Pumpkin Scissors

Title:Pumpkin Scissors
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - GONZO
R1 License - FUNimation
Three years have passed since the unstable peace agreement with the Frost Republic went in effect. While the Empire is still suffering from the ravages and destruction of the long war, the government can now start to focus on the recovery of the country and its economy. As part of its efforts, the Imperial Army Section III, Pumpkin Scissors, has been formed to provide war relief as well as investigate and address citizen complaints regarding any abuses involving renegade military units or army excesses. While some might ridicule the unit as being just another 'Do Nothing Excuse Section', the 2nd Lieutenant Alice Malvin takes her job very seriously (perhaps too seriously) and together with her subordinates, proves willing to charge into any situation, no matter how dangerous!

The difficulties of her unit's first assignment force her to recruit and depend on the assistance of a strange solitary giant of an ex-soldier. Armed only with an old iron lantern and a single shot anti-tank pistol, Corporeal Oland more than proves his worth by single-handedly defeating an armored tank. The quiet giant is an experienced veteran of the long war, having served in an elite Anti-tank unit (901 ATT -- Anti Tank Troop, aka: "Invisible 9") whose soldiers were commonly called the 'Gespenst Jagers' (Ghost Hunters.)

[TV series, 2006-2007, 24 episodes, 25 min; Animation by AIC & GONZO.
On July 4th ’08, it was announced that R1 License for this title has been transferred from ADV to FUNimation. Del Rey). ]

1:03min English Language Trailer - ANN Video
Episode Details 
01, 02
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 8 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:1460#1552]
As a whole, Pumpkin Scissors was a decent series that I did want to like. The premise of a war-torn post-World War I country attempting to move on and the aftermath of said war brought up some interesting themes to explore such as questionable moral actions from the military, political corruption, soldiers going rogue and poverty. These subjects are brought to light and tackled by the actions and motivations of those among the Pumpkin Scissors group and they do make for a likeable bunch from the idealistic and strong-willed second lieutenant Alice to flirtatious warrant officer Oreldo to the calm, reserved demeanor of captain Hunks. There is much focus put on Alice and Oland with their thoughts and motivations with their involvement in the Pumpkin Scissors and dealing with their own personal issues while the rest of the cast among the group seem to be around just to round out the members of the squad, even when there are episodes devoted to focusing on Lili, Martis and Oreldo. The series does sport some good looking scenery and character designs that provide a good amount of color and detail, though animation isn't always the best throughout the show (particularly in action scenes).

The biggest weakness with Pumpkin Scissors is the fact that it doesn't really dig into its major elements. Not much light is shed on Oland's past nor the motives of the mysterious group interested in details on the Invisible Nine that Alice's fiancee appeared to have involvement with. There is enough mention on the 13 Royal Families with influence in Royal Empire yet beyond getting enough sense of Alice's family, we don't learn anything about the other twelve. And in the end, the series fails to provide a proper resolution to all these dangling plot elements that were either left open or unexplored.

Pumpkin Scissors was a mixed bag for me. The premise was something different for me to look into which did feature characters you could care for and focusing on their war relief efforts to help the populace and curb military corruption. However, leaving some major plot elements dangling by the end of the series does kill quite a bit of the show's quality. It was a decent watch yet with the show being another example of a manga series adaptation lacking a proper ending and leaving things hanging just as things with the plot are about to pick up, this wouldn't be a title I would want to add to my collection.

Last updated Friday, April 15 2011. Created Friday, April 15 2011.
Rent Marcus [series:1460#679]
Another member of the Perfect Blue and Plastic Little school of "two random English words that have no relation to the series" anime titles!

With production by GONZO, I was expecting/fearing Pumpkin Scissors would be a predicable CGI action series. Instead, six episodes in, the anime it most reminds me of is Patlabor. The series so far has been more a mix of offbeat comedy and drama, with the focus more on character than action. Section III is regarded by the rest of the military as a bit of a joke; apart from Alice - the dedicated, idealistic lead - it is made up of the sort of misfits and oddballs who wouldn't be out of place in the SV2. And the storylines have more to do with abandonded babies and misbehaving dogs than military destruction. There has some action, and with one character a former member of a secret anti-tank division, this angle may be developed as the series progresses.

At this stage it's hard to know in which direction the series will go, but to date it's been entertaining, so I'll give it a "Rent" at this point.

Last updated Friday, April 27 2007. Created Friday, April 27 2007.
Rent 9 9 9 8 7 7 AstroNerdBoy [series:1460#436]

Being a Gonzo title, I figured I'd give this a look-see because visually, it was sure to be excellent (and it was). Of course the story would be another matter, but having a title like "Pumpkin Scissors" made me decide to go ahead and watch.

