Anime Fans Know: Pupa (Psychological Anime)
SPOILER: The episode list in this article is in fact almost like the textual adaptation of the anime, Pupa. (The 12 episodes are approximately only 30 minutes, since each of the episodes do not exceed 5 minutes.)
Pupa, the psychological anime
Pupa is a series of 12 anime episodes produced by Studio Deen based on the Japanese horror manga with the same title. Most anime fans are not used to the 5-minute anime episodes. But the plot seems circular and may be more clearly seen if you watch it more than once.
To me, the anime is more like a maze of concepts with bits of a puzzle lying here and there. When you knit them together, it would bring a new meaning to the gory anime.
PUPA ANIME MEANING
(Based on the anime. I haven't read the manga yet. There are lists of characters and episode summaries below for an easy reference.)
I see the plot of this anime series as circular, with the past overlapping with the present and the present continuing in the past in a cycle. The characters are role representations of people in the same circumstance as the characters.
Utsutsu and Yume seemed to be intwined in a deep love uncommon for siblings. They were made close to each other by the abuse of their parents. Utsutsu's and Yume's roles sometimes reverse in the series which makes it complicated. That if pictures paint a thousand words, this series may paint a lot of interpretations.
One example of role reversal was the mirror scene or deja vu in the park at the first parts of the series. First, Yume saw a dog, tried to comfort it, and was attacked by it (in episode 1). Then, Utsutsu saw the monster, tried to comfort it, and was attacked by it (in episode 2).
Another example was in episode three where Yume was watching a video ad on the streets and suddenly her father appeared on the screen to say "You are the same as me. You, too, will toss her aside once the going gets tough." Such words are meant for Utsutsu.
Utsutsu and Yume might have had the same sex. Utsutsu was wearing a green pin on his hair throughout the season. It is unusual for a male to wear pins on his hair in Japan. When their deranged mother Sachiko told her family in a hospital bed that she wanted to be beaten because she started to love pain, her husband Shirou was listening to her and on his side were two boys instead of Utsutsu and Yume.
Their parents might be their adult versions. Thus the plot is in circles. Their father kept on telling Utsutsu that he would turn out to be just like him. He was so sure of it that he might have seen Utsutsu as a younger version of him and that he might have seen the situation before.
Yume's fate is forked between two characters, her mother and the scientist Maria. The one deranged as she tries to separate the siblings from each other, with one baby born "with all teeth already present." The other one an emotionally detached scientist who tries to use her expertise on others like her. This scientist in the anime was cut with a scar as a child and covers her face with a hat as opposed to the battered mother who fell in love with pain, the only sensation left for her to get.
The series is less of a horror story and more of a psychological tragedy.
PUPA CHARACTERS LIST
Pupa Character: Shirou, the father
Shirou was the father who battered his wife and then his children. He would be seen in a lot of flashbacks in the anime series where he hurt either Utsutsu or Yume. He enjoyed these beatings until the divorce.
He kept on saying to his son, Utsutsu, that having the same blood running through their veins, his son will turn out to be just like him.
Pupa Character: Utsutsu
Utsutsu is the boy who devotedly loved his younger sister, Yume. He did not want to be likened to his father, Shirou, having been abused by him.
He is always seen in the anime as protective of his sister. But then they both caught the Pupa virus. In Utsutsu's case, he acquired the ability of fast regeneration of his cells, and when Yume caught the Pupa virus and gave her insatiable hunger, he let her feed off of his flesh.
Yume means 'dream' in Japanese.
Pupa Character: Yume
Yume is the younger sister of Utsutsu. When she was born, her mother did not want Utsutsu to come too close to her nor to play with her.
As a student, she caught the Pupa virus and had an insatiable hunger for flesh. They solved this through the proposal of Maria that she feed on her brother's instantly regenerating flesh.
Yume means "dream" in Japanese.
Pupa Character: Sachiko
As a mother, Sachiko was beaten by her husband, Shirou. She was not loved anymore and instead battered.
When Utsutsu and Yume were babies, she prevented them from getting too close to each other. This failed though. And when Utsutsu started defending Yume, Sachiko lost her sanity. At the hospital bed, she told her visitors that she started seeing pleasure in pain. She begged Shirou to beat her.
Pupa Character: Baby Yume
As a baby, Yume was separated by her mother from her brother, Utsutsu. One day, she had the baby cut and after that the baby was depicted with a scar on her face reminiscent of the scar on Maria's face.
