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Customer Review

58 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anarchy in Daten City, June 14, 2012
This review is from: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: The Complete Series (DVD)
Move over, Kei and Yuri, the dirtiest pair of all have arrived and they are not messing around. "Panty and Stocking with Garter Belt" (PSG for short) is a madcap exercise in obscenity and hilarity that uses and abuses a semi-American kiddie animation style (think The Powerpuff Girls or My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic) to increase it's own patent offensiveness. Panty and Stocking are the first names of the Anarchy sisters, fallen angels who are trying to buy their way back into Heaven by defeating earthly ghosts using weapons formed out of their undergarments. Garterbelt is the perverse afro-priest who plays the Charlie to their angels. And they are all majorly effed up. This is an anime for those of you with a truly sick sense of humor. Profanity flies profusely from the mouths of these characters in both English and Japanese (often in the same sentence) as they argue about such topics as the importance of breast size versus perkiness or belittle each other's BDSM techniques like opponents with opposing styles in an old chop-socky flick. Every bodily fluid known to man comes into play at some point in the series and the flow of sexual humor is nearly constant. This is not a show for your kids and it is not for the easily offended. If you have delicate sensibilities at all, leave them at the door when you view PSG. It will push your buttons with inane regularity.

What do I make of this insanity? Loved it. The Japanese voice cast is hilarious (as of this point, I've note heard the dub) and the soundtrack is among the most instantly memorable I've ever heard. Auto-tuned pop and dance grooves with bits of reggae and even a little speed metal are thrown in to make the sounds of PSG incredibly infectious and full of personality. The sound effects are spelled out onscreen comic book style, which adds to the stylish visual charm of the animation. The show is also a humorous cocktail of parody and genre subversion. References to everything from grindhouse classics like Death Race 2000 and Vanishing Point to full-on parodies of Transformers and the zombie films of George Romero make every episode an adventure for experienced viewers. In a single music video, PSG manages to reference everyone from KISS to Lady Gaga to The Beatles, to name just a few. This is a very hyper-literate series from a pop culture standpoint, which is impressive for a show that is based around some of the most base and vulgar humor possible. Where else will you see sperm playing as soldiers in a Saving Private Ryan send-up attempting to storm "the bush" like it was Normandy? Also, whenever an enemy dies at the hands of the sisters, animation is replaced with a real life model of the foe being blown up. That is awesome.

One thing that stands out as an example of the cleverness of this show is the girls' transformation sequence, among the most dreaded of anime cliches. PSG parodies this particular standard without allowing it to become the annoyance it is in any other series in very interesting ways. First off, the normally low-rent chibi animation is replaced with detailed sexualized hi-def hotness as halos appear above the girls' heads and swoop down the length of their body as the angels' Madonna-esque dance groove kicks in, which just plain looks cool. Panty and Stocking then exchange ridiculously suggestive poses making for a mix of legitimately sweet animation, hilariously obnoxious fan service, and the admitted cheesy enjoyment of the classic anime heroine battle ritual. But only the first episode shows the entire sequence in it's entirety while subsequent transformations show different bits and pieces so it takes up minimal episode time to clear room for more laughs. Win. Win. Win. This is a great example of how PSG subverts and exploits the appeal of an anime staple while at the same time parodying it. Best of both worlds, baby.

I tore through PSG in record time. I just wanted more and more of it and could not leave it alone. But it's not without flaw. While usually highly episodic in nature, the final episodes of the first season reveal a story arc that the series would have been better off without. The finale is a bit of a confused mess that brought down what could have been a five star series for me. Particularly the closing moments of the season were troubling. The final twist was so random and so nonsensical it felt like it was specifically devised as a metaphorical middle finger to the audience who saw the characters give so many literal middle fingers over the course of the show. This would have been awesome, but the cliffhanger "to be continued" ending implies a second season that will probably be more story driven from the get-go. And the second that PSG started trying to be anything but minute-to-minute random craziness was the second it stopped being a perfect show for me. Nonetheless, I am very much looking forward to the upcoming DVD release of this one (I can definitely see a possible Adult Swim slot in it's future) and will definitely be looking forward to more Panty, more Stocking, and even more Garterbelt (afros rule) in the future.

4 1/2 stars: rounded down for a weak ending.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 18, 2012 11:08:08 PM PDT
Weak ending you say. Thats Gainax for you. Awesome Animes with wtf endings.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 12:21:52 PM PDT
trashcanman says:
It wasn't terrible, but the last few eps just did not have the insane fun factor of the the rest of the show.

