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Punch Line – Panties Will Save the World


Funnily enough, this isn’t really a fanservice/ecchi anime…

It Actually Made Sense:

Who would have thought it… Punch Line actually made sense in the end! My experience with this show was weird, to say the least. I watched the first few minutes of the first episode when it came out, and for whatever reason the complete absurdity of it made me stop and groan. And I promised I wouldn’t even bother finishing the episode. As Stilts said in his post, it didn’t make a lick of sense. Things were just happening without any logic being applied to it. Why was one of them acting like a superhero? Why did the main character die and come back to life and speak with a talking spirit cat? At the time, I had no interest in watching it, but I heard good things about half way into the season and decided to give it another shot.

And thank God I did. I just had to accept its absurdity and the GAINAX influence that resonated from it, like many other anime try to replicate. But Punch Line channelled the random wackiness as best as it possibly could, and after episode 6 everything actually made sense. Right down to Yuta’s nosebleeds connecting to the end of the world… it actually made sense! As a result, the concept for the series actually became noteworthy, and a lot more creative than I originally gave it credit for. I’m willing to be proven wrong and have my expectations blown out the water, and I certainly got that with the first six episodes of Punch Line.

Playing with Gender:

Besides the series making sense mid-way through, there was another big reveal that ended up overshadowing it. Yuta was genetically a girl. My first reaction was shock, but then admiration. At the time, I thought we’d been given an actual transgender character without it being the driver of the plot. Many complained that it didn’t make sense for Yuta to be trans, because it wasn’t hinted at before, and this wasn’t the type of series that should have to explore such a thing. Which is utter rubbish, if you ask me. Whilst some reactions to Yuta’s gender identity were pleasant and considerate, some were seriously aggressive to the idea of a character defying their gender expectations. And others simply labelled him a reverse-trap, which annoyed me just as much.

But in the end it came down him being an entirely different person from the body he was stuck in. It tied in nicely with the revelations, even if the ‘trapped in the wrong body’ concept was a little disappointing. I suppose nothing will match Hourou Musuko when it comes to transgender characters being represented in anime. Still, I appreciate that Punch Line had a main character that identified with a different gender from the body he was trapped in. It’s not exactly what I interpreted it as initially, but when the truth was revealed it was tastefully done and never made fun of Yuta for continuing to live his life as a boy.

Strong Buildup, Uninspired Payoff:

You may have noticed that I’ve only mentioned events that happened in the first half of the series… and that’s for a good reason. I loved those parts, where nearly every episode entirely took place in that one building, or on its rooftop or its garden. There were a handful of quirky, colourful characters, and their interactions were funny and wacky enough to carry the series. I would have been satisfied with this remaining as a slice of life with a twist, but when the twist came, the actual plot had to happen. And it wasn’t the best, honestly.

Once we went back in time, it started to feel like a different series. Normally I’d be cheering for a shift in tone to something more serious, but with Punch Line I just wanted things to stay light and fun and weird. The action scenes in particular in the last two episodes just did gel with me. It may have been the choreography, or how they felt like an afterthought just so that the finale had some ‘excitement’, but it simply didn’t keep me as entertained as I had been with the goofier character interactions and earlier mysteries.

The build up to the mid-way reveal was fantastic, especially in a marathon viewing. Once I started watching the aftermath-story take shape week by week, my interest dwindled. Still, Punch Line turned out a lot better than I initially gave it credit for. It had some really quirky characters, and the fluid, light animation always looked great. Despite a rather disappointing shift in the later episodes, I have no genuine dislike for Punch Line, even if I had initially mistaken it for some crass ecchi show that would just be about panty shots. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Panties may have played their role in helping Yuta save the world, but there was a lot more to Punch Line than frilly underwear. Including (but not limited to): faux-exorcism, NEET robots, childhood trauma, and a really cute baby bear.

June 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm
14 comments »
  • June 26, 2015 at 6:51 pmsasuga x sakuga

    Well, I think the action-filled second half of the penultimate episode (#11) was MAPPA at its top form.

    • June 26, 2015 at 6:54 pmsasuga x sakuga

    • June 26, 2015 at 10:31 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      that is a dopely animated scene and thats the same magic that ensnared me in the first episode bus action scene…I thought “oh snap!, i just found a dope show”…….but alas that feeling was quickly washed away by the following 4 episodes that were a total BOREFEST….
      oh well..

  • June 26, 2015 at 7:39 pmBeedle

    This was the season’s sleeper hit for me. Most definitely not a mindless ecchi rom-com like I thought it would be, and I’m glad it is what it is.

  • June 26, 2015 at 8:38 pmIgniteous

    However, Yuta still Show Spoiler ▼

    Loved the show except for that.

  • June 27, 2015 at 1:36 amWorldwideDepp

    i found the character design very good. Something different that stand out of the “background noise”. Sadly the Story did not fit for me. And yes, the flashing of Pantsu shoots was not overused and well embedded

  • June 27, 2015 at 8:04 amHunter-Wolf

    Ever since the first episode of Punchline and despite giving the impression it is a mindless ecchi anime i felt like it’s going to be something that starts wacky and crazy like Excel Saga then somehow will manage to make everything make sense in the end despite the craziness, sometimes the three-episode-rule just doesn’t give a series enough justice, one must use their previous experience of similar anime to judge the merit of shows as well (which is why some new anime viewers might easily misjudge a series).

  • June 27, 2015 at 9:58 amBlahto Blahtoto

    If you want season 2 just re-watch it xD

  • June 27, 2015 at 4:46 pminfo600

    Punch Line was quite the show to follow through to the end, especially when you get past the seemingly random panty gimmicks throughout the episodes.

    While some of the things in there just didn’t get an explanation in the end (Rabura being able drive out spirits? Wut? Did she gained some spiritual manipulation powers when she got possessed?) Other ‘mysteries’ were seen as actions done in the end that influenced the beginning of the show…

    …anyways this show might just get more people to understand how time manipulation works. Did I mention it was a hoot to watch even without any understanding of the plot?

    • June 29, 2015 at 3:12 amBeedle

      Actually, it was hinted at that Rabura has a lot of spiritual power :”D we just didn’t get to see her being competent until then.

  • June 28, 2015 at 12:28 amActar

    You’re one of the few who actually liked the first half more than the second. Personally, I love both and I hesitate to use the phrase “change in tone”. Everything was clearly planned from the beginning and the way they connected the first and second halves seemed so fluid that I think they work off and play off each other fantastically well. In fact, I’d argue that those who were fans of either one half only weren’t perceptive enough to understand what kind of show it was and was aspiring to be from the beginning.

  • June 28, 2015 at 9:52 amSherylfan

    Now that I looked up who did it I guess it was to be expected with the story. But I also thought this was a fanservice type anime. I guess this anime was to build up hype for an eventual VN release (announced 2 days ago). It had it’s pacing issues but the concept was great and thought it was a good show in the end. I guess people who want more back story or explanations should eventually play the game.

    I like the idea of this, sorta like angel beats, a way for director to judge interest and see what people like and didn’t like and then make a game. Also it adds more to unknown and adventure when we have no source to compare too (kinda like the fate UBW gets compared all the time with expectations, or other shows to manga). It makes the anime more fresh.

    With that I’m really liking the OST, it’s on youtube right now.

  • July 2, 2015 at 2:46 amSmokex365

    The ending was kind of meh and really off-putting after all the focus on a happy ending. Decent but it could’ve used some work, particularly with that payoff.