu’s screams during the feasting scenes are very realistic, and almost difficult to listen to.
Overall, Pupa was an awful, confusing, mind-numbingly disgraceful anime. If you’d like to see some well-done horror anime, I recommend ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ and ‘Another’. They aren’t the best, and do have flaws, but they’re the best ones out there so far. I’m glad I could squash this pestering bug. Ha, get it? Because Pupa? Like the life stage of some insects? Also the name of this anime? I’m funny, I promise. It’s 3:00 am, and I feel nauseous from this anime.
Onto Unbreakable Machine-Doll!
By: Shannon Kasane