“Excretion Without Honor and Humanity”
Gainax’s Gurren Lagann team is back, and this time with a series completely out of the ordinary. In the decade that I’ve been watching anime, never have I seen something quite like Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. It’s been referred to by many as an “ecchified Powerpuff Girls“, a characterization that isn’t too far off the mark. Certainly, in comparison to today’s anime, PSG’s artistic direction is more in-line with western-styled kid’s cartoons, with blocky appendages and uneven body parts making up the series’ overall character design structure. Gainax has even adopted the two episode per airing model with this series, only further enforcing the similarities.
That being said, this show is anything but for kids, with Panty (Ogasawara Arisa) being a sex loving slut and Stocking (Ise Mariya) possessing a mouth that would make Revy herself cry. If that weren’t enough, the world around them is also extremely vulgar, being located in Daten City, a fictional location which lies on the border of Heaven and Hell. In this city, all kinds of unbelievably grotesque and evil “spirits” are born that reek havoc on the populace. As a counter measure against this, the heavens
supposedly have sent Panty & Stocking to combat the spirits and keep the city and it’s inhabitants safe. The wisdom of this decision by god may come into question, with Panty and Stocking being a force of destruction themselves. If you were to give this series an airing time and station on American TV, the only thing I could think of is a late night Adult Swim slot with Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which definitely says something about the maturity level of the content.
The first episode serves to demonstrate the destructiveness of Panty and Stocking, wasting no time in showing that even their morning wake up routine isn’t a peaceful affair, and when on the job they’re liable to attack random people out of no where, only to fuck them later on. It’s a wonder that the reverend Garterbelt (Ishii Kouji) manages to get them to do anything helpful, or even productive, at all, with Panty more interested in discussing how great morning wood is and Stocking only wanting to get more sugar in her system. I suppose it must help to have their oddly shaped dog, Chuck, to keep around, who is strikingly similar to the disguise that Gir used to hide his true form in Invader Zim (galaxy hopping perhaps). Of course, when they do move out they do it in style with their Humvee, dubbed the “See Through”.
The madness doesn’t end with the characters themselves, as in a testimony to the possibility that this may be one of the most disturbing anime ever created, Panty is eaten by her own toilet and spat back out in a gush of toilet water and feces. I’m sure I’m not the only one who shared Garterbelt and Stocking’s reaction to seeing Panty walk out covered in shit, which I was amazed was able to get pass the censoring process. Hell, I’m amazed half of the stuff in this pilot was able to get pass censoring. However, not even that showcase could have prepared me for the stripperific Mahou Shoujo transformation we got from Panty and Stocking as they were preparing to fight this episode’s evil spirit. I was pretty surprised, witnessing such a stark turn in animation style in just the flick of a frame. If this turns into a running gag, I’m certainly looking forward to more lovely sudden shifts in the future.
“Death Race 2010”
I would think that there is a limit to how many times a person can have sex in one day, but apparently Panty knows no such limit, burning the midnight desires in the middle of the day. Never mind we’re talking about an ANGEL here. At the very least I suppose she doesn’t have to worry about catching STDs and AIDs… in theory. You get the sense that she loves wood more than her own sister though, almost being too lazy to get out of bed to help Stocking while she’s busy fighting a spirit on the highway by herself. In the end I suppose she was a pretty cool
bro sis, but it’s still suspect why exactly Stocking was fighting all alone in the first place. This time, rather than a toilet dwelling piece of feces, the spirit is a little spider-like creature that merges with vehicles to cause accidents on the highway.
The chase scene in this episode was superb, with a bit of Gurren Lagann coming out of Panty when she hit the train and shot into the window. This action scene caught me off guard a bit, as I wasn’t expecting the action in this show to actually be worthy of calling “pretty awesome”. Even though it’s obviously all in good fun, there was still something exhilarating about watching Panty and Stocking race down a highway fighting against a speeding truck while using guns and swords to tear everything up in their path. The shameless sexual innuendos that were being tossed around while all of this was going on only made it more entertaining for me, making for a very interesting mix of actually good action and laughable dialog. Even though we didn’t get any stripper Mahou Shoujo transformations this time around, I’m hoping they don’t completely go away.
Overall, this first airing has definitely left… some kind of impression on me. On one hand I think the fact that Gainax is able to get away with such brazen material is awesome, but on the other hand I’m left thinking “WTF just happened”. That in itself is not a bad thing, and is really one of the charms of this show. The craziness, from the plot right down to the art style, appears to be the main appeal of this show and is probably what will keep me watching it in the coming weeks. Despite the suspect material, I must admit I was thoroughly entertained by Panty pulling over every man she came across, Stocking raving about sugar and verbally abusing Panty, and Garterbelt yelling at the two to stop slacking off. This show is definitely out of the ordinary and more than a bit funky, but it’s won me over just for that reason.
*Note: The episode titles are puns based off of movies. Episode one’s title, “Exertion Without Honor and Humanity” is a play on the movie “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” while episode 2, “Death Race 2010”, is play on “Death Race”.
**Note: The Crunchyroll translation of the anime is very liberal, inserting profanity and making the language used more vulgar than the original Japanese intended. Keep that in mind as you watch the anime if you are using CR’s simulcasts.