Dead Cells horror anime podcast – Pupa

Today we are going to talk about Pupa. This is the story of a girl who is infected with a virus after encountering red butterflies in a park. A horrible human flesh eating monster inhabits her body, but luckily her brother is also infected, but differently. He now heals really fast. She craves human flesh which he can eternally provide, so they are a match made in heaven. There is a very strong undertone of incest, obviously, though they do come about that relationship somewhat honestly. Well as honest as incestuous cannibalism can be.

In the news, Death Note the musical. That there is a Death Note musical may be news alone, but they have been releasing casting pick photos, beginning with the illustrious L and most recently Ryuk, Rem and Misa. I can only hope that this will come overseas to us in some form.

www.crunchyroll.comFrom Crunchyroll: “A stage music adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note will be staged in Japan and South Korea. After opening at Tokyo Nissay in April 2015, it will be playing in Seoul over the summer with a different cast.

American composer Frank Wildhorn will be writing the music, with Jack Murphy writing the lyrics and Ivan Menchell the script. Tamiya Kuriyama directs.”

So, it seems to be done by an international team so there is hope yet. I have seen a few really cool and semi-cool cosplay versions of Rem and Ryuk and I can only dream of how these sets and costumes will look. The music was a driving force in the tone of Death note. Not only the title track, notably the second season open and closer by Maximum the Horomone with “What’s Up People” and “Zetsoubou Billy”, but ambient and incidental music was well chosen too. I can definitely see some of the major soliloquy’s being set to dramatic music. It’s a dramatic horror after all.

Now back to Pupa, From the pupa wikia – This is  “the “life-and-death sibling” story following Utsutsu and Yume Hasegawa, a boy and his little sister who find themselves all alone. One day, Yume sees a mysterious red butterfly and her body undergoes a strange metamorphosis—into a creature that eats humans. Utsutsu struggles to find a way to restore his sister.

Pupa (ピューパ Pyūpa) is a Japanese horror anime adaptation of the manga and is produced by Studio Deen.”

Studio Deen has been around since the 80s and done some other horror, action, and harem stories. The Beyblade OVA and the Vampire Knight series stand out among their projects. They have a large body of work, so the animation style is clean with a default colour palette, all in all easy to watch. They remain in a very realistic if not slightly simplistic rendering, until the last episode, where they draw in a chibi or childlike form with brighter colours and bold black line work.

So – how much people hate Pupa. I was braced for it after seeing the first episode when it was streaming on Crunchyroll. I took a break to watch other things, then came back to it after having read some reviews. Not sure why in all of the hate notes these shows received why the teddy bears weren’t mentioned. I loved every scene with the teddy bears. So creepy. So menacing. Such a fun plot device to have them relate the story. Some of the torn off eye and menacing fanged grins the bears give are real nightmare fuel.

My favourite character by far is Maria. She seems to be the one behind the pupa infestation… or experiment… or whatever the reason these kids are infected. Her lady-goth look, calm demeanour and kingpin style tempts me to pick up the manga. Maybe it is also that she is the least developed of the characters and I would like to know more about her origins and what the hell she is doing. It’s all really barely explained.

See, it’s only 4 minutes per episode and there are only 12 episodes, making it basically a 48 minute show- so less than feature length – and most of that is intro/outro music for fuck sakes. I wish it were longer, and like so many others I can do without the last episode. it must be seen to be believed. And not to set you up for the ultimate gore fest…. the last episode is the polar opposite! if you want to have several ‘what the fuck’ moments followed by a ‘what the actual fuck’ moment, this one is a fun ride. Deep down in my girly girl core I do enjoy the last episode on it’s own, but it seriously has no place in this story.

That said, for those sensitive to the sexualisation of what could be younger people engaged in sensualised cannibalism you should steer clear. The censored version is even worse actually, as noted by many in anime forums and similar discussion spots, the censorship leaves too much to the imagination. The sisters head may be placed in a spot that since obscured, takes on the look of a sex act instead of one feeding on live human meat. Seeing is believing in this case. It is really super bloody no matter which version, but the censored version is heavily censored at point of entry, actual flesh eating and tearing with the mouth, and penetration by weapons with large black shadows.

It is interesting to see a study in cannibalism taken as seriously as this in the wake of the bath salts craze and Luka Magnotta. Well, semi seriously. They don’t make light of it and it seems the siblings make no secret of their behaviors either. At one point, a thug recruits them… or more like kidnaps them… to have some fun with.

Through the story, you discover that they are near orphans as both parents have left them. This is not all bad as their parents were both mentally and physically abusive, explaining the large scar on Utsutsu’s face. The parents abuse not only primed the siblings for such a surreal existence as those infected with pupa, but provide some lurid backstory as to how these two are nearly ‘chosen ones’ for this apparent experiment. You learn a lot about this while they are dealing with being abused by this kidnapper.

