Review by shi-neko
-Series, 24 episodes
Licensed by ADV, later transferred over to Funimation.
Pumpkin Scissors begins in the Royal Empire, a country that has endured a long war with the Republic of Frost, but has just declared a ceasefire. This leaves the country, torn by war, to try and piece itself back together. The story centers around a military group, the Imperial Army State Section III, also known as Pumpkin Scissors. Their directive is war relief, and they face many challenges in their seemingly enormous task.
Randel Oland, the story’s protagonist, is a former member of the platoon 901-ATT, where the ATT stands for Anti-Tank Trooper. Through some kind of psychological conditioning when he was being trained, whenever he turns on the blue steel lantern he always carries at his waist, he becomes a fearless and powerful foot soldier that can overcome a tank singlehandedly, with no regards to his life. Having seen many monstrosities over the course of the war, he joins the members of Section III, inspired by their leader, Alice L Malvin, to help the citizens of the Empire as best as he can. The mystery of his origins is a continuing question throughout the story.
While this series seems to be relatively unknown, the concept and the execution are both excellent. The characters are all well fleshed out, and are engaging. I was hooked from the first episode, and enjoyed the whole series. What I liked most about the general plot was that it dealt with the ramifications of war, instead of the war itself, which is an important aspect in our modern wars that people often forget. However, though I love Pumpkin Scissors a lot (one of my all-time favorites, easily), it is definitely not a perfect anime.
The pacing of the story is good, not great. The anime can sometimes take on an episodic monster-a-day nature, seemingly without a particular end in mind. While the characters do grow during the course of the series, the underlying plot does not become obvious until at least halfway through, and the series ends with a lot of questions. I think that this is something that a second season could easily solve, and suspect the manga goes into much more depth than the anime. Judging from how much the anime engaged me, the manga must be excellent (currently being released by Del Rey).
I’d recommend this series to anyone who enjoys action and war related stories, with the warning that the ending is not very satisfactory. I’m currently going through my second watch of the series, which has not only highlighted it’s flaws, but also its redeeming aspects. I really hope that Pumpkin Scissors will get a second season in the future, because this story definitely deserves it.