[taken from the back of the series complete box set]
In the wake of the Great War, Lieutenant Alice Malvin assumes command of the Imperial Army's Intelligence Section III - a ragtag bunch of pencil-pushers used to spread military propaganda. But Malvin, an idealistic soldier who refuses to rest while her people suffer, yearns to cut through the thick skin of deception perpetrated by power-crazed nobles. When her investigation reveals a clandestine super-soldier program known as The Invisible Nine, she finds herself trapped in a whirlwind of deadly secrets.
The closer Malvin gets to exposing government corruption, the less likely her beloved IS3 is to survive. With the fate of the Empire hanging in the balance, Malvin turns to an unlikely ally - Randel Oland, a hulking veteran who may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of The Invisible Nine. In a world where nobility and power make the rules, the truth can get an honest soldier killed.
Good day, folks, I'm busting the rust off of the ol' -err- keyboard. . .to bring you a Leap Years' day review of Pumpkin Scissors, which, while not a bad show, doesn't quite live up to the promise of that nice & tidy sounding synopsis. Without further ado, on to the review.
Firstly, we will touch on the story and characters, which are, unfortunately, a mixed bunch. Storywise, there is so much interesting potential which is never fully explored, what with civil unrest, graft, corruption, conspiricies and all sorts of other entertaining evil to be smote. That isn't to say there isn't any smiting, but the sheer amount of loose ends remaining by the end of the 24 episodes leave me wondering if another season was planned or if they just expected me to read the manga to have any idea what was going on(I really don't have the time for that).
Characters, too, are hit or miss; On the one hand we have Corporal Randel Oland, a massive, indestructible brute who would be right at home amongst a chapter of space marines, who doggedly soldiers on through withering fire that would(and often does) shred a lesser man. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have the heroine, Lt Alice Malvin, who is such an obnoxious, naive, pacifistic moppet that it's almost difficult to root for the good guys, since her idealistic prattle is only shut up once enough people have been slaughtered for her to give the go ahead to the battle-hardened giant (and then more often then not she interrupts him mid-fight, to the detriment of everyone's health). The other characters run the gamut, from the hare-brained Sergeant Major (who for some bizzare reason seems to be a preteen girl who only does paperwork and feed the giant, skull gnawing messenger dog), to slightly the slightly more interesting Warrant Officers, Oreldo and Martis (a sleazy man-whore and a corruption hunting bookworm, respectively). Other than that, things are pretty average, aside from Lt Malvin's fiance, who I swear is actually Milliardo Peacecraft from Gundam Wing, and the Captain in charge of Section III, an older guy who knows entirely too much about everything, but never shares vital information when it would be most useful (though he is somewhat reliable about having several contingency plans in place based on his suspect sources of information). Oh, yeah, the messenger dog, Mercury, likes to bite people on the head and hang on like a pit-bull, so he's pretty much made of epic win.
Next, I will go over the animation quality; On the one hand, the character designs are nice and distinct, but on the other, any attempts to integrate CGI fall flat. Hard. The fights, while not as frequent as I would personally like, are not too flashy, though Oland's Berserk-like tenacity lends an interesting element, too. Unfortunately, the animation quality isn't as consistent as it ought to be - I'm sure this isn't the first time I've hit a Gonzo production for this in the past few years, so maybe this is the new standard for them. Or maybe that's just my shot-to-hell memory at work. Whichever.
In terms of music I found myself baited by the OP "Aoki Flamme," which I like well enough for it to have ended up in the top 25 most played songs on my Ipod, and then the switch kicked in with the ED "Mercury Go," which is such a gratingly happy mess that it has no right to exist in this universe, or any other. The background music in general was solidly above average, never boring me to death or overpowering the scene. I could've sworn there were a couple good tracks, but on my 3rd time through the series I really only noticed the music during the fight scenes as having been all that memorable, which, combined with Cpl Oland's zombie-like performance in combat made for a few gleefully enjoyable battles. Voice acting in both the original japanese and in the english dub was adequate, but noone really stood out from amongst thier peers.
On a random note, the term "Gespenst Jager" is used in the OP and a few times over the course of the series, and, although it isn't explained in the show, what limited research I've managed says it translates as "Ghost Hunter" or some such, though almost anyone who drinks could've translated "Jager" without help.
In closing, what we have here is a series that shows promise, and has some entertaining combat with a hint of supernatural thrown in for good measure (unless the blue lanterns are explained another way in the manga, in which case ignore my ramblings); sadly, however, the series comes off as incomplete, which probably could've been fixed with another couple of episodes (and a bit more of an animation budget wouldn't have hurt, either) and Lt Malvin being hit by a meteor within the first 2 episodes. I know I'm not exactly an unbiased person, but I loath the "Vash-type" pacifist who will whine endlessly about all the evils in the world and not lift a finger to help someone until it is not only too late but thier corpses have started to cool. Ehem, [/soapbox].
Not a bad show, but it could've been much better. Add a star if Relena from Gundam Wing is one of your rolemodels. Also, shoo. — Samuel Arbogast
Recommended Audience: Due to some violence & bloodspray in the various battles (a dude is fighting a tank on foot with a huge pistol, what else did you expect?), I'm gonna say 13+ on this one.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD from FUNimation
Review Status: Full (24/24)
Pumpkin Scissors © 2006 Ryotaro Iwanaga / Kodansha / Izumi Project
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