Yume Hasegawa, the apparently beloved younger sister of Utsutsu Hasegawa, goes for a walk one day and meets a creepy witch lady with a spooky cat who spouts off some cryptic warning about ‘red butterflies’ and how they should be avoided. Five seconds later Yume finds some red butterflies, and apparently having a memory span of exactly five seconds, hangs around to marvel at them. Then a dog comes out of the bush and explodes into a grotesque bloody mess, which then causes Yume to be infected with something that makes her turn into a monster.

She’s holding a teddy bear and then the teddy bear is suddenly all ruined, its ~symbolic~.

Seriously, Studio Deen? This is what everyone was making such a fuss about? People were talking about Pupa like it was some highly anticipated, deeply dark and scary story – it caused a bit of chatter as it was meant to air last season but never did. Rumour had it that Deen couldn’t get a TV station willing to air the ‘graphic and disturbing content’, but that was clearly a publicity ruse. This was honestly pretty pathetic. It’s true that horror is subjective and all, and I’ll admit horror anime very, very rarely scares me as it tends to be more dumb and ham-fisted than genuinely scary, but…this is really dumb. It’s trying really hard to be spooky and symbolic with these creepy teddy bears – symbolism with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, sure, and looking like something from Hot Topic – what’s more, the monster form of Yume was honestly stupid-looking. Apparently she’s going to start eating people in the next episode and its going to be graphically violent but that’s not scary either. Putting graphic, over the top violence in something, especially anime, does not increase the horror aspect. (And on that note, the alleged ‘graphic violence’ in this episode at least was pretty tame by anime standards).
Also…it’s four minutes long. I have no idea if it was planned to be this short from the start or if Deen ran into some troubles along the way but I don’t think there’s ever been another kind of story more ill-suited to a four minute time-frame. Rather than opt for having barely anything happen, Deen instead chose to squeeze in as much as they could, and the result is a total mess. There’s no reason for me to care about Yume or Utsutsu, I hardly know who they are, they just appeared on screen and all of a sudden one is turning into a monster. It’s possible that a full 24 minutes would improve this show a lot.
The artistry is somewhat interesting, with a watercolour effect on everything. Although while it’s probably meant to evoke a dream-like sense it kind of just makes the whole thing look even cheaper. The character designs aren’t anything to write home about either.  Because of the short length it won’t take too much out of my time if I wanted to at least watch one more episode to see if it improves, but I’m not in any urge to.

SOOOOO SCAAAARY man I hope the next show I watch is decent, if only to break this streak of bad shows.

Out of 5,