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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Pumpkin Scissors: Season 1, Part 2
Pumpkin Scissors: Season 1, Part 2
FUNimation // Unrated // November 25, 2008
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 28, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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The Series:
Finally otaku can see the end of Pumpkin Scissors, a great series from Gonzo.  Originally licensed to the ADV, FUNimation acquired the rights last summer.  ADV, a company that is out of business for all practical purposes, was releasing this series in the standard format, spreading the 24 episodes over six individual DVD volumes.  Unfortunately, they never got around to putting out the last disc, leaving fans that supported the series from the beginning high and dry.  Now FUNimation has released the whole series in two sets of three discs each.   This is a great series and I'm glad to see it was finished off.  Though the otaku who collected the ADV releases will have to buy the last half of the series just to see the last few episodes, the show is so good that it's worth it.

Series background:

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, they organize a unit in the army, Section III, that is devoted to war relief.  Under funded and with almost no staff, Section III 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 III 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.  That is until he gets into combat.  Randel's unit, the 901-ATT, was the Anti-Tank Troup the result of a scientific experiment that was intended to create an infantryman who could take out a tank single-handedly.  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.

This set:

While the first set contained mainly one and two episode stories, this second half of the series delves a little more deeply into the problems that the Empire is having and looks at the larger picture including Section III's place in the whole mechanism of the Army.  There are basically two multi-part stories told in these last 12 episodes and they're much more interesting and exciting than the first half, which is saying a lot.

In the first story arc Section III is ordered to clear out the city's sewer system.  It's filled with homeless people and a community farm has been created to house and give the people work.  Many of the squatters are happy to relocate to the farm where they'll have food, shelter, and be able to live out in the open once again, but some of them are stubborn.  Lt. Malvin soon discovers that a crew of men employed by a powerful local lord are pushing drugs on the homeless and the addicts don't want to leave their supply.  When push comes to shove the drug dealers launch an attack on Section III using advanced weapons.  In addition the lord sends down his ace:  Hans, a HTT or High Temperature Trouper.  He's the last of the flame-thrower corps who were created by the same program that made Randel.

The second story shows just how much tension there is between the populace and the ruling classes.  While Section III serves dinner to the homeless, Alice attends a nearby ball with her sisters and other nobles.  Some of the homeless have come across some documents that prove the noble who is hosting the ball has been embezzling money that was meant to go to the war relief effort.  They gather together a rag-tag group armed with farming tools and storm the palace where the ball is being held with the intent of killing everyone who is there.

When the Army hears about this, they decide to blockade the area and let the masses slaughter some of the nobles.  This will make it easy for them to get a larger budget, and the nobles are a small price to pay for more power.  With only Section III in the area, it's up to them to prevent a blood bath.

This second half focuses less on Randal kicking ass and more on the forces that created him and the affect his war-time experiences have had on his life.   This is a very interesting and complex world, and these episodes that concentrate on how things work and the plots and schemes of those in power really flesh out the society.  It also illustrates the motivations of the main characters which makes them really come to life.

Of course there's still a lot of action and excitement in this second part.  The battle between Alice and the noble's guard in the final episodes was very thrilling, and all of the conflicts involving the HTT were great.   The series just does a wonderful job of balancing the dynamic fight sequences with some well written drama, and that's what makes this an excellent series.

The DVD:

The 12 episodes that represent the second 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 image.


The extras were pretty meager... only a clean opening and closing.

Final Thoughts:

Gonzo has created another great show.  Pumpkin Scissors is a program 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 comes highly recommended.

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