Panty & Stocking 13

Last week Panty found herself in quite a bind, but after leaving Daten City and living on a farm for a spell, she returns, re-loses her virginity, regains her power, and with the surprise return of Stocking, defeats Corset and the Demon twins. Everything wrapped up in a neat little bow…right?

Well, no, actually. Yet another fall series pulls a fast one on me with a last-second twist that won’t be resolved until next season, a next season I didn’t know was coming. And Stocking is really a demon…huh?! I really should have known, and I certainly won’t take the episode counts at face value in future. Panty & Stocking is transformed into…Brief & Chuck. Do I have the energy to watch another season of this ludicrousness? Is it worth it?

I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that this pseudo-finale was an excellent one, where was hardly a single frame that stood still. Epically manic animation is the order of the day, including the outright-bizarre use of live-action panties and stockings and several death-explosions (though both times Garter died, he was resurrected, in keeping with his life story a couple weeks back). I also know that when the second season comes along, I’ll definitely give it a look. I can’t be satisfied with things as they are. Rating: 3.5

Series Mean Ranking: 3.692 (Ranked 2nd out of 15 Fall 2010 Series)

Panty & Stocking 12

The first half is glorified recaps, but this week more than makes up for it with one of the best episodes of the series, which manages to meld a parody (Baz Lehrmann’s Romeo+Juliet, in this case) with the actual plot-line of Panty and Brief’s relationship. The fish tank scene was inspired, and Panty has never looked cuter. While she starts out her usual promiscuous self, we finally introduced to the powerless, vulnerable Panty who falls for someone (Stocking already had her love story, and in any case, was admitted back to heaven). It also features another excellent cut into conventional anime style; this has always been used as a scalpel, not a hammer, with great effect.

It’s amazing that all the various strings of the series are all tied up together here: the Demon Sister’s boss is the mayor, Corset, who has been trying all along to awaken the “Hellsmonkey”, likely the uber-ghost that will give him power over the world or something. (the one redeeming virtue of the recap is it established the purpose and motivations of the baddies). In any case, with Stocking gone and reverted to a virgin, Panty can’t have sex or summon her pistol anymore. I never knew she’s be in this much of a spot.

One thing I don’t understand: heaven is okay with one deadly sin – gluttony in Stocking’s case – but not okay with another? Also, both angels are pretty equally big “bitches”, so I don’t see why Panty is the one to remain fallen. No matter; this sets up something GAINAX isn’t known for doing too well – endings – but there’s certainly potential for there to be a great one. Great to see things getting serious, but not tackily so, and to finally see Panty’s human side. Rating: 4

Panty & Stocking 11

Last week’s episode was so out there, I assumed this week would return to the normal ghost-hunting escapades. Never assume anything with this series: it brought us something completely different again. Different, but excellent.

In part one, Panty & Stocking tail Garterbelt to try to dig up blackmail material so he’ll get off their backs. They end up in his BDSM chamber where his diary is sitting, and the sisters are thrust into the life story of Garterbelt. We know next to nothing about him up until this point, but his history is quite colorful. Most intriguing is the fact that after a life Tony Montana-like misbehaving, heaven is still willing to recruit him. When he refuses to help them, he’s sent into a cycle of life and death that spans all of earth’s history. Most amusing is how much the sisters don’t give a crap about any of this.

Part two is another strange one, as we are voyeurs from a stationary position in Panty & Stockings’ living room for ten full minutes as they sit around, shooting the breeze, and waiting for Garter to make them lunch. It was great to see the sisters simply kicking back, not doing anything at all, acting like actual human beings rather than hollow caricatures.

Now that Chuck and Garter’s pasts have been thoroughly explored, I’m wondering if the angels get an origin story longer than the ending sequence (which was missing this week). Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking 10

Panty & Stocking got all, like, experimental this week. It has a fairly conventional first half (in which a shrunken P&S explore Brief’s internal organs), but then all bets are off. The animation exists for its own sake in a three-part trilogy of life, death, re-birth, and love between Chuck and his evil counterpart.

Turns out tiny demons are inside each plushie, who are the source of life in the pets. These three shorts are slow and suspenseful one moment and dazzlingly fast and chaotic the next. Because there’s no dialogue – only Chuck’s indecipherable chattering – you can really focus on imagery. The old-time movie white noise is a haunting touch. And those visuals – take the visual language of PSG right to its limits.

As if this episode weren’t strange enough, it ends with a music video, in which Panty, Stocking, Garterbelt and Chuck perform in Daten City and, throughout the song, appear as perhaps five dozen different parodies of bands, from the Beatles to Lady Gaga and everything in between. Kudos to the producers for making so many cheeky, weird-ass choices in one episode. I was certainly not expecting it, and it was a blast to behold. Rating: 4

enjoyed their taking the visual language of PSG as far as it can go.

