365 Days of Manga, Day 31: Pumpkin Scissors


PUMPKIN SCISSORS (Pumpkin Scissors) (??????????) • Ryotaro Iwanaga • Del Rey (2007-ongoing) • Kodansha (Magazine Great/Monthly Shônen Magazine, 2002-ongoing) • Shônen Military Adventure • 11+ volumes (ongoing) • 16+ (brief language, crude humor, graphic violence, infrequent sexual situations)
Several years after the great war with the Republic of Frost, the Empire is still in turmoil. Towns are plagued by bandits, poverty and official corruption, deadly chemical weapons and tanks are still unaccounted for, and a mysterious group, “The Sterling Wheel,” is gathering power behind the scenes. Who you gonna call but–the Pumpkin Scissors, the special peacekeeping-and-reconstruction army squad, dedicated to cutting through corruption like scissors through a pumpkin! (Yeah, it doesn’t sound that intimidating, does it?) Clearly influenced by Fullmetal Alchemist, Pumpkin Scissors has a very similar setting, a land much like Germany after the first World War. (The German language even appears in the story.) Unfortunately, as the gimmicky title suggests, Pumpkin Scissors is too simplistic and juvenile to do justice to its intended themes. The leader of the group, idealistic young noblewoman Lieutenant Alice Malvin, awes the common people whenever her aristocratic identity is revealed (like Mito Kômon in a Japanese jidaigeki film), giving the lie to the manga’s superficial concern with social injustice and the “bad” nobles who look ugly and oppress people. The second main character, hulking but kindly war veteran Randel Oland, is a tough guy whose special technique is shrugging off serious injuries, running up to tanks, and shooting the people inside with his enormous gun. The shabby art gives the world, and in particular the military paraphernalia, a generic look (unlike the lovingly detailed guns and cars in, for instance, Gunsmith Cats), and the childish character designs seem like they would be at home in a manga for much younger readers.
** (two stars)
Today’s winner is Elena E. of California. Congratulations, Elena! You’ll be receiving a whole bunch of manga really soon! At the moment I’m working hard on the manga reviews for the next issue of Otaku USA Magazine, for which I do the manga section (with help from a few friend and fellow writers like Shaenon Garrity and yaoi reviewer Che Gilson).
In other news, I just wrote the first entry of Invisible Manga, a column I’m doing for the science fiction website io9.com. In this installment, I talk about two recent events: the incident in Maryland where Dragon Ball was pulled off shelves in schools and public libraries; and the controversy over Yen Press’s decision to redo the cover of Isuna Hasekura’s light novel “Spice and Wolf” for the American edition. Please check it out!

  • Edith

    I noticed on Baker & Taylor that volume 6 of this series was canceled. Are you going to be continuing this series, or is my only hope to find translated raw scans?!

  • Joy

    RightStuf canceled my order for volume 6 that I have order seen volume 5 or 4 was out. They told me you were the ones that did this. That you canceled the series. Why!!!!!! It is a great series and a good following on it. Couldn’t you atleast wait until after 6 if you really want to do this. I have been waiting for ages to find out what happens next after the anime. The manga was just really getting there. If you do cancel then looks like I am going to have to get the Japanese ones and I can’t read them but will do it if I have too. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, DON”T CANCEL THIS SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Count me also among those disappointed that this series has been dropped from your catalog. I enjoyed the previous installments very much; as soon as each volume became available, I ordered it. I hope that economics will permit you to continue releasing translations of this series at some point in the future.

  • disappointed

    Is this true? Are you canceling this series? I had hoped that Del Rey would earn a reputation for finishing what you start.

  • Megan

    Like the above posters found out earlier this month, I just realized my order from RightStuf for volume 6 was canceled, and like they, I find it a great pity that it was cut just as the story was really starting to get going. While I can understand the double edged difficulty of trying to complete publishing of a series that isn’t paying for itself, I certainly hope this ‘solution’ to unprofitable licenses doesn’t become the norm :[. Things like this are making me even more hesitant to invest money in new series for fear that they will share the same fate.

