There are a lot of ways to describe Pupa, but I think I can sum up this anime adaptation with one word - lazy. There are spoilers
in this review, but trust me, you're not missing anything.
Pupa follows a brother and sister, Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa, whose lives go horribly wrong when they are both infected with the mysterious Pupa virus. Yume develops a hunger for human flesh, and her brother, who now has miraculous healing capabilities, offers himself up willingly as "live bait". The anime is 12 episodes long, and with a 4-minute runtime for each episode, the story is woefully lacking. The pace is too rushed, and the writers adopted a "tell, don't show" approach to any character development or backstory. The episodes don't feel like they have any connection at all, and there are absolutely no stakes. Plot points are picked up and dropped left and right, and some plot points even contradict each other. It is implied that Yume is infected when she is attacked by an infected dog, but then it's explained that she was monstrous from birth. The story meanders through the first 11 episodes, and comes to a complete stop by the last episode, with a completely unrelated flashback that offers no conclusion except to "read the manga".
Bland, forgettable, and one-note. The onii-chan who will do anything for his little sister. The little sister who loves her onii-chan so
much (oh, I'll get to that part). A mysterious woman who knows all about the virus and who wants to create a new monster from the two children - who is dropped completely halfway through the show. An evil organization that wants to dissect Utsutsu for his regenerating organs - who are all immediately killed. No one develops and everyone is a flat cliche. The show doesn't care, and neither do I.
But where it gets weird is the relationship between Utsutsu and Yume. I'll be frank. It's really poorly, thinly-veiled porn. The "feeding" scenes are extremely sexual in nature, and it's unnecessary and gross. It ruins anything that they might have been going for when it comes to themes of family and self-sacrifice, and instead is just shameless pandering that makes the series that much less enjoyable.
In terms of style, this is where my stars come in. The one good thing I can say about this series is that the backgrounds are nice to look at and fit the tone. They look like they're drawn with chalks or oil pastels, which creates an interesting style.
Too bad it's a bunch of sprinkles on a pile of dirt. The actual animation is stilted, choppy, and all-around lackluster. And the censoring in this show is absolutely bizarre. Big rectangles of black or white gradient over huge areas of the frame cover things that probably would have taken some actual talent to draw and animate. Need to show a girl ripping flesh off of her brother's back? That's too haaaard, let's just put a big white spot over it! That way we don't have to draw things and
it will look more like a sex scene! Win-win! A lot of the more complex violence is censored in this way too. It's an obvious time and money-saver and, again, lazy.
Not much to say here. I can't remember the score at all, and I literally just finished watching it. The opening and ending songs were alright I suppose, but nothing to write home about. Another forgettable part of this series.
I love the psychological horror genre, so I was interested in this series. But Pupa was neither. The concept could have turned into something entertaining and disturbing. But a disjointed story paired with sleazy sexual tones and an uninspired execution make for a mess of a short series. You can finish the whole thing at just under an hour, but trust me. It's not worth it. For most people, you can confidently skip this one.
However, if your fetishes are incest and guro with little to no plot, this is the perfect show for you.