Manga: Pupa

EDIT: This is a back post that I am rewinding the time for. Was halfway through writing, but then dozed off multiple times before deciding to stop and only continue when I was back from Macau the next day and could put more effort into it. I’m sorry.

Way too tired and I can’t trust myself to write about a series as well as I would like right now, so guess I’m just going with something I read recently that seemed to have held so much promise, but was a bit of a disappointment.

Manga: Pupa 「ピューパ」

t002

Pupa vol 2 cover

Pupa is a Shounen, psychological, fantasy, drama, horror series written by Mogi Sayaka. It was published from 2011 to 2013 and is complete with 5 tankobon volumes. I don’t know how many chapters the series has in total, but I’ve read until the latest chapter that’s currently been scanlated up to, Chapter 15. It was adapted into a 12-episode anime that aired from Jan 2014 to Mar 2014.

Pupa follows orphans Hasegawa Utsutsu and his younger sister Hasegawa Yume. Previously going through an abusive family history with Yume, Utsutsu promised himself that he would always protect his sister. One day, the siblings are infected with a virus known as Pupa which mutate organisims into insatiable monsters seeking to feed on any sort of life. Yume succumbs to the full effect of the virus, but reverts back into a human form whereas Utstutsu gains regenerative powers. Utsutsu struggles to find a way to restore his sister while suppressing the virus by allowing Yume to feed on his flesh.

WARNING: Gore, blood, mutilations, death, torture. Very queasy horror stuff. Dude… she… feeds… on her brother…

When a friend first told me about the plot of Pupa on twitter, I was a excited about it because I actually like reading about psychological mangas with gore. But then she mentioned how it actually wasn’t that good and my bubble deflated a bit.

With a story like this, Pupa really brought out the hopelessness and cringe-worthy (mental and physical) pain. It actually felt like a really cool horror story after adding in the other potentially problematic situations in the story besides cannibalism. Characters weren’t boring, Development was a little cliche, but not bad. I have to say though, my friend was right. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

It was a poor start. Scenes felt disjointed, everything was just suddenly thrown into your face… Man… I don’t even know how to express why I thought it wasn’t that good. To put it simply, it just didn’t feel like there was much ‘flow’ to the way the development was portrayed in a manga style? It’s pretty hard to explain OTL From where I stopped, it looked like it was shaping up with a good momentum going on, but I guess I might never know.

Pupa Chp 1, Pg 1

Pupa Chp 1, Pg 1

The way the manga used cute teddy bears to portray horrible histories etc. of the protagonist siblings were pretty amusing and ironic. With so much gore throughout the rest of the series, I guess using ‘harmless’ (yeah, right) teddies relatively amplified the significance of the protag siblings’ backstory and how it’s shaped their extremely tight (bordering incest) bond with each other. It’s probably not something that unique to the manga maybe, but that was good.

I liked the art even if wasn’t refined in any way. The characters and backgrounds (when drawn) were pretty simple. Certain characters were cute while many others were not. Gory scenes were messy, dark, and a definitely more detailed in contrast to ‘normal’ scenes. Couple this contrast with a plot like Pupa, no doubt it managed to bring out much of the sinister feeling and shock factor.

All in all, Pupa is brutal. And revolting. And actually pretty good. I’m just a little sad with how the story could’ve been handled better from the start.

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