Bad Tank! No Jazz for You: Pumpkin Scissors

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — October 31st, 2011
Text Size: smaller text normal text size bigger text

I managed, somehow, to watch two different postwar touchy-feely military misfits troupe shows in the same month. But who can't enjoy stuff like this? As Pumpkin Scissors opens, a long and bloody war comes to an abrupt close. We see surprise in the eyes of newly graduated officer Alice L. Malvin, and fade to the despondent expression of a man surveying the war-torn wasteland he helped create.

Fast forward three years, and Alice is 2nd Lieutenant in the Imperial Army State Section III "Pumpkin Scissors" unit, which is looked down upon by the rest of the military and civilians alike, as being nothing more than a propaganda tool. Their job is to survey areas hit hard by the war, and report back on what they find, as well as reassure the populace that relief is coming (except it probably isn't). Being the proud daughter of nobility, Alice is eager to make a bigger splash than her job description would indicate. On the first assignment we see her take, an ex soldier who commands a tank shows up and terrorizes a village, and she challenges him with nothing more than a short sword. In fact, she makes a declaration before all the townspeople that he is an impediment to the war relief effort and she will stop him.

Her bravery, or some might say stupidity, draws the attention of another ex soldier, Randel Oland, who just so happened to be part of the super-secret 901 Anti-Tank Trooper division — men who went on suicide marches against tanks and fired their special guns at point blank range. On the battlefield they were known as Gespenst Jäger: ghost hunters, for the blue lanterns that appeared to tank operators as Will o' the Wisps — to see them meant certain death. At the present time, Alice is in over her head, Oland helps defeat the bad guy, he joins the unit, and the process repeats throughout several episodes.

What's heartening about this show is how Alice and Oland affect each other over time: her eyes opening up a bit to the world around her, and his gradual feeling that he's part of something constructive. Similar growth happens in the other members of the unit, making for a show that balances wish fulfillment with a rather honest view of war's destruction and its lasting shadow over a people.