Pumpkin Scissors – 13
Alice finds out from Hunks that Princess Septième Loderia is coming to the Empire because of a smuggler that they caught who is a citizen of the princess’s country. When Septième arrives, however, she doesn’t take the waiting carriage and instead goes to find a hot dog stand that she remembers. Unfortunately, it’s not there anymore. By chance, Machs is searching for the same hot dog stand, and when he also doesn’t find it, he reports back to Oreld. However, Oreld has found a woman and rides off in the motorcycle with her, leaving Machs behind. It is when Machs goes to use the rest room that he’s interrupted by a young girl – Septième – as he’s urinating. After the initial shock, he doesn’t pay much heed to her, particularly when she claims she’s a princess. She tells him that she’s in the middle of an escape from her butler, and Machs decides initially to take her to the police. But since he hears her stomach growling, Machs offers to buy her something and mentions hot dogs. They realize that they both want to find the particular hot dog stand that’s moved, but they don’t know where to look. By the way Machs walks, Septième realizes that he’s a soldier and drags him to the Imperial Tax Office so that they can find the hot dog stand. She tries to leverage Machs army status, but it is Mach’s acquaintance with the supervisor that gets them the information even though the supervisor doesn’t even know Machs name.
Afterwards, Septième lectures Machs on using his position and the opponent’s weaknesses. Machs doesn’t think children should be saying things like that, but Septième then asks if he’s seen Loderia’s national flag. He remembers that there are grapes on it, which Septième explains are representative of children. Each child has to compete with the others, and the one who surpasses the others gets the throne. Septième explains that there is a castle that has towers spread out – one for each child. Every day is spent plotting to defeat the other siblings, and the only time they see the others is during dinner, where each child gets a food taster for poisons. Use or be used – this is the providence that is the same in heaven or on earth. After her speech, Septième wants to go track down the owner whose address she saw earlier and drags Machs onto a carriage ride. Machs thinks that her emotions are child-like, yet her way of thinking is very strict, making her like Alice. The pair arrives at their destination – close to the dangerous Zero-th District – and smell hot dogs. They find the stand and Machs starts eating after they get served, though Septième holds off. Machs realizes that she’s not used to eating without a food taster, so he takes a bite out of her hot dog for her.
Afterwards, Septième notices that Machs is low on money, so she tries to use his position in the 3rd Section to threaten the stand owner. Machs, however, pays the full amount and tells the princess not to use the 3rd Section’s name this way. He ends up yelling at her, telling her that taking advantage of people’s weaknesses is not a happy way to live. But for Septième, things aren’t that clear-cut because she won’t be able to live if she shows weakness. Her own birthday cake had once been poisoned by her siblings, and her food taster died because of it. That’s why every time she eats, she remembers that she can’t show weakness or else she’ll die. Septième ends up running away from Machs, towards what he realizes is the Zero-th District. She eventually finds herself at a dead-end alley, having been cornered by two thugs. Faced with danger, she tries to use her royalty and then Machs’ army position to scare them off, but since this is the Zero-th District where even the army doesn’t come, the thugs have no qualms about anything, including killing a soldier. Machs arrives in the nick of time and knocks out the larger of the two thugs with a piece of wood, but that thug gets back up and punches Machs. Not giving up, Machs trips and elbows the smaller thug, and then flips the larger thug to the ground. He tries to get Septième to escape with him, but the sound of a car crashing interrupts them. It seems that Alice, Stekkin, and the butler have arrived on the scene after learning where they were.
Machs is surprised to find out later that Septième really was a princess. When she comes to the office with her butler to deal with the smuggler issue that she originally set out to do, Septième decides to let the Empire keep the smuggler in order to investigate corruption, which against the wishes of her butler. In exchange, she takes a kiss from Machs and also demands that he be her attendant whenever she visits the imperial capital from now on. On the train back to Loderia, Septième’s butler feels that she’s become soft and wonders if she’s able to take advantage of weakness now. In response, Septième says that it’s easy to do that, but because it’s so easy, you cannot obtain more than the value of that weakness. However, in a sincere exchange between people, that standard becomes vague. Depending on how the person feels, he or she could obtain something with more value. Thinking about how Machs had offered his hand to help her run away, Septième questions how much value she could place on the palm of that hand. “Taking out infinite value” – such connected bonds are needed to realize the path to her conquest. When Septième finally asks if using people’s compassion is being soft, her butler feels lonely because there’s nothing more to teach her. Back at the office, Machs has to deal with the rumors spreading about the kiss he got.
Despite the standalone nature of this episode, this story is actually from the end of volume 5 of the manga. I generally feel that the manga’s writing is stronger than that of the anime original episodes, and while this episode isn’t the greatest example, it was better than some of the previous episodes. Princess Septième, voiced by Saitou Chiwa, reminds me a lot of bratty Mashiro of Mai-Otome and even Ilya of FSN. That attitude led to some humorous moments, like when she interrupted Machs in the bathroom and then when she kissed him at the end.
From the preview, the next episode looks to be returning to the end of volume 2. However, there will be a break next week, so Episode 14 won’t air until January 8th.