Pumpkin Scissors

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"There is no war, yet peace has not graced the land... This story is about the stage in between."

Randel Oland is a homeless refugee, one of many displaced by the war. He sleeps under a bridge and spends what little money he gets on cat-food to feed the strays. He also carries with him a blue-light lantern, and a massive handgun that can pierce tank armor at close range.

When War Relief Section III, "Pumpkin Scissors", crosses his path, Randel finds himself drawn back into the army in the wake of the energetic Lieutenant Alice Malvin. Besides the usual trouble of hunting down war aggravators, the Pumpkin Scissors crew is soon swept up in events from Randel's dark past.

With initial character and storyline debts to both Fullmetal Alchemist and Trigun, Pumpkin Scissors nevertheless persists in pursuing a different take on themes of war and humanity. Needs More Love seriously.


Tropes used in Pumpkin Scissors include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: One in which a number of families live in, being too poor and demoralized to live above ground. It's a European Fantasy Counterpart Culture, so it makes some sense.
  • Accidental Pervert: "Lieutenant, I need your breasts immediately!"
  • Action Dress Rip: Alice's Pimped-Out Dress in the last few episodes.
  • Action Girl: Alice Malvin. Don't let her near a blade if you know what's good for you. Often verges on Lady of War, particularly when she casts aside her Idiot Hero veneer and gets down to business.
  • Animal Motifs: Lionel is lion-themed. More in terms of viciousness than regality, though he's got plenty of both.
  • Arc Words: TÖTEN SIE. roughly translates to "Kill Them". Randel apparently hears this repeatedly chanted whenever he's under the influence of the blue lantern.
  • Arranged Marriage: Alice.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Anything and everything having to do with the Invisible Nine.
    • It seems the Empire's entire Super Soldier program was a response to horrifically bad engineering. The show makes a point to point out just how impractical their equipment is.
      • 901ATT, the Anti Tank Troopers unit. Instead of developing an antitank fieldpiece, or a antitank rocket, they make... a Super Soldier with a 13mm pistol to take the tank close-quarter.
    • Well, they were meant to be as terrifying as possible.
      • Martis actually lampshades this at one point, raising the possibility that the Invisible Nine may have been created for purposes other than winning the war.
  • Badass Creed: As soon as Randel lights that lantern, expect some enemies to start pissing themselves and madly repeating the terrifying rumors they've heard about the 901ATTs, all of which operate as badass creeds.

2nd episode mook: "They will be heralded by the blue light of the Will of the Wisp! Reload, you can't afford to play around this time! Reload! For the love of God, reload! You can burn out their eyes, even tear out their arms, but they'll never stop advancing! They will disregard their own lives, and attack at point blank range! They have marched away from life itself to pull the trigger that brings death! They are the legend of the battlefield, they are the phantom warriors of the 901st anti-tank troop! Guided by the Will of the Wisp! Bringers of Death! TÖTEN SIE!"

  • Badass Driver: Martis, of all people.
  • Badass Longcoat: Randel Oland. He also operates as a Broken Hero and Gentle Giant.
  • BFS/Double Weapon: Mahn, a double-bladed cavalry sword that Alice uses on foot.
  • Berserk Button: Randel has a physical one, in form of the lamp-thingy on his hip. If you tick him off enough for him to turn it on, you're done for.
    • And it's implied that if his physical and mental states get worse, he will not even need the lamp to go on a rampage.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Randel. While he is the most sensitive and softhearted member of Section 3, he has also seen the most combat, and is a terror to behold when under the trance of the Blue lantern. He has scared the shit out of battle-hardened soldiers, and once reduced an Ax Crazy Psycho for Hire to a terrified, sobbing, hysterical wreck.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You
  • Big Friendly Dog: Merc, when he's not biting people anyway.
  • Biggus Dickus: Clearly, Randel Oland suffers from this.
    • He shatters an extra-large urine collector. The fandom has expressed some concern over what would happen if/when Alice and Oland tap the midnight still.
  • Big No: Randel's reaction to the nurses attempts at getting a urine sample.
    • Used in a much less humerous fashion at the end of Ep. 18; Randel does this after Hans (another member of the Invisible 9 and just as traumatized from the war as Randel) is shot and killed, just as Randel had started to get through to him.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Loterian royal family. They seem to invoke the Stormholt Royal Family, except it's not funny.
  • Bilingual Bonus
  • Body Horror: The flamethrower suits feature faulty cooling systems. Instead of fixing them, the suits were filled with painkillers. As a result, the soldiers inside keep going until their muscles burn off.
    • The more horrifying part is that the substance in the fluid is not just an anesthetic, but a preservative: the wearer's body doesn't start coming apart until a few minutes after the suit is removed. By which point, it's already to late to get the suit back on, since it's a horribly complex affair that takes a long time to put on or take off. Which is what saves Hans, since he was still having trouble getting his suit off when his friends started falling apart.
  • Broken Faceplate: Alice is buying time for Randel by taking on an entire division of Claymores. The captain mocks her because she's getting tired; her response is to hack right through the metal faceplate of the captain with her double-bladed cavalry sword, then slash through his body armour.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Alice passes out from one glass of wine.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Justified in the first episode, since the soldiers in a chemical weapons company would need immediate access to an antidote in case of a spill or leak.
  • The Charmer: Oreldo.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Oreldo, always willing to get the crap beat of out him for the sake of some pretty girl he just met.
  • Clothing Damage: Alice during her duel in the final episodes of the anime. Randel is also frequently subject to it, with much less accompanying Fan Service.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded in one of the interludes, where the Mad Scientist's assistant talks about reading a six-year-old report about the "protective fluid" used in the flamethrower troopers' suits, and mentions the wonderful possibilities for treating burn victims. Said scientist replies, "Throw it away, I don't need it any more."
  • Death Glare: Randel has an... interesting version of this whenever he's berserker mode.
  • Deep-Cover Agent : one of the tasks of the 2nd section.
  • Determinator: Alice, whenever her idealism is challenged. Randel when he turns on his lantern.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Lord Schulz.
  • Door Step Baby: Shows up in one of the earlier episodes, which leads to the Accidental Pervert moment above.
  • Double Entendre: Stecchin once says that Martis is good at playing with himself.
  • The Evil Army: Corruption exists at all levels.
  • Epic Flail: One of the Loterian Royal Guard's weapon of choice.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Alice
  • Faceless Goons: The flamethrower troopers' armor is built like this, as is the armor for the Claymore-1 unit.
  • Fanservice: Surprisingly averted when Randal is being examined by Kauplan.
  • Fatherland: This is very much Germany, especially in the dub, where German accents abound and the occasional German word sneaks into the dialogue...which, if history is to be followed, means things are about get a lot worse.
  • Feel No Pain: Randel. When under the trance of the Blue Lantern, he becomes so focused on whatever he's trying to kill that pain can not register in his mind. This is also where his Made of Iron qualities come from (partially). He's so used to coming out of the trance with bad injuries (bad meaning bullet wounds, burns, broken bones, cuts, etc. usually multiple at the same time) that they simply don't bother him anymore.

Alice: Those burns look pretty bad. Are you going to be OK?
Randel: Yeah. Used to happen to me a lot.

  • Five-Man Band:
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul - Muse. Subverted with Abel, who despite being an accountant for The Mafia cares about his friends from the gang he grew up in.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus When Oland reloads in Season 1 Episode 7, the Door Knocker's bullets seem to have garbled letters that read like "Door Knocker" imprinted on them. "B M (blocked by thumb) OP KNOCKTR" Which makes sense because there is little chance that any other handgun would take that caliber.
  • Gag Penis: Used in a running gag with a nurse trying to get a urine sample from Randel whenever he's hospitalized.
  • Genki Girl: Alice Malvin could be considered a Genki Girl in the tradition of Suzumiya Haruhi, dragging her hapless subordinates along in her energetic wake. (She's also something of an Idiot Hero.)
    • Also Stecchin.
  • Gentle Giant: Randel
  • Glove Slap: Alice uses this one in the traditional manner
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Somewhat subverted: Randel has scars all over his body, of which there are just about any type you could think of. The most notable one is the one across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. Makes sense that he would have so many, taking into account what his job was back when he was in 901-ATT.
  • Gratuitous English: "Anti-Tank Trooper", "Door Knocker", and "Invisible Nine" (well, at least in the Japanese version of the show).
    • This troper does not think "Door Knocker" falls into this trope since 37mm anti-tank guns like M3 and Pak36 were actually nicknamed "Door Knocker" in WWII.
  • Gratuitous German: "Töten Sie."
    • We also have the sobriquets of the Invisible Nine; 901-ATT, "Gespenst Jäger," 903-CTT, "Krankheit Jäger," and 908-HTT "Aldschmied Jäger."
  • Hand Cannon: Randel's anti-tank handgun, the "Door Knocker."
    • It's also 13 mm. (.51 Cal) Randel wields it with one hand.
  • Handsome Lech: Oreldo.
  • Happily Married: Both of Alice's older sister.
  • Heroic BSOD: Randel has a nearly terminal case thanks to his experiences in the 901 ATT.
  • Heroic RROD: Randel, again. As he uses his lantern more often, he starts bleeding due to too much stress.
  • Hollywood Healing: Fans suspect Oland's use of this is a result of being Invisible 9.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Actively encouraged by Alice, unless she's convinced to go about attacking smartly. Oland does this whenever the blue lantern is on, as he's in no state to reason with while in that hypnotic trance that really was meant to make the Imperial Anti-Tank Troopers Zerg Rush tanks.
    • Randel is a rather unnerving take on this trope. Several times, when he is in said state, he HAS used tactics and quick thinking to win a fight (examples: using his gun to take out roof supports above a nest of snipers, whipping his coat in front of him to absorb an acid splash, holding a man down in front of a runaway carriage) instead of just blindly advancing. Not only does this show that he is NOT mindless in that state, it also shows that he KNOWS the full extent of what he and his equipment can do. The implications of that are scary as hell.
  • Honor Before Reason: Alice will take on anyone she sees perpetrating or enabling injustice, from common criminals all the way up to the Emperor himself.
    • Highlighted within the first five minutes of the first episode, when she, two soldiers, and a dog are scouting a dam-turned-merc fortress.

Alice: Now, ATTACK!
Martis: Lieutenant, I just finished telling you that they have a tank!
Alice: They're nothing but a bunch of anarchists! Destroy the evil-doers!

  • Hot-Blooded: Alice in an non-Super Robot, female example.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Alice is of average height, and shorter than most of her subordinates. Randel, who already towers over the entire cast, makes her look like a child.
    • Frankly, he fulfills the 'Huge Guy' role for anyone. He's tall enough that he has to Duck in order to get through most door frames.
  • Idiot Hero: Alice. Character Development helps her avoid this as time goes on but she never loses her idealism.
  • I Am a Monster: Randel struggles with this:

Randel: It's bothered me... when I turn on the lantern, I just kill everything. But then I worry about being useless without it.

  • Implacable Man: See Made of Iron below.
  • Improbable Age: Alice is justified, as she's a noble out of officer school (in the prologue). She's still in her teens in the series proper, but younger people have fought in World War I (see below).
    • She's at least 18 in the earlier chapters, and probably a bit older in the more recent ones, assuming the story happens over the period of several months.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Randel uses a pair of giant scissors that are capable of cutting through a tank's armour. Possible reference to meaning of the series title?
    • In case you're thinking they're actual scissors, they're more like glorified bolt-cutters with pointed jaws. You'd have to be suicidally brave to attack a tank with them - which is what the lantern does. As a weapon they're impractical - a flashback shows a tank covered with 901 troops slowly gnawing away at its armour with their 'can-openers'. Presumably, they use them to open a hole they can shoot through... and human wave tactics to ensure there's enough left to shoot.
    • Actually, they may have been a fallback weapon, sort of like a bayonet or combat knife for normal soldiers.
    • Their actual utility may be a lot more mundane. They are basically giant scissors, after all.
  • Jabba Table Manners: After hearing of commoner children dying by the hundreds of starvation, YOU would want to kill the nobles too when you watch them waste food that could have been used to save their lives.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Randel.
  • Large Ham: Alice
  • Left Hanging: The anime ended with some most questions left unanswered.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Sorta, Steccin replaces Alice in screentime for a Breather Episode.
  • Made a Slave: Randel alludes to a childhood episode of this kind, in a recent chapter of the manga.
  • Made of Iron: Randel, when his lantern is on.
    • Even without. Most people can't hurt him without some kind of weapon (A big one; for example a sledgehammer). Understandable, as he's apparently 95% scar tissue. Highlighted in episode 4; he wakes up with a cat on his face and sits up. The cat hangs from his cheeks, then drags its claws down the side of his face when it slides off. He doesn't even flinch.
  • Mad Scientist: Muse, who also overlaps with Four Eyes, Zero Soul.
  • Malaproper: Lili pulls this off at one point while accosting Oreldo.

Lili: Good grief, you're nothing but a leecher, Oreldo!
Oreldo: If you're going to insult me, at least get your terminology straight.
Lili: It's sensual harassment!

  • Meaningful Name and Theme Naming: Imperial units tend to name themselves after bladed implements, and choose those implements based on a metaphor they hold in relation to the unit's purpose.
    • Pumpkin Scissors: As Alice so eloquently puts it, scissors used to cut through the thick pumpkin-like skin of corruption.
    • Claymore One: The Empire's sword. The first unit to deploy in serious crises, also hailed as their most elite strike force, operating with ruthless efficiency.
    • Axe Force: Axes have mundane uses outside of war. Serves as the Empire's special police force for domestic affairs.
    • A Section II unit is named after the shotel, a curved, semi-circular blade which somewhat resembles a sickle, which reflects their indirect stealthy spy approach.
  • Megane: Martis.
  • Mildly Military: Played with throughout the series, as the Pumpkin Scissors are often derided by the public and other military bodies for being this way, and it was because of this reputation that Oreldo joined. Given their dangerous missions during the series, this label doesn't really hold up, although the relationships among the protagonists does kind of fit the Mildly Military idea.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show combines light situational comedy and deadly serious drama, often switching between the two without warning.
    • Also, the cheery ending music after many of the more serious episodes.

Randel Oland: What's wrong? You're usually eating like wildcats now.
Cats stare blankly at him, refusing to move.
Randel Oland: Oh... I get it. I smell like blood... I guess I just got used to it...
<Upbeat J-Pop harmonica solo time>

  • Morality Pet: Stecchin, many times, can come off as this with her Genki Girl attitude.
    • To some extent, Alice is this to Randel.
  • Noodle Incident: Used in episode 5 by Oreldo against Martis when he's given the cold shoulder, using a paper roll loudspeaker.

Oreldo: My childhood friend here, Sub-lieutenant Martis, is one HELL of a soldier. Why we've done nearly EVERYTHING together. Matter of fact, that reminds me of a story when we were seven years old, and went out to the woods for the old number one. That Earthworm? Didn't. Stand. A chance. So then-
Martis: HEY! TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

Oreldo: Oh come on, are we the only outfit in the empire that doesn't have a tank?!

  • Team Pet: Mercury, Private First Class, Section III's messenger dog.
    • Also an example of a Meaningful Name, since said dog is both a messenger and a trouble-maker.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alice and her older sisters.
  • Tragic Monster: Hans, the last of the flamethrower troopers.
  • Tranquil Fury: When switching on his blue lantern, Randel enters a trance that focuses him single-mindedly on his goal, making him impervious to pain and turning him into a fearless, heartless, lethal automaton. He only retains enough humanity to know when to switch it off, and then he returns to normal.
  • Waif Fu: Alice
  • The White Princess: Septieme of Loteria. She is even a White-Haired Pretty Girl.
    • Alice has some of this to her ("Do commoners drink water?")
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The peasants finally figure it out.

'Peasant 1: You think we're just going to stand around while you have a duel?
'Peasant 2: Kill um all!

    • Which is a bonehead move since if any nobles get hurt, all peasants AND their families will be exterminated by the Section I.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Alice, of the most admirable sort.
  • Word Salad Title: Subverted, surprisingly. "Pumpkin Scissors" isn't a nonsense phrase - it's the nickname of the squad, and thus very significant to the story. It even has a meaning behind it!.
  • World War I: It's blatantly a fantasy analogue of post-WWI.
  • You Shall Not Pass: A minor one occurs in episode 23. After the first Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? moment mentioned above, one of the more vengeful peasants tries to do it again. Randal (who, keep in mind, is over seven feet tall, heavily muscled, and covered in scars) loudly clears his throat, steps in front of him, and looms over him with a Death Glare. The peasant looks at him, then nervously glances at a guy that had earlier fought with Randal (who is currently curled up on the ground, covering his head, and sobbing hysterically).