Home > Check-in Station > Check-in Station: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt eps 1-5 (the complete opposite of a starter anime)

Check-in Station: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt eps 1-5 (the complete opposite of a starter anime)

Yes, it's a boogie...  I think.

I had high hopes for this little action comedy series from the moment I saw the art.  It’s a feeling I rarely get from anything.  The only doubts I had were whether this series could live up to its pedigree.   With certain studios, you get a level of expectation that comes only from familiarity and a strong appreciation of the company’s most successful and popular works.   KyoAni will always have Air, Kanon, Clannad and Haruhi to hang their hats on.   BONES has a stellar pedigree when it comes to mecha and a reputation for quality animation and story telling.  Madhouse has a reputation for having arguably the best animation in the business and a long list of classics. Any series that comes out under the flag of those studios will be categorized, stereotyped, prejudiced and judged in some form through the prism of those series that came before.

So how does this apply to Panty & Stocking? Well it airs to the public under the flag of Gainax, another legendary company that has a history of titles that rank among the all-time greats.   It’s reputation for being a renegade unit that never misses a chance to go all out and over the top with its series has garnered it a very nice following.   That group includes me.  It has also it’s fair share of detractors. People who are bitter about their habit of bittersweet, or just plain bitter endings is usually the culprit, but also the usual chant that comes with being popular. Overrated.

And see, that is the prism that Panty & Stocking is living under at the moment. No series is an island, as any animation will eventually be compared and judged through another.   And Panty & Stocking in essence is banking on that.  It is openly paying homage and simultaneously mocking that prism we’re using.   It is depending on us to use that because that is the only way you’ll truly understand it.   It draws heavily on the very popular art styles used in such Cartoon Network legends as Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab and of course Powerpuff Girls. It has a very, very chaotic presentation and sense of pacing. It reminds me of Dead Leaves (what little I’ve seen of it, never finished) and FLCL in that way. When they defeat their monsters of the week (or episode, seeing as they have two 10 minute episodes per airing) in a style very familiar to anyone whose seen any of those live action superhero shows (such as PowerRangers, Ultraman or Kamen Rider). Honestly, the show reflects so many different tropes, pop culture references and parodies in on itself that I don’ think it advisable to try and cover it all.  I suppose the best example to sum it up is that the show is like a kaleidoscope.  When viewed threw the right mirrors it’s something beautiful and indefinable.   But without knowledge and even a basic understanding of what birthed it, it is nothing but a jumbled pile of colorful paper squares.   It makes nothing and just sits.  It doesn’t beg the imagination to do anything.

I guess I lost track here.   In trying to give the preface for my actual discussion, I believe I may have started and ended that discussion in the preface.   Oh well, I did watch the first five episodes of the series.  And I’m not at all disappointed.   Bringing up another prism this show could be viewed through, it’s humor relys on a lot of quick dialogue, gross out humor and shock tactics (Rocko’s Modern Life and Ren & Stimpy come to mind).  Usually those tactics being sexual.  Usually those sexual shock tactics being employed by Panty.   I’m sorry.  Not usually, always.  She always uses those tactics.

I do get it so far though.   I suppose that right now the main characters are one dimensional, but still entertaining enough.   Stocking to me is an adorable little goth with demonic lust for sweets.   And Panty just seems to have a demonic lust for penis, as she is sexualized to an extreme extent.   She’s basically what stuffy old people have feared ever since the sexual revolution.   All this is terribly and obviously ironic since they’re supposed to be angels (fallen or otherwise).   Honestly, the only traces of angel I can pull from these two are their cuteness, and the halos that occassionally pop up.   Other than that, you just can’t see anything heavenly being associated with them besides orgasms.

The supporting characters are just as much a bunch of freaks as our two angels.   Garterbelt looking like some big black (or Mexican), manly man’s priest is a bit of a surprise as he’s been revealed to do more than give the angels guidance and mission.  Apparently he has a thing for the young boys, too.  Oh my.  Chuck… well he reminds me of something from Invader Zim.  I don’t understand that dog thingies purpose besides being a punching bag and running joke for the series.   And Geek Boy, I’m not sure if he has a real name or not. That’s just how I remember him.  Oh wait!  Now I remember!  It’s Brief!  Which makes me think he has powers or something as well and they just haven’t been discovered yet.  His name also makes me think of Dragonball for obvious reasons, as well.  Yes, I just brought up another prism.

Overall, I have to say that this show is already memorable and successful.  Most of the episodes have left some impression with me after viewing.   Like how episode one, part two left me on an action high.  Or how two episodes later, I was left with a feeling of guilt only a devout Catholic could feel.   Hell, just in episode five I was actually given the impression that this show has a heart.   So far this manic, haphazard, clusterf*ck of a show has left me entertained each and every time I sat down in front of it.   It’s obvious that I’ll be seeing this series through to the end.  Seeing through… Seethrough!  That’s the name of their jeep! HA!   I think this show is driving me insane!

  1. November 3, 2010 at 17:43

    good read.

    This show is pretty bad-ass, and this also has to do with its unapologetic attempt at anti-fanservice, anti-titillation, (srsly booger sex) and gross/disgusting characters.

    “I shit on you, I know you’ll love me anyway.”

    Chutzpah and verve.

    • November 4, 2010 at 09:28

      Thanks and INDEED. The unapologetic part of this show is the part I love the most. It doesn’t make any attempt to be subtle or high class. It’s kinda the punk rock of the anime season.

  2. November 14, 2010 at 05:23

    “No series is an island, as any animation will eventually be compared and judged through another” Ahh I like that saying. Interesting way to put it, and very true. But you can count me as one of the many hardcore fans of Gainax. From Nadia, to Eva, to kare Kano, to Yucie, to Mahormatic to FLCL and everything else, you can bet on me liking or loving it. I really can’t wait to check both this and Hanamaru Kindergarten out.

    • November 16, 2010 at 05:51

      It’s a pleasure to hear from another big time Gainax fan on this subject. If there’s any group that can appreciate what the studio is doing it’s its die-hard fans, or even fans of their more crazy shows like FLCL. This may seem close-minded, but people who complain about the very base humor that’s often used in this series, or the lack of what they consider a plot, are missing the forest for the trees. Or to be more concise, they don’t get it. This show is incredibly clever.

  1. November 3, 2010 at 18:17

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