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Fall Anime 2013: Pupa

Disclaimer: Some potentially disturbing stuff ahead. Not for the faint of heart. I have tried to cut down on the number of pictures in this one and it might make for a wordy post. I apologise.

The previous few seasons this year were filled with anime that had the benefit of being hyped even before they aired. The adapted mangas has solid fanbases and adapted games practically had a cult following by the time an anime about it is in production.

This Fall season though seems to be the antithesis to the last few seasons, filled with what can only be described as independent upstarts that somehow gained an anime production, that fact however, does not detract from their uniqueness.


Pupa is one of these productions. The horror manga by Sayaka Mogi is armed with a small but fervent fanbase, and for seemingly good reason. Pupa, with its Hitchcockian monsters and deliciously gothic tone looks set to becoming the next unlikely hit. The figurative black horse, so to say.

The anime will tell of Hasegawa Utsusu and his litte sister Yume, a pair of siblings abused by their now absentee father since a tender age. Utsusu eventually. develops to become a teenager that is protective of his little sister, Yume. 

Oh, look at the siblings. How adorable!

One day, while walking home, Yume contracts a mysterious Virus named Pupa and undergoes a horrifying transformation into a man-eating monster, leaving Utsusu to pick up the pieces before he finds that he himself has contracted Pupa. Even after the transformation and his sister's newfound bloodlust, Utsusu still loves her and cares for her.

What about the fluffy high school scene? Wait, what?!

The manga was billed as a tale of a big brother’s love for his sister, a life-and-death story. Sounds pretty run of the mill if you ask me. But delve deeper and you find a story that is frankly, quite upsetting. In the manga, monster! Yume’s rampages are full-blown gorefests, with everyone, everyone, spilling their guts, humans, animals, teddy bears, the illustration is visceral and that really makes me wonder how Studio Deen is going to port the series over into anime form.

Not to mention that Yume mauls Utsusu for sustenance, because his body seemingly suppresses that transformation into a monster and instead has the ability to heal and regenerate. She does so several times over the course of just the first volume. Each time more graphic than the previous.

What are you doing to your Oniisan. Get off him this instant young lady!

No, really, I just... don't really want to put this picture in.

I got a little sick, reading this one. And no, I am not a prude that shirks from anything that's remotely violent or gory. I normally am alright with gore, and I absolutely love the Death-trap genre. (Judge and Dangan Ronpa are among my favourites) But with Pupa, the entire psychological, borderline incestuous subtext is undeniable and frankly, quite disturbing and horrifying.

The siblings constantly get experimented on and abused and they themselves kill a couple of people in the process, not to mention that loving care and detail seems to have been employed to portray all of these in the messiest, most gut-churning manner possible.

Right now, I have just finished with the translated chapters and I truly need to hurl. So let’s just get this over and done with. It’s quite the horrible manga, terrifying, disturbing but awe-inducing nonetheless. I am quite sure that it would be up someone’s ally, just not mine. In fact it isn’t quite that deviant and perverted, the story is solid, but with the amount of blood in it, it seems to simply be a gore-engine.   
Studio Deen is in-charge of the production and given their previous track records with gory horror favourites like Higurashi, Umineko etcetera. Veteran Tomomi Mochizuki, an anime director with titles like Ranma ½, Code Geass and Futari no Spica under his belt, will also be directing this series.

Here is an entirely irrelevant picture of the director himself, just to break up the horror a little.

15-year old voice actress Ibuki Kido has been stated to play Yume Hasegawa. It remains to be seen how this young lady will fare playing such a, quite honestly, disturbing role.

That said, it seems like the anime adaption of Pupa is in relatively good hands. But still, sites who tell you that it is a “tale of heroic love between siblings” probably haven’t read the manga yet. Yes it is that, but it’s also gore, a psychological mess and more. It is also not for everyone, step away if you belong to the faint of heart.

That said, Pupa still has a great storyline and intriguing story elements and ranks among one of the 25th most highly anticipated anime next season. So if, after reading this, you’re still confident that this is right up your ally (not judging). Go right ahead and maybe delve into this. It is after all, in its own right, a masterpiece of its own genre. 

Pupa pulls you in and compels you to stay no matter how much you must scream

Sweet dreams.

Do I recommend this? No, not to my younger sister or my nieces or nephews and certainly not to some girlfriends of mine. But still, junkies of the horror and psychological genres may really enjoy this. 

Now pardon me while I throw up my dinner.

Written by Ash

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