Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin scissors’
Certainly not the way that I would wrap up the first half.
Oreldo meets a mysterious girl out on the bridge one morning and soon finds out that she’s a new girl working in the… let’s say adult social club. She always looks sad though because her boyfriend was sent to the war front four years ago and never returned. Oreldo takes it upon himself to cheer her up while keeping it secret from everyone else causing worry and speculation.
In the second episode, while Alice is dealing with more hassles from her sisters regarding what she owes to the family, the story of how the various members of Pumpkin Scissors is relayed back. It’s in this episode that the audience is finally clued in on who came to the Pumpkin Scissors, when they did and why the unit is called Pumpkin Scissors in the first place.
In the final two episodes of the volume, the story tells a short story arc which does its best to bring everything back to the original point. After a reporter does a story about Pumpkin Scissors and their efforts, a lot of attention is thrown onto Alice. This becomes dangerous when Alice is kidnapped. The woman who kidnaps her is the sister of a dead reporter who wrote a story about the secret ‘invisible 9’ military project but was killed before he could publish the story. Held captive and with other dangers being held over her head, the kidnappers want the truth exposed and the manuscript published revealing a major military secret. Meanwhile though, now that the military has found out that there’s a leak, they are moving quickly to fill it.
Good and the Bad
Stepping back from the primary story a little bit more, the four episodes on this volume start off with two episodes that have little to do with our overall story arc and a short two parter. The first episode of the volume really came across as dull to me. The story with Oreldo trying to cheer up the sad… let’s call her ‘escort’ was less than entertaining. The reactions of the fellow office members were funny but other than that the episode lacked any of the usual charm that this series is known for. While I’m certain that this was supposed to develop Oreldo past a womanizing pretty boy who picked himself up from the streets, instead it just made him come across as that much more egotistical.
Episode 10 (‘Pumpkins and Scissors’) is an interesting episode that mostly revolves around the Martis and the scandal that brought him to Section 3. While it’s interesting to get an episode where the audience gets to see some of those early times in Section 3 when they were first getting to know each other. The story itself was fairly weak but early character interactions really came across well and that led to an enjoyable viewing. The ADR script in particular contains some good one liners that put a couple of extra laughs in that aren’t present for the Japanese script.
The two episode story arc ultimately felt disappointing to me but at the same time left me with a bit more curiosity than I had before I started it. The two episodes themselves were well done. The storyline that is drawn up from Alice being kidnapped to the journalist who is seeking the big scoop and the cover up that ensues afterwards all intertwine well together.
What is certainly frustrating about this two part story however is the amount of times the staff uses foreshadowing once again without actually answering any of the questions that they’ve raised so far. The audience has seen plenty of things over the last twelve episodes and more than a few of us have some questions that we’d like answered. Early in the story arc, there are hints that we might finally get some answers. While some answers will be given, fans should be warned that they’re still going to walk out of the two episodes with even more questions than when you started.
The audio came through cleanly throughout the entire presentation of the volume. The Japanese track seemed to come through a bit more clearly through my speakers but the English track was still very clear with no distortions that I could detect.
Some of the music came through a little under produced on the volume though. A great example of this would be in episode 10 while Oland was getting the run down on the history of Section 3. The music during these scenes just sounded very simple with a real electronic feel to it. It never felt like it was particularly well placed within the scenes and stood out as such.
Dub vs. Sub
Neither the sub or dub casts really sold me on much during this volume but they weren’t selling that much with this volume to begin with. During the two part story, Kaytha Coker does a good job with Alice though. Some of the scenes later in the story were a bit more interesting as more about the military secrets were being revealed and Kaytha really did a great job of selling the intrigue with her performance.
What’s sneaky about this volume is that while no real new information is revealed, just enough foreshadowing is done that viewers need to watch this volume to keep up. While the episodes on this volume aren’t fantastic, they will keep fans of the series entertained at least. Fans of Oreldo and Martis will be happy with episodes that revolve mostly around them and the two part story at the end manages to be just mysterious enough that I still want to know more about what is being covered up.
