Anime Reviews: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
PSG is a riotous and stylish exercise in animated madness that strives for nothing less than to deeply offend anyone and everyone.
Title: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt a.k.a. PSG
Series Length: 13 episodes
Air Dates: 10/1/2010 to 12/25/2010
Age Rating: 17+ (strong language, extremely suggestive content)
Summary: Panty and Stocking are two angels who live in Daten City, a metropolis in the rift between Heaven and Hell, having been kicked out of Heaven for their less-than-perfect behavior. Under the watchful eye of the afro-stylin' black priest, Garterbelt, Panty and Stocking must save Daten City by defeating the many Ghosts that plague it, earning Heaven Coins with each one they vanquish. Unfortunately, neither Panty nor Stocking are terribly interested in returning to Heaven, as Panty derives far more pleasure in having as much sex as (in)humanly possible and Stocking wishes only to indulge her sweet tooth with the most delectable desserts the world has to offer. And so, with his faith, reputation, and job on the line, Garterbelt must force his unruly wards into saving the city no matter what the cost (or the bribe).
The Good: Oozes style; infectious soundtrack; hilarious as all hell
The Bad: Gratuitously offensive for the sake of being offensive; the infamous GAINAX Ending
The Ugly: GAINAX ruined Christmas with this ending!
From the very first time I laid eyes on PSG, I knew only insanity awaited me. And boy, was I ever right. I can only imagine that heavy drugs and a lot of alcohol was the driving force behind this series, because if the creators were sober for this...no, that's not even possible, so I won't entertain the thought. In any case, not only is PSG insane, it's also hilarious, and I would even venture to say that it's good. Let's not waste any more time and get right into it.
First off, everything about PSG is just overflowing with style. The artwork clearly and obviously harkens back to American cartoons of the 90s, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Invader Zim, with simplistic and exaggerated designs drawn with thick, sharp lines. The structure of each episode also mimics Western-style cartoons, with 2 stories per episode, title cards, and even a narrator who chimes in at the start of each segment. Of course, the studio doesn't completely leave themselves out of the equation, as the action scenes are typical GAINAX madness with hyper-stylized movements and extreme intensity to everything. There are other typical GAINAX traits in PSG, but we'll get to that later. I'll just finish off this section by preemptively stating that, if you were a fan of 90s cartoons like those mentioned above, then I've already sold this show to you--it's just like those two, only dirtier, so it's probably right up your alley.
I would have mentioned the soundtrack above, but I feel it deserves its own paragraph. Simply put, it's very fitting and often very catchy. The opening theme is a quick little number that, once again, harkens back to the opening themes of 90s cartoons, showing us the characters and what they're all about in a very short timeframe. As for the ending theme, "Fallen Angel," it doesn't quite copy the style of those older shows, but is still very funny nonetheless (they're just so happy!), and the song itself is a nice little pop number that I could never resist. The battle transformation tune, "Fly Away," is memorable and fitting (though by itself it's a bit grating at times), adding some levity and style to the various action sequences. There are plenty of toe-tapping background tracks, too, such as "Dancefloor Orgy," "Theme for Scanty and Kneesocks," "D Rock City," "CherryBoy Riot," and so on and so forth. The point is, there's a lotta pop and electronic music, and it's fun. Moving on!
Aside from the 90s Western cartoon art style, another main selling point of PSG is that it's just a really, really funny show. Some of the humor is based on its protagonists screwing the rules (and oftentimes, just screwing) and shooting snarky dialogue and obscenities (sometimes made-up on the spot) at each other and their enemies, the sheer absurdity of the animation and its various style shifts, and of course, delicious 90s sex and poop jokes. Is it puerile? Yep. Is it still funny? Hell yeah. The vitriolic dynamic between Panty and Stocking is often hilarious to the point my sides ached, and Garterbelt's little scenes are both funny and incredibly offensive, and that's all I could ever ask for. But now that we're on the subject...
PSG would love nothing more than to offend you to your core. If anything offends you, you'll find it here, and it will be turned all the way up to 11. Don't like foul language? You'll beg for mercy in the first episode. Easily ruffled by dirty jokes and sexually explicit situations? This series will be your personal hell. Angered by depictions of priests as pedophiles? You may want to hide all your sharp objects. And the list goes on and on. Now, if you've got thick skin and an iron constitution, you'll have the time of your life with PSG, but otherwise, I would tread these waters very cautiously. Now, that's not really a negative point as offensive content is a subjective notion that bears no weight on quality, but we're not out of the woods just yet.
Remember how I mentioned I'd get back to the other GAINAX-y traits of the series? Well, such a descriptor is hardly all sunshine and rainbows, because one of those traits includes having an infuriating last-minute twist for an ending and rubbing it in our face. Just for context, the final episode features a climactic showdown and a return to the status quo of the first episode (this really isn't a spoiler, by the way), and then the credits roll. At this point, I would have absolutely no complaints, but then an extra scene appears after the credits. In the span of about a minute and a half, GAINAX not only completely undoes everything, but sets up a blatantly ridiculous sequel hook cliffhanger with no sign of any sequel in the foreseeable future. In other words, GAINAX be trollin'. To make it even worse, the final episode aired on December 25th, 2010. Not only did they rip the carpet out from under us, they had the gall to do it on Christmas. 2010 was the year GAINAX ruined Christmas. Come to think of it, this means GAINAX actually succeeded in offending absolutely everyone. And there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.
But that Berserk-level infuriating ending aside, I would highly recommend PSG to anyone who grew up with the cartoons of the 90s, or just to anyone who loves irreverent and offensive humor. It's not a very long series by any stretch of the imagination, so it's not like you'd be throwing your life away, either. If you like it, great; it's quick to rewatch and its episodic nature means you can easily revisit your favorite moments! If you don't like it, at least you can say with all honesty that you've never seen anything like it before. Either way, you've got nothing to lose!
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10. Even though its ending ruined Christmas, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is a wild and irreverent series that delivers vulgarity, filth, sex, profanity, and above all, fun.