First Impressions – Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt

Honesty compels me to admit that I had serious doubts about this one going in, despite the initial fan buzz. I’m pretty much a Gainax otaku – I’m in awe of their best work and pretty much willing to give any series a chance simply because it’s Gainax. And the driving force behind this one is Hiroyuki Imaishi, the director of Gurren-Laggan – a series whose GAR greatness needs no embellishment here.

But this concept didn’t do much for me. The concept of a sort of super-ecchified Powerpuff Girls has novelty value, but I worry that’s all it is – novelty. And indeed that pre-series description turned out to be pretty much accurate for a series that would have looked much more at home on Adult Swim than Japanese TV. Your basic premise is two Angels – one a blonde slut and one a blue-haired glutton – who cause wanton destruction under the guise of fighting evil ghosts under the direction of their boss Garterbelt, who appears to be something of a cross between Shaquile O’Neal and Bosley from “Charlie’s Angels”. All of this seems little more than an excuse to unleash as many sex and shit jokes and profanities as possible in 22 minutes.

If all that sounds strange, it doesn’t even begin to do justice to how strange this actually is. I get that Gainax is really trying to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable in terms of content and trying to double the impact with the art style. And none of the sex or shit or swearing bothers me – I just don’t find it all that funny once the shock value wears off. On the one hand I don’t see anything in here that looks like it can sustain a series – we’re certainly not going to see any character development, based on the premiere. I don’t especially enjoy the art style or the type of show the humor is based on – Aqua Teen Hunger Force, etc. On the other hand, this is Gainax and Imaishi – so maybe I just have to have faith and hope for the best.


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