The "Anarchy Sisters," Panty and Stocking, have been kicked out of Heaven for, to put it mildly, misbehaving. Led by a priest named Garterbelt, these angels must buy their way back by exterminating ghosts in Daten City. But this task requires unconventional weapons for these unorthodox angels—they transform their lingerie into weapons to dispatch the spirits. Unfortunately, neither of them take their duties seriously, as they rather spend their time in pursuit of other "hobbies": Panty prefers to sleep with anything that walks, and Stocking favors stuffing her face with sweets than hunting ghosts.
Follow these two unruly angels as they battle ghosts, an overflow of bodily fluids, and their own tendency to get side-tracked in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
I'm not going to mince words here, gentlemen. This right here is what is commonly referred to as an "orgasm of excellence". This series is so good it'll probably kill you by the time it's done. As in, this thing Gainax has made here can roughly fall under the definition of autoerotic asphyxiation. But that's just a summary of the show's quality as a whole, let's break this shit down:
To put it plainly, the entire point of this show is to take the illusions otaku have surrounded themselves with for the last 10 years and annihilate them through a wanton, infinite assault of sex
and Western style. This show is not Sora ga Otoshimaru Hime Desu Beats! or whatever the hell it is you people watch nowadays. This is about a gun-toting whore and her diabetic goth friend slashing and shooting giant monsters literally comprised of shit, armies of dead sperm soldiers and their especially polite and well-mannered rivals, and when they're not doing something like that they're getting into some other shenanigans which may or may not involve parodying Transformers. Oh yeah, they're Angels or something under the command of Black Dynamite and have Gir as their sidekick and have to collect coins by killing monsters to get back into Heaven. But honestly, who cares? There are panties in this show that turn into guns and it's funny as fuck.
Behind all this exquisite and sophisticated comedy is probably one of the most feminist morals ever, another thing that separates P&S from your average animu. Through the entire series, the female main characters do what they want, when they want, how they want while the male lead is useless, flaky and gets captured a lot. This motif boils down to "It's okay to be a bitch. Live free and if you screw up have a man clean up after you." As you can see, this show's driving message has all the modesty of its main duo. It's fantastic.
Also, that token Gainax ending. It's there and as wonderful as ever.
It's entirely episodic like a US cartoon, but with an overarching point. There are actually 26 episodes, but they're all 12 minutes long. Each episode is two episodes. That's right, this show has a 2x Quality Multiplier.
This show oozes with style that has pretty much never been tried before in the Eastern world. Think Dead Leaves (if you haven't seen this, take 40 minutes away from that time vampire Korean MMO I'm sure you have minimized in the corner and watch it. Dubbed only. It'll be the best thing you'll see all month) meets Power Puff Girls. The art and animation quality are as incredible as they are unique, using a potent blend of patented hand-drawn Imaishi scribbles, CGI and actual, real-life explosions at the end of each battle. The comic-styled on-screen sound effects from Dead Leaves also make a return here in full force, and they make the whole thing such a cool and unique experience. Another, minor thing I like is that the girls change clothes every episode, a subtle but welcomed touch that more cartoons should employ.
Oh yeah, it should be noted that this isn't an "ecchi comedy" (Those aren't funny or even passable as entertainment. If you came here looking for one of those and are now reading this review with a twisted expression of shock on your face, it should be noted that I personally and sincerely hate you and several things that look like you). Yes, there are more sex jokes than I've ever seen in a 12 minute cartoon segment, but the girls themselves are not fappable. That's the point. If something along the lines of "UNFAPPABLE ANIME GIRLS?! WHAT IS THIS" just escaped the blubber of your face, this isn't the show for you. In fact, most shows and animation in general isn't for you. As said in the previous section, this show was designed to be the antithesis of every ecchi moe series that has ruined anime in the last decade.
The punchline is that there are often scenes where Panty and Stocking become similar to standard, over-proportioned anime women to cocktease otaku, and there are people here who're actually going "i don't get it, why wasnt the whole show like that?". Jesus christ
This won't be hard. We have /eight/ main characters in the show.
PANTY: She loves sex and violence. Her panties turn into a gun named Backlace. In episode 1, she banged four or five guys. I love Panty.
STOCKING: She loves sweets and goth frills, not to mention looking down on her sister's bad habits. "Serves you right! I hope you shit out all your organs! Hahaha!" Also her stockings turn into katanas and she has a bondage fetish. I love Stocking.
GARTERBELT: A large, angry, black afropriest who tries his hardest to make the derelict angels do their jobs. Dude is awesome and intense. Also, a pedophile.
CHUCK: literally Gir
BRIEF: The nerd who follows Panty around, the anime everyfan that the show makes fun of.
