“You know how there are those times when you go see a movie and think, I don’t care what that’s about. I just want to see something blow up for Christ’s sake and mind my own damn business. And is that so wrong? No. In fact, it couldn’t be more right.” Garterbelt, episode 9. I know what a lot of you are thinking, “Are you reviewing Hentai now?” No, no I am not, there is no actual nudity in this show, or it is at least censored. The idea of one’s guilty pleasure gets thrown around a lot, but I say that if it s a pleasure, why feel any guilt? One of the most vulgar shows I’ve watched in a while, and I do most certainly enjoy watching it. But is it good? Hit the jump to read my analysis, or review, whatever!
Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt Review:
Length: 13 Episodes
Release Year: 2010
Shortly after creating one of the most insane and manly animes ever to involve giant robots getting into other giant robots to merge with other giant robots, also known as Gurren Lagann. A bunch of people at Gainax, who most will remember for creating Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I would love to review at some point, but everything I’d say has been said a thousand times over, so don’t count on it. Went on a vacation, got drunk, and came up with an idea for their next project. And nearly 3 years later, the risky mix of drunken antics, a crap load of “adult” animated shows, and what had to be a massive financial risk, Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt aired. About two years later, the reliable Funimation released a dub of the show, and that’s what I’ll be talking about.
The show picks up In Media Res, where two angel sisters, Panty Anarchy, a massive slut who has bananas for hair, in addition being able to turn groin covering clothing into firearms. And Stocking Anarchy, a gothic-lolita sweet lover who turns her stockings into katanas, and has two hair colors. These two angels are kicked out of heaven and told to come back when Stocking stops being Gluttonous and embraces Fast, and when Panty stops being Lustful by having sex with anything that has a penis, and embraces Chastity. And the forces that be find the best way to accomplish this is to stay with a black afro donning Priest, and fight ghosts in a city that lies between heaven and hell.
First of all, who would let a family name like Anarchy into heaven? I mean, anarchy is pretty much never associated with holiness, so they were probably pressured into by their parents who named them after lingerie! Oh, and the priest is named Garterbelt? Which, for those who do not sniff or wear lingerie, is a strap that keeps a woman’s stockings up, but apparently also keeps the panties in place, or something. So the forces that be must have some love of puns.
Whatever, that’s just the set up, and we pick up after the duo got accustomed to Earth, Panty got a gallon’s worth of semen, and Stocking ingested approximately one million Calories thus far. And for the first few episodes our protagonists need to fight a ghost who is made of poop, basically one living erection, and a drop of undead seman. And yes, it is vulgar and dumb, but it is also freaking amazing to watch! I appreciate a well crafted manifestation of curse words and overly sexual humor, and admit it, everyone laughed at those jokes when they were 14. And if the popularity of any Adult Swim-sec programing is any indication, a lot of the “adult” American animation market is filled with it, so why can’t an anime do just that. And it is actually not too poorly written, it is sure a lot of curse words, almost to the point where they become meaningless, but it does not take itself all that seriously, and the creators know that they are making one stupid, stupid, stupid show. And the show said it best itself with the opening line I used.
However, the actual situations that are used are pretty much some of the first ideas that they thought of, but the “two episodes for every half hour” model prevents the ideas from lingering on too long, and they get right to the next one. And I actually do like the monster’s designs, they are little more than a black and red glob, but they are oddly appealing due to how much personality they can exert before they are shot in the face and blow up. Also, their explosions are live action replicas getting blown up, which looks wonderful and is way more satisfying than any overly gory death scene could hope to be. And if Evangelion showed us anything, it’s that Gainax knows how to design a cool monster of the week.
But in the sixth out of these thirteen episodes, we are introduced to the Demon sisters, Scanty and Kneesocks, two rule abiding parallels to our heroes, except the fact that they pretty much have the same personality. Scanty is a bit more energetic, while Kneesocks is more restrained, which I can’t really apply to either of the protagonists, since they both lose their cool, although Stocking does so a bit less, so maybe that’s what they’re going for?
I really don’t like these two, they are confident in their superiority, their vocabulary is designed to be difficult to understand, which was intentional, I know. Why bother making the same character twice?
Their bodies are almost identical, with the Kneesocks being the only difference that I could see. They have different weapons, with Scanty’s more revolver like handguns, compared to Panty’s normal brick pistol. And Kneesocks’ dual Scythes to Stocking’s katanas, but they are pretty much identical in their actual use. I also think that having two red skinned demons with pastel hair colors, and matching tan school uniforms, was a dumb idea when you have Panty, a blonde girl who actually wears a couple of different outfits, but normally a nice red dress. And Stocking, who has dark blue and pink hair, wears gothic lolita garb, and carries around a stuffed animal. When the demon sisters appear, they become the main antagonists, and ghosts are just their pawns for various plans they have to take over the world, or just kill/embarrass the angels.
