Final Impressions: Pupa


TL;DR, it sucked

Pupa has been a long, strange ride. I'd love to say that I enjoyed it, but the truth is I couldn't wait for it to be over. Instead of a gritty, disturbing look at a symbiotic brother-sister pair and the challenges that come with turning into monsters, I got a neutered mess that had no cohesive plot. What's extremely frustrating is the fact that you simply can't even blame the constraints of being a four-minute series with a limited amount of resources -- talented writers and artists can tell a nuanced story in less time, if you think about it. When's the last time you watched an excellent music video or short film? No, Pupa is fundamentally flawed in every single way, and will forever live on as one of the biggest disappointments I've ever had the misfortune of sitting through in terms of anime.

It's hard to say when the trainwreck began, because for all intents and purposes, Pupa has always been a disaster. From the first horrifically mangled episode all the way up until the "bonus" episode that did zero to offer a satisfying conclusion it's always been a confusing mess, straying so far from the self-sufficient whole the manga offered that it's nearly unrecognizable. 

Horrific animation, muted colors, and a wealth of edits mar what could have been memorable scenes in every single way. For a series that relies on shock value and gore to weave its narrative, cutting all of that out for broadcast seems self-defeating, as if the creators simply wanted Pupa to fail. Then, by airing what felt like out-of-order episodes, it completely alienated viewers without the context of having read some of the manga. It never stops to explain a single thing, only offering expository scenes here and there and introducing new characters without any real continuity. If I hadn't read some of the series prior to watching the anime, for instance, I would have never known from the first episode what was going on with Yume and Utsutsu's abusive father, and it's an important piece of information to consider when he appears -- otherwise, he's just a random man who seems to have it out for Utsutsu. 

When the story did seem as though it was beginning to stabilize and go in a direction that sought to offer more information to viewers, the very next episode would veer off the figurative road and touch on a completely different subject or what seemed to be another period of time in the show. As a result, major characters were ignored, and plot devices thrown to the wayside. For instance, what happened to Maria, the woman with the cat? She planned on creating some sort of being with cells from Utsutsu and Yume, but what happened to her after the last episode she appeared in? Was she killed in Yume's monstrous wake? Who knows? Who cares?

In fact, that just about sums up my entire attitude toward Pupa: who cares? I tried to, but every time I thought I understood what was going on, all of that understanding was taken from me. I couldn't even revel in decent art or spend enough time with the characters to engender any kind of nurturing feelings. The final episode seemed especially out of place, recalling the origin of Yume's hair clip, but bizarrely, featured more smooth and fluid animation than the entirety of the series. It's as if it was pulled straight from another show. [Editor's Note: So true, and the really amazing thing is that show was apparently Hanumaru Kindergarten.] Color me weirded out.

It's not that I'm truly surprised, honestly. Once I found out the time constraints of the show and watched the trailer, I had a feeling something like this might happen, but it's a shame this premise was squandered when shows like ImoCho at least get fleshed-out episodes. Instances like this one make me a little ashamed of the genre, but I'm hoping this year's Parasyte might be able to make up for the terrible missteps here.

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Brittany Vincent
Brittany VincentContributor   gamer profile

3 I'm Brittany, and I'm the resident creeper, er, community manager over here at I'm here to make your experience more + disclosures


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