SCANTY & KNEESOCKS w/ FASTENER: Creating a beautiful parallel to our lustful and gluttonous heavenly duo(along with terabytes of more fan art), these two demonic siblings are just grand and add a much-needed team of villains for P&S to unknowingly beat each episode.
OH LORD THAT SOUNDTRACK:
Upon beginning this show, I got five seconds in. I hit stop. I hit play.
Yes, my brain said, the theme song is, in fact, electrorock "PANTY STOCKING, PANTY PANTY STOCKING YEOW!!"
As expected from a Gainax original series, this soundtrack is godlike and like Gurren Lagann's, it's extremely varied. The ED alone makes the whole thing worth getting.
The OST is out now btw. It's missing a few good tracks so gainax can release another one later for more $$$ or something though. Still, it's just swell.
Gainax is trollan' weaboos hardcore while simultaneously resurrecting the entire medium with Imaishi's bare, tired hands. If you like style, great music and actual humor then you'll probably like this a lot. Oh yeah, and it's easily a contender for Anime of the Year, right next to Rainbow, DRRR and Sym-Bionic Titan.
Truly a work of art, the only setback is that it isn't dubbed, and due to crunchyroll's indescribable faggotry, it won't be for a while. I have a strong feeling, that with a patented Funi gag dub(WHICH IS COMING IN 2012 OH MY GOD), this show's quality will burst into dimensions the human mind can't even acknowledge.
The main argument as to why Panty & Stocking is a masterpiece are all embellished ways of saying "funny," "it's a parody," and "cool art." Some people go as far as to say that Panty & Stocking is actually genius scripting - a juxtaposition between today's current moe anime standard and hardcore "American pop culture." I've even come across the explanation that Panty & Stocking is "a new level of anime," one that doesn't require intricate or meaningful plot, characters, or story - essentially an anime that thrives on emotion and it's acute sense of humor.
That my friends, is complete bullshit.
Stocking is an anime that relies on swears, penis jokes, and violence as its selling point. Now many anime have capitalized on at least one of these points before and have succeeded (Detroit Metal City, Seitokai Yakuindono, and Baccano! in respective order). So Panty & Stocking tried to do all three simultaneously. I found this not only moronic, but offensive. Never before have I actually been ashamed of watching anime. I am a male, and I have even strapped myself to a chair and watched such titles as Boku no Pico, Bible Black, the Ghost Stories dub, and a high amount of other borderline disturbing anime and media with radical content and ideas and not ever have I felt what I felt when watching Panty & Stocking.
I felt stupid.
What do I mean by that? I mean that Panty & Stocking insulted my intelligence and grouped me in the level of humor that one would find in such riveting pieces of American glory like "Family Guy" and "Superjail." I personally watch anime because I view it as a medium that has great qualities that other media culture could learn from. I openly started Panty & Stocking with hopes that it would verily mock the troupes one could find in American media in a way that had not been done before. What I received was a trashbin of repetitive storylines combined with zero-dimensional characters that did nothing but yell about phallus's and excrement. The attempt on grasping American culture (even today's pop culture, which is what I believe Panty & Stocking wanted to poke fun at) disgusted me. Not once did I find the use of references to famous American films appropriate. Not only did the references have nothing to do with the episodes at hand, I felt that Panty & Stocking tried to take such references and use them as a tool of manipulation trying to coax viewers into thinking that Panty & Stocking was legitimately a smart piece of composition. I can easily see where people would be misled, that is with the art looking similar to various cartoons in America, Panty & Stocking must be a parody! Not at all. In fact, Powerpuff Girls had a stronger plot to begin with, and to even group this anime together with that cartoon would be slander to Craig McCracken. The animation may be new to Japan, but it has been seen before in cartoons, and it's been seen better so all exclamations like "The art is weird so it's good!" and "Different art just isn't appreciated!" are false. Gainax, one of the most acclaimed and profitable animation studios in Japan, truly abused the art style to boot. Watching only a few episodes you can see where corners were cut (which is extremely noticeable in episodes 10, 11, and 12.) A recap in a thirteen episode anime, should never be necessary. How is it that anime such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Monster, and Glass Mask, spanning over fifty episodes each never used a single recap episode in its main series, yet Gainax has the balls to put one in a thirteen episode /comedy/ series? Truly outrageous.
