There are certain anime creators and groups that you can be certain
will put out a solid product. Clamp is one, I'll sit through anything
that collective puts out, and another is Gonzo. I've been a fan of
theirs since I first saw Blue Submarine #6 when it first arrived
on DVD years ago. (Has it really been that long?) Funimation
has recently released another Gonzo series (original put out by ADV) in
a two part season set and I had to take a look. As I expected, Pumpkin
Scissors Set 1 is another good show that is a lot of fun watch.
In an alternate reality where technology hasn't advanced farther than
Earth circa WWI, a long war between to big powers finally comes to an end.
There wasn't a winner really, just an agreement to stop the fighting.
Three years later, conditions are still very bad. Food is scarce,
the cities have only been partially rebuilt, and most people are barely
able to eek out a living. The government is generally corrupt, but
to create the appearance that they're doing something to help the masses
the create a unit in the army, Section Three, that is devote to war relief.
Under funded and with almost no staff, Section Three is where a young idealistic
noble, Lieutenant Alice Malvin, finds herself. Alice believes in
the work that they are doing and feels it's the government's duty to mitigate
some of the pain that they have caused their own citizens. She's
enthusiastic about her work and even though Section Three isn't supposed
to accomplish anything, their just a PR ruse after all, Alice is determined
to make a difference.
In the first episode Alice and the rest of Section Three run into an
ex-army grunt named Corporal Randel Oland from the 901-ATT. His heavily
scarred face is testament to the fact that he saw a lot of action during
the war, and his seven foot height makes him even more intimidating.
Though he looks like he could rip off your arm and beat you to death with
it, Randel has a gentle demeanor and kind soul.
When Section Three runs across a rouge military unit with a tank who
have been terrorizing the area and acting as bandits, Randel offers to
throw in with Alice and her team. The tank is the pinnacle of ground
warfare in this world, and though they are rare, they are practically unstoppable,
except to Randel. The 901 was the Anti-Tank Troup, the result of
a scientific experiment that was intended to create an infantryman who
could take out a tank alone. When he opens the blue-lighted lantern
on his belt, Randel goes into a trance. He doesn't feel fear, he
doesn't feel pain, or notice personal injury. He turns into an emotionless
tank-killing machine and though he often gets wounded, his opponents always
fare much worse.
I like shows with quite guys who turn out to be kick-ass fighters.
I'm a sucker for the Bourne movies, and this series had me hooked from
early on. It's hard not to cheer inside when Randel opens the latch
on his lantern and prepares to destroy everything in his path.
The thing that makes this such a good series though it that it's more
than just an action show. There's a lot of mystery about Randel's
past, and even more intriguing is that someone from the government is keeping
tabs on him. Just who and why isn't revealed in this first half,
and that makes me want to grab the second half of this show even more.
While Randel's past is a mystery, the show does a good job at fleshing
out the rest of the cast, having flashback episodes that show the origin
of Section Three (including how they got the nickname Pumpkin Scissors
which is pretty stupid) as well as examining Alice's past and the other
members of the unit.
While there is a bit of moralizing that gets old after a while, this
is a show that manages to balance action and adventure with political intrigue
and a larger sprawling plot. Interesting, fun, and intriguing, it's
another great show from Gonzo.
The 12 episodes that represent the first half of this series come on
two DVDs that are each stored in a thinpak case. The two cases in
turn are housed in an illustrated slipcase.
This show offers the choice of either the original Japanese audio in
stereo or an English dub in DD 5.1. I hate to choose between the
original language and a surround mix, but what ya gonna do? The 5.1
really came to life during the battle sequences but the rest of the time
there wasn't a lot of use made of the soundstage. The English actors
did a good job, and those people who like dubs will doubtlessly enjoy this
one. The Japanese track was fine also, with the audio action anchored
on the screen.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image looked very good. I noticed
a little aliasing in a couple of spots, but aside from that the picture
looked very good. The colors were nice and the lines were tight.
There's really nothing worth complaining about with the transfer or the
The extras were pretty meager... only a clean opening and closing.
Gonzo has created another great show. Pumpkin Scissors
is a show that really delivers; great characters, exciting action, and
some mysterious plots that keep viewers interested. This is one of
those shows that you pop in and before you know it you've watched the whole
set. A fun show that come highly recommended.