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Pumpkin Scissors vol.1: A Manga Review by a Manga Newbie
Article by Scott Tingley, November 29, 2007

I'm learning, but I still don't have a strong understanding about this manga stuff. A lot that I come across just seems kind of….silly. Some are ultra violent, some are over-sexed, some are cute, but too many seem kind of silly to me - sorry. I know there is a lot of great stuff out there, but it's going to take me some time to find the titles and styles that appeal to me.

Oh, wait.

Found one.

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? And who is the mysterious stranger helping Pumpkin Scissors?

Have you ever seen MAD MAX: Road Warrior? I know that my wife hasn't, but I saw it at a sleep over when I was in grade 6. A decimated future terrorized by nomadic forces with bigger guns and bigger machines than everyone else. That about sums up one of my favorite movies and my new favorite manga. Now, I'm not saying that Pumpkin Scissors vol.1 is anywhere near as violent and bloodthirsty as Mad Max: Road Warrior, but I think it will appeal to the same sort of person. Namely grade 6-12 boys. Lots of action, lots of tanks, a handful of heroes and lots of nasty villains.

Not to say that this won't appeal to girls as well though. We've got a female lieutenant, a new stranger (future love interest? Who knows?), and a little bit of comic relief. Add that the stranger is a magical lantern wielding genetically engineered tank killer with “A suicidal determination to achieve-point blank range.” and you've got a book with a little bit of everything for everybody.

“Flap, flap, flap.” It's taken a while, but I'm also starting to get the hang of the pacing in some of this manga stuff. In a lot of ways, some of the action oriented manga play out like a “spaghetti western”. There are a lot of scenes in Scissors featuring the new member of the squad (the “genetically engineered tank killer” I mentioned earlier) that feel like they could be played by a young Clint Eastwood. Really.

I admit that I have not read a lot of manga and there is the possibility that P.Scissors is completely derivative, but I liked it and I feel that it is the sort of book that would appeal to both the manga fan and the traditional mainstream superhero comic reader.

Age Rating: Its publisher has rated Pumpkin Scissors as being appropriate for ages 16 and up. I'm not sure why it is rated so high. There is lots of gunplay, but no gore. Even when a guy gets a hole blown through his chest it isn't really gory. In my opinion, Star Wars : Episode III - Revenge of the Sith had content that would be considered more violent and disturbing (all those kids getting slaughtered off screen, for example). I would say that this is definitely appropriate for at least 14 and up, maybe a bit lower. Remember: not really any gore, no sex, lots of shooting and some killing. A crazy Viscount hunts some of is subjects in a tank at one point – that's about as crazy as it gets.

BTW: Pumpkin Scissors? There were no pumpkins and no scissors. I don't get it.

Written by Ryotaro Iwanaga Manga | Trade Paperback, 224 pages | November 27, 2007 | $10.95 | 978-0-345-50119-6 (0-345-50119-5)




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