After years of war with the Republic, the Empire signs a peace treaty. But now the war is over, it doesn't mean the troubles for the Empire are gone too -- due to to the protracted war, resources are scarce, and some unscrupulous people (some of them soldiers!) use their power to profit from the scarcity. The third division of the army has been set up to provide post-war relief to the citizens of the Empire, and the Pumpkin Scissors unit spearheads their efforts. The unit is led by Alice, a young and idealistic noble, who doesn't know when to back down. The bookish Machs and the playboy/street punk Oreld round out the unit, while Stekkis and the colonel take care of the administrative tasks back home.
In the first episode, the unit encounters Randel Oland, a retired soldier from the 901st Anti-Tank Trooper division, and he helps them take out a tank that used poison gas grenades to bully a nearby village into giving them food. After that, he becomes part of the unit.
The 901st ATT were part of the 'Invisible Nine' -- since 9 was considered an unlucky number since an Emperor died in battle on September 9th, there are no divisions numbered in the 900s. Except for divisions that used experimental tactics, weapons or techniques. Randel is part of one such experiment: soldiers brainwashed to ignore danger to themselves, and only to get close to a tank and use their big-ass 'doorknocker' gun to shoot their armor-piercing bullets through the armored plating of the tank. We don't know what happened to Randel's comrades, but we do know that when he turns on the lantern he has hanging from his belt, the blue light hypnotises him into becoming a single-minded killing machine. Quite a break from his usually soft demeanor. The first few episodes show him saving the day with the doorknocker, either against tanks, or armored digging machines, or any other sort of armored/big/heavy machinery.
But there is more going on: the ATT were not the only Invisible Nine division, and there are others that have been forced underground. And a shadowy organisation, called the Silver Wheel, is seeking to destabilise the country and seize power -- mainly by widening the gap between civilians and nobles.
It's not a light-hearted series, though it's not all as bleak as this description may make it sound. The way the Pumpkin Scissors try their honest best to lighten the load for everyone is pretty heartening.
It is only a pity that the series ends on a 'local maximum': the main plot isn't resolved, just a tight situation. You know that the main plot will continue in the background, but you'll never know how it continues.
Visually, the series leaves nothing to be desired. It's a co-production between Gonzo and AIC, and each did what they were best at. The character designs are crisp and clean, the animation fluid, the mechanical designs sound and the CGI blends well with the rest.
Voice acting is very good (especially Randal), and the music doesn't detract -- but it didn't strike me as particularly good either.
- Interesting premise, with some nice hidden plots;
- Visually very attractive.
- First few episodes are somewhat repetitive;
- Ends on a local maximum.
All in all, a 7.5. A solid offering, but not a must-see.