The team adapting Pupa has probably been dealt one of the shittiest hands imaginable in terms of caveats to work with. Turning a manga built on incest and body horror into something presentable for television, divided into five-minute episodes no less, is one hell of a production nightmare, so I can understand why another few months were needed in order to iron out the wrinkles and make it ready for showtime, without entirely gutting the squicky-icky factor. It didn’t work, ending up a heavily-censored mess, but at least we got a half-second of something gooey-looking jumping out of a dog’s throat in a way reminiscent of one of the best Terribad moments. That has to count for something.
Considering that the budget is less than shoestring, they did a surprisingly good job at creating a gloomy atmosphere in the first episode, thanks to the washed-out color palette and the competent use of disquieting sound effects. But despite a decent effort at setting the mood, the show does a shitty job at pacing itself, jumping right to a dog vomiting fleshy spaghetti onto our main girl, who then proceeds to eat somebody behind a heavily-censored haze for no adequately explained reason.
The attempts at establishing the characters and plot are nominal at best, with the minute between OP and dog spaghetti spent watching Yume walk around, gawk at CG butterflies, and generally be a waste of space. If more time had been spent setting up Yume as a person, rather than a cannibal-butterfly person in waiting (a pupa of a pupa, if you will), the grotesqueness of her transformation would have been impactful, rather than comically abrupt.
I won’t say that it’s terrible, and there are worse ways to kill five minutes, but I don’t think that Pupa’s being all it can be. I’m certainly going to keep watching though, if only to spite myself for not putting it in my FAL team.