Pumpkin Scissors – 04
Oland has a dream of a world of red and with a message “Töten Sie” flying through his head. Also in this dream are other soldiers like him along with a tank. Oland raises his gun, but a hand appears in front of it – Alice’s. She urges him to go help the war damage recovery, and then Oland wakes up. He’s still sleeping under the bridge and has amassed a group of cats that he is feeding. Normally, Oland has bad dreams, but this time he considers it to have been a good one. At the office, the Pumpkin Scissors group is informed by Lieutenant Webnar that the tank from the Wolkins incident has an automatic bullet loading system that is still in the research stage in this empire. They need to find out where he got this tank from. Oreld suggests that it’d be faster just to ask Wolkins, but Hanks informs them that they can’t because the noble is currently being treated in a military hospital.
Alice, Oland, Oreld, and Machs first go to see a Professor Colt, who is considered to be the father of the tank, to find out more. Alice notices Machs adjusting the side view mirror of the car, but he claims it’s nothing. Machs actually focuses it on Oland’s face because of the conversation he had with Webnar before they left. She had asked him about Oland, and then had gone on to explain how fearsome tanks were, yet she pointed out that Oland had been able to handle one alone. But as he looks at Oland’s smiling face now, Machs can’t help but smile back. The four arrive at a rundown building and make their way to Colt’s door, but he appears not to be in. Right as Oreld is calling him an obstinate old man, the professor appears. Looking at a picture of the tank system, Colt admits that this isn’t a design he saw back when he was in the war plant, and there haven’t been any announcements from the technology exchange association. In short, this system exceeds the technological level of each nation.
When Colt asks about the analysis of the tank, Alice tells him that they’ll be entering it after this. Alice suddenly gets a feeling on the back of her neck and decides to leave, taking the others with her. Machs, however, notices a large gun mounted on the wall that resembles Oland’s, so he asks the professor about it. Colt calls it the Door Knocker, a 13mm anti-tank gun, and explains that there was the foolish plan to fight tanks by strengthening infantry thermal power. Even with these guns, the only way an infantry could stand up to a tank was at an absolute zero shooting distance – in other words, point blank range. However, the plan came to a standstill and there was no manufacturing of the gun. Colt wonders if there’s even such a person who’d stand in front of a steel behemoth of a tank. As Machs returns to the car where the others are waiting, he starts putting the pieces together about Oland’s 901-Anti-Tank Trooper designation. Once they leave and are followed by a black car, Colt gets on the phone and confirms to someone about the model tank.
That black car follows the Pumpkin Scissors group to the hanger where the tank is being kept. After hearing their report, Webnar orders the dismantling of the tank, much to the joy of her men. When Oreld inquires about the other machine in the hanger, Webnar tells him that it’s the new armored vehicle being deployed for the first section. None of them know that there are actually three masked men already inside of it until its turret turns and fires on the tank. Webnar gives out orders to sound the alarm and contact headquarters, but the armored vehicle then fires its Smoke Dischargers and covers the room in smoke. It also fires several more rounds at the tank, causing Alice to realize that the enemy’s goal is to destroy it. What’s more, the armored vehicle then starts moving and sticks out its hedgerow cutter. Alice notices too late that Machs is lying directly between the oncoming vehicle and the tank carcass. Machs stares into the headlights with fear as death approaches, but it never gets there. He’s lifted up by Oland, with blue lantern active, who takes one of the spikes straight through his left leg.
Oland pulls out his Door Knocker just as the armored vehicle lowers its main cannon right into his face. With no fear in his eyes, Oland fires and kills one of the masked men, right as the tank fires and grazes Oland’s face. As the Anti-Tank-Trooper frees himself from the hedgerow cutter spike and climbs onto the tank, Machs realizes that this is the point blank range that Colt told him about. With “Töten Sie” being chanted in his mind, Oland fires another shot that kills the other guy in the armored vehicle. It is sometime after the battle that Machs reports to Hanks that the three culprits are dead. However, they accomplished their goal of preserving the tank’s secrets because it’s now impossible to restore it. As for Oland, the damage had fortunately missed the bone, so he’ll be able to leave the hospital in a month. Hanks starts wrapping things up, but Machs isn’t done yet and demands to know what the 901-Anti-Tank Trooper is. He remembers that September 9th is when the first emperor died in battle, and so the military has a rule not to use 9 in its designations. In addition, there are no records of the group in the military’s complete book, leading Machs to conclude that there does not exist a 901-ATT unit in their military. With his back turned, Hanks reveals that that’s why they are called the Invisible Nine.
Before Machs gets much of a chance to take in this information, he and Hanks get interrupted by Stekkin bursting in to inform them that Wolkins has committed suicide in the military hospital. With all information about the tank silenced, Hanks thinks that they don’t know much about the organization they are facing, but it’s certainly thorough in what it does. He feels that a person’s life is targeted just for knowing and thinks that the Invisible Nine is probably that kind of group too. When Hanks asks if Machs is still going to throw himself into it, Machs turns around and confirms yes. Meanwhile, Alice wakes up in Oland’s hospital room and finds him gone. Oland has actually made his way to under the bridge where he normally sleeps so that he can feed the cats. However, those cats keep their distance, and Oland realizes it’s because he smells of blood.
Well this was a much better than last week, maybe even the best episode so far. Animation quality was a marked improvement over last time, but the episode mainly shined in terms of plot development. Not only did they work in Wolkins again, but it now appears that he and that tank are part of a greater story with a group willing to go very far to protect its secrets. This now gives the story something else to go on aside from the tank-of-the-week format that the first two episodes seemed to have.
Much of the episode deals with Machs learning about the Door Knocker gun and later about the Invisible Nine. We learn that Oland gets his power from some form of pushing his thermal power to the limit, at least according to the professor, who incidentally is looking like a bad guy. Maybe that’s the power that lets him do superhuman things such as stand up after his leg got impaled like that. We know also know that Oland has that “Töten Sie” (it means “kill” in German) chanting inside his head whenever he goes into that killing mode, and that Alice may be the solution to it. And speaking of killing, they really upped the violence level for this episode with plenty of blood. Somehow I don’t think that that will stay through next week’s episode, which appears to be about Oland’s time in the hospital.