You think you’ve seen everything in entertainment that would make you wide eyed in disbelief in its various forms of hedonism and debauchery? I’ve got one show for you to feast your eyes on and, to no surprise, it is thanks to Gainax, by the lead people who were responsible for Gurren Lagann unsurprisingly. The name of this title is Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Now if you think I use the terms hedonism and debauchery in any negative fashion, trust me when I say, it molds those two things into one glorious package.
A way to describe Panty and Stocking in a nutshell is to think of the show as Japan’s answer to western animated TV shows, particularly in America. They are open about it right to the aesthetics of the animation and art style it encompasses that feel right at home to some of Gainax’s more wackier creations. Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, creator of the aforementioned Gurren Lagann and Kill La Kill, he has once again managed to pull off more of his balls out creativity with Panty and Stocking. The imaginative process that he most likely had in mind for Panty and Stocking would be, “What if I made a sexual and vulgar version of a Looney Tunes cartoon?”
If you were to watch it all verbatim, there are some influences of those cartoons in terms of how the humor is displayed in its pacing and visuals. Jokes that involve, say, having sex with multiple guys at once, abortion, strippers, masturbation, gluttony, and toilet humor aren’t exactly for the faint of heart. Fast-paced animation fits very well with that style of humor because of the overall nature to those aspects all combined together. Especially since the humor is generally featuring slapstick antics between characters. With Panty and Stocking, it manages to make most of the jokes work without having them rely on redundant situations each episodes. They all depend on the racy writing and how they intertwine them with witty charisma from our two main protagonists and the rest of the cast.
I would start by analyzing the plot of Panty and Stocking as I do with every review, but what plot is there to be given this treatment? This is, by and large, an episodic formula that mostly follows among two parts each episode that follow a specific type of theme. There’s not much in terms of character growth for Panty or Stocking, but it is, in essence, a show that wants to be up-in-your-face with its attempts at being crazy and nonsensical. Normally this would serve as a problem if the comedy only works half the time, yet Panty and Stocking manages to prove itself exceptional to this rule. I’ve already mentioned in detail how great the humor works and it does not skip a lot of beats in keeping them feeling fresh. Hell, there is one plot arc that just involves Panty and Stocking sitting on a couch doing nothing but going about their day. No extreme battles take place, no nothing, and it managed to still be delightfully humorous as the rest considering that it’s so different in tone.
Characters range from the painfully awkward and downright insane in the personality range. Either way, most of them possess many qualities from their personalities to make them lovable, at least with our two main ladies. That is not to say the rest are mediocre by any stretch but they are not as attention-grabbing visually or verbally speaking. Garterbelt is still good from his pretty funny attempts at trying to keep both Panty and Stocking in check from having too much fun from their respective duties. The “nerd” of the cast, Rock Briefers, is funny on occasion, especially with one moment involving him on a toilet. Numerous side characters crop up from every direction and fill in their roles with the amount of screentime they are needed.
Now onto the main dish of the course, Panty and Stocking, the girls themselves, that is. They embody the entirety of what makes the show phenomenal from beginning to end. Their constant barrage of quick and snappy dialogue are always a splendor to experience. Excess in sexual body fluids and constantly berating each other for their physical appearance are but a few that these two have to offer. Even with the moments that might make them, in hindsight, unlikable from the context of their actions, they still invoke stellar charm in their chemistry. What is also noticeably poignant to them is their voice actresses, which I would argue are great both in the English and Japanese dubbed tracks.
After mentioning how the art and animation helps the humor by themselves, they are very unique compared to what most anime studios generally draw. I also like how it’ll sometimes morph characters into different sizes based on what is happening at that particular moment. Sometimes they are small and chibi and sexually drawn in a realistic fashion when they do that striptease transformation sequence. Making it have a multifaceted look lets Panty and Stocking feel special in that regard.
To say that Panty and Stocking shows no boundaries is an understatement at the utmost highest level. Anyone with the tolerance levels of vulgarity at the lowest level possible would most likely drop the show from the very first minute of it. With the lengths it goes to shock people, it is hard to not admire it for doing so. Many conceive comedy to have the tendency to go far with its material and delve deeper to the point where it almost makes the audience uncomfortable, which makes a good comedy a brilliant one. The only thing that keeps Panty and Stocking from being perfect is that it didn’t go far enough.