Despite Gainax’s efforts, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt has been slipping. After a huge debut, the series was a bright future for the angel duo and their afro-haired priest. Sadly, the last two episodes began to show the series in a more negative light. The humor was stretched, the battles were weaker, and the episodes just seemed like they were trying too hard. Now it’s time for number four. Thankfully, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt shifts back into high gear for the fourth episode, bringing back the hilarious comedy and epic battles that made the first episode so memorable.
Gainax has been watching a lot of Spongebob.
Panty and Stocking’s first adventure, “The Diet Syndrome,” begins with the sweet-loving Stocking enjoying her latest sugary treat. Panty arrives after a workout and tells Stocking that she’ll eventually gain weight from eating too many sweets. Stocking, expectedly, denies that claim. After a short while, Stocking discovers herself gaining a bit a “muffin top”. She weighs herself and sadly notices herself gaining weight. The Lolita angel begins a secretive weight-loss program, until Panty arrives with a slew of sweets for her. Stocking, despite her pure interest in the sweets, passes them off, with Panty ultimately feeding the sweets to Chuck. Stocking eventually breaks down, revealing her diet, with Panty making fun of her along the way. Stocking increases the severity of her training, but to no avail. Stocking reaches her breaking point and gorges herself on sweet rolls, now knowing that her hard work is not paying off. Stocking awakes the next morning as an enormous wad of flesh, with Panty laughing her ass off afterward. Enter Garterbelt, who delivers the next mission. Apparently, a Ghost is producing a yeast germ in the sweet rolls Stocking was eating that causes woman who eat it to become enormous. Panty and the absurdly overweight Stocking roll out (literally) to find the Ghost. The Ghost turns out to be a fat baker who produces the germ-infested cream from her…person. Stocking attempts to release her weapon, but it proves useless, due to her stocking’s new stretched size. Finally, Panty takes out the enemy, allowing Stocking to return to her regular size and her regular eating habits.
These Ghost designs are getting weirder and weirder.
Considering some of the verbal exchanges seen in “Catfight Club”, this one was bound to happen, but despite my skepticism, it was a very funny adventure. Much like “Catfight Club,” this story focused less on the Ghost fighting and more on Panty and Stocking themselves, in this case Stocking. Seeing Stocking go from refined sweet taster to a giant wad of fat was a transition that I didn’t expect, and even better, it was a riot to watch. While the battle felt a bit simplistic, this sequence focused more on the comedy than the over-the-top battles. There were a ton of memorable moments in this part and it really showed a good balance between vulgar humor and cartoony chaos.
The second part “High School Nudical” caught my attention from the start. Seriously, it’s called “High School Nudical”? Yup, Panty and Stocking catch note of a lingerie run at the Earth school they attend. The students, led by a masked man named Master G, celebrate their rebellious teenage experience by running throughout the city in nothing but their underwear. Panty and Stocking join them, once again encountering the meek “geek boy” Brief, who reluctantly is stripped down to his underwear. The run begins as planned, until Master G announces a Ghost sighting. The Ghost turns out to be an underwear-loving troublemaker who steals Panty and Stocking’s weapons. Low on ideas, Panty makes some makeshift weapons from the underwear of the runners, with none of them having the firepower to take out the Ghost. Enter Brief, or more specifically, Brief’s underwear. Panty is able to create a super-powered shotgun from Brief’s underwear, taking out the Ghost with a single blast. The run ends with a slow rain of underwear atop the runners.
It's not a party without Panty and Stocking!
Panty and Stocking finally get back into the swing of battle here. Thanks to some great fight choreography, throwing back to the excellent “Death Race 2010” scenario, the adventure felt dynamic. It didn’t skip out on the comedy either. The running joke of Garterbelt’s feelings toward young boys bursts to life here, and seeing that final shotgun blast against the underwear Ghost was pretty darn epic. It was much more action-packed than the last few sequences, marking a great comeback for the series.
After a couple of disappointing episodes, I started losing faith in Panty and Stocking, but thanks to some great comedy, stellar animation, and plenty of action, the fourth episode is a great return to form from the Ghost-fighting duo. Both parts exhibited a collection of clever jokes that benefited from their plotlines, adding in some very well designed set pieces. It even brought back some of the edgy humor, and in balanced quantities too. While “High School Nudical” was a bit on the raunchy side, that didn’t stop Panty and Stocking’s fourth showing from rising above the previous episodes' so-so quality. Panty and Stocking are officially back in business.