Final Grade: C+
More mystery, action and humor really goes a long way towards making this series qualify as underappreciated.
At the start of the volume, Randel is in the hospital with a foot injury. Back at HQ, Alice’s subordinates has decided that they need to know about Roland’s history for the good of the unit while a mysterious woman from the science department of the military has made herself known to the captain.
Pumpkin Scissors has got more issues to deal with though including finding an abandoned baby that takes a liking to Randel right away. Then after Oreldo is put in charge of an investigation into a noble stealing food and supplies while Alice is escorted to a fancy dress party by the man her family wants her to marry, Pumpkin Scissors is sent into the snowy mountains to delivery supplies only to be attacked and put into a survivor situation.
Good and the Bad
There is no other place to start than with the writing on this volume. The humor in this volume makes absolutely no qualms about taking immature humor and finding a way to seamlessly integrate it into a mature plot. The penis jokes in the first episode absolutely took me off guard. Even if there was a nurse involved… just, wow. Even I was shocked by this one.
The comedy in this volume is really well written though in that it doesn’t use comedy that audiences are used to seeing in these types of series. Instead of just using either sharp jabs or bad puns, the series goes somewhere new letting the dialogue go dry and self deprecating. By letting characters point out obvious flaws in each other’s speeches and logic this series really opens itself up. The rooftop scene of the first episode has a perfect example of this.
The progression of the primary story is going really slowly however. In the first volume, Alice was developed quite nicely and in this volume it’s the secondary characters that got to see development. This volume was a great chance for audiences to get know Alice’s subordinates and learn some great things including backgrounds. Randel is still something of a mystery but the appearance of a third tier character proves to be very nice bait to lead audiences into the third volume.
The animation in this series continues to be well done. Randel’s lantern scenes remain absolutely chilling to watch though it is really interesting to see how they have changed from the first volume. One thing that I noticed on this volume that I didn’t on the first is Alice’s character design. Ever notice how much she’s shaped like a pumpkin? Nice touch.
Speaking of Alice though, if this series suffered from any real flaws it is Alice in this volume. While on the first volume it was made fairly obvious that she was oblivious to the lower class and their struggles, on this volume she just takes that cluelessness and absolutely takes it to unbelievable heights. It really took me out of my element as an audience member when I had to sit there and continue to be dumbfounded by how naive the commander of Pumpkin Scissors truly is.
The string track that closes out the volume was very nicely done. Other than that, there weren’t any particularly strong background tracks that stood out from the animation. None of the music ever sounded out of place but there just wasn’t much substance.
Dub vs. Sub
In the first episode, Amanda Hanawa did such a great job with the role of the nurse Rosetta. Yes it is unusual to give the stand out performance nod to a one time character but she was hilarious in those scenes though the animation went a long way towards making that scene a bit more memorable.
The issue that I had with switching back and forth between the two language tracks was that the Japanese track came through much more clearly for me. The English track sounded muffled and quiet. In terms of preference though, this series sounds and feels so much more natural to me in the English dub. Perhaps it’s the European setting but the Japanese track just didn’t feel quite right.
Just clean animations.
This series continues to intrigue me and make me want to learn more. While Alice can sometimes be a little trying, the cast of characters continues to be an interesting mix that plays well off each other. While the story is still moving a bit slow, I’m finding the journey towards a story to be worthwhile so far. While I’d like to know where we’re ultimately headed, the series does a great job of keeping the plot hooks coming to keep things smoothly rolling along. This continues to be a smart series worth picking up.
Final Grade: 89% – B
Jumping into a series that held a healthy amount of buzz before it’s release.
