Well guys, we had a good run, but it was only a matter of time before I’d stop being pleasantly surprised by shows I thought were going to be terrible. I’m not really sure how much I can even say about Pupa that hasn’t already been said and to be completely honest it’s hard to passionately despise it at this point (especially when considering how short it was and how easy it was to laugh at), but I’m going to take the quality time to paint a complete picture of my disgust anyways. If you haven’t already heard of Pupa, it’s a pretty infamous one; essentially, the story revolves around an incestuous brother and sister duo who were abused by their father and abandoned by their mother. The sister is host to the titular “Pupa virus” which essentially turns her into a cannibalistic monster, and she ends up infecting her brother with it. The brother resolves to protect his sister despite her inhumanity and takes on the role of “living bait”, letting her eat his flesh to sustain herself since the Pupa virus makes him heal instantly from any wounds—if you’re curious why he doesn’t need to eat people despite having a virus identical to that of his sister, you’re already asking more questions than the writer did, congratulations. Now that you have an idea of what sort-of abomination we’re dealing with here, we can begin. This time around, I’m not going to make any attempt to mince words; Pupa is incompetent, pretentious, idiotic, disgusting and horribly twisted. One of the first and most immediate problems the show has is its incredibly short episodes—at 4 minutes each (a little over a full minute of which is taken up entirely by the incredibly lazy opening and ending sequences), the individual episodes are all essentially just a single scene, some of which don’t even move the plot forward or have significant weight on the whole of the storyline. Yes, the short length of the show is kind-of a mercy when considering how bad it is, but in the theoretical parallel dimension where this actually has substance, 4 minute episodes would be an absolutely terrible choice—there’s no time during any of the episodes to actually hook the viewer and invest them into what’s happening onscreen. Instead, everything is broken up into bits and pieces, constantly stopping and starting and lacking any sense of narrative cohesion. Throughout my whole viewing experience, I consistently felt like I would wind down and settle back to watch an episode, and then it would suddenly just stop out of nowhere, killing any sense of immersion or emotional attachment to what I’m watching. But let’s be 100% real with ourselves here and acknowledge that its short episode length is somehow the least of Pupa’s myriad problems. When you actually break down the plot of Pupa and the message it’s trying to send the viewer even when divorced from its awful fetishization of what my best-friend coined as “incestuous cannibalism”, it boils down to two things: “true love is unconditional” and “humans are the real monsters”, both of which are terrible life lessons for numerous reasons I have discussed ad-nauseam on numerous occasions. I’m just gonna stop the review for a second and talk to you person-to-person here—this show is really obviously twisted and grossly sexualized, but the aforementioned life lessons this show is trying to teach are not uncommon ones, especially in regards to unconditional love. With that considered, I need you to understand right now if you don’t already that love is conditional and that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, this show is a good example of that—the main character resolves to protect his sister and continue in his unhealthy obsession for her despite the consequences, letting himself be dragged into her mess, deluding himself into believing he’s doing the right thing in the name of his love for her and genuinely seeing himself as a martyr and a good person. When I say love is conditional, I mostly mean that it’s supposed to be conditional and not necessarily that it always is; rather, unconditional love is incredibly unhealthy as opposed to completely unrealistic, positing that you’ll always be on the side of your love interest no matter what kind-of extreme is presented to you. But come on, is it really the right thing to assume the position of partner-in-crime if you discover the so-called love of your life has been murdering innocent people and fucking cannibalizing them? Of course not; that’s basic common sense, and that same common sense can be applied to more realistic scenarios you might experience yourself or might’ve already experienced in the past. In all seriousness, if you were put into a position where you had to give up on somebody that you genuinely cared about, you would still feel bad for them no matter how bad their transgressions were, but that genuine feeling of unconditional love does not justify the alternative. Given the choice between aiding someone in their twisted inhumane cannibalism or putting them out of their misery to preserve the memory of their former humanity, something tells me I’d choose the latter. As far as the whole “humans are the real monsters” theme is concerned, this entire story is written from a viewpoint of moral superiority and lack of empathy for others and it’s painfully obvious. The romantic relationship between brother and sister here is portrayed as a positive and wholesome thing and the characters established as having a moral high-ground over the people who try to upset the so-called “peace” of that same relationship. Completely innocent people just trying to live their lives, do their jobs and do the right thing by quarantining the Pupa virus and keeping people safe from it are painted as being inhuman and evil, whereas our protagonists get off scot-free and written as being heroes with strong moral compasses for slaughtering anybody who threatens their continued partnership. Actually, it feels a bit like the story tries to drive home the point that the protagonists are better than the people they’re slaughtering specifically because they aren’t human, which is an unbelievably childish and disturbing mindset to have; if you’re going about your day-to-day life thinking that people need to be cured of their human condition, please seek help for my sake at the very least if not your own. And of course, all of this talk about philosophy is somehow entirely overshadowed by the fact that several scenes (which in this case essentially references entire episodes) are dedicated to the male protagonist being sensually