Puparia: A Three Minute Independent Production Work

Puparia Ending

Puparia is a three-minute short film created by Shingo Tamagawa and released in 2020. The film’s title, Puparia, refers to the hard outer shell that pupae form during metamorphosis, suggesting that it explores the themes of transformation, metamorphosis, and the nature of reality. It is a visually stunning and challenging film to interpret but may be rewarding for those who are willing to put in an effort.

What is it about?

Puparia, the human figure changing its appearance.
Image Courtesy of Shingo Tamagawa

The film opens with a shot of a lush green forest, but the image quickly begins to distort and transform.

  • We see a series of surreal and abstract images, including a giant egg, a pulsating heart, and a writhing mass of flesh and bone.
  • As the film progresses, we begin to see glimpses of human figures emerging from this primordial chaos.
  • These figures are constantly changing and evolving, their bodies and faces shifting in and out of focus.

The film ends with a shot of a single human figure standing in a field of white flowers. The figure is now fully formed, but its face is still obscured by a mask of light.

Analyzing the Art Style of Puparia

Puparia is a mix of traditional and digital animation, giving it an aesthetic hand-drawn feel. The filmmaker, Shingo Tamagawa, used colored pencils and digitally scanned each frame for compositing. This gives the film a soft, organic look, while still maintaining a sharp and detailed image.

Image Courtesy of Shingo Tamagawa

The character designs are simple, portrayed with large eyes, giving them a cartoonish look. However, the character designs are also drawn realistically, following the anatomy and movement.

The film’s backgrounds are equally impressive. Tamagawa uses a variety of techniques to create his backgrounds, including watercolor, gouache, and digital painting. The backgrounds are surreal and dreamlike.

Why did Shingo Tamagawa Create Puparia?

Tamagawa was frustrated with the anime industry’s focus on efficiency and profitability, hence, he decided to create a film that was purely artistic and personal, without any commercial considerations.

Image Courtesy of Shingo Tamagawa

He was interested in the idea of how things change and evolve over time, and Puparia is a film that explores the themes of transformation and metamorphosis visually and metaphorically. He intended to create a film that would leave viewers with a feeling of wonder and awe and challenge them to think about the world in a new way. Consider subscribing to our newsletter if you want to read about more such artistic anime.

In an interview, Tamagawa said that he wanted to make a film that would “create new things and generate new emotions that I haven’t felt before.” He also said that he wanted to make a film that would “make people think about the world differently.”


The human in its final form - Puparia ending
Image Courtesy of Shingo Tamagawa

This leaves us with a question: Is Puparia a film that can be enjoyed only on a purely aesthetic level or does it offer a deeper meaning on the human condition?

  • Some viewers have interpreted the film as a metaphor for the process of human development, from birth to death.
  • Others have seen it as a commentary on the nature of reality and the ever-changing world around us.

The film may be a challenging concept to grasp, but it is one that is worth contemplating. In terms of considering one of its themes to be the nature of reality, the distorted visual may suggest that the nature of reality is not fixed or stable but rather is constantly changing. Ultimately, the meaning of Puparia is up to the viewer’s interpretation.

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