Panty & Stocking 9

It’s never a dull moment when the angels have to square off against their demonic counterparts, and this week’s part one is no different, as the two pairs of sisters engage in a beach volleyball duel. The angels actually win, but the demons respond by releasing a plague of sea-based ghosts. The segment is sprinkled with the requisite trash inter-rival talk.

However, its the second part that really caught my attention. Panty & Stocking both actually seem to exhibit personalities and emotions – a rare thing indeed – as Stocking falls head-over-heels in love with an extremely uncouth, rude, and apathetic guy who also happens to be a ghost. Panty is necessarily concerned, and aims to take out the ghost until Stocking intervenes.

Stocking is willing to ditch her duties as an angel along with her sister in order to elope with the ghost. But when he puts the ring on her, he ascends into heaven, as the yearning keeping him tied to the world has now been fulfilled. There hadn’t been this kind of ghost resolution thus far in the series, and it was surprising, considering how contemptuous of ghosts both sisters have shown throughout. For one of them to fall in love so completely – without explanation – was certainly unexpected. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking 8

Part I starts in the middle with P&S and what’s left of the town barricaded in the police station from hordes of zombies. This is all thanks to the demon sisters, who are coming at the angels hard and fast now. When P&S clear a path to the the gun store and it turns out to be a sex store, their sexy weapons only do so much damage. They retreat to their Hummer, where a zombified chuck waits for them. Now zombies themselves, they wait for dawn, when they believe they’ll change back…only they don’t. It’s open-ended, like so many zombie movies. Also worth noting: this segment had the most Engrish swearing of any episode thus far.

Part II is within the construct of a TV show called “Judgment Day” when the host and prosecutor – the demon sisters in disguise – get P&S indicted, convicted, and sentenced to the electric chair for murdering a nonviolent ghost (who is a dead ringer for Stimpy). However, the electricity just turns the angels on, and turns their chimp attorney into a genius who exposes the real culprit ‘Stimpy’s’ wife…’Ren’, a ghost who then goes loco until dispatched by customary gun-and-sword combo. It’s good to see the series still coming up with different fresh ideas. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking 7

P&S was on top of its game this week, first delivering a hilarious parody of Transformers, likening their sibling bickering to the ages-long battle between Autobots and Decepticons. They eat their respecive allsparks and become robots themselves, and fight a proxy war until Optimus and Megatron make up and merge into a intergalactic ghost that P&S quickly exterminate, (netting them a Ducktalesesque sea of extremely de-valued foreign Heavens) then return to fighting like nothing happened.

Part two was even better: Panty & Stocking’s frivilous purchases of sweets and aphrodesiacs have put the church $3 million in debt, and the Heavens they make by slaying ghosts are worthless on Earth. So they embark on a number of jobs in which either their stunning looks or general idiocy gets them fired from every single one without making a cent. Desperate, they hit the Casino and quickly make more than $8 million before the proprietors – the Demon Sisters – find out they’re there and rig the games, relieving P&S of all their bounty. It then turns to strip poker, and a lucky sneeze from Panty makes the ball land on 7, thereby hitting the jackpot, releasing a puny ghost that’s quickly squashed, and sending the Demons running once more.

The animation was taken up a notch in this episode, with more realistically-, exquisitely-rendered shots of P&S than ever. The juxtaposition of realistic, Samurai Jack, and live action explosiong styles adds a richness no other series this season can quite match, combined with a pulsing soundtrack that makes you want to move, even though you’re trying to watch a tv show. Rating: 4

Panty & Stocking 6

This time, the whole episode was dedicated to one story: Angels & Demons. P&S return to school to learn they’ve been replaced as School Queens by a couple of demon sisters: Scanty and Kneesocks, who’ve turned the school into a military academy of sorts full of rrrrules. They’re also the mayor’s daughters.

When a rogue ghost shows P&S to a secret ghost factory in the bowels of the school, run by S&K, a long, fantastically manic battle full of form and color ensues. Panty duels Scanty, Stocking fights Kneesocks, and Chuck fights his counterpart, Fastener. Even the angels’ convertible Hummer fights the demon’s ride: a stretch G-wagen.

All this dichotomy ultimately results in the destruction of the factory (and school), but neither side defeats the other; it’s a tie. The mayor punishes his daughters for failing. After so many short, inconsequential episodes, going full-length with an enemy that’s actually a match for the angels was definitely a welcome choice. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking 5

The first part of this episode is more than a little gross. Intense, sustained nose-picking has not only become socially acceptable and chic, but can also potentially be an entirely new kind of sex act, which intrigues Panty. Worse still, the monster responsible for the boogers that emit the gas that causes the compulsive nose-digging is disguised as the owner of a sweets shop who sells the boogers as confections, which are Stocking’s weakness. Of course, it’s a given that P&S will prevail at the end, and the manner in which it’s done is suitably disgusting.

