Pupa – 12 (Fin)

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With Utsutsu and Yume free from their captors and totally fine with their living situation, this final outing looks back to a less fucked-up time in their lives, when they, as young children, went unsupervised to a toy store to replace Yume’s busted bear (her dad busted it…such an asshole).

Having insufficient funds, Utsutsu attempts to win a new teddy for her. He loses, gets a harsh life lesson from the cock-eyed mascot running the lottery, and actually gets four more chances from his friend Arita and his three sisters, all of whom we meet for the first time and seem a bit sinister but aren’t.

On his last chance, he wins seventh prize; the pink hairpin Yume has worn ever since, which is fitting, as she gave him his four-leaf clover pin, which has clearly given him luck, as he possesses the ability to heal no matter how much Yume nom-noms him!

4_fair
Rating: 4
 (Fair)
Average Rating: 5.250
MyAnimeList Score: 4.14

Pupa – 11

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Hasegawa Utsutsu has had to deal with a bevy of monsters in this series: the monster who put a cigarette out on him; the monster who took his and Yume’s genetic material; the monsters who captured and dissected him…and finally, the monster who uses him for sustenance so she won’t hurt anyone else, and according to him, looks cute when she’s had her fill. All things considered, that last monster doesn’t sound so bad…especially considering Utsutsu’s rapid-healing.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Pupa – 10

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This week picks up right after Yume and Haruka make out in the unused classroom has escaped and torn the research team and several guards to shreds, having herself a little impromptu buffet. She’s so hungry from the exertion she almost forgets she has to find her bro, who is still mostly in one piece.

Then she encounters a group of some of the worst security guards in existence, who calmly stand around receiving orders just feet away from their target. When Yume basically explodes the upper half of their point man, it takes them way too long to realize that yes, indeed, their comrade is dead as fuck.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Pupa – 09

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This week Utsutsu is on the operating table being dissected by “scientists” who hope to learn more about the Pupa virus so it can help mankind. The question becomes, does a mankind in which sadistic monsters like these scientists exist really deserve help? We’re of the mind that there are boundaries you just can’t cross in the quest for knowledge.

Meanwhile, Yume is chained up in a room with puddles of water all over the floor, able to hear all of her brother’s screams. She’s probably also getting hungry, so when the white coats break out the chainsaw on Utsutsu, she’s had enough, breaks her chains, and leaps out of her chair at the armed guards, in a kind of girl-demon hybrid form. Make ’em suffer, Yume!


Rating: 5 (Average)

Pupa – 08

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In tonight’s quick dose of unpleasantness, word gets around about Utsutsu’s quick-healing ability, and his sister’s tendency to eat him when she’s hungry. A thug with a knife kidnaps the siblings and “has fun” with Utsutsu by slicing him up with said knife and marveling at said healing. This is done in an abandoned warehouse, the standard venue for such activities.

Not wanting to escalate the situation, Utsutsu simply takes the punishment, but Yume eventually steps in to beg for the thug to stop. The thug is rough with her, setting Utsutsu off, who slugs him and then gouges out his eyes. Yume is horrified at what her brother has done for her sake, but then Utsutsu is tased and the two surrounded by more unsavory people.

Yume can’t go into Beast Mode when it would be useful to do so, i.e. to protect Utsutsu from the baddies. Thus the siblings continue to serve as the show’s heavily-abused punching bags; wretched repositories for all of the misfortune and despair that can be imagined, and that can be inartfully censored with streaks of black and white.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Pupa – 07

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While the last episode was a terrifyingly mundane study in flesh-eating, there’s more plot and exposition to this one. After some narration by Utsutsu about how he knows his sister takes no joy in eating him, we switch to Maria and her pal Hotoki. Maria takes the sperm of the brother and the eggs of the sister and impregnates herself with the resulting devilspawn, which…yikes. Just yikes. Talk about scientific curiosity!


Rating: 5 (Average)

Pupa – 06

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This episode of Pupa takes a page from Steve McQueen, pointing its “camera” at a thoroughly disturbing scene and simply refusing to pan away; lingering on the scene long after the audience have had their fill of it (no pun intended); sucking them into the horror of the moment. This is three minutes of Yume eating the shit out of Utsutsu as they lie together in bed, presented without comment and with minimal dialogue.

The sounds of Yume eating are thoroughly disgusting (or oddly relaxing, if you have ASMR), and the scene manages to make three scant minutes feel like far longer. There’s more than a little sexual/incestuous subtext what with the siblings’ position in bed, the clothes strewn about on the floor, and Yume’s gentle cooing as she feasts. It’s all quite unsettling and gross…and it doesn’t give a shit.

