Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt was one hell of a wild ride. affectionately referred to by a magazine as "a love letter to western animation", that is exactly what it is, i myself describing it as "powerpuff girls goes to the strip club". the style is kooky, the themes raunchy, and the dialogue rough and uncensored. and that is exactly what makes people like it. normally, something this explosive would have never made it off the cutting room floor, but somehow gainax worked their magic and created this brilliant little piece that has become much beloved both in-country and out.
|you and everyone else.|
to start, the characters are fun, unique, and relatable. as it is, i got me and my sister panty (her) and stocking (me) keychains because we're a bit like the two of them. P&S also happen to be some of the most un-angelic angels one could ever run across, a point never forgotten by their main antagonists, the demon sisters. then you add all the other characters into the mix, season with a little debauchery, and stir, simmering until you reach a boiling climax in more ways than one. when it came out it was fresh, edgy, and chaotic, and still is, regardless of which language you watch it in.
|just a sample of the chaos within.|
which brings me to my next point. the dub. for years, people have argued which is better, subs or dubs, and no one could ever reach a conclusion to the debate, it becoming as heated as the crusades. Panty and Stocking provides a great control for the experiment, it being so weird that it can't be called "western" OR "japanese". after watching the japanese voiceover when it came out, i re-watched it in english to refresh myself for this review. while i still prefer the japanese voices for the most part (helps that Stocking is played by my favourite Japanese voice actress), the english presented an interesting thing: different jokes within the same theme from the original, with different references and different nuances, meaning that if you don't watch both, you're missing out on half the fun. one may argue that the style dictates that the dub MUST be superiour, but i ask you, does that mean that Teen Titans HAS to be in japanese? Code Lyoko HAS to be in french, simply because of art style? there are plenty of Japanese references in the show, regardless of which voiceover you watch, meaning that P&S is one of the rare series that walks the line of sub and dub; it literally can go either way. (in one case, however, you may not have a choice; i'm unaware if the Blu-ray OVA was ever dubbed into english.)
|there are plenty of fun references regardless of language.|
the series is obviously a raunchy comedy, but not to the point where we don't care about the characters. (almost.) the later episodes take some more emotional turns as we see more character development beyond the desire for cock and sugar. relationships form, motivations explored, and bonds tested. i won't say it's enough to be called a "well-rounded show", but it was still nice of Gainax to actually think of something like that. they could have just as easily kept them as flat as the art style normally looks, but instead they went deeper with it, much deeper. (these sexual puns doing anything for you?)
|Gainax really seemed to have fun with this series, using it as a chance to flex their stylistic muscles.|
Panty and Stocking is everything you could want out of an adult anime without it being a porno or constant blood. it's what Family Guy is to America, only a bit swearier. the style, as i said, is quite unique, but Gainax shows their chops with the transformation sequences, proving that they don't HAVE to draw in this style, they WANT to. and why not, it's a great way to show things rather than the same old, same old. it's part of the reason that Panty and Stocking became so popular. however, popular or not, just because it looks like a kids show DOES NOT mean it is. if you couldn't tell by now, this is not the series to show to your sister/brother/little cousin/grandmother/parents/teacher/police officer/priest. just because they're angels doesn't make them cherubs. just because it looks like PPG doesn't make this sugar, spice, and everything nice. (there's plenty of sugar and plenty of spice, though.) show this to your college friends. show this to your raunchy uncle with the pet iguana. show this to your funky older sibling who will get a kick out of it and then show it to his/her friends.
|there are some points in the series when a more traditional anime style shows through.|
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is available from HyperSubs, CrunchySubs, HorribleSubs, WhyNot Fansubs, ColorMeSubbed, and Kira-Fansubs. the series is licensed in North America by Funimation Entertainment.