Within the metropolitan area of Daten City, a place that’s constantly barraged by evil spirits called “Ghosts”, we get acquainted with the Anarchy sisters, Panty and Stocking. They are licentious and disobedient angels that were kicked out of heaven due to their unruly behavior. Under the attentive care of reverend Garterbelt, the two sisters are given the task to rid Daten City of these malicious monsters which will allow them to get “Heaven Coins”, which they plan on using to eventually return to Heaven.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was produced by Gainax, a famous animation studio that has made notable works within the anime genre such as FLCL, and Gurren Lagann. Having watched these shows prior to Panty & Stocking, I came into this anime with profound eagerness. I loved the obfuscated and metaphorical storytelling of FLCL, and visually speaking, Gurren Lagann was truly ahead of it’s time and still holds up incredibly well to this day. While I can definitely say that Panty & Stocking didn’t disappoint, it was a lot different than the other two series’ that I just mentioned.
“O pitiful shadow lost in the darkness, O evil spirit born of those drifting between Heaven and Earth. May the thunderous power from the garments of these holy delicate maidens strike down upon you with great vengeance and furious anger, shattering your loathsome impurity and returning you from whence you came! REPENT, MOTHER****ER!”
—Panty and Stocking’s In the Name of the Moon speech
Right off the bat, the animation style that is utilized in this show is quite unconventional compared to what you’d normally find in most anime productions on TV and films. From my eyes, it looked as if the creators of this show were mainly drawing influences from Western cartoons and pop culture. At some moments I honestly thought that I was watching an Adult Swim spinoff of the Powerpuff Girls, which was one of favorite shows from Cartoon Network as a child. The visuals did appear odd to me at first since it strays from conventional norms, but I did grow to enjoy it quite a bit as the series went on. The action and transformation scenes are flipping amazing; it’s kooky, off-the-walls, and incredibly self-indulgent in terms of presentation. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the production budget was strictly allocated to these particular scenes within the show.
The sountrack for this show was well-done and does a great job accentuating the hectic moments of Panty & Stocking. It’s frenetic, loud, in your face, and just a joy to listen to as a whole. The standout song is definently “Fly away” by TeddyLoid. This track is invigorating and gets you amped up since it indicates that these sisters are about kick a**.
Probably my favorite facet of this show is the English dub. This particular dub takes a very satirical and balls-to-the-wall approach, it’s teeming with crass humor and swear words are constantly thrown around without any hesitation. I’m not the kind of viewer that instantly thinks that profuse swearing automatically makes a show better, sometimes I think it ends up having a detrimental effect, but I feel like it honestly ratchets up the enjoyment level for this anime. Jaimie Marchi and Monica Rial do a great job of exuding vim and vigor for their titular roles as Panty and Stocking, and the rest of the Funimation staff that were involved did an excellent effort as well.
As for the main characters, the differences between and Panty and Stocking are night and day. Panty, the blonde one, is self-absorbed, rebellious, easily irked, and very demanding as an individual. In addition, she’s also a very promiscuous woman, most of her thoughts primarily consist of having sex with as much men as possible.
On the other hand, Stocking is sort of the opposite. She has an insatiable craving for sweets that would probably eventually lead to plenty of health concerns later on in life. While she can be just as mean-spirited and uncouth as Panty whenever she’s annoyed, Stocking is the more reserved and nicer one of the Anarchy sisters.
If I had to point out one thing that I didn’t like in particular, it would have to be the ubiquitous amount of toilet humor during some of the earlier episodes. Just any jokes pertaining to defecation, flatulence, or piss just comes off as rather cringe-inducing, desperate, and low-brow. Thankfully, these pitfalls don’t hamper the overall enjoyment for most of the show since the later episodes are less reliant on these type of antics.
All in all, I found Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable ride as a viewer. The dialogue throughout the show was abhorrent (in a good way) and hilariously offensive, and the pop culture references that are occasionally sprinkled during some episodes also added some nuance to the comedic formula of this anime since it prevented it from getting boring and monotonous. If the thought of a western-inspired Japanese anime has ever piqued your interest or ran through your mind, then this show is right up your alley.