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.