I haven't been doing a lot of writing about anything in the past couple weeks, actually, and I figured I would make good on something I've been saying to myself that I'd do for a long time now: mid-series posts on current shows. The "preview" format is inherently frustrating because you can say so little, waiting for the whole thing to finish means you lose that group feeling of watching it together, and frankly the longer I wait on an idea, the less likely I am to post.
So I want to talk about a show I already wrote up at Colony Drop two months ago when it started running. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is the only show I'm "current" on, as in I don't leave the house on Fridays without watching the new episode. I'm not even current on Super Robot Wars, and I want to watch Princess Jellyfish but I just haven't. (You know how it is with stuff you feel like you should watch? I'm just a low, low, low brow kinda man.) This show is legitimately exciting, though. This tale of a pair of self-absorbed, vice-addled angel sisters versus a procession of bizarre ghosts is, without question, unlike anything you've ever seen.
Of course, the show draws a lot of its uniqueness from its influences. I know how weird that sounds. But what I mean is that anime, especially lately, is often only informed by itself. Anime based on books written for anime otaku, you know? It feels like a creative feedback loop. So much is predictable (whether accidentally or by intent) and explicitly categorized. This show is drawing from a different pool, and even though the lifitng is so blatant (and often outright infringes on copyright), it keeps us guessing. You can't predict Panty/Stocking, and you can't neatly categorize it either.
The show's homages and experiments continue to surprise. An early episode intimately retold both the average Hollywood teen flick and the average American celebrity sex scandal. Another episode brutally abandoned the cartoon look, took a detour to Japan (the town next to Daten City, of course) and told the too-true-for-this-show story of a sad salaryman on the edge with our favorite bitch angels only appearing in passing. Another episode was a pitch-perfect episode of the 80s Transformers cartoon.
The show's at its best when it's either being experiemental, over-the-top or both: there have been by-the-numbers episodes here and there, like the zombie episode, that are merely average. The best episodes make one stupid joke-- like nostril sex or dieting gone wrong-- and spend ffifteen minutes literally stretching it until it becomes a horrific laugh-monster, which is finally put out of its hilarious misery by the heroines. Other episodes have been action showcases: the double-length "evil twins" episode is stunning.
To say that this is merely a gross-out humor show or a one-gag pony is doing its style a tremendous disservice. It's true that the characters all have one note and little more-- Panty only cares about sex, Stocking (a fellow blogger) only cares about candy, Garterbelt is a pedophile, and Brief is innocently in love with Panty-- but the run of this show has so far shown that they really work well as cartoon characters, crude, filthy little things that attack their ludicrous situations head-on with yet more ludicorous means. Except for Garterbelt, whose single joke just hasn't been funny enough.
You know what is funny? Japanese magical girl voice actresses swearing profusely in English while clubbing a zombie cat over the head with sex toys. I could watch a whole episode of that, and after the zombie episode I feel like I already did.
If you like cartoons or ever did, give this show a shot. It's not for everybody just on account of how screamingly profane it is, but I think you'll love it. And the music kills.