The 2010’s. For many of us who grew up during this decade it was either awesome, or awful! By the end of 2009 anime fans were wondering what the next ten years was going to be like for anime in general, and although the 2010’s brought us some amazing shows like Stein’s Gate and Madoka Magica, it also brought us a show that stood out from the rest of the pack! If you took the art style of the Powerpuff Girls and mixed it with the toilet humor of South Park, you would get a cult classic that embodies every troupe; both western and anime, along with a call back to an art style reminiscent of a Craig McCraken property. Even the name of the title itself tells you just what kind of show it is. We’re talking about the show known as Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
If you’re unfamiliar with this show, its about two ‘angelic’ girls who were kicked out of Heaven for being too raunchy. They end up in a city between Heaven and Hell called Daten City (which is basically purgatory) where they have to kill ghosts and gather heaven coins to get back into Heaven. Seems like an easy task if these two weren’t distracted by their love for sex and sweets; with Panty being the former and Stocking taking the latter. The whole series revolves around their misadventures filled with sex jokes, monster’s of the week, a Ghostbusters fanboy, an afro-sporting priest, and bondage-loving demons.
Yeah, this series is basically Powerpuff Girls on acid.
What’s even funnier about the show is how it got created. During a vacation of some sort, the creators and producers of the show watched an American cartoon that we know as Drawn Together, and through drunk and humorous circumstances the staff spent the rest of the trip coming up with names and designs for Panty and Stocking – even naming them after women’s garments. Once everything was set in stone the creators and staff went back to Gainax (the same company behind Gurren Lagann and FLCL) and got to work. The team was basically trying out various ideas to figure out what worked and what didn’t, which might be the reason why every episode is split into two parts. (Like Sonic’s ‘Act 1’ and ‘Act 2’ formula.)
Due to it being so westernized even though its classified as an anime (especially during the transformation sequence), all of the jokes and humor are based off of American pop culture. Even the title cards of the episodes themselves is a call back to American movies and TV shows like High School Musical, Sex & The City, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more! Not only that but this series is chalk-full of references from 90’s cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, movie franchises like Star Wars, South Park, Super Mario Bros., Phoenix Wright and Tom Cruise? Yeah, he’s referenced in this show too, although his name is spelled ‘Tom Crooise’.
With all of the jokes and references this show had to work with during the time it came out, would that same style of comedy hold up in today’s society?
The internet has changed a lot in the last ten years, and some of the crude jokes and toilet humor we’ve come to know and love has kinda worn out its welcome. Social media is more unforgiving now than it was back in the 2010’s when it was just one person shouting at the void. Personal opinions are now being shaped from public opinions, as opposed to people forming their own opinions based on their own perspectives on topics like politics, pop culture, entertainment, sports, and yes; even anime subs and dubs.
We remember a time where ‘offensive comedy’ and adult humor was funny; because it made fun of everybody and didn’t focus on a specific group of people. Shows like Family Guy and South Park did that all the time, and technically speaking it translates into that ‘it’s not considered bullying if everybody does it’ mentality. Sure; back then we laughed in the face of negative stereotypes about black people, white people, Asians, Mexicans, Indians, Russians, Canadians, Italians and Europeans. Now in 2022, in the age of Covid, the societal shift is different.
To put it simply; Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is not just a show about two white girls, a black catholic priest, a Scott Pilgrim reject, and a green dog who looks like Gir’s inbred cousin. PSG was a bunch of ideas thrown together to see what worked and what didn’t, and the final result turned out to be one of the most critically acclaimed gems of the 2010’s thanks to its dub. Hearing Monica Rial cursing like a sailor through her 10-year-old girl signature voice behind the most popular character of the series; Stocking Anarchy, is nothing short of hilariously amazing.
The show embodied all of the gross humor and sex jokes that you would find in a Comedy Central-type adult animation title. The soundtrack is bangin’, and strong enough to listen to outside of the show. It left us with one of the most debatable endings in the history of Gainax – especially if you’re a Stocking fan. Finally, it had an identity all its own; a manifestation of ideas put together that was heavily influenced by western pop culture. The show was its own thing. It knew what it wanted to be.
There’s hasn’t really been a show of this caliber like this in the last decade, and probably never will. Despite it doing so well internationally thanks to the dub, the original sub performed poorly in Japan. The guys who worked on it left Gainax and formed Studio Trigger and pumped out hits like Kill la Kill and Promare. Who knows when they’ll revisit this property, but as far as can it still hold up in today’s time, that fact that its gaining recognition from new fans of this younger generation, says a lot.
Until next post, Happy New Year! 😉