Sunday, March 31, 2013

Anime Review No. 54-Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

"Animated Debauchery"

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (2010 TV Series)

Well, here starts my three review look at Studio Gainax's works. First, I shall take a look at Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, which came out in late 2010. I saw it in anime club around early 2011, in subbed format. Last year, when I heard that it was not only getting licensed (by Funimation no less!) but also dubbed, I was all for that in a heartbeat. So, after chatting, my brother got me the complete collection for my birthday last year, and I enjoyed this show quite a lot.
Now, for those not in the know, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt concerns the adventures of Panty and Stocking, two angels sent from Heaven to defeat evil Ghosts and collect Heaven coins to get back up to the lovely pie in the sky. But, they are too concerned with other affairs: Panty likes to screw every man in sight and Stocking likes sugar to the point where I think she's on the verge of a diabetic coma. In addition, the ghosts are all based on well, toilet humor (ranging from a ghost made of shit to a ghost that makes people fatter than cows). Essentially it is a 'monster of the week' show but made more raunchy and mature than really any shows from that genre. It is definitely not for kids at all.
Well, ok, there is something more beneath the surface. Starting halfway through the show, they try to crowbar in some big baddie who wants to enact 'the end of the world' or something like that. All well and good, but I find it to be rather forced in, no matter how entertaining. This is one of the problems that Gainax has run into since 1995, and that they try to pull this trick in most of their shows. It has rarely worked (Gurren Lagann being one of the exceptions, because it was awesome). Unfortunately, here it just doesn't work as that type of situation requires gravitas and appropriate dramatics, which Panty and Stocking can't support.

Why that is, it is due to the look and feel of the show. While many have noted the aesthetic design being similar to the Powderpuff Girls, its a lot more than that. Gainax has decided to use almost every production trick of the trades when it comes to animation: chibi SD, standard Sadamoto-eque animation, South Park-style animation, models for the ghost explosions, etc. It makes for at least an interesting viewing experience, to say nothing else.
My favorite episode of the entire series is Episode 6, "Les Diabloques". This introduces us to the Demon Sisters, Scanty and Kneesock who become the main antagonists for the second half of the show. Panty and Stocking are fighting ghosts at the local school when they stumble upon a scheme by these two to produce an army of ghosts to conquer Daten City. What ensues is quite possibly the best catfight ever put in an anime. Hiroyuki Imaishi, who directed this and Dead Leaves, seems to put a lot of effort into making this fast-paced and energetic as possible.
But what is really the selling point for this show: the dub. This is probably the only case (that I've come across) where the English dub is not only as good as the original Japanese, it actually surpasses it in almost every respect. Jamie Marchi and Monica Rial are a riot as the titular angels; it had me laughing out loud. It doesn't hurt that Ms. Marchi wrote much of the dub script, as it is full of innuendos and funny one-lines. Chris Sabat as Garterbelt is also good, even if it amounts to a white guy doing a Samuel L. Jackson impersonation. The rest of the dub cast is also very good, nearly a given since this is a Funimation dub. This is also one of the anime I've seen with both language tracks and I would recommend both for your viewing experience.
In the end, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, while not particularly deep, it is still a fun and entertaining series. It takes an unique spin on 'monster of the week' shows, has an interestingly diverse production, and is very enjoyable in both Japanese and English. Well worth a look, and then another, etc.
Now, without further ado, my first ever accompanying video:

(Will add in later today or tomorrow at some point)

Next review is on Gunbuster 2, to be released April 13th

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