As much as I like the individual episodes, I think that some were intentionally placed to mess with people. A beach half-episode followed by one where it is clearly winter. An episode where the angels go to school, which they only do about twice throughout the series, is followed by one where they are film stars. They seem very inconsistent, and maybe that was the point, anime tends to have more of a building narrative than American animation, but it just feels awkward, since nobody ever points it out.
Oh, and while I like the idea of giving a side character their own episode, Chuck got 3 mini-episodes. Who is Chuck? Imagine Gir from Invader Zim, remove the humorous dialog, add some odd design, and a bucket of slapstick. During the main show, Chuck’s job is to get abused, and maybe bue used as a tool, or a distraction. But here’s the thing, he only says his name, and is never given much of a personality. The two leads are pretty generic, so how could they not even give this guy a simple personality, other than idiot who gets abused.
Although, I do like Brief, the powerless human who wants to pee in Panty’s but, and based on the fact that he’s a nerd, he’s probably the creator’s way of making fun of anyone who finds these characters to be attractive. He wants to do things the safe and sensible way, but the two angels are rash, and don’t have time for his BS. And maybe that’s because I try to be the voice of reason, or that both him and I are red headed teenagers, but I found his incompetence to be nice, since the Angels are, well, angels. Seriously, how the hell do you kill an angel? Although, the Ghostbusters get up seems a bit odd, it keeps in with the theme, but nobody wears those things in their daily life, or they at least emphasize it more.
I can buy angels fighting ghosts made out of underwear, but not odd human behavior, how curious. Also, I found his voice to be spot on at depicting a nerdish character, but not the nerds who are to nerds, what nerds are to other people. Sorry, Yahtzee just put it too perfectly.
And then there is Garterbelt, the black afro priest, who is into some kinky stuff. I really enjoyed his backstory, and I find his constant complaining to be humorous, due to how much of a stereotypical black person he is portrayed as. He pretty much serves as a Nanny for looking after all the angels and fixing all their crap. I would love to go into his character, but he is one of those spoiler filled characters that I cannot talk about without spoiling his reveals, but unless you are the type of person who found anything I talked about to be appealing, you’ll like this guy.
Moving on to the animation, oh god, the animation. This show looks simply amazing, with this unique mix of shows like Powerpuff Girls, and an animation style that is unlike any other than I’ve seen from a major studio. It is vibrant, colorful, stylish, and every other buzzword that I can think of. I do find the feet to look odd, since they are basically just hooves for the most part, which I never seem to notice unless they’re feet are not covered, but it only serves to amplify how unconventional the show’s artstyle is. There are some points where it goes into a more traditional anime style, and some points where it gets even more deformed, and they always look great. Gainax makes some pretty looking shows, and this is no exception.
But just as good as the music, is the soundtrack. It is the best kind of electronic and dance tracks and it just fits the animation with how unconventional it is. I am not a music buff, and I often try to skirt coyly around the issue of a soundtrack, but it is frantic, upbeat, and has more than one track containing orgasming sounds, it is freaking rad!
And shifting back to the voice acting, I’d like to say that Funimation really impressed me with just how well done it was. I have little more to say that the fact that the everyone pulled off the portrayal of their character very well, and put a lot of emotion into the whole thing. Although, why bother dubbing over Chuck? All he ever said was Chuck, in English, even in the subbed version. Speaking of the sub, it appears that FUnimation also spruced up the dialog, and threw in a fourth wall breaking joke or two, which works with the theme, and addresses my fear that a dub of this would be pretty crap. I have no idea why I said such a thing on Christmas of 2010, but it doesn’t even feel like a dub, remove the one music video episode, and I’d buy that it was an American production, unless I read the credits, obviously.
As a whole, Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt, is a wonderful, wonderful, piece of crap, that only suffers from some under characterized characters, and a few things that were misaligned, like having a Winter bit and Summer bit in the same episode. But to recycle my introduction quote, “You know how there are those times when you go see a movie and think, I don’t care what that’s about. I just want to see something blow up for Christ’s sake and squeeze my dense business. And is that so wrong? No. In fact, it couldn’t be more right.” It’s a frantic ball of fun, and even though it smells like week old cum, it tastes like taffy and appeals to the least intellectual desires one may have. It is dumb fun, and it has never been dumber or funner.