What really got my attention was part two, which was drawn in a completely different style, and only showed P&S in action for a moment at the very end. The rest was a snapshot of the life of an old, salesman in a dead-end job, kind of like gil. He wants to get an autograph from P&G for his kid’s b-day, but is sidetracked by co-workers who make him drink. All of his pent-up rage expresses itself in a vomit monster, which lures P&G to his location. And the rest you can probably figure out. Nice change of pace in this segment. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt 4

Was another highly kinetic smorgasbord, replete with foul language, violence, nudity, and other mature themes. Part one chronicled Stocking’s sudden need for a diet, in which the ghost to kill was a multi-uddered dessert monster. Part two involved a lingere run in which the ghost of discarded panties actually ate P&S’s weapons, necessitating improvisation on Panty’s part.

So yeah, this series is formulaic (monster a week), but not in a bad way. Four episodes in and it’s still funny and fresh. Garter’s fascination with young boys is definitely unsettling, but then he is a priest, and if the two angels he administers are a slut and a glutton, it kind of fits – whatever church he’s with, it’s very forgiving. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt 3

The lunacy continues…

Panty & Stocking continues to kick all kinds of ass, to be perfectly simplistic about it. In the first part of this episode, the sisters get into a typical huge sibling fight that threatens their fighting power with two ghosts who work as a pair, while a suddenly extremely creepy Garterbelt is a bit too friendly with the Geek Boy. Part 2 is one of those from-the-sperm’s-perspective war stories, while the ghost is the actually the ghosts of lost sperm troops taking out their revenge on a Scotties tissue factory.

Some moments and animations are pretty gross and would be completely outrageous on most other shows, but it’s par for the course here. Regardless of the story material, this show is prepared to go to the most distant boundaries of both taste and sanity, and it’s good to know there’s a truly unhinged show out there that really isn’t that concerned about offending or disgusting anyone. Rating: 3.5

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt 2

The hyperactive, tripped-out sex-and-swear-fest continues apace, if anything in an even higher gear of lunacy than episode one. Part 1 parodied a high school drama with a queen bee monster, while Part 2 parodied films (like Sex in the City and 2001) as well as celebrity life and Paris Hilton’s sex tape. In both parts, kinetic mayhem and hilarity ensues.

Stylistically, P&G is an eclectic mix of Dexter’s Lab, Ren & Stimpy, Looney Tunes, FLCL, and, well, Paris Hilton’s sex tape, all rolled into a stylish, technicolor hootenanny. It’s an absolute hoot to watch, especially because you’ve no idea what it’ll have in store next. Rating: 4

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt – First Impressions

This series wasn’t on my initial Fall 2010 watchlist because it looked/sounded dumb; I didn’t like the way the promotional material looked. But I couldn’t resist cracking open the first series of the season, and it was a GAINAX production after all, even on a bad day their shit ain’t bad. But holy crap, I was not prepared for Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. One series into the season, I’ve learned to not judge a book by its cover.

In classic GAINAX fashion, this series is an A.D.D. sufferer’s wet dream – or nightmare: brimming with manic energy, color, and movement. A single half-hour episode is actually split into two distinct stories. It also employs a great number of different animation styles ~ usually sticking to a highly abstract style with almost Chuck Jones-like settings. The dialogue contains coarse language; every curse in the book is thrown around with abandon, both in Japanese and English, just for the hell of it.

It’s also full of sexual content; Panty is a promiscuous blonde who’s always jumping out of bed with some random dude, while Stocking is a goth obsessed with sweets. ‘Panty’ and ‘Stocking’ are the two heroines’ names, but also those of their weapons: Panty’s panties turn into a Desert Eagle while Stocking’s stocking transforms into a katana. Their appearance also transforms into a more realistic anime style when in full ass-kicking mode, with character designs that wouldn’t be out of place in FLCL or Gurren Lagann. That I did not expect.

The spectral foes they fight are no less novel: Part I features an evil mammoth shit spirit; Part II deals with a demon that possesses a sports car, then a semi, then a train. In both parts, Panty and Stocking  are backed up by literally thousands of cop cars with trigger-happy, stereotypical American cops. When a foe is defeated, their demise is depicted with a live-action explosion of a physical model. Very odd, but it works.

Other than the fact Panty & Stocking are actually angels and live on Earth (in a church with Garterbelt, a reverend), we don’t know much about the characters, but I’m sure future episodes will fill in the blanks. The entire sex, gun, and profanity-laced episode, with the exception of a couple brief moments of rest, is almost bursting out of the TV screen. The amount of detail and the speed with which frames flip by warrants multiple viewings. If every episode is like this, I can say confidently that GAINAX has something good here. Totally bonkers, but good. Rating: 4

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