Puparia is Incredible

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Because most of my time recently has been spent at work, doing school, or in crippling self doubt, it has been pretty hard to watch any anime adjacent YouTube as of late. Ok, well, actually that is a lie because I still watch a ton of YouTube, but video essays and anime videos have not been in my content diet as much. However, when I do watch that kind of content, there are a few people that I consistently enjoy.

One of those few is Super Eyepatch Wolf. Not only does he consistently deliver high quality videos, his video series “My Favorite Things” always highlights a range of obscure media. This brings me to the topic of today’s video, “Puparia,” a three-minute animation done by Japanese animator Shingo Tamagawa.

Shingo Tamagawa

Tamagawa himself has a very interesting story. After dropping out of graduate school, he rushed into the animation industry in Japan. Tamagawa knew create animation was what he wanted to do since he was a kid, and so decided that this was the best path towards that end. However, after being in the industry for five years, he began to realize that creating endlessly without much purpose would eventually make him hate drawing and animation entirely. Thus, for a year and a half he did nothing. No drawing, no animating. Then, after this Hiatus, he began working on “Puparia,” using Studio Sunrise’s office in exchange for helping them on a number of projects. Three years later, he released it on his YouTube channel, and it has since gained over 1.8 Million views.

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What is “Puparia?”

This is kind of a difficult question to answer, but one thing it is not is boring. Though the animation is only three minutes long, there is a lot going on that is worth talking about.

For starters, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Tamagawa made a point to hand draw the entire work, which definitely made producing it a lot harder, but ultimately gives it even more of the abstract feeling that it seems he was going for. This can be seen in a number of places throughout the work, whether it is the opening pan through a strange color pattern, or the infinite rooms that are colored by similarly off-putting color scheme and design. While it is pretty likely that something similar could have been produced through digital animation, the look and feel of cell-animation here is reminiscent of older works such as “Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind” and other early Ghibli works.

“Puparia” does not have any dialogue, at least not spoken, and the only incorporated audio element is a song composed by Steve Reich “MALLET QUARTET: 1 FAST.” Now, I am not particularly well educated when it comes to composition, but the title here seems pretty ironic as it relates to the music itself, because it is not really that fast. The music is actually fairly mid-tempo, and I think that also injects a bit of meaning into the work as well. Additionally, the music does not change much throughout its run time.

The characters of “Puparia” are probably the strangest element of the whole thing. Each scene of the animation, up until the very last one, serves as sort of Vignette, all with a common theme of sorts. The imagery of Pupa and Larvae is found in pretty much all of the scenes, from a girl sitting next to a strange animal in the forest, to a half-naked young man attempting to open a door, only to see a giant insect running towards him. This imagery appears to intensify throughout the work, as the final scene shows a person looking back on a large crowd of people, with the crowd looking back to him, almost asking for an answer to a larger question.

What Does It Mean?

That larger question is, well, complicated. That is to say that it feels as though a lot of what “Puparia” is trying to represent is a larger question of purpose, which ultimately ends up being a personal choice. People reach certain points in their life where they are forced to make decisions that will inevitably effect them for a long time, potentially forever. However, this does not just apply to individuals. Many countries and societies are at a point now where there are lot of important questions that need to be answered about how they want to orient themselves around certain issues.

It is hard not to look at this piece through the perspective of COVID, but even pre-pandemic these questions were being raised. Much like in “Puparia,” there comes a point where indecision will no longer be acceptable. People are looking for answers, and they will find them one way or another, but what answers they find and how they find them are vitally important for the future of our culture, society, and politics.


Had you seen “Puparia” before reading this? How do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friendos!

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