Pupa Episode 1 First Impressions: Wasted Potential

I thought Strange+ was just the anomaly, but it seems like short length episodes for an anime is becoming a little less rare now thanks to Pupa. Frankly, this is a trend that I hope remains rare and not used often. Because so far, nobody has been able to pull it off successfully. In fact, I’d say Pupa was hurt by the decision to make the first episode so short. This was an anime that really would have benefited from being full length, as then we would have been given more time to get to know the characters and get a better idea as to what awaits viewers.

So as far as I can tell Pupa appears to be the story of an older brother and a younger sister. In a brief moment there appears to be an implied amount of abuse by someone who is the possible father of both children. Also the brother seems to be wearing a few accessories that look like they’d belong to his sister, and I’m sure there is some story behind that. Also, the little sister mutates into some kind of demonic bug thing at the end. Yeah apparently she has some sort of virus or something that transformed her.

As I said in my article on Strange+, they could have used time for a little more focus on character interaction or development. This is also the case for Pupa. There is a lot of things going on with even less explanation, leading anyone who has not read the manga (like myself) to be really confused. I mean to be fair it is common to have mysterious characters show up that we are introduced to later, but you can’t really do that for an anime as short and disturbing as Pupa. This is not like Strange+ where each episode will have a mini story that gets wrapped up as quickly as it is introduced. Pupa is clearly like most anime in which there is one large story told over the course of countless episodes. I can’t even begin to imagine what they were thinking when they decided to make this anime as short as it is.

Visually speaking, I have no honest idea what they were trying to go for either. The art style between characters and the background is so different and disorienting. The backgrounds are like a water colored pencil sketch, which would be fine if the characters looked like that too. However, the characters are more smooth but have a strange texture applied to them. It was not visually appealing at all, which makes this show even more difficult to watch.

Pupa is certainly a very disturbing anime. Was that scene involving that unfortunate puppy really necessary? It was incredible how quickly the mood of this anime switched. It went from relatively normal to creepy, gorey, and disturbing in almost the blink of an eye. So if you do not like gore, creepy animated toys, or spontaneous impalement, then stay clear of Pupa. Seriously, do yourself a favor and do not watch Pupa. But if Pupa seems like it would be right up your alley, then give it a try. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Honestly, it feels like there is a lot of wasted potential in Pupa. They take what feels like should have been a full length episode and condensed it down to several mediocre minutes that do not leave the viewer wanting more. Also, you really can’t leave a cliff hanger like that in such a short episode. I’m honestly very disappointed in Pupa, as the trailer made it look like it was going to be a very disturbingly enjoyable anime. Yet with all of its shortcomings, I feel like Pupa will not be a pleasant experience even for fans of the manga.