3 Episode Taste Test: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

How do you make a series laden with references to violence, sex and bodily excretions starring two thoroughly unpleasant women entertaining? If Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is any indication, you give it to GAINAX. Suffering the same initial incredulity as Lucky Star's promotional material had when it was first revealed, the series is a riot of aggressive stylisation, wildly varying animation and a barrage of provocative jokes. Puritans will denounce its cavalier depiction of fornication, the no-holds-barred treatment of various human fluids or the utter crudity of it, but in only three episodes there has been nary a repeated scene or situation. But most of all: it's just plain fun.

Splitting the running time into two separate segments, two story of angels sent from heaven to defeat marauding ghosts is only background noise to the bickering and bedlam the two sisters get up to. The pace at which each story moves is astounding with some  beginning right in the thick of the action and only coming up for air when the credits hit. There is no character development here, each one wears their personality - foibles and all - on their sleeve and instead of being hindrances, end up as ammunition for the bedlam that every episode entails.

Taking its cues from and parodying many Western shows, it's visually Powerpuff Girls and tonally Ren and Stimpy. The cornucopia of different episode and animation directors though, sprayed charmingly across the screen at the beginning of each story, means the result may not always be unique, but often phenomenally unexpected. Other shows are paid lip-service as well with Dirty Pair the most obvious from the devil-may-care attitude of the sisters, there's even a hint of early Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei with the art style switches as well as homages to super hero shows like Ultraman as each ne'er-do-well expires.

Stripping back the visuals to their most abstract and the jokes to their most outrageously rude could have fallen flat, but here the combination works so well. The humour may be juvenile but this is a straight-up, for chuckles series that demonstrates some superb comedy timing and only recycles characters, never situations. Where the series goes from the first three episodes is anyone's guess, with porn videos, a tissue shortage and man-eating toilets already covered its strength in diversity and its ability to, against all the odds, tickle the sniggering teenager in those that'll let it.

Responses to “3 Episode Taste Test: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt”

I'm actually looking forward to what other derogatory shit they can come up with after all those you have mentioned because goddammit, they make it fun... traumatizing sometimes but still fun nonetheless.
The first 3 episodes certainly are a blast, but they don't fully show what Panty & Stocking is capable of. Gainax is definitely having a lot of fun experimenting with things in this show, and fortunately, the fun transfers to the viewer. I keep being unexpectedly pleased by Gainax's shows, and I have to remind myself that they do have a proven track record.
Respond to “3 Episode Taste Test: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt”

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