So others in their world seem to know that this brother and sister duo are indulging in cannibalism. The first big feeding scene takes place in bed and is highly sexualized, certainly with Yume breathless chanting of his honorific, big brother, “Onii-chan” over and over. Unsettling. There is also a rather gory scene of her eating her brothers flesh in a school locker room. Apathy is just not how polite society would react upon discovering such a situation.

And why does Utsutsu wear a pretty hair pin? Because he’s super hot, that’s why, and he can do whatever he likes. Also, with the amount of time he spends protecting and being fed upon by his sister, I don’t think he really cares what he looks like.

The music is kind of amazing. It subtly sticks in your head. In fact, the theme song and end song are as infectious as the red butterflies are. The sound design of this anime is superb with the glaring exception of the over use of the characters honorific. Bleh. Annoying. Otherwise, the foley work is a real treat, considering how much time she spends eating flesh and making such delectable little flesh eating sounds. Fans of body horror that hits all these squelchy squicky gross out notes may like that.

I give Pupa 3 out of 5 Human Centipedes for horror, since it certainly exists in that place where there are no stars. Highly recommended if you want to see something not quite tentacle porn, but makes you think nonetheless. It is also super short, so why not?

You can get this on BluRay and DVD or stream it on Crunchyroll. I suggest you get the uncensored version of course, as the streaming version will be censored. You can seomtimes find the bloody version on Youtube. Look for the Pupa Unrated Complete edition and it will pop up on Amazon, ebay and cdjapan for about $55.

What Is Up Next? Berserk. Not really horror, but bloody as fuck with a little bit of a bonus hell-ride. I’ll get into a little of my definition of horror and horror in anime then too.

If there is anything you think I should be watching, let me know on twitter @typicallydia or tumblr, youtube, wherever you hang out online. This has been Re:Animation on Dead Cells, part of splatterpictures.net.

 

Dead Air Podcast ~ Episode 1

The idea for the Dead Air Podcast has been cooking well before I’d been on any other podcast to date. Since I had helped as teaching assistant after graduating journalism for many classes including broadcast journalism for three years, and had a placement at CBC Radio, it seems natural. The first time the idea of being part of a horror podcast came about  I was opposed. I knew the technicality behind production. I could write a script maybe. I sounded okay. Yet, I felt I had nothing to say. Also, I figured podcasts involved having a brand to attach a good show to and had to be hours long since that is what it seemed the hardcore horror fans wanted.

Then I had a few pints with Wes ‘Dead Air’ Knipe.

We didn’t even need an audience.

Wes also has a background in broadcast that morphed somehow into horror journalism. So it was all horror talk, all the time. We veritably needle one another along with filmmakers, then lead one another into laughing so hard we may choke on our drinks. In between, somehow, lies very serious horror discussion. All we needed do is hit record. Honestly. The most fun part is the lack of hard research and us relying solely on our adoration of this vast genre we have immersed ourselves in since elementary school.

The story of how we came to have six episodes in the can is long-ish and maybe we will tell you sometime. For now, here is a fresh pot with another served up each week this October. More will come as we never stop watching movies and talking about them. Let us know what you think on the soundcloud or wherever you hang out online.

The TTC Leprechaun Douche May Be My Hero

… but we don’t know that yet.

We don’t know a lot of things. What she might have said or done or how she may have looked at him – and perhaps these are things the alleged vicitm can’t recall or would deem irrelevant.  We don’t know what was in the bag. We don’t know his mental state, his physical state, his spiritual state, where his pot of gold is or even if that is indeed an actual bowler.

We don’t know if maybe he knew her.

We don’t know if this is staged.

We don’t know that even if I’m wrong and she’s right that she has or does not have any right to post him all over the web, call him names,  and incite others to do the same.

A good person I know just suggested breaking his finger. That seems no better to me. In fact, it’s worse.

See, I can fully understand having nearly been in his exact position in public many many many times.  Dealing with humans is hard and some days are worse than others. Once in a while I really want to scream “Fuck you and your stroller/groceries/purse/guitar. Fuck you right in your mouth! I am not a second-rate citizen you self-entitled shit, so stand. Stand, suffer and shove that shitty look you just gave me right up your super tight A-type personality ass!”  But, I don’t.  Usually I screw those headphones in tight and ignore you so hard it nearly hurts.

He hit somewhere in between those two extremes. That’s all.

I’m kind of shocked to see this all over my various interfeeds and surprised it hit the news. That not only the alleged victim of a snarky word and a shove felt the need to freak out online is one thing, but that so many people are ganging up on a complete stranger Scares The Fuck Out Of Me.

Consider that within minutes of this altercation, if she really didn’t do anything to provoke him, he probably felt kind of badly.

Just thinking that is good enough for me.

So yeah.

Don’t you have something better to do?