The title is based on an ongoing manga, so I was prepared for unresolved story threads. Good thing too because there are a lot of unresolved items. We don't know why the war was suddenly stopped. We don't know really know the power behind different people getting things like automatic rifles, powerful tanks, etc. (though there is a chief suspect). We don't know a whole lot about Silver Wheel or their purpose. We don't know much about the 13 Families of which Alice is a part. We don't know much behind the people that created the 901 ATT unit or their continued interest in Orand (beyond the normal, "I wonder how he is dealing with 'X' or 'Y' or 'Z'"). And there's more we don't know.

So, while these various story threads are introduced, the series is less serial and more multi-part episodic. Early on, the episodes are single about their current war-relief mission but as time goes on, we get some multi-part episodes and the final story is a way too long arc which covers six episodes (I suspect done because the writers couldn't effectively get into the next story with the episodes they had). Most of these stories are interesting enough, but without a sequel on the horizon (as of this writing), certain threads introduced and then not touched in the next story (or stories) is a bit frustrating.

I liked the hint of romance between Alice and Oland. I sorta doubt that in the manga or any sequel anime titles that this will go much further, but it would be nice to see I think.

Bottom line: This anime has a good concept and starts a lot of interesting story threads that end up never being progressed much and none which get resolved. The stories are interesting enough, but short of knowing a sequel series is on the way to progress these stories, there's just not enough here for me to really want to re-watch. As such, I'll give this a Rent.

Last updated Wednesday, June 06 2007. Created Monday, October 16 2006.

Watch Stretch [series:1460#628]
(All episodes watched):

This series got a good deal of publicity, even before it was licensed--due to it's unusual premise, I guess. Unfortunately, it strikes me as a frustratingly sloppy and weakly written show. Some shows skillfully bounce back and forth between comedy and drama, and are convincing in both modes--Bleach, for example. In the case of Pumpkin Scissors, I'm left wondering whether this is supposed to be one or the other. Some episodes seem like little more than filler (and end abruptly in a jarring manner), but sometimes the plot seems to be getting back on track as it returns to male main character Oland's origins, which I thought were the most interesting aspect of the story anyway. But I was aggravated by how little had been revealed about Oland, even as the series neared it's end. He seems a gentle giant at first, but clearly has a dark past, judging from what happens when he's provoked. He was once one of the "Gespenst Jagers" (Ghost Hunters), and early on I almost wondered if he might be a ghost himself! Oland served with this elite anti-tank unit, the very existence of which is kept a closely guarded secret. In all likelihood, this is because he's the result of some sort of bizarre scientific experimentation meant to create a super-soldier; a man who won't be afflicted by "tank fright" like ordinary infantrymen. But that's about all we're told about him; at the end, I was left wondering why he had been included in the story at all, since he only seems to divert attention from the true main character, Alice--very frustrating! The pressure the idealistic Alice (a member of the nobility) is under to marry and become one of the idle rich is another ongoing thread. But I never found her to be anywhere near as interesting as Oland. Halfway through the series I still couldn't tell whether this was a winner or not. The thread involving the flamethrower-armed guy seemed pretty weak. I'm exasperated by the way in which I'm apparently supposed to be excited by action scenes which are absurd and predictable; in fact, I sense little danger at all. Towards the end, the standoff at a high-society ball that is crashed by angry peasants is pathetic--people behave in ridiculous manners, things that could never happen do, and it drags on far too long. Everything falls flat, and I just wanted the episodes to hurry up and be over. Pumpkin Scissors was clearly going to need an awesome ending to be anything more than a "Watch". The ending left me scratching my head; is there already a second season of this series in the works, I wondered, since this episode feels so incomplete and unsatisfying? Is this really the final episode? What was the deal with Alice's fiancee--I had a feeling he couldn't be trusted, but does he get off scot-free? And what about some sort of startling revelation about the Gespenst Jaegers? Far from it, Oland doesn't even play a major part in the conclusion! Maybe I'm in a bad mood regarding this show due to the poor conclusion, but I almost feel as if I've been cheated out of a good deal of my precious anime watching time. Why was this show even made in the first place? Didn't anybody realise how badly lacking a decent conclusion it was?

P.S: On a sidenote, military otaku may recognize the German Schwimmwagen amphibious jeep--truth is often stranger than fiction when designing vehicles for anime! Perhaps even more odd is the fact that a Schwimmwagen also turns up in the uber kawaii Kokoro Toshokan!

Last updated Tuesday, March 11 2008. Created Sunday, October 15 2006.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1460#967]
What a very strange name for an anime series!! But think that I am going to like this one. Both the characters and story are interesting - in the first episode at least. The Eclipse fansub team have released the first episode of this post-war epic adventure story.

I have posted a short summary and some images of the first episode.

Last updated Thursday, October 05 2006. Created Thursday, October 05 2006.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Web Site http://rikujyo3ka.com/
Wikipedia entry for the German WW2 amphibious jeep http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwimmwagen
In episode 2, Lt Alice Malvin and her team use a strange amphibious jeep on their travels.
Wikipedia - Pumpkin Scissors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin_Scissors
Detailed summary of the anime series

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