Pumpkin Scissors – 1 – Faith in humanity after all

I’m getting worried about the fall anime season; there is too much to watch. Putting aside the immediate favourites like Death Note and Black Lagoon (these two are unmissable in my eyes) the likes of Pumpkin Scissors and D.Gray-man have proved just as fun and action packed, so where does one (desperately trying to be a ‘casual’) anime fan draw the line? Because at this rate I’ll be signing pink papers down at the Akihabara mental asylum by the end of the month!
Paranoid rambling aside, Pumpkin Scissors cut an impressive debut. Set a few short years after a hard fought and debilitating war, civilisation is left in ruin. Law and order is spread thinly, and vicious soldiers turned sadistic bandits roam the land, exploiting the weak without a care in the world. Pumpkin Scissors follows the people willing to stand up and defend what good is left in their world.
Although I’m somewhat at odds with cliche teenage pretty boys and girls posing as our heroes, Pumpkin Scissors is evocatively set within a post-WW European landscape; crumbled buildings, muddy grass and depressed villagers fill the screen with their dank green hue. Running with this realistic tone, the brief skirmishes between soldiers and bandits are notable for their distinctly painful and violent aethetic.
Interactions between the characters are as interesting and natural as you would expect, there are no laugh out loud jokes but man mountain Randel Orlando has a face covered with scars and a chilling, excited look in his eyes when its time to take down a 3-manned tank; he is a bad ass. I’m interested to see how the budding relationship between he and the idealistic female lead (nick named Pumpkin Scissors no doubt due to her cute appearance) develops and whether they survive the mass of human darkness drowning them.

5 replies on “Pumpkin Scissors – 1 – Faith in humanity after all”

Is it wrong for me to wonder exactly where the pumpkin or scissors comes into this title? I refuse to watch until I see proof that either of these (or preferably both combined) are integral to the show somehow.

Err… correction, Pumpkin Scissors is the name of the war relief squad Alice is heading, she herself does not bear any nickname lick this.
And the background of the unit name should be explained within the next 1-2 episodes.

Cheers for that correction Mentar.
"Pumpkin Scissors" is a pretty cool title, very memorable and odd. It suits the female lead quite well if you take "pumpkin" as a cutesy pet name and "scissors" as a sharp, cutting and possibly dangerous device.

Overall I really enjoyed the opening episode with the grim background and what I’m guessing is an alternate retelling of 1920s-1940s Europe. In some ways it reminds me of Last Exile, especially Alice who’s not unlike the headstrong Lavie. The burnt-out Orldando is probably my favourite character though – clearly a man with an interesting history and at odds with himself.
My only criticism is the ‘bright and breezy’ aspect that comes through with the dog and particularly the end credits theme, which seems a bit out of place compared with the gritty realism of the story itself. No doubt it’ll take a couple of episodes to settle into the right mood andatmosphere.
One thing’s for sure though – after the slim pickings of last season’s shows, there is definitely A LOT of good stuff to choose from this time around!

I’m not really a fan of this one – Pumpkin Scissors really seems to try too hard to lay the "miliitary icing" on the cake. Not only that, but the episodes are far too predictable and follow the set-piece format favored by the more overly simplistic series that I’m trying to get away from. And the idealism…oh god…that’s one aspect of Japanese culture that I try to avoid as much as possible. I like the whole idea that "we can make the world a better place if we try," but let’s be honest: after decades of anime preaching this same message over and over, what do we have to show for it? I know this might be typical "warmonger American" of me to say this, but I prefer the gritty realism of a work like Black Hawk Down, which hits the nail on head for war motivation, or the sweeping epic nature of a work like Gundam (had to throw in an anime that does it well).
So I’d throw Pumpkin Scissors in the "saw it too many times last century" bin and move on to something fresh.

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