「ワンス・アポン・ア・タイム・イン・ガーターベルト」 (Wansu Apon a Taimu in Gātāberuto)
“Once Upon a Time in Garterbelt”
I’ve never liked Garterbelt. I’m glad he never had a huge role, because I have to say, he doesn’t exactly “grace” the screens. Now we’re getting a biographical episode about Garterbelt, filled with a surprisingly epic journey, and yet, I still don’t like him. But hey, I can’t say it wasn’t an interesting episode.
Before Garterbelt was a priest, before he liked young boys in the wrong way, and before he had an afro, he was a badass. He was pretty much your average hoodlum, but soon rose the ranks and obtained riches, women, and power. Then he got sick of it all, and gave it all up. For some reason, God wanted him to be his messenger, but he was like, “screw that.” So as punishment to make him see the light, he sent him back to the age of the dinosaurs to live throughout the ages, enabling him to observe the good and evil of man, ultimately becoming a sage of all wisdom. A rather interesting past, but in a show like this, who really cares about Garterbelt’s past? Panty and Stocking sure as hell didn’t. But questioning triviality is also moot in a show like PSG. At the very least, the episode explains halfway why Garterbelt is in charge of the two angels, and reveals that he is immortal, something which he describes as a curse. It’s almost a tragic story, almost, but his current self doesn’t show any result of any of this, making it seem like Gainax wrote out his backstory over some rounds of sake. But hold on, they did come up with the idea of PSG over a vacation and large sums of alcohol. My god, it all makes perfect sense now.
Besides, where’s the explanation for the hobbies he carries now? Perhaps the countless years of living through the ages has made him a masochist. However, his sexual preference still needs an answer. Maybe in part 2 of “Garter’s Duty.” Actually, please don’t use another episode on that.
「ナッシング・トゥ・ルーム」 (Nasshingu tu Rūmu)
“Nothing to Room”
I have never heard Panty and Stocking talk this much. Actually let me rephrase that, I have never heard them talk this much continuously for more than a couple seconds. In fact, the entire episode took place in one room, driven almost purely by conversation. Some might call this boring, but having had experience with shows that have much longer and denser dialogues than this (Nisio Sin), this wasn’t bad at all. I’m pretty sure an episode like this would be commercial suicide, but I think it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Imaishi doesn’t really give a flying pig what viewers think. The man has got some sort of vision, however flawed and alien it may be for audiences, but it’s apparent that he’s out to deliver it. Maybe PSG really was for shits and giggles.
You may all “know” Panty and Stocking, but they’ve never really been developed outside of what you might read of their character summary. Their conversation may not further any development, but it does make them feel more like real people, a subtle immersion helped with the candid camera viewpoint. Panty is usually never one for much words, let alone appear to have any sort of imagination, but she did just that by showing Stocking a plan to get back up to Heaven. Hell, the fact that she even cares for something other than sex, fame, and cash, gives her just a little more depth than usual. Whatever the case, it was nice to hear them just talk normally to each other, as the norm was usually just shouting random crap at whatever the context deemed.
In the end, it appears they really do want to get back to Heaven, possibly foreshadowing what might happen at the end of the series. It would make a nice ending, leading back to the first episode, where we were introduced to them as Angels stranded on Earth, trying to get back to Heaven by killing Ghouls. Perhaps not coincidentally, the two episodes this time were both developmental, making a nice final outlook on our characters before heading into the big battle. So don’t troll me now Gainax!