Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (PSG) was my favourite anime of the 2010 fall season and I thought I’d save the best for last, but I guess that wasn’t such a good idea since 5 months have now passed.
To describe it in a nutshell, PSG is like Southpark meets Powerpuff Girls in a wild mix of action, parody, sexual innuendos, and “bitchy-ness”. PSG has attitude, and it shows with their “no bars” approach to violence, sex, and foul language. It’s essentially a slap in the face to conservative groups that say violence, sex, and foul language should be censored in order to protect the innocent minds of the general public.
The characters are about as far as you can get from the ordinary schoolchildren of slice-of-life anime. Panty is a badass character and calls herself a bitchy angel, which I think describes her perfectly. A lot of people have pointed this out, but she’s essentially Kamina from Gurren Lagann in female form. She charges into battle with guns blazing and doesn’t give a thought about anyone else. Panty also likes to sleep around in order to reach her goal of doing 1000 men.
Stocking is more sensible than her sister, Panty, but she’s still a pretty wild character. A gothloli that loves sweets, Stocking wields dual swords and in my opinion, has the cooler battle scenes.
Garterbelt, a black priest with an afro, looks like an honest holy man on the surface, but deep down he embodies all of the scandals the catholic church has suffered through. Not only is he a closet paedophile, he’s also a closet homosexual, and a closet masochist.
Considering half of the anime characters out there now are teenage schoolgirls that lead ordinary lives and may or may not be a part of some club, the characters of PSG are a welcome change.
The “plot” is nothing to write home about. Most of the series consisted of random half-episode stories that were meant to provide instant entertainment rather than develop bonds between characters or delve into the human condition (though according to one of my high school English teachers, everything is about the human condition). An example of such an episode was “Pulp Addiction,” which was about there being a shortage of tissue paper, making it impossible for men to “relieve” themselves. Any indication of an actual story only appears in episode 6, where it is revealed that the ghosts that Panty and Stocking have been fighting were being created and controlled by two demon sisters called Scanty and Kneesocks. This finally created a solid antagonistic force to the angels, which set the premise for a final battle in the last episode. Ironically, the demon sisters were more straight-laced and disciplined than the immoral and gluttonous angels.
Animation-wise, PSG could be considered awesome or horrible depending on personal preferences. It doesn’t follow the traditional anime style with highly detailed characters and correct proportions. Instead, PSG has a stylized art style that is more representative of some western cartoons, most notably, the Powerpuff Girls. I know a lot of people dumped western cartoons in favour of anime because of the art style, so that’s why I say views on PSG’s animation can vary greatly. In terms of quality, I thought it was excellent as I did not notice any poorly drawn scenes, and I think the transformation scenes are enough proof that the animators can do very detailed characters with a different art style.
As for the bgm, theme, and insert songs, I thought they were amazing. A lot of the music was remixed by Taku Takahashi, famous for his position as the DJ of Japanese hip-hop group m-flo. I loved m-flo’s music long before PSG came out, so that may have influenced my opinion on it, but you can listen to some of it yourself.
I would recommend PSG to anyone (over 18) who’s not strongly conservative and wants some crazy and wild entertainment with attitude. Since there’s little in terms of a continuous plot, there’s no need for anyone to feel compelled to complete the whole thing once they’ve gotten their laugh of the day. One thing I would like to point out though, is that this series has a “I don’t care what you think, it’s my way or the highway” kind of atmosphere throughout, so expect to be told off in the last episode (which I thought was a perfect ending considering what kind of show we’re talking about).