You ever feel that itch in the rims of your ass crack that happens when you don’t wipe long enough? If there was ever an anime to signify that horrific itchy feeling in the most monstrous example of that region, Pupa would no doubt fit that description.
Never has there been hype so decimated after a rocky development schedule, season after season. It will go down in the books of how not to screw up your production schedule or else it will come back and bite you and your credibility. People, such as I, were very curious to see what Pupa had to offer in the horror genre in anime, because it’s not often we get to see many horror themed anime come out these days. Then all of our expectations suddenly dropped when this was announced to only be three minutes long. Judging by how I viewed the 36 minutes of content through the whole show’s run time, this was obviously something that was just not finished.
Why you may ask? Well, for starters, the art style looks inexcusably low-budget, even for three minute show standards. Hell, Ai Mai Mi looked like it had quality production compared to this. Especially the background artwork, where the colors look almost like an elementary school student painted it with a flimsy paintbrush. The designs of the characters are at least a little bit tolerable considering they do look like actual people in most cases.
Now the animation part is where it gets really hilarious. There is one instance where an ambulance car is driving and you can tell, even from the crappiest quality stream imaginable, that the wheels are not moving whatsoever. Not only that, but it almost looked like the animator didn’t bother to put any frames on any part of the car so it looks like he dragged it with the mouse. This is but only a few of some of the glorious hilarity that transpires from the lackluster animation. Unfortunately, it seemed the networks airing it felt embarrassed to bother showing the animation so they decide to censor almost 80% of it.
Normally I don’t discuss censorship in the shows I review, only because they’ll eventually release the uncensored Blu Rays at a later time. But considering how universally panned this show is, I can’t see this ever having that kind of royalty in the near future. It is often a cringe worthy experience to have to sit through censors in a horror anime that covers up the disgusting gore and blood, but with Pupa, the way they censored certain aspects felt really disjointed. For instance, there is one scene where Yume eats her brother’s flesh and obviously they censored this out right. Then in another episode we are shown a room filled with dismembered bodies scattered in a hallway, badly drawn by the way, and yet it isn’t censored in any way. Why? Was it because it wasn’t in motion? Or was it that the animation was so horrible from Yume’s flesh eating that they demanded that no one see it fully? Either way, it felt like an unnecessary decision.
Pupa’s plot leaves a lot to be desired, and that is the understatement of this entire review. I would complain profusely about how unfocused the entire structure of it and how each episode does not feel connected to each other in the slightest. Reading these negatives might leave the impression that it is badly written, however, once you actually watch Pupa all the way through, it almost feels like an unfinished product. Almost as if they were originally going to go for a standard 23 minute episode show but somehow their work got corrupted halfway down the line. Considering they had to delay this for another season seems like the most logical reason for this.
Could Pupa have been a great show had they been more careful with their development schedule? Who knows. That other reality is all but shrouded in mystery from our own and we may not ever see that happen. That is if they decide to remake the entire adaptation and make one that is more faithful to the source material. I would put this up as a grand cautionary tale for people who want to get into the business of TV production. Will this be considered one of the great classic bad anime alongside Mars of Destruction or considered an avant-garde masterpiece like Tsui no Sora by trolls? I would argue that the latter would be the most likely scenario, god help us.