Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: November 25, 2008
Times of war and times of peace and everything in-between.
It’s surprising how a person might appear as one thing but is quite the opposite once you get to know them. Those who you thought were tough are really sensitive on the inside and those you thought were weak are the strongest people you will ever meet. A man you thought could withstand beatings, bullet wounds or stabbings one minute becomes the most vulnerable member of your group. This is what 2nd Lieutenant Alice Malvin discovers about her hulking Corporal Randel Oland in Part 02 of the Pumpkin Scissors box set.
Having joined Section Three (otherwise known as the Pumpkin Scissor) to undo the violence he has caused during the Great War, Corporal Oland found himself fighting once again … only this time he’s fighting under a different banner whose intentions are to relieve the war’s devastating consequences. Something deep inside him, however, has had enough with killing and little by little this giant fights out of his loyalty to his new comrades as well as the brave and lovely Alice.
The first episode also introduces another theme that will make up the final episodes of the series and that is the role of the nobles during the post-war effects. We meet a young Rodelian Princess who runs from her charge in search of a hot dog stand only to find Warrant Officer Martis and a number of disillusioned refugees. Martis comes to her aid but the little Princess sees how the war has affected the things she has come to like and the hatred the common folk have for the families of nobility.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Pumpkin Scissors unit attempts to clear the sewers from refugees in order to put them back to work on the surface for a better life that awaits them above ground. However, the refugees have found more than just refuge in the dank sewers but also drugs to keep them pacified. Unfortunately, the man supplying illegal narcotics is connected to the same military. On top of that, this mystery man has a mercenary working for him that was part of a declassified flamethrower unit. Much like Oland, the mercenary is plagued by his own demons that cause him to unleash violent nature.
While the first box set contained a two-part story arc, this story is told through four episodes that play a big part in the conclusion of the series as well as invokes a major change in Corporal Oland. It also introduces a new enemy, one who appears wearing a metal mask whose intentions don’t become clear even in the end of the series when he shows up again. As the Pumpkin Scissors unit confronts the flamethrower mercenary, it is Corporal Oland who confronts him and sees a similarity between the two. Unable to take him down, Oland asks Lieutenant Malvin for permission to confront the mercenary only for the confrontation to end in tragedy.
Alice also comes to realize that Section One may be a part of the same military force as Section Three but they are definitely not on the same page. In fact, it seems that Section One is opposed to undoing the work the Pumpkin Scissors unit is attempting to accomplish. In one of the more exciting moments of the story arc, it is Alice alone who takes on Section One’s elite Claymore division with a double-edged bladed weapon. It’s definitely one of the best fights in the final 12 episodes aside from the final battle towards the end.
Sensing the growing threat and tension caused by the events that took place in the sewers, it is the cute-as-a-button Sergeant Major Lili Stecchin who tries to cheer up the bummed out Corporal in a number of hilarious ways that include Stecchin embarrassing herself with a song she composed as well as a cafeteria brawl where she unleashes a “Pumpkin Scissors Attack” on a few rude Section One jerks. Meanwhile, the final six episodes touches on Alice Malvin’s other life … one of her status as the head of her noble household. Despite her protests, Alice’s two sisters fit her in the finest dress for a ball in a mansion while the rest of her unit is stuck on soup kitchen duty. It becomes clear to everyone at the ball that Alice’s mind is not on the ball but rather her duties as Lieutenant as well as her thoughts on Corporal Oland.
In the forest below, however, a number of refugees and other civilians that feel that the nobles have no right to continue living their extravagant life arm themselves to crash the party and kill as many nobles as possible. When they do manage to break their way into the mansion, however, it is Alice who steps up to meet the angry mob who is also there to confront a member of a royal line that has been diverting funds for his own personal use. To show the mob that she means to bring about justice no matter who commits the crime, Alice challenges the royal to a duel that makes up the second coolest battle in the final chapters of the series.
While it’s not as action-packed as the first part, the second part of the series isn’t without its interesting and utterly absorbing moments that make this a great anime experience well worth investing your time and money. In fact, I’ll even go as far as saying that it’s one of the best action series to come along in a long time. I agree with our Editor-in-Chief who said that the series also has a lot of heart and that the characters are fleshed out to the point that you will care about them. What I didn’t care for, however, is the ending that brings up a mystery that introduced early in the series and never really brought to a satisfying conclusion in the end.
You will love Pumpkin Scissors, that much I can tell you right now if you never picked up the manga or watched an episode from the show. It’s one of those action anime series that is hard to keep from watching just one episode. This is one you will certainly enjoy from start to finish. Trust me, you will be kicking yourself for missing this one.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Unlike the first 12 episodes, Part 02 of Pumpkin Scissors tells a more structured and intriguing (albeit less action-filled) story arcs that reaches a decent but not completely satisfying conclusion. Still, there are a number of fun moments as well that make this such a fun and enjoyable series.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
This is the closes to a true high-def picture you’ll find on a regular DVD and that’s a very good thing. The series sports some really eye-pleasing animation.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The English dub isn’t bad at all and does a great job of mirroring the excellent Japanese voice acting. The score is as exciting as the episodes and the closing theme is actually very cute.
Trailers and a clean opening and closing theme music are what you can come to expect from the extras. The star of the show is the episodes.
As far as the final 12 episodes that make up Part 02 of Pumpkin Scissors are concerned, they link together the first half’s events to paint an overall exciting picture with a lot to see and – most definitely – a lot to love. The series as a whole is really one of the most enjoyable times you will certainly appreciate for a long time to come, anime fans.