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Pumpkin Scissors, Vol. 2 - The Enemy Within

ADV Films // PG // December 11, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted January 1, 2008 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

If you've been around anime for a while you've undoubtedly seen some shows come along with very peculiar names. Whether it's a matter of translation or simply a way to draw attention to themselves the fact remains that when it comes to anime there are some weird titles. The latest example of that is Pumpkin Scissors. Sure the name is kind of strange but like the old saying goes you can't just a book (er...anime) but its cover (um...title).

As it turns out Pumpkin Scissors is actually the name of a squadron of characters in Gonzo's latest effort. Created by Ryoutarou Iwanaga back in 2002, Pumpkin Scissors began airing in Japan last year and wrapped up in March with 24 episodes under its belt. After sitting down with the first volume I have to say that this looks like one of ADV's most promising new series. There is a strong Fullmetal Alchemist-like atmosphere and each character appears to have enough depth to keep you tuned in to find out what's going on.

The show begins three years in the past as a lengthy and bloody war ends abruptly with a cease fire agreement. What transpires after that is a period of adjustment as the ravages of war begin to surface all around the continent. Ex-soldiers have become bandits that prey on the weak, commoners everywhere are starving and living in squalor, and nobles have been abusing their influence and financial successes. In these dark times the term "war relief" is something of a misnomer but it's that ideal that the Pumpkin Scissors brigade is aspiring to obtain. Lead by Lieutenant Alice Malvin, Pumpkin Scissors main duty is to travel around and restore order in whatever way they can.

In the first volume we were introduced to Malvin and her troupe of militant helpers who all have the good of the people in their hearts. At first it appeared as though the Scissors team didn't have a chance of making any kind of impact but once they met a bloke named Corporal Randel Oland their fortunes changed. As it turned out Randel was part of an elite group known as 901-ATT who use a soul furnace of sorts to put themselves in harms way without fear. Randel single handedly took down some tanks in the first volume though Alice helped in her own way. Overall the introductory outing had a lot going for it and with a finely developed world and characters I was eagerly anticipating the follow up release.

Pumpkin Scissors volume two brings four more episodes to the table and I must say they really flesh out the background of the series. During the first installment we got a glimpse at the divide between nobles and commoners and saw what kind of power money and prominence could yield. Many of these episodes explore that and as each episode presents a new villain to despise there is a message behind it all. For instance in the first episode Oland is resting up in a hospital and he is bunked so to speak with a guy who just lost his job after falling ill. Learning about his plight drew me into the world of Pumpkin Scissors and reaffirmed my belief that this is a well-thought out show. While we explore that dynamic the rest of Section 3 looks into Oland's past and try to figure out exactly what kind of threat the man poses.

In the second episode Oland tentatively becomes a father when he and Alice spend some time searching for the mother of an abandoned baby. Considering Oland is such a tragic and quiet figure it's amusing watching him handle the kid and there are some funny bits in between. Alice also gets some more time in the spotlight on this volume during an awkward episode where she meets her fiancé. Did you forget that Alice was a noble? It would seem that even nobles have it hard some times and I'm sure if you have already discovered how independent Alice is as a character you can probably figure out how she accepts the fiancé thing. The final episode closes out the second installment with a fine group adventure that takes place in the middle of a blizzard.

The overall story of Pumpkin Scissors seemed to be put on a backburner for this installment as the four episodes focused strongly on character development. Each member of the Pumpkin Scissors brigade got their time to shine though Oland and Alice are easily the main attractions. This volume was very good and solidified my positive impression of the show. If you appreciate military anime and shows with a slight science fiction edge then Pumpkin Scissors is definitely one to check out.

The DVD:


Pumpkin Scissors wrapped up its broadcast earlier this year and with product by Gonzo you should know going in that the series looks good. The anamorphic widescreen picture captures the detailed world and characters perfectly and the transfer for this first volume is definitely a cut above. Colors appear vibrant and natural with some earthy tones that really reflect upon the ravages of war. Grain is present but it's kept minimal enough so that it never becomes too distracting and flaws such as aliasing and compression are nonexistent. Overall this is a great looking show and ADV did a wonderful job with the transfer.


Like most shows now-a-days Pumpkin Scissors comes with the original Japanese 2.0 stereo track and a beefed up 5.1 English one. The dubbing quality for both is very good though I found the Japanese track felt slightly more natural when all was said and done. Technically speaking both tracks offer crystal clear dialogue, sharp sound effects, and a nicely presented soundtrack. The Japanese selection felt a little flatter than the English one thanks to the 2.0 limitations though the 5.1 English didn't really raise the bar of expectation. Some of the sound effects didn't have the impact that they should have and directionality was kept at a minimum.


Clean animations come back as Pumpkin Scissors' only bonus feature. It's kind of disappointing but about what we expected after the first volume.

Final Thoughts:

After the first volume of Pumpkin Scissors I was highly intrigued by the world and characters. There were many fun elements at play that made each episode something special. The trend continues with the second installment though I do have to say that the overall story takes a backseat to character development and a much grander look at the world in which they live. It's all fascinating and though some moments here are somewhat cliché by standards the four episodes were very entertaining. Highly Recommended.

Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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