Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pumpkin Scissors, Volume 1 by Ryotaro Iwanaga

Pumpkin Scissors #1 tells the story of Imperial Army State Section III, once part of the fighting in the war between the Empire and the Republic of Frost, who now seek to repair the damage the countryside and the people sustained during the conflict.

In this volume, the Pumpkin Scissors are sent to a small village, where some soldiers with a tank are hiding out, using the tank to threaten the villagers into giving them free food and other supplies. A mysterious young man, a soldier himself, sits in the village's inn/tavern and asks one of the local women about the situation. She tells him what is going on, and when the Pumpkin Scissors come to the village to deal with the crew of the tank, he goes along to help them.

Much to the surprise of his fellow soldiers. he bears a gun which is incredibly effective against tanks and enables them to take out the tank with only a few shots. Afterwards, he asks to join them.

Meanwhile, one of the Pumpkin Scissors are sent to a refugee camp set up in a water treatment facility, which was underground and therefore safer for people to live near. Now that the war is over, however, the people no longer trust the empire and don't want to move. It takes a near-tragedy, and the noble leader of the Pumpkin Scissors squad working alongside the peasants who make up the community to rescue a trapped boy, to make the people trust them and try to go back to their old villages, or to even try to work with the former army to rebuild the country. But can the noble woman in charge of the squad deal with her "noblesse oblige" attitude? Or does it insult the people she means to be working with?

I really enjoy this series, which is a military series of a different sort. Instead of being based around war and fighting, this is based on the idea of cleaning up after the war nd helping the people displaced and dispossessed by the conflict. It definitely has a different feel than other war and military-based stories. The characters are distinct, and the ongoing mystery of the former anti-tank battalion member who wishes to atone for his actions during the war by joining in the rebuilding adds a note of mystery, as there seems to be no such battalion. Or is there?

If you are looking for something a little unusual, this is definitely a series to look for, as it provides a wonderful story, along with mystery and great characters.

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