Pupa Character: Maria
Maria was a mysterious researcher in Pupa. She always wore black and according to her servant, Hitomi, she was not too good in showing and in detecting emotions, and that her curiosity makes her see the world as a lab for her experiments.
She always wore a black hat to try to conceal the scar on her face.
Pupa Character: Hotoki
Hotoki was the servant of Maria who vowed her eternal loyalty to her.
Pupa Characters: the Cat
Maria always brought a cat with her. It would observe every scene quietly.
Pupa Character: the Dog
The dog was seen in episode one where Yume saw it weakened near the woods. Yume spoke to it and tried to comfort it. It then showed its intestines to her and attacked her.
That scene was a mirror to the scene where Utsutsu saw the hungry monster Yume in the woods. Utsutsu spoke to her and tried to comfort her. She then bit Utsutsu and "fed" on him.
Pupa Character: the monster
As a monster, Yume had insatiable hunger for human flesh that she could not control. She would transform into a monster from time to time. When she saved her brother from captivity from the corporation who operated on him, she transformed into a monster with strength enough to kill dozens of armed men.
Pupa Character: the Red Butterflies
Red butterflies are often seen flapping their wings in this anime. This is mostly when Yume is feeding on her brother's body. But a red butterfly with broken wings was seen when Yume's mother was deranged in a hospital room.
PUPA ANIME EPISODES
Pupa Episode 1: Sprouting Wings
In this episode, Utsutsu was going to accompany his sister, Yume, home from school, so he asked her to wait for him in the park. There, Yume passed by a woman in black (Imari Ai/ Maria) who said that she should hurry home lest the red butterflies find her.
Just then, red butterflies flew around the park, hovering above her, and she praised how beautiful they were. Then from the bushes, a trembling dog emerged. She asked it if it was hurt. The dog bloated and its intestines exploded, covering Yume with blood.
Utsutsu finally arrived in the scene. He saw Yume lying on the ground. (Flashback: Their father used to batter Yume so this is not the first time Utsutsu had seen Yume lying like that.) In his worry, he carried the still unconcious Yume near his chest. Suddenly, a triangular red bloody thing pierces through the front of Yume's body.
Then came a flashback with Yume carrying a disheveled stuffed toy bear, which stuffing was spilling out. Back to reality, Yume, still lying in the arms of her brother Utsutsu, seemed to be split in half as blood splurted from her body in a vertical slice. She then transformed into a violet monster. Yume did not seem to know what was happening as she wondered why Utsutsu was "looking at her like that."
Another flashback came next, where their family was represented by toy bears. It was revealed that their father used to beat their mother and them. The parents eventually separated and they were left with their mother who started meeting younger men. Yume took it hard by weeping bitterly.
Pupa Episode 2: Deep Sting
The episode started with Utsutsu's shock of what monster his sister had become. The woman in black, Maria, gave a hint that she knew exactly what was happening by being surprisingly calm. She asked to talk to Utsutsu about his sister. She introduced herself as a researcher.
Maria's men cleaned the scene of the mess of corpses and intestines that filled it. Maria asked Utsutsu to back away from his sister and give up. But Utsutsu insisted that he loved her and he tried to talk to her despite her being a monster.
Yume was apparently taken over her monster desires for human flesh, thinking that human flesh was "delicious." When Utsutsu approached her, she took a bite out of him. Maria, watching this, said "It is a pity, isn't it, brother?"
Pupa Episode 3: Tiger Beetle
There seemed to be a jump in time as in this episode, Yume was in the middle of the streets. There were video ads on the side of a building that featured fish being sliced open vertically and its guts flowing out. Then her father saying, "You are the same as me. You, too, will toss her aside once the going gets tough."
Whether Yume was remembering her father saying this to Utsutsu or there was a reversal of characters, it is not clear to me. She dropped into deep self insight where she reassured herself that Utsutsu would be there for her when she woke up. Then a torn up bear told her that when she woke up, she would just eat him again. She pushed the bear aside and chided it that she did not want to remember being a monster with a lust for flesh.
Then her brother, Utsutsu came running to hug her in the middle of the streets saying that he would protect her. Afterwards they were in a dirty comfort room, Utsutsu was selflessly letting Yume eat him to quench her hunger. Maria's cat was walking and saw this. Maria and her men also saw this through a hidden camera
Yume seemed to drink too much of Utsutsu that he was consumed and just lay on the ground. That was when Maria came to Yume and covered her with a towel.
