A lot of people hated Pupa from the very beginning.
Those people said it would be a waste of time.
I am inclined to think that they got it right, for the most part.
I’m going to keep watching, even though I’ve pretty much given up hope of extracting entertainment from it as a story; I’m still engaged in the meta-story level, where I analyze something I do not enjoy as fiction. The analysis is vastly more addictive than the fiction itself.
Spoilers for Episode 6 below, be warned.
Frank discussion of impolite topics below. Consider this rated “R” and don’t read if such things offend you.
So we had been given heavy hints that the sister’s hunger to chew her brother’s muscles with her teeth was somehow related to an incestuous desire to put her brother’s penis into her vagina.
Most of Episode 6 is taken from the Clive Barker school of allegedly arousing sadomasochistic fiction. We get a soundtrack of the girl whining with sexual arousal, the boy grunting and looking passive while lying on his belly (kind of like passive anal sex) and a lot of heavy breathing. Maybe this is meant to be actually arousing for people with some kind of anal sex fetish, or maybe it’s meant to be disturbing for people who have been conditioned to get aroused by the sound of heavy breathing but who are disturbed by images of passive males.
So, instead of lying on his belly and getting his anus penetrated by something hard, the boy is lying on his belly and getting his muscles actually torn off his body by his sister’s sharp teeth. Apparently the screenwriters had been reading Freud’s description of the “Devouring Mother” and the “Vagina Dentata” symbols right before a Clive Barker film festival.
The porn doesn’t strike me as very intellectually interesting. Either a viewer regards it as arousing, or not. There’s not a lot of skill involved – it’s rather heavy-handed and ham-fisted. The pun between “oniichan” and “oniku” is interesting the first couple of times it’s repeated, and then it gets monotonous.
The whole thing strikes me as unsatisfactory sci-fi. The boy and girl both have a weird mutation or virus or other biological superpower that causes their wounds to regenerate. However, for some reason, the boy just regenerates and doesn’t transform or desire meat, and the girl has all three characteristics –
As a sci-fi premise, it’s not bad, but the sex angle is too clumsy to be entertaining, and it takes away scarce screen time from the sci-fi. It reminds me of cheesy Anne-Rice-rip-offs, which try to emphasize the sexual overtones of wanting to drink a target’s blood, and the tragic love of self-sacrificing humans who want to give their blood to vampires. Such romances don’t impress me much.
So — those of you who said that it would be a bad show — yes, it’s badly done. If you’re addicted to analyzing fiction, you can still have fun analyzing it on the meta-level even though you don’t enjoy it on the entertainment level.