Taking place three years after a great war ended by something referred to as the ‘Thin Ice Treaty’. After the end of the war though, relations between the military and the citizens is strained as soldiers from the war have begun to turn their weapons on ordinary citizens as soldiers of fortune. In this country, the class system is still in effect and nobility and commoners do not intermingle. Our heroine is a young girl named 2nd Lt. Alice Malvin who has been assigned to the Imperial Army’s Intelligence division, Section Three, otherwise known as “Pumpkin Scissors”. Her mission is simple, work with her team to discover nobility who prey on the poor and deliver justice and war relief to those struggling to rebuild.
After finding a village in trouble, Alice and her team are joined by another former soldier who was part of a very mysterious and powerful unit, Randle Oland, before moving onto a rich nobleman who hunts his own people for sport. Next up for the team is convincing a village to assist with a reconstruction project but the real intrigue begins near the end of the volume when it is discovered that the weird noble who was hunting commoners was in possession of some pretty advanced technology… technology that even the Imperial Army doesn’t have and Pumpkin Scissors is put in charge of finding out who has created that technology and something new about Randle is revealed that is makes others question who he is.
The Good And The Bad
Produced by Gonzo studios, I knew right away that the animation was going to be absolutely stellar and while it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it’s still very nicely designed and pleasing to look at. The battle scenes in particular were quite interesting to watch when Randle began his lantern routine. It was really quite something to watch. The dream sequence in the fourth episode was also really quite well done.
But if I had to choose one thing in particular that just stuck out at me right away from the very beginning it would be that everything about this series just screamed over the top. Normally I would be able to tell you if this is a good or a bad thing but honestly I’m not quite sure because I couldn’t tell if they meant to do it or not.
Either way I found it quite amusing and laughed at it more often than not so this was an interesting take on the writing. The writing in general was good for this first volume though. Though it took a little bit for me to get really comfortable with the setting and the characters, after that I found it really easy to buy into the class system in a post war society. I also found that the stories that were told in each episode were actually quite touching because of the conflicted characters that were being featured.
These stories wouldn’t work at all if a strong character wasn’t established in the beginning and Alice really fits that mold as a noble who joined the military and is fighting to bridge the gap between the classes. By having this major conflict of interest introduced right away, the audience really has something to connect to the heroine. Very good storytelling and character development right away which really caught my interest and attention early. Using the first three episodes to develop Alice like this was a really nice move.
The secondary and supporting characters have also established themselves as entertaining with Randle showing some interesting history and the rest of the team providing the solid comic relief. Just in case though, they even made sure to throw in an office mascot to keep every single subsection of the audience happy.
The pacing of this series was really well done as well with the episodes always moving at a very brisk pace that keeps your attention. The battle scenes are well timed and never feel rushed though are varied enough to not become repetitive.
Just like the rest of the volume, the music could be very over the top in some places but in other places it was soft and subdued lending a very nice quiet atmosphere to some of the smaller village scenes. They paid very good attention to details here for their situational music which I enjoyed.
The opening and ending themes are definitely going to be an acquired taste for most of the audience. The closing theme in particular I know is going to take me awhile before I can say I really enjoy it but I’m sure that by the end of the series the little bugger will manage to insert itself into my head. Baka.
Dub vs. Sub
After the huge deal that ADV made out of announcing this title, I was really surprised to see so many new names in the cast list. Kaytha Coker gave a very impassioned and fun… albeit slightly over the top at times, performance as Alice and Adam Dudley gives a very interesting and intriguing performance as Randel Oland.
Just clean animations.
I remember when this series was first announced by ADV, I was hosting an online anime radio show and when I broke this news to my listeners the chat room lit up with excitement. It was at that point that I had a very active curiosity about this series. After seeing this first volume I can understand why the buzz became so huge right away. This opening volume really set the stage for a story that I’m going to be interested in seeing more of. The characters were fun and this volume started some mystery that I’m now just as curious as the characters are to solve it. This is one that I’m suggesting everyone keep a close eye on.
Final Grade: 89% – B