29 Dec 2010

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Anime) Review

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (2010)
Format: TV Series, 13 X 24 minutes
Studio: Gainax
Director: Imaishi Hiroyuki
Episode 5b Director: Kobayashi Osamu
Score: 4 stars
Summary: Totally crass, over-the-top, extremely vulgar and explicit. Gainax redefines "epic" in the story episodes, but stumbles along with many bad episodes too.

First and foremost, this series is incredibly vulgar. A lot of sex jokes and toilet humour. Literally. They fight lumps of shit and battle against vomit. I could stand an episode or 2 of that stuff, but after a while it became really bad, and I wondered what's the purpose to disgusting their audience, week after week. People easily disturbed or insulted should just stay clear of this series.

All gone? OK. Those of you who are brave enough to watch this are in for a treat.... once in a while. The problem with it's "Monster of the Week" is that the monsters are often weak, disgusting, and not worth watching. The story episodes appear in the middle and end of the series, trying to hook the audience in before they totally give up. It worked for me at least. Some with less patience would have quit after episode 2 or 3. To give it some credit, some episodes leading up to the conclusion were rather good on their own, without bringing in any story elements.

Additionally, PSG is supposed to be a parody of the magical girl genre, anime, and western animation. The episode titles also reference famous (and infamous) western movies. While I get the western animation parody (Powerpuff Girls art style with adult humour), I felt that the movie title references were rather weak. The ideas and concept of those movies were rarely used, and the episodes were often loosely related to the title.

The studio behind this craziness is Gainax, most famously known for Neon Genesis Evangelion. They also made Gurren Lagann, FLCL, and Hanamaru Kindergarten (which had really good new ED sequences for every episode). They seem to let their creativity run free, doing whatever they felt would look "cool". The genesis of PSG should give you an idea of how they work. Quoted from Wikipedia:

    Following the broadcast of Imaishi's previous project, Gurren Lagann, the show's staff went on a trip for rest and relaxation. At that time, they aired their opinions to each other under drunken and humorous circumstances, saying such things as "Next time, I want to try this" in regards to approaches to animation. Almost all of the concept for the anime was made during the initial trip; the names of main characters, 'Panty' and 'Stocking' were coined at the very first meeting. The theme of the anime is 'vulgar and indecent jokes', with Imaishi saying, "If we are going to do this, we will try it thoroughly."

So, an anime idea by a bunch of drunk guys. Sounds like it would work! Well, ultimately I still think you can call it a success. They manage to make the characters badass and the battles are crazy, with epic music blasting through at critical moments. The final 10 minutes of the series is guaranteed to leave you with a "WTF" expression from start to end, and when it's over, you'll laugh and say "That is the most epic conclusion I've seen in a long time! Perhaps of all time!"

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