The characters in Panty & Stocking might as well have been pieces of shit or drivels of snot. Oh I must have forgotten. They are pieces of shit and drivels of snot. Nearly every antagonist, save the demon sisters whom I will touch upon in a moment, makes the characters from Mars of Destruction look creative. They exist solely to be discarded, and even worse, to swallow precious moments of your time away. The demon sisters who are introduced halfway through the series actually shined a beam of light down onto this hellhole of a production, but only briefly. They were first brought into play standing for everything that Panty and Stocking opposed and after their episode had ended, I hoped for more episodes similar to theirs to occur. But what do I get? A conflict that builds between the antagonists and protagonists for one episode, and then the demon sisters regress into Team Rocket. Never again are the demon sisters relevant as antagonists and most of the proceeding episodes are focused on them releasing some sort of monster and then failing as they fly into the sky. Now the supporting characters might as well be called the crippling characters, because that is really all they do to the overall story. Garterbelt does nothing but hinder the story and abuse the stereotypical "all priests are gay child molesters." If this was meant to be a way to confront the issue in the Vatican, it failed, and if it was meant to be a funny comment on the church's political standpoint, then well, it failed again. Garterbelt assumes the role of mentor to Panty & Stocking but ultimately ends up being a total eyesore and teaches the protagonists nil. And then there's Chuck who is likened by many to Gir from the Invader Zim series. The main difference between the two is that Gir was actually funny. I really don't think I have to go into much detail on Chuck's character design because all he says is Chuck and is then squashed by a larger object. He plays absolutely no role at any point in the series, but there exists an episode in which he is the focus. After watching this episode I was very much tempted to sign up for lessons in Japanese so I could write angry letters to the writer in his native language begging him to quit his career in animation and move onto a medium that won't suffer from his obvious mental deficiency. Then is the character named Brief, who portrays the cliched disgusting otaku with no merits other than his apparently large penis. His atrocious character design is only overshadowed by Panty's single trait - how much of a gigantic unlovable disease infested whore she is. Both her and Stocking are obvious fodder for prepubescent virgin teenagers attracted to the sheer idea of sex. I would even go as far as saying that if this anime did not contain explicit transformation scenes in which characters remove their undergarments it would be nowhere near as acclaimed as it is. That is to say, the fanbase consists of perverts striving to find some deeper meaning in their anime which they try to defend by explaining that if you don't like it, then you must have a poor sense of humor or need to "loosen up." Compare Panty & Stocking to Mitsudomoe - both anime including large amounts of sexual content used as jokes - Mitsudomoe has characters that possess qualities beyond "she likes sweets" and "a huge bitch" though. Panty & Stocking can't actually even compete with Mitsudomoe on a scale larger than sex jokes, because the characters and story are so disabled that it merely strives to fill the void with even more moments of mediocrity. I don't find Panty & Stocking unfunny because it doesn't suit my humor, I find it unfunny because there is no humor to begin with.
Then there's the canon discontinuation. Anyone who tries to makes sense of the abominable ending or any one of the episodes all together deserves to have themselves locked into a sanitarium. Another reviewer describes the two eleven minute episodes per episode as a "times two multiplier" but I would I disagree and say that it's actually a divided by two denominator. The split episodes merely reflect the inconsistency and the lack of coherency that Panty & Stocking exclusively has. One moment the entire cast is zombified, the next everyone is on the beach being sexually violated by sea monsters. Not ever will the story amount to anything beyond not having one.
The sound in Panty & Stocking, I will cede, is very good. The ending song, performed by Lisa, is wonderful and regrettably has very little to do with the anime. In the ending sequence a scene that appears to be a vague backstory on both Panty & Stocking exists, and alas once more, Gainax turned their noses away from such a sweet smelling idea. Even cartoons for the youngest of children have stories explaining the origination of their characters. Dora the Explorer had more character development than Panty & Stocking. Beyond the ending are numerous in episode tracks, whilist very enjoyable, I felt that many of them were overplayed and often unfitting (I can recall about four episodes ending with the song that includes the lyrics "Clap your hands.") The opening is closest thing to piece of satirical work - the song is a shout-out to all cartoons which only repeat the characters name over and over again.
Now if you've actually read this far, I believe you've come to the conclusion that I hate Panty & Stocking. If you thought anything but that, then you're wrong, because I detest Panty & Stocking more than a Red Sox fan from Boston hates the Yankees. It is an insult to the medium of anime almost as much as is when someone says "You like anime? Then you must love anime porn," and I will end this review saying Panty & Stocking does nothing but encourage statements like that. It gives a foul name to anime, for it lacks the fineness that geniuses like Tezuka and Kon worked themselves to death to bring us. When it comes to Panty & Stocking, I am disturbed with anime being associated with it.
And for people who may find this review too serious and that I must not have "understood the point" of this show I would like to say that I did not miss the point. You just made up a point yourself, because this anime lacks one.
If you're going to watch this show, you should know a few things right off the bat:
It is a not a sophisticated series.
As an anime in general, its selling point is not a deep and compelling story with fleshed out characters, exploring various philosophical issues in order to deliver a good message.
As a comedy anime, its humor is not very classy. Its laughs are not derived from insider knowledge (well, most of them) or sublime writing.
So what exactly is the appeal of this anime, you ask?
In Gainax's own words, "vulgar and indecent jokes".
This is usually not a good selling point for anything, because
honestly potty humor is very rarely an effective form of comedy. It is quite possible you will not find this series appealing even if you legitimately give it a try. That's fine.
However if you're anything like me, you'll find the result is surprisingly entertaining and one of Gainax's best (if strangest) shows.
The refuge in vulgarity works fantastically, and the numerous references to western animation/movies, slick animation, awesome music, zany characters, and blatant abuse of engrish makes for a very fun experience; if you've ever played Conker's Bad Fur Day, it's very similar. it's honestly one of the most entertaining anime I have seen in a long time. In typical Gainax fashion, the ending will involve you tearing your hair out.
This is a very love or hate series; either you will find it fun as hell or you'll hate it and find it a disgusting waste of animation cells. I'd at least give it a try, but you should know what to expect before you watch it.
Out of all shows that have been presented in Fall 2010, it seems there is no show like Panty and Stocking which has so decisively split viewer opinions into clear cut groups that either believe it's the best thing that's ever happened since sliced bread, or have banished it to the depths of utter disdain. The question I ask right now and will answer in this review is if one or even both sides are justified.
First thing that one should wonder is what this show was trying to accomplish. I'm not a fan of Gainax, and thus I am not extremely acquainted with their
works. However it's pretty apparent that Gainax was trying to do something that would be different. What they have isn't a complicated or redeeming story. Far from it. The two main characters Panty and Stocking are impulsive and obsessed with sex and sweets respectively. That's all there is to the main characters, and that never changes throughout the show. The most development you ever see from the story or characters is in the priest Garterbelt, who is given a moderately interesting backstory in one episode complete with some decent use of dramatic and comedic elements. Outside of that, the show cannot be praised for its plot and characters alone. For the most part, the show progresses episodically more or less simply because there is a lack of a cohesive plot.
Given that the show is really not aiming to please its audience with traditional story elements, the main option remaining is clearly humor. Probably one of the biggest factors in creating split opinions among viewers (aside from the deliberately shallow plot) is the decision of the show to choose crude and vulgar humor as its primary form of entertainment. Now please do not take this the wrong way. Crude and vulgar humor alone doesn't ruin a show, but at the same time, there is in fact a right way to do it so that it actually is entertaining. The way I see it, P&S both fails and succeeds simultaneously in this department.
The way P&S fails at humor comes down to how at least half the time, the jokes have nothing to do with anything in the plot. The perfect example of this is Panty's Engrish profanity. You should be ashamed of yourself if you find it funny, because it really doesn't serve any purpose and has no relevance to anything that actually happens. A lot of extremely brief references to pop culture all around the world are made throughout the series, and they might as well not exist since again, virtually none of them have any relevance to anything that happens as Panty and Stocking are destroying things, indulging in worldly desires, playing volleyball, showing off as idols, etc.
On the good half of humor however, some of the show's mini plots do in fact turn out to be truly entertaining and original. Part of the originality comes through the amazing production alone. By itself, the concept of sperm soldiers on a mission to enter the womb might only raise brows at best (given that particular concept has definitely been done at least once by Family Guy as I recall, and only god knows what South Park hasn't covered), but it's the imagination of the developers that truly brings such a concept and a few others to life with vibrant colors, eye catching motions/effects, and sweated detail where it counts. P&S's art style is a bit unusual, comparable more to that of western animation as opposed to what is commonly used in anime. The almost bouncy object designs however work perfectly for this series, which tries its best to be unafraid of venturing into dangerous territory that no other group (besides Gainax presumably) would dare lay eyes upon. It's fair to say that the times that P&S does come up with something original, it is genuinely well presented.
Towards the latter half of the series, while P&S never truly abandons trying to come up with more and more of these good and bad mini-plots, an attempt to create an actual plot direction occurs, but this is extremely brief and intermittent. This isn't to say that there was any extra legitimate plot or character development. However post-introduction of the demon sisters, the quality of action scenes goes from decent to astounding during several interactions between the conflicting angels and demons. Again, the plot and characters really can't be praised for much, but it's at least apparent that Gainax is trying, and it shows in how detailed and well scripted some of the fights become.
All in all, I feel the biggest problem with P&S is consistency. What I believe Gainax was trying to accomplish was anything but a simple task. Being "different" especially in a day and age where there are uncountable records for every original concept that has ever existed is a tall order. Was Gainax trying to be funny? Were they in the end actually trying to make a new kind of story? Or were they just trolling everyone? It doesn't seem far off that they were probably going for a combination of all three, and that resulted in sacrifices in certain areas, or times where they simply just ran out of really good ideas.
All in all, P&S does have its moments, both good and bad, and generally it will be easy for most people to focus on either the good things or the bad things, but not both. To its credit though, it is different. Ultimately I would personally look towards American sitcoms, probably South Park in particular if you're looking for something actually funny. Otherwise it is up to you to decide where your tastes lie when considering this show.
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