cannibalized by his sister in incredibly disgusting and disturbing pseudo “sex-scenes” that made me want to vomit, and that’s even with the crazy amount of censorship I experienced throughout—completely random and pointless shit is censored for no reason in absolutely mind-boggling fashion constantly, but at the very least they had the decency to censor some of the genuinely disturbing parts too because by golly I certainly don’t have any desire to watch the theoretical uncensored version of this (I don’t know if one actually exists or not). It would be bad enough even if the sister wasn’t a cannibal and she was just fucking her brother, but this is taking things to a whole nother level of messed up, all revolving around the notion of forbidden love and the rejection of incestuous relationships as being taboo; what an absolute fucking joke. Here’s a fun thought; have you ever considered that things are usually considered taboo for a reason and don’t have that label applied to them arbitrarily over nothing, kind-of like how stereotypes don’t just appear out of thin air? I sure have, but clearly the writer of Pupa hasn’t taken the time to think about it! When I call Pupa pretentious, I mean it; it is by far one of the most pretentious pieces of writing I have ever had the displeasure of reading if not the genuine worst offender, even more so than Tokyo Ghoul. There’s constant completely pointless symbolism and cryptic dialogue, a horribly confusing, terribly paced and awfully structured plotline that’s probably all an elaborate dream sequence and feels like it was written by a fucking pre-teen. Everything else in the show from the character designs, artwork and original soundtrack all revolve around that same general tone; the writer is so absolutely full of himself and sees himself as being such a fucking literary genius and tortured artist it somehow makes me wanna gag even more than the softcore gore porn does. The final episode completely cuts away from the show’s main plotline for the sake of showcasing a flashback about the male protagonist trying to win a giant teddy bear from a lottery and then it just ends—that’s it, show’s over, everybody go home. And you know what? I’ll say something to the show’s credit; I kind-of like that it’s intentionally(?) made unclear whether or not the sister character can transform from the monster we see in the opening episodes back into a humanoid form, or if the brother simply sees her as looking human from his perspective; it reminds me a little bit of The Song of Saya. But honestly, comparing this to Song of Saya is really funny when you consider Song of Saya is pretty much the exact opposite of Pupa in almost every way, a story about how the protagonist is tricked into becoming a monster by an eldritch abomination, a warning about the consequences of blindly following your heart and embracing inhumanity as opposed to a tacit endorsement of that same folly (by the way, if you haven’t heard of The Song of Saya I would strongly recommend you check it out, it’s awesome). Going beyond the god-awful writing and terrible takeaway here, the actual animation quality of the show is lackluster with numerous hiccups throughout, and half the time the censorship is so egregious you can barely even see what’s going on. The actual art style itself is somewhat unique looking and to be honest I applaud the animators and other ground-floor employees here for actually bringing this shit to life at the unfortunate expense of their mental well-beings, but their clear and very reasonable disdain for the project shines through noticeably and doesn’t do it many favors. The opening sequence is literally just a scrolling image; I mean for fuck’s sake, I could’ve edited that shit in less than an hour and I’m far from being a professional. The sound design itself isn’t the worst, but the sound quality is often terrible, crunchy and super-compressed. The music is alright but largely unmemorable and extremely pretentious when considering the context of the show, and the character designs are absolutely awful. Everything about the show is generic and bland right down to the locations where it takes place, with testing facility, high school and small town backdrops that feel lifeless and hollow, existing for the sole purpose of driving the plot forward and without so much as basic thought put into how any of this shit actually makes any sense at all. No character living in the universe where Pupa takes place matters unless they are directly involved in the story chronicling the romance between male and female protagonist, with everything unfolding encapsulated in the writer’s socially stunted bubble of importance; in fact, this might actually be one of the only high-school animes I’ve ever watched where I’ve almost completely forgotten about the existence of the high-school itself and everybody else in it aside from the main characters because it simply does not matter. Ultimately, what we see here is a case study into a pitiful excuse for a writer who hasn’t experienced so much as a shred of genuine human connection and has instead decided to fill that void with the unrealistic, romantic notion of “forbidden love”, living vicariously through his own fantasies and at a complete disconnect from reality. This is a story reeking of spite, twisted wish-fulfillment, misanthropy, and a seeming childish rejection by the writer of his own humanity for the sake of justifying his sick viewpoint. I genuinely pity the mind that came up with this garbage and decided that it needed to be adapted into a written format, but I honestly can’t decide what’s worse—writing this, or being the psychopath who thought adapting it into an anime would be a fucking awesome idea and scrambled to make a deal with the author for his intellectual property. Fuck the writer, the real sad thing here are the poor innocent animators and other creative artists who were fucking abused for the sake of animating this shit, not to mention the voice actors who actually tried their best to put on a convincing performance, and for what? So they can have this shit on their resume? If anybody were to try and make a convincing case as to why humans are the real monsters, this wouldn’t be a half bad place to start. For all the people out there trying to make a living in the anime industry and being forced to work on this kind-of garbage, my heart goes out to you and I deeply respect everything that you do. That said, this is fucking trash. Stay far away.

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