What Makes Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt a Powerhouse Anime?

Cast of Panty & Stocking

There are very few anime that have the power to shock and entertain audiences with their unorthodox plot and remain adored by audiences, but Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is one of the few shows to do so. To this day, the show is celebrated by fans and called one of the best anime to come out of the 2010s for its characters, soundtrack, and lowbrow humor.

Panty & Stocking first aired in late 2010 in Japan. It was produced by Gainax who is also responsible for shows such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann, and FLCL. The show was licensed and dubbed by Funimation in 2011. 

What’s It About?

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is set in Daten City, a pun on the Japanese word ‘datenshi’ which means fallen angel, a purgatory that serves as the border between Heaven and Hell. The Anarchy sisters Panty & Stocking are angels who were kicked out of heaven for indulging in the deadly sins. They now reside in Daten City as punishment under the watchful eye of the Reverend Garterbelt.  

In order to get back into Heaