Writer/Artist: Ryotaro Iwanaga
Translated by: Ikoi Hiroe
Adapted by: Ikoi Hiroe
What They Say
The Pumpkin Scissors are deployed to the waterworks headquarters after receiving an explosive tip. But when they arrive, Claymore One is already there with orders to shoot to kill. When the Pumpkin Scissors try to defuse the deadly situation, Claymore One strikes back. They demand an execution order against Alice. The Pumpkin Scissors are supposed to be saving the Empire... but can they save themselves?
The questions surrounding Hans, the 908 HTT soldier, are almost immediately answered, revealing not only more evidence of the savagery practiced during the war, but also why he is cold all the time. Oland is still concerned with Hans since he, too, is from an experimental unit. Pumpkin Scissors pick up the chase for Mion in an attempt to get to the bottom of the drug trade. The events in this volume pick up exactly where they were left off in volume two, Mion is meeting with mysterious people – members of the Sterling Wheel – and the overly aggressive Claymore One unit has been sent in to deal with them. Pumpkin Scissors follows to intervene, but nothing goes off quite as planned. The masked members of the Sterling Wheel prove formidable, managing to blast their way past Claymore One and escape. Hans and Mion escape into the sewers, though, where Oland and Machs follow, leaving Alice alone to fend off Claymore One.
Unlike the second volume, with was a significant improvement on the first, this third volume in on par with the second. It's safe to say that Pumpkin Scissors has hit its stride at this point, offering up steady doses of shocking violence, a touch of the macabre, light humor, some overly sentimental human moments, and a story that's more good than it is so-so. As a title, Pumpkin Scissors has gotten better, but it still hasn't done anything to break out of the rut of slightly-better-than-averageness. The moments that are good are good, and the ho-hum moments are still ho-hum. There are quite a number of reasons for this, I think, but one of them is definitely that the two main characters, Alice and Oland, just aren't all that interesting. They are static to the point of predictability, so it's really hard to care for them in the ways that you should care for a protagonist. Another reason that is well displayed in this volume in particular is that Iwanaga seems to have a hard time combining all of the elements that he wants to include in his manga into a single statement. In this title there is lots of action, political intrigue, human drama, and comedy. The problem is that some of these elements are kept at arm's length from each other. What happens in this volume is that it almost reads like two books in one: the first half is all action and fighting with a touch of the Maudlin cost of war, the second half shifts gears entirely and starts off as a comedy and works its way to a character drama. Obviously, neither of these elements are bank breakers and they don't keep the manga from being entertaining to read, but they do help keep it from being as good as I think it could be.
One this about this manga that I'm unsure about and will have to reserve judgment about until I seem more of them is the members of the Sterling Wheel. In my opinion, Pumpkin Scissors works best when it plays in the realm of unlikely but plausible. These masked criminals seem super in ways absent of the drawbacks of the “super,” experimental military units, and they just don't seem to fit in a world that, so far, has pit militaries and societies against one another. But you just don't know enough about them to say for sure yet.
So, again, this manga has its ups and downs, but it is still decent entertainment. Some of the action is quite good and there is a time or two that is both very cute and very funny. At three volumes in, this has done nothing to rock the boat on quality and is the same average, entertaining book that you have come to expect.