Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt Complete Series (Cert 18)
3 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 300 minutes approx.
You’ve probably heard this before but for once it’s true – Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt is unlike anything you have seen before in Anime.
From the devious minds at Gainax comes a show which doesn’t so much throw the rulebook out the window, it takes a huge dump on it first! Then again, the show was created after the team that worked on the similar visual rush that was Gurren Lagann took a holiday and after a few drinks decided their next project would take the madness of that show to the next, most indecent level possible. And they succeeded.
One of the key reasons why this show stands out from any other anime series is the art style which is directly influenced from the late 90’s US adult cartoons such as Ren & Stimpy or the lesser known Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show! from Canada. Garish primary colours mixed with simple, blocky style character designs and no frills animation.
Along with the rapid fire, coarse dialogue the show is also defined by its lack of boundaries as far as taboos are concerned. Poop, fart and vomit jokes are taken new levels – or lows as is your wont – of boldness while the energy and noise levels are barely below brain rattling. And it’s absolutely hilarious to boot!
The plot – or I should say “basic premise” – revolves around the Anarchy Sisters, the titular Panty (the blonde one) and Stocking (the black haired one), fallen angels kicked out of heaven for their bad behaviour and dumped in the middle ground between heaven and hell called Daten City, which is constantly under the threat of ghosts. All the vulgar siblings have to so to return to heaven is slay the ghosts and receive Heaven Coins as a reward.
Their assignments are handed out the by the huge afro-sporting reverend Gartbelt, with whom they live at the church along with the green dog Chuck, who is more a punchbag than a pet. The sisters get their names because they can form powerful weapons out of their respective namesake underwear – a Panty gun and Stocking sword. They also have a vice each – Stocking loves sweet food while Panty has an insatiable and seemingly unquenchable sex drive.
Every hero needs a nemesis and for Panty and Stocking it is the red skinned demon sisters Scanty and Kneesocks, flanked by their rodent pet Zipper and supported by the mayor of Daten City, Corset. The rivalry between the two siblings pairs features across a number of episodes, and as one might have surmised by now, the outcome isn’t always pretty for either party.
The other notable recurring character is Brief, or Geek Boy as the Anarchy Sisters call him. A sci-fi fan from high school, he is in love with Panty who obviously doesn’t reciprocate his feelings but is wiling to let him help on cases so she doesn’t have to. However, it seems Brief may have a big surprise in store for his beloved Panty.
Each episode is made up of two short stories of insane, fast paced, vulgar, relentless madness which may or not accurately fulfil the remit above. Sometimes it goes off on a wild tangent to look at the personal lives of our anarchic angels or one of the supporting characters such as Garterbelt’s past life, the Chuck To The Future trilogy or branching off even further leftfield with a tale told from the point of view from a group of soldiers who are actually ghost sperm, or the abstract tale of a put upon office worker who ends up flooding Daten Town with vomit! Yup, subtlety isn’t this show’s strong point.
It is in these alternate tales where the animation differs substantially from the regular artwork, veering towards a more serious and artistically “straight” style, while the big finale of the ghost succumbing to his/her fate is filmed as an exploding clay model (detailed in the “Explosions” features in the extras).
It is fair to say that a lot of the material in the show will be hit or miss depending on one’s tastes, but one thing is for sure, it is never boring or predictable. One minute the sisters are chasing ghost, the next they are starring in a Transformers parody; or an episode will be devoted to the silent and violent antics of the hapless dog Chuck to be followed by a music video where you can play spot the artists as the girls mimic a number of pop and rock’s finest.
One episode, shown from a single head on camera position of the girls stuck in a room awaiting dinner while the world move round them is an example of the varied and esoteric nature of the show and how well it can play with the various conventions with great success.
As mentioned before, the script is very crude and vulgar and laced with profanity, mostly spoken in English. However it would appear that the English dub script was written by Quentin Tarentino as the curse quota is increased hundred fold! Run the subtitles with the English audio and you’ll see that even the most innocent lines of dialogue have been replaced with a stream of four letter words that don’t even correspond with the original script. Also rather annoyingly, the “Sanitary box” OVA of short skits has not been subbed so those of you who prefer the original dialogue will have to suffer the dub.
Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt will without question be THE marmite anime release of the year, be it the artwork, the vulgarity or the sheer mind bending adrenaline rush it delivers as the main points of contention. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, it is recommended that you do NOT watch this show in a marathon session unless you want to kiss your sanity goodbye.
It’s that good! Or bad! I don’t know. Make your own mind up!
English Language 5.1
Japanese Language 2.0
Sanitary Box OVA
Rating – **** ½
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