We all remember the innocent and cute Powerpuff Girls and Puffy Ami Yumi. Ok, now take those two shows and add them to a blender, then add a little Invader Zim and a lot of vulgar language, a few adult toys, and a lot of panties. Just for extra measure, add a few pounds of sugar, and mix well. What do you get with this crazy mixture. Well, it would be the new Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, a thirteen episode plus one series made by Gainax Studios and brought to us by our friends at FUNimation.
Now let’s talk about the holy weapons which they use to kill ghosts, and no they don’t just use holy water or crosses, they are definitely unique. Panty utilizes her panties which, once she takes them off, transform into a gun. As for Stocking, her stockings turn into a katana. This takes place while they do a transformation similar to what you’d find in any magical girl anime, but their transformation sequence is anything but traditional -- it takes place on a stripper pole, and they dance as they remove there special articles of clothing. Panty can use any panties to change into guns; for example, if she takes Stockings panties and combines them with her own, it makes a sniper rifle. This is weird I know, but it gets even weirder since she can also use guys underwear, but the size of the weapon produced is linked to the size of the man’s package.
If the girls sound crazy, the secondary characters don’t help the matter at all. Just like Charlie’s Angels have Bosley, Panty and Stocking have Garterbelt who is a reverend with an afro appointed by heaven to guide the sisters on their special mission. Garterbelt shows interest in young boys, especially Brief. They also have a pet dog, Chuck, who in my mind resembles Gir (if he was running on Windows Vista) from Invader Zim. Finally, we have Brief, Panty’s fan boy. He is truly in love with Panty and will do anything for her; unfortunately she doesn’t have the same feelings for him.
Now if we have angels, we definitely need some demons, right? Well we don’t have one, but a set of demon twins named Scanty and Kneesocks, the Daemon sisters. They come from hell and they also have special weapons. The Daemon sisters are reserved and follow rules, unlike Panty and Stocking who could care less about anything. Scanty somehow always has two panties that change into revolvers, while her sister, Kneesocks, has a pair of knee-socks that change into scythes. Where Panty and Stocking have Garterbelt, the daemon sisters have Corset. Corset is the mayor of Daten City and the leader of the daemon sisters. He knows Garterbelt, and they both have the same scar on their chest which implies a possible history together. He wears a lot of BDSM style clothes which are always tightening. His goal is to take over heaven and earth. Lastly, just like the angels have Chuck the dog, the daemon sisters have Fastener. He looks like a rat more then a pet you would have at your side, but Fastener is definitely smarter than Chuck.
The episodes are somewhat standalone and there isn’t a cohesive story that is being told. The show is one big parody with a lot of pop culture references. Even the episode titles are jokes with such gems as ‘Sex and the Daten City,’ ‘Catfight Club,’ ‘Trans-Homers,’ and, ‘High School Nudical.’ In the episode “1 Angry Ghost,” Panty and Stocking are on trial and their lawyer, a monkey, parodies Phoenix Wright and objects, true to the game, to the evidence that is presented against the sisters and wins. This is just one example of what to expect while watching this series. Another episode, “Help! We Are Angels,” is a music video in which Panty and Stocking, along with Garterbelt and Chuck, interpret the song "D City Rock" by Teddyloid featuring Debra Zeer, just like an MTV music video. This video parodies many artists such as Lady Gaga, Tatu, The Beatles, Nirvana, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Elvis, KISS, Freddie Mercury from Queen, Jimi Hendrix, and more. There are also plenty of anime references and cameos from K-On!, FLCL, Black Rock Shooter, and even Kiyoh from Gurren Lagann. This episode is simply one of the most hilarious mash up music videos I’ve ever seen and has a catchy tune -- it’s a must see, and I would recommend this episode alone if not the whole series. This anime is not like anything Gainax has ever done; it seems like they said, “Let’s just have fun and do what we want with this project.”
I thought Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt was going to be something more serious, so once I started watching the series I was a bit resistant to it, but after the first two episodes and considering my love of Invader Zim’s style, I began to enjoy the series. It is just a comedy with a lot of pop culture references and parodies. It references series such as Transformers, The Walking Dead, and even the movie Scarface. The episodes are short, which makes them enjoyable and keeps them fresh. I actually became a fan of Stocking and her gothic ways, but that’s just me. So, pick this series up if you are a fan of Invader Zim, Powerpuff Girls, South Park, and enjoy parodies. I bet you won’t be disappointed if you do, and make sure you watch episode 10 “Help! We Are Angels,” and see how many references you can spot.
On a side note, this year during Anime Expo the English voice actors of Panty and Stocking were there and they recorded a video in which they read cuss words and vulgar sentences that were submitted by fans to FUNimation. I really recommend that those who are eighteen or older go here and watch the video it is hilarious.
Things I Loved:
+ Funny parodies
+ Adult humor (perfect for older teens)
+ Love the anime style (reminds me of Powerpuff Girls and Invader Zim)
Things I Hated:
- Lacks a consistent plot
- Adult humor (limits the audience)
- Some people will say this is not up to Gainax standards
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor