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Pumpkin Scissors Vol 2: Odd Name - Great Manga
whoby Scott Tingley, September 14, 2008

In my opinion, Pumpkin Scissors by Ryotaro Iwanaga, is one of the best action comics published. It is not just one of the best manga, it is one of the best comics - all formats.

I still don't understand why it has to be printed 'backwards' (really), and I can't stand a lot of it that I come across (same goes for a lot of North American comics as well though), but if you are a 'regular' comic reader (North American superhero stuff, I mean) and you are refusing to read any manga just because it's manga, then you should give Pumpkin Scissors a try (just like manga-only readers should give Rocketo, Mouse Guard and Fables a try).

You really should read volume one before picking up the more recent volume 2, but if you don't you should be able to figure out what is going on fairly quickly. "The bitter war between the Empire and the Republic of Frost has ended, but three years after the cease-fire, the Empire is still ravaged by starvation and disease, and bandits terrorize the populace. Can the Imperial Army State Section III, aka Pumpkin Scissors, stop a renegade force with chemical weapons?" (from Random House.com)

Plus, a new and mysterious soldier joins the ranks. He is tough, but what is his strange story? Vol 2 deals with the 'secret origin' of this new member and how the other members deal with the revealed secrets.

I love this series. Lots of story, lots of action, and clear manga storytelling. I believe that P.Scissors was an anime (cartoon) series before it was a comic. It certainly has a cinematic feel to it. It feels like A Few Dollars More meets Die Hard meets Kung Fu meets Road Warrior (but with tanks!). I sure made it sound like a book for guys there, didn't I? It is, but there are strong male and female characters throughout the series, and the squads commanding female officer is very.commanding. It is for action-adventure fans, no mater the gender.

When I reviewed Volume 1, I mentioned that I thought the publisher's age rating on the back was a little high at 16. The second book is a bit more violent and I think the rating is more accurate. I guess that is why the first was so high - they knew where the book was going. It isn't as though the series turns into a gore-fest, but there is more blood and death; there is drug use by dwellers in a shanty-town of sorts, and there is a scene that seems to be heading to sexual, but it is stopped by another character before too much happens. It is not school appropriate, but it is tame compared to much of the entertainment being aimed at kids. Again, it is more intense than the first volume, but, for instance, if you were okay with your teen watching a movie like 30 Days of Night , Pumpkin Scissors vol. 2 is like Sesame Street by comparison. A better comparison is probably The Dark Knight, this summer's Batman movie. If your teen watched that, Pumpkin Scissors 2 shouldn't be a problem. I'm probably obsessing about this too much, but when books are more intense than what we usually deal with on the site, I get a bit nervous.

I am sold hard on this series, and I cannot wait until volume 3 comes out (which is soon, I think).

240 pages | $10.95 | 978-0-345-50141-7 (0-345-50141-1)




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