I see people passing me by and I can only think how delicious they look. I don't want to eat them, but I am just so hungry.— Yume
Pupa Episode 4: Squirming
Maria reassured Yume that she would take care of Utsutsu's body. Yume was shocked by this since she was not aware that she had done something bad. Maria smilingly said that she was a monster who ate her brother. Yume shed uncontrollable tears as she believed this. She had done something bad. She killed him. She was a monster.
Maria's men brought Utsutsu's body in their lab. Maria arrived there and found that Utsutsu had gained regenerative abilities from the same virus that affected his sister. Maria revealed that the mysterious virus was the Pupa virus, which gave the infected regenerative abilities but with one side effect--insatiable hunger.
Maria proposed to Utsutsu to let his sister eat bits of his body for the rest of his life. It was a proposal which Utsutsu accepted.
A flashback showed their mother in her pregnancy of Yume. She thought about getting an abortion.
Pupa Episode 5: Tadpole
Their mother gave birth to Yume one year after she gave birth to Utsutsu. Their mother was terrified of Yume and didn't want Utsutsu to come near her. Their mother told that "From the moment she was born, she already had all her teeth."
In this episode, their mother tried to kill the baby Yume. But even after stabbing her with a cutter, she would not die. Later, the baby would be seen eating a bird, blood dripping from her mouth.
Utsutsu began questioning his mother why she was being so mean to Yume. Tears welling in her eyes, their mother started laughing while crying. This is where she was hinted of being insane. She would turn out to be in a hospital room, relaying these incidents to two boys and her husband. After that incident with Utsutsu protecting Yume, she said, she started to like pain. She then begged her husband, Shirou, to beat her. The red butterfly lost her wings.
When I'm in pain, I know I'm not dreaming.— Sachiko
Pupa Episode 6: Encroachment
Back to the present time, Yume was to be seen in a feeding galore of the flesh of her brother, Utsutsu.
Then Hotoki, one of Maria's men, described Maria in an insight. According to him, she had always lacked a sense of morality, never knowing why people would laugh or cry, but instead she was curious of nature. To her, he said, everyone was just like a guinea pig. Then Hotoki awoke from this insight, as Maria asked him to prepare the sperm apparently collected from Utsutsu and the egg apparently taken from Yume. Maria wanted to produce a "monster" child.
Now, Utsutsu was the one to have an insight. He said that he felt her sister's teeth digging into him, that everytime he opened his often closed eyes, he could see his sister feeding on him but he could not sense any joy on her face.
Pupa Episode 7: Incubation
Maria was pregnant bathing in a hot spring when Hotoki told her that a medical company, Imari Ishin Corpotation, was after Utsutsu and Yume.
Back at their school, a man armed with a knife was waiting for the two as their classes ended.
Pupa Episode 8: Caterpillar
The man held them captive in a warehouse to "play" with them first. The man was at first beating Utsutsu and when beat Yume as she interfered, Utsutsu was caught in a rage and poked the man in the eye with his fingers. Unfortunately for him, there were other men who came and tazed him unconcious.
The episode ended with Yume blindfolded in a chair, not knowing what was happening to Utsutsu. Only hearing the doctor asking for a scalpel, etc. And some crying sounds.
Pupa Episode 9: Specimen
The Imari Ishin Corporation disected the abducted Utsutsu while holding Yume chained to a chair. They clarified that they were not kidnapped but quarantined because of the Pupa virus. They said they would use the information gathered to benefit mankind.
Then they started using a chainsaw. Yume heard his wailings and she transformed into a monster, killing all agents in her wake, leading into a bloodbath.
Pupa Episode 10: Poisoning
The bloodbath continued as agents tried to search their predator. Utsutsu seemed to have escaped the doctors.
Another flashback showed their father abusing them with scorching them with a lit cigarette.
Pupa Episode 11: Pupation
This episode started with a happy reunion between the siblings inside the hospital where they were held in captivity.
There was another jump in the plot as they were seen again in the school gym. Yume was feeding off the arm of her brother, Utsutsu.
Pupa Episode 12: Larva
Utsutsu and Yume were little kids here. Yume's bear stuffed toy was damaged because their father stepped on it. Utsutsu offered help to buy a new bear since the old one was irreparable. He found out that the bears were beyond his price range so he entered a luck contest instead to get a bear prize. He emphasized that he wore a green pin on his hair given to him by Yume, which he wanted to repay with the prize bear.
He did not succeed at first but some friends offered their tickets to give him another chance. In the end he failed to win a bear but instead won a pink pin for his sister. Little Yume was so elated by this.