Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt was, without a doubt, a unique venture by Gainax. Unlike all their other shows about giant robots and emotional teenage boys, this one featured two hyper-sexualized angels looking to earn their wings and get back into heaven.
And unlike most Gainax shows, Panty and Stocking has a very different art style. Hell, everything about the show is different than what you've previously experienced.
Follow me after the jump to see if this show is worth your time, or if it should be flushed down the toilet, along with its humor.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
The title characters: Panty and Stocking, are two angelic sisters who need to eliminate ghosts plaguing the world in order to earn enough "heavenly coins" to get themselves back to heaven. With the guidance of the preacherman Garterbelt, that should be a piece of cake, right?
Sure, in a rational world.
This is far from it. Our "angels" frequently cope with their sex and sweets addictions, spew enough foul language to give television censors seizures, and exhibit no sense of morality. The show's charm exists in the deepest reaches of the toilet humor genre: fans of Crayon Shin-chan will feel right at home watching this. The episodes are generally broken up into two smaller episodes, operating on a vague parody title of famous films, such as Battles without Honor or Humanity and Night of the Living Dead.
Within each episode, the plot is fairly textbook: Find a demon, defeat it, get a coin. Along the way, the girls unleash a torrent of vulgarity and do whatever their little corrupt hearts wish to do. The second half of the series cuts back on the random romps about, and starts to develop a plot: the girls must stop hell from being unleashed on the world.
A large part of my interest in watching this show was because it's produced by Gainax. Panty and Stocking is a far cry from the likes of Evangelion or Gurren Lagann, both in tone and art style, but that's what interested me: Gainax really taking a step in a different direction with this show. I'm always willing to open myself up to new projects, especially since this one was highly touted when it first debuted.
I am not much for toilet humor, and such the first part of the show was difficult for me to get into. There comes a certain point where cursing just loses its appeal for me, and mindlessly shoving sex and shit down my throat made me want to fast-forward through some episodes. I'm of the same mind about South Park: I can take it in small pieces, but when that's your whole concept, it goes stale very quickly. At least South Park is frequently laced with sharp commentary.
The second half greatly improved, though, with the introduction of the angels' demonic foils Scanty and Kneesocks and the aforementioned "save the world" plot. Episodes sometimes stretch for 23 minutes, as opposed to two 12-minute episodes. The characters show some modicum of development. The humor got a bit more sophisticated. While I didn't need them as a driving force throughout the show, the inclusion of them took it above a level of insipid humor.
By the end of the show, I found myself really enjoying the show: once accustomed to the environment of the show -- much like adjusting to a different altitude -- it becomes a lot of fun. The show's English-language cast was fantastic, and made the show infinitely more enjoyable. The Japanese cast came across as flat and not terribly engaging, but Jamie Marchi and Monica Rial really made Panty and Stocking come alive.
I did have one detraction from FUNimation's production of the show: the dialogue was quiet. It seems as though there was an issue with how the show was mixed, because dialogue comes across much quieter than sound effects, to the point where I had to keep my finger on the volume control throughout the show in order to enjoy it.
If you're a big fan of toilet humor, then you've already signed up for the Panty and Stocking bandwagon, so you may as well hop on board. For those of you who are sitting on the fence about it, this is a tough one: if you can shut your brain off and enjoy the show for it's highly stylized art, foul language, and debauched humor, then you'll have a good time.
6.5 – Okay. 6’s are flawed, but still enjoyable. These titles may not have attempted to do anything special or interesting, but they are nonetheless enjoyable. These typically make great rental fodder or bargain grab.
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