Thursday, January 30, 2014

pupa Ep. 4: Afflicted

Wow, what amazing animation! Just to be clear, I believe most of this week's events occur before last week's events. So to take stock, Yume underwent her transformation at the park and attacked a bystander. Afterwards, Utsutsu tried to approach her, but she attacked him too. Maria and her people recovered Utsutsu's body, but he broke free and killed two scientists in the process. Maria lets him go so that he can serve as live bait. Then, this is what we see in last week's episode: Yume feasting on her brother's flesh in the restroom. Again, I just wanted to recap things so we know where we are in the narrative.

Anyway, I don't think I have any grand analysis to add this week. I feel as though this week's episode merely reinforces what I've been saying thus far. A couple notes:

* We see Maria and some faceless scientist observing the siblings. This adds to the idea of a surveillance state as well as the idea of the modern iteration of the Panopticon.

* One of the first things Maria says to Yume after the latter turns back into her human form: "A girl can't sit around looking like that forever." Maria's referencing Yume's nakedness, so there's an implicit affirmation that sexual shame is the most important crime here. Consider how other matters of concern are avoided are hardly mentioned, i.e. the loss of life, Yume's own physical and mental health, etc.

* Maria hammers home the idea that Yume ate Utsutsu despite the fact that the he continued to refer to her as his sister. There's a duality to the shame here. First, if we see her transgressions as sexual shame, then to put it bluntly, she had sex with her brother despite knowing that it's her brother. A young girl's sexual desire is therefore seen as uncontrollable, dangerous, potentially incestuous, etc. We can also think of her transgressions as part of the cycle of abuse. She hurt her own brother despite the fact that it is her brother. It is perhaps very similar to how her father hurt his family despite his family's constant protestations that they are his family.

* Maria: "To be precise, he didn't 'die.' You killed him."

* It is perhaps not a mistake that in the background of Maria's secret laboratory, you see silhouettes of rabbits. Sure, rabbits are common test subjects, but why not rats? Or monkeys? Maybe it's because rabbits have an innocent look to them but we also know they procreate like mad.

* Utsutsu is now afflicted with the virus as well, but will he turn into a monster? How come the other victim at the park didn't also come back to life? Perhaps things are too censored for us to even properly analyze the story. In any case, if Utsutsu never turns into a monster despite being afflicted by the same pupa virus, it says a lot how the anime views young girls and their burgeoning sexual desires. And how did Yume become afflicted by it in the first place anyway? Or was she always a potential carrier?

* Maria: "Its hosts are granted miraculous powers of recovery, and are tortured in exchange by an unbearable hunger." It's almost like a forbidden fruit in a way. You gain something invaluable, but in return, you now have the capacity to sin.

* Here, I suppose the siblings have traded their innocence for immortality. In a way, this is true. If we never procreate, our bloodline will end. If we do partake in carnal acts, however, we sin but we nevertheless live on through our progeny. Unfortunately, what our siblings choose to do is a perversion: by depending upon each other, they are simultaneously sinning and rendering themselves mortal at the same time.

* Utsutsu: "I won't let you people make Yume into your plaything." But clearly, it should stay within the family instead.

* The idea that Utsutsu will now become "live bait" for his sister, and allow her to feast upon his flesh day in and day out is hardly the sacrifice that it probably seems to be in his head. Rather, he is preserving their way a life. This is something he literally says at the end of the episode: "I won't be like my father. I'll protect our daily lives."

*But he is becoming his father. Instead of allowing Yume to grow up and become her own sexual creature, Utsutsu is so hellbent on keeping the family together that he will unhealthily become her sexual partner. Then he can suffer abuse at her hands and claim to be the martyr when it is really him who's abusing her. He's using her guilt to keep her from straying, i.e. she should only feast upon him.

As always, I can only imagine how interesting this story might have been had it been given a full adaptation rather than the half-assed effort we got from Studio Deen.
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