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 9:51:32 AM PDT
Jack says:
Thanks for the in-depth review! I watched episodes 1-9 before I got distracted by other shiny new anime, but based on this strong review, I've eagerly pre-ordered the dub. ^^

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 10:54:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2012 10:54:34 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
Thanks, Jackie. I'm getting downvoted up the wazoo on this review so it's nice that somebody enjoyed it. When I came to this page there were not any reviews on it so I thought I'd put something here so anyone looking for a clue about what the show was all about had something to read, but apparently that's not seen as helpful. Hell, even my comment response that the ending wasn't as fun as the meat of the series got negged. Ah internet, I love you but I fear I will never understand you. And guys, constructive criticism is welcomed and encouraged. Don't be scared.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 8:50:12 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 6, 2012 3:50:18 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 6, 2012 8:00:07 PM PDT
trashcanman says:
Why did Amazon delete that last comment? This site just gets more bizarre by the day. Anyways, I'll respond to it anyways by saying I don't take downvotes personally, but I am curious about them in this case. I've been known to insert controversy into my reviews, and in those cases I fully expect vote attacks, but I stuck to topic on this one so if the problem is people just don't like the show, I'd be interested in hearing dissenting opinions on it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 2:05:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 2:15:59 PM PDT
Upright Ape says:
I didn't see the deleted post, but I'll make an unqualified, unscientific guess about that and other dissenting opinions: it may be that "weak ending" is too much of an understatement for people who have been burned by bad Anime series endings in the past - and by Gainax endings in particular.

In this case, "weak ending" might have to be changed to "wtf ending" (to borrow from the first comment with the user handle as long as this parenthesis) if that second season never materializes. Without indulging in detailed spoilers, I think it's safe to say that the plot twist at the very end is so wholly inconsistent and illogical compared to the rest of the series that "some viewers" might even feel outraged by it.

Then again, if that second season does appear and that seemingly inconsistent ending is resolved, all of the cynics in this camp could eat our words.

All that said, a well-written review shouldn't be down-voted just because it contains an unpopular opinion. I disagree with your rating because of the series ending (I rate no Anime series with such bad endings above one), but that's no reason at all to diss on a decent, comprehensive review (with reference links no less!). 5 stars for the review!

UpRight Ape

UPDATE: now that I pay attention to the numbers, another possibility with these pro/con votes is that the sample set is just too small to be concluding that you're being "downvoted up the wazoo". There were only 21 votes total on the review when I got here (66% pro, in fact) and 3 votes on your first comment (33% pro). The population is too small to ID and normalize the effects of bias and/or trolling at this point. As you say, "Ah, internet...."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 10:54:59 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
When I wrote those comments it was closer to 50/50. Looks like I've gotten an extra 5 or so upvotes since then. I don't know, maybe it's jut me, but I usually only click "not helpful" if the review blatantly and obviously lies or reads like a message board post, or they are "reviewing" something they clearly have not watched/read/heard/etc, like ones where they talk about how goo they think it's going to be. And I almost always leave a comment. Personally, I like to know these things. Anyways, thanks for the comment, UA. You are probably right about the sample size too. I have anime reviews almost 10 years old on this site that were the first ones put up on the product page that have had 0-2 total votes on them so I guess I jus haven't mentally adjusted to how huge anime releases are and how much traffic -good and bad- goes through these pages now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 3:19:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2012 3:21:00 PM PDT
Upright Ape says:
Yes, there's no question that the "traffic" makes shopping difficult. However there is that new feature (at least, I think it's new - could be I just noticed it after a few years of thoughtful scrutiny) called "Amazon Verified Purchase" to let you know that the reviewer at least bought the program. I got one of those attached to my review of Toradora. I can't remember if it was automatic. I think there was an option box to check just before I posted the review.

Anyway, there is that guarantee that the review isn't total vapor, unless of course the buyer never got around to watching it for some reason. For example, someone might have purchased Toradora, then read my review before watching it and returned it unopened before adding his/her own scathing comments. That's my dream, at least.

OK, ok, so I have those dreams. I still don't hear the voices when I'm awake, though, so I think that means I'm sane.

I looked around but didn't see any indication of a second anime season for Panty & Stocking With Garter Belt. It looks as though the ending that has so many people miffed is going to stay as it is.

Happy Viewing,
UpRight Ape

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 12:42:28 PM PDT
trashcanman says:
Well, you know how anime goes sometimes. There can be years between seasons, or occasionally they go with one shot OVA's if they can't get a full season going. Aren't they rebooting/continuing Berserk (speaking of wtf endings) with new movies now after like 15 years? Damn, that's a long layoff. But the fans are still here. I'm not so much bothered by the poor decision to end PSG's run with promises of a second season that may not happen so much as the abandonment of the show's anarchic stand-alone insanity for a stab at plot that just didn't really fit the show's tone in my opinion. But I still very much enjoyed it and plan on getting this set once I clear some time and funds.
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