Dude. This show is awesome.
As usual, I didn’t pay much attention pre-season and barely remember seeing this show on the preview charts. With Fall gradually starting, I skimmed a few blogs reacting to its apparent insanity, but I wasn’t really interested until I saw someone describe it as Powerpuff Girls x Gurren Lagann x Dexter’s Lab x Sailor Moon x FLCL.
Even with the mishmash of awesome shows making up its description though, I was still a little skeptical about the whole thing. I mean, it is entitled Panty and Stocking (with Garterbelt). This alone invites much skepticism. But it starts off so nostalgically! It wasn’t quite, “The city of Townsville,” but the atmosphere was close… even if opens with one character naked in bed after spending the night with a stranger. Panty is a remorseless sex addict. This personality, juxtaposed with the very simple art style, was absolutely hilarious. She has very little to offer in terms of traditional visual fanservice, but this doesn’t stop her from being successfully crude, abrasive, and sexy. In many ways, her personality itself is fanservice.
Stocking, her sister, did not have as much spotlight in the first two 11-minute segments, and her gothic lolita exterior is more in line with the style to an extent. Still, as a foil character, I expect that she’ll do some nice counterbalancing in later episodes.
The segments center around the girls’ — the fallen angels’ — beating up ghosts to collect coins to get back into Heaven, though really, the sisters seem to care very little about getting back up there and would rather pursue their individual vices (Stocking likes sweets). But Garterbelt, the afro-bearing local reverend, makes valiant attempts at keeping them in line! Throw in a little dog that looks suspiciously like GIR from Invader ZIM and Stocking’s stuffed Schrodinger’s cat and that’s pretty much the show! Did I mention that the first segment’s ghost was a shit monster? Like, literally? It had toilets eat people. And then spat up a giant flood of poop.
It’s crude to be sure, and I’m actually a little surprised with myself since I usually don’t find crude humor all that humorous (hence my dislike of most American adult cartoons). Why was this so damn entertaining? Why wasn’t I offended? Perhaps it’s because Panty and Stocking has, thus far, touched on pretty universal subjects. Sex is funny. Poop is funny. It’s not humor at anyone’s expense. There are no pokes at popular culture or celebrity gossip. There’s no racist or sexist humor, though the sisters’ respective archetyes could be perceived as the latter, I guess. GAINAX’s well-known wackiness and penchant for pushing visual and storytelling boundaries certainly helps as well, and for me, nostalgia factors in considerably… even if its putting my childhood under a rather obscene lense.
But come on. You have a protagonist who goes commando every episode because her panties turn into a gun. The absurdity of this is insanely intriguing. Not many shows can intrigue you that way, so even if you only end up watching it out of masochistic horror, you still end up watching it.
And then you stay because the transformation scene is the most amazing thing ever.