Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
has been circulating the anime community for a while now. As Gainax
’s newest project, it was bound to have a following. Gainax is no fool to pushing the envelope when it comes to humor, and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt could very well be Gainax’s most ambitious of projects. If you thought FLCL
was a sensory explosion, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt will leave you begging for more from start to finish.
Panty is a gunslinger whose sexual tendencies fuel her motives.
The first adventure introduces the two main fallen angel heroines, their drill instructor reverend, and their hyperactive GIR look-alike. From the get-go, we’re also introduced to Panty
’s sheer addiction to men and sex, and Stocking
’s crazy sugar consumption. Garterbelt
, their instructor, describes incidents where people are being eaten by toilets, and it’s up to Panty and Stocking to stop whatever is leaving the people of Daten City
in their crappers. Eventually, Panty decides to challenge whatever is devouring citizens by actually using the restroom herself. Crap happens, and it happens in a big way. Try a giant piece of excrement that could give Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s Great Mighty Poo a run (no pun intended) for his money. The story ends simply enough, with the two fallen angels going through a ridiculously sexy transformation sequence and ultimately destroying the pile of crap. From that adventure alone, you can see what Gainax is aiming to do with this show: parody American-drawn animated series with their own signature style, and in that case, they’ve succeeded immensely.
The second story follows a blatantly sexual “speed vs. stamina” theme, where Panty and Stocking must take out an enemy who possesses a high-speed car. Panty’s sex-crazed lifestyle is illustrated when she counts how many times she…ahem…arrived compared to her current sexual partner. This point is the peak of the adult content, as the rest of the episode tones down the humor more for an action-based vibe. The climactic ending sequence brings Stocking onto the battle scene, as she slashes the enemy in two with her Stocking Sword. It doesn’t push the maturity levels to a breaking point, but it still is incredibly stylized and fun to watch.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is divided into two short 15-minute episodes per show, not unlike many American drawn
Goth swordswoman Stocking is all about the sweets.
cartoons. In fact, Panty and Stocking takes its liberties from American-drawn cartoons more than traditional Japanese anime. Giant English-written onomatopoeia burst from practically everything in Daten City, along with over-the-top animations, wacky facial expressions, and plenty of good ol’ fashioned cartoon action. It’s basically a mature and sexualized alternative to the Powerpuff Girls. But while some may believe that the show relies on the popularity of its influences too much (the Powerpuff Girls has been a hit in Japan, along with the obvious inspiration from Invader Zim in the crazy Chuck character), it really doesn’t. This is a powerfully designed presentation that safely but daringly puts a cool spin on the traditional American cartoon genre. The opening theme is an oddity; a surreal, but catchy auto-tune opener that adds a nutty vibe to the show, and the charming ending theme is a good change.
I really did like the characters in Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. They just feel new. Panty is a promiscuous vixen whose entire goal on Earth is screwing guys more than using her panties as a gun. Stocking is a sugar-addicted goth girl whose stockings turn into swords. Garterbelt is a priest who’s entire job is making sure that Panty and Stocking do their job of destroying the Ghosts in Daten City. Finally, Chuck…well…I don’t know WHAT Chuck is, but he looks like GIR (which makes sense since Invader Zim is a confirmed inspiration). The character design is very fun, but I never really felt compelled to learn more about Stocking. She takes a more backseat approach, which is a shame, considering that this is supposed to be a balanced lead between co-stars. Panty is funny, but Stocking hasn’t nailed that humor with her constant devouring of sweets or goth. A majority of her jokes come from her commenting on Panty’s sex life more than her own character. Hopefully she will get a better screen motive in future episodes. All in all, though, the characters are funny and keep the show interesting, even in the most action-oriented scenes.
Garterbelt tries to keep the angels on task, usually failing.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is fueled by the same kind of vibes that made past Gainax anime like FLCL and Gurren Lagaan so successful. There is zero time for reprieve; it’s an over-the-top adrenaline rush of comedy and adult humor that will leave even the most avid of Gainax fans with their jaws on the floor. The best comparison to Panty and Stocking is the hyper-animated Dead Leaves anime, which makes sense since Panty and Stocking’s action is just as insane. While it does push the mature content into dangerously trashy territory sometimes, its fantastic animation, funny characters, and over-the-top action makes it a surprisingly good series thus far.
One thing that Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt does differently than other comedy “anime” is that it doesn’t rely on Japanese pop culture references. While anime like Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (or to a more severe extent, Super Milk-chan) pride itself on referencing any kind of anime that they can get their hands on, Panty and Stocking plays a more straightforward route when presenting its comedy. By straightforward I mean sex jokes, scatological puns, and enough mature content to make the guys at Williams Street wet themselves. That’s a double-edged sword, however; believe it or not, there are people who aren’t into repeated sexual innuendo or giant poo monsters. The target audience for Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is still in the dark. While its animation is too cute for American comedy show fans (aka the Adult Swim demographic), it’s too edgy for fans of more action-based and casual anime like Bleach or Naruto. While it’s too early to tell who is getting the most from this show, Panty and Stocking’s first episode sets up the scene well, and shows that it’s not just about spoofing Craig McCracken’s mightiest “girls who save the day” production.
+ Great introduction of characters
+ Funny humor, even when it gets risqué
+ Excellent animation
- Needs more Stocking
- Won’t be for everyone
Scene of the Episode: Panty and Stocking’s Transformation Sequence
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is a tough anime to really describe, mostly in part that it lies in that vague area between anime and American-drawn cartoons. It’s a hyperactive and wild ride that prides itself on juxtaposing its cute animation with adult humor and plenty of it. The characters do feel a bit imbalanced thus far, but there’s still plenty of time for the equilibrium to surface. The animation is stellar and makes the entire show burst with style. There are people who will hate this anime; they’ll either hate the cartoony animation or the mature content or just the fact that these cute little angels swear and make sex jokes constantly. Still, this is a funny, funny anime that will hopefully develop a good following in the near future. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt may not be universally appealing at this point, but the fallen angels’ debut episode is, without a doubt, a reason that this anime is worth tracking.