    Regardless, thank you for your work completing volumes 1-5 at least! I can only hope that some day this series might once again resume release, maybe as part of some print-on-demand plan.

  • Karin

    Please continue the series!!!!!!!! I really enjoy this manga ALOT!!!! I AM WILLING TO PAY!!!! PLEASE CONTINUE THIS MANGA!!!!

  • Carl

    I wish they would continue the series. I really enjoyed it and bought the volumes soon as they came out. Looks like Del Rey is starting down the path of Tokyopop.

  • Kitty

    Please continue the manga and anime please. The ending of the anime made me disappointed. Please let there be a second season! I’m really looking forward to it!

  • Joshua

    please continue this series it is a great read and I am truly disappointed that this series is on hold. thank you though for completing Vol. 1-5 and I hope to see six out soon.

  • elocuc


    We are asking for the volume 6 but nobody from Del Rey is going to tell us if this title is cancelled or not? If they have cancelled it at leats they must tell us! I’m so upset nobody give a damn about us.

  • Inqling

    If Volume 6 of Pumpkin Scissors was cancelled then I demand to know why Del Rey stopped several sites from running scans of it. It seems selfish and stupid to me.

    Either they start giving news on 6, or tell us if it’s been cancelled. Otherwise I’ll just have to scan it myself.

    Seriously, quit cancelling the good manga! Cancel Air Gear to get PS up again!

  • joe Greenbank

    Manga companies have a nasty habit of quietly dropping series and i wish they would knock it off or at least grow a pair and make some kind of announcment.

  • joe Greenbank

    hmmmmmm my bad, seems like this is yet another title caught in the whole kodansha cluster ****. Bug kodansha usa people they’re the cause of all this stress

  • TheInnkeeper

    Watched the anime series and loved it. Yes, the pacing is a bit slow, but I really love the characters and their stories. Getting the back issues 1-5. Is there any chance at all that this will be picked up and translated again? It might have gone on hiatus or was part of the Kodansha whatchamacallit, but on Amazon.com I can see they’re up to issue #14 in Japan. Some of the later issues are still available in French, so why not English?? If Del Rey has any pull, please ask/demand/cajole whoever you must to publish this series in English again!

  • adieu1999

    i started to buy this manga after found it in one scanlation site, then start buying till vol 6. Then they the book place (kinokuniya & borders ) told em Del Ray cancel it~ wtf?!! so u guys telling me i shoud learn to read japanese and buy the raw 1 from japan? You guys been telling , scanlation site is bad for the industry~ what are the alternative?

  • adieu1999

    correction till vol 5~ still looking under every nook n cranny for vol 6

  • KelsterLynn

    Good job, Del Rey.
    Great job “finishing” a series that could have been great if given the chance.
    I guess it would have been too much to ask to advertise it a little bit more if you thought that it wasn’t getting a good following? Because if the product isn’t shown around a little more then that means that, quite possibly, that people don’t know about it?
    The same thing happens with television shows that could’ve helped their respective companies, had the companies actually thought about why a series doesn’t get such good hits.
    Could the same be said for Pumpkin Scissors?
    No way, Del Rey was OBVIOUSLY advertising it as much as they could. So could the series be THAT bad? Of course, what other logical conclusion could someone come to?
    There was no future for Pumpkin Scissors. That’s why it was scrapped and is only available in a place where Americans can’t get it.
    I tell you, Del Rey, you might think this was the right move, but I’ll remind you of this:
    Tokyopop went the same direction. Scrapped all their best titles because of lower buys (due to advertising for everything OTHER than manga). Published many, many titles of crudely-drawn comics and weak writing.
    This seemed to work, right? So where are they now?
    Out of business.
    With that said, I really do wish you would continue translating and releasing this series.
    As a lover of manga, and a person who KNOWS they don’t know Japanese.

  • Larry Chen

    I really hope you would finish translating. I really want to pre-order the 6th volume.

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