DVD Review: Pumpkin Scissors – The Complete Series

pumpkin_scissors_screenshot4Pumpkin Scissors may seem like a strange title for an army regiment, let alone an anime, but what exactly did we think of MVM’s UK release of the complete series? Find out in our DVD Review of Pumpkin Scissors – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

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 Orland, 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.

Our View:

The anime Pumpkin Scissors follows the story of the Imperial Army’s Intelligence Division Section III, which also goes by the name of Pumpkin Scissors, as they embark on daily activities to provide war relief to the community and their country; however during which they discover that things aren’t always as they seem, especially when it comes down to Corporal Randel Oland and his mysterious 901-Anti Tank Troop.

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To start off with Pumpkin Scissors is a unique series mainly because it shows the ‘after-effects’ of a war, rather than telling the war itself, for instance most military related stories (Gundam Seed Destiny, Fullmetal Alchemist and even Sengoku Basara) depict the war they are battling. In Pumpkin Scissors however it’s about fighting the after effects of war such as poverty, depression, riots, hunger as well as bandits that oppose the military. Now that may sound boring (i.e. an anime about fighting against hunger) but it actually brings up some interesting topics, for instance during one episode a noblemen keeps the food for himself as he is afraid the townsfolk will overrun him if he gives it them, so at that point the Pumpkin Scissor squad steps-in to take control of the situation. In other scenarios the Pumpkin Scissors must deliver a package to a town located in the snowy moutains, all of the while fending off bandits from every direction.

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The daily activities of the Pumpkin Scissor squad isn’t the only ‘hot topic’ for the series either, as Corporal Randel Oland’s ‘mysterious’ past is put into question by the members of the team when they uncover the troop regiment he used to be enlisted too, while out on the battlefield it’s revealed that a mysterious group is supplying advanced weapon technology to rival factions and bandits which puts their army at a disadvantage.  These two ‘hot topics’ are mostly overshadowed by the department’s daily activities but when the truth is uncovered towards the end of the series it creates devastating (and destructible) results for the Pumpkin Sccisors squad, with Alice Malvin taking the blame.

Extras:

In terms of extra features there isn’t much to see, as even the DVD Menu is basic with episodes being individually numbered from the main screen. Either way included extras in this release are the original text less opening & closing (disc 1 and 3) as well as trailers (disc 2 and 4) for multiple anime releases.

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As you can clearly see (from the picture above) the discs feature a lot of trailers, some of which are not even licensed by MVM Entertainment and this is because the DVD disc’s are an exact replica of the original US FUNimation release.  Because of these DVD’s being ‘exact’ copies of the US release trailers from titles unreleased in the UK, such as Dragon Ball GT, are included on the disc. It is a nice addition but for those ‘not in the know’ then they may belive that MVM will be releasing that series in the UK, even if its licensed by another company.

Anyway Trailers included are The Galaxy Railways, Samurai 7, Dragon Ball Z, Darker Than Black, Vexille and Hana on Disc 2 while on Disc 4 there are trailers for Strain, Claymore, Dragon Ball GT, Genhis Khan, Solty Rei, and Robotech.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x4
Region: 2
Running Time:  10:00:00 (600 Minutes, 24 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224Kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Randel Oland, the Pumpkin Scissors latest recruit, was previously a member of the 901-Anti Tank Troop, a platoon that acted under secret orders from military HQ, however when the war ended Randel quit the military and wandered around the country, that is until he encountered Alice Malvin who offered him a job at the Pumpkin Scissors department. From here the story follows Randel, Alice and the rest of the squad as they do their daily activities of war relief, while in the process fight off bandits, drug dealers and uncover the truth surrounding the advanced weaponry they encounter during battle as well as the truth behind Randel’s mysterious 901 squad.

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It’s this type of ‘variety’ that makes Pumpkin Scissors a rather unique and entertaining watch, but while it doesn’t look pretty (visually) from the outside, on the inside it brings action, deceit and comedy in the form of a serious topic, that topic being War and the devastation it can bring. The series elements is also backed up by the impressive English Voice talent (which is presented in 5.1 Surround Sound) as it sounds more authentic than the Japanese Audio language (which is presented in 2.0 stereo).  As you’d from expect a DVD release picture quality is sharp and presented in full widescreen ratio with no signs of distortion or pixilation, which sometimes occurs on releases such as this.

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Overall Pumpkin Scissors is an entertaining series that will be enjoyed by different types of people, however the slow approach to story progression and lack of any ‘story objective’ in sight means it can be a dreary experience, furthermore the basic DVD menu and lack of any ‘real’ extras creates a very basic package.

Score: review-stars-3

Pumpkin Scissors – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 9th September 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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