But more than that, the three minutes illustrate how banal and workaday this whole process has become to the siblings, underlined by the lighthearted music that comes in at the halfway point. Utsutsu lets her eat him, day after day, so she won’t eat others, and he knows he’ll always heal. Just as Pupa is not the anime many were looking for (or necessarily deserved), the plight of the siblings may not be ideal…but they’re managing.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Pupa – 05

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If the standard 20-odd-minute anime episode is akin to a pint of beer, that makes Pupa a shot of hard liquor: short, potent, and unforgiving. This one stung more than others because it told the tale of Yume’s birth from her mother Sachiko (Noto Mamiko), who inherently knew she was a monster while she was still in the womb, and tried and failed to abort her.

We’re pretty sure this is the first time we’ve heard abortion mentioned so openly in an episode of anime, but Pupa was far from finished. Baby Yume was born with a full set of teeth and a knowing stare that scared the shit out of her mother, who tried desperately to keep her son Utsutsu away from her; obviously, we know that she failed. Another first? infanticide by utility knife, albeit a failed one owing to Yume’s immortality.

Finally, we see baby Yume scarfing down a bird. So wrong. Faced with this unkillable devil child that now has Utsutsu’s sympathy and trust, Sachiko has a psychotic break, and in the hospital, insists her husband beat her more so she can “feel reality.” Jesus. After this latest stinging, burning, traumatic shot, Pupa’s brevity is starting to make sense: any longer than it is would likely be too much to bear.


Rating: 6 (Good)

 

Pupa – 04

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Introducing Maria: the viral researcher who dresses like a witch and has no qualms about her entire staff being killed when Utsutsu, who had been eaten by Yume, wakes up in one piece, alive and not well. Maria confirms that the siblings’ affliction is a virus called Pupa, and she’s eager to continue “researching” them. With this tidbit-episode, the world of Pupa expands to include science, conspiracy, and potential persecution from the likes of Maria.

Utsutsu has vowed not to repeat his father’s sins and protect Yume, but preserving their “normal life” will require him to resort to abnormal measures, namely let Yume feed off him and only him. But even if they manage to make it work, they’re only upholding the illusion of normalcy. In reality, there’s absolutely nothing normal about them, nor will there be unless they can find the cure. Something tells us Maria isn’t in a hurry to find one.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Pupa – 03

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We take another three-minute journey into the dark and twisted world of the Hasegawa siblings. We’ll assume the begining, in which Utsutsu’s head is chomped off by Yume, is followed either by a flashback or a dream of Yume’s, in which Utsutsu vows to protect her, letting her feast off his flesh in a dirty public bathroom so she won’t have to attack others. Now that’s brotherly love!

Whatever time it takes place in, it’s a suitably bleak and disturbing little scene that’s more than a little suggestive in its lead-in, what with all the proximity and panting. Kirino may have had her unpleasant moods, but Kyousuke certainly never had to worry about her taking bites out of him.


Rating: 6 (Good)

 

Pupa – 02

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Time for our weekly check-in on Utsutsu and Yume, and there’s even time for a little backstory, which is about what you’d expect to be these poor kids’ history: both they and their mother were beaten mercilessly by their scum of a father, and after their parents divorced their mother lost interest in parenting altogether and abandoned them.

So yeah, not exactly childhoods full of love, and yet they still love each other, and neither of them is a bloodthirsty demon, right? Until now, that is. Some “researcher” named Maria shows up to tell Utsutsu that his voice won’t reach hers, but then he finds Yume in the woods chomping on some random bit of person and they can understand each other perfectly.

Unfortunately for Utsutsu, her little sister’s actions are now being driven by animal instinct, so when she tells him ‘she wants more’, she means more meat, now, and Utsutsu gets a gaping neck wound as he’s the closest meat around. That can’t be good! We’re still not quite sure what to make of these comically short series, but it definitely has a macabre, Kafkaesque allure about it.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Pupa – 01

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Well, this will be brief! Pupa is about a guy whose sister sees red butterflies one day, meets a puppy that turns into animate viscera that attacks her, and then she sheds her human skin and becomes a vicious man-eating demon. Any questions?

We have some. For one, why is this show so damn short? If this was an attempt to make something compelling as possible in as short a time as possible, it didn’t quite succeed. There wasn’t enough time to set up any kind of drama or suspense, and we can’t be expected to recoil at gore if it’s censored.

We also entered this thinking Ise Mariya would be the voice of the older sister, but the sister turned out to be a brother, and Ise’ll probably only voice the younger him in some future four–freakin’-minute episode. Oh well, that’s what we get for not doing our homework.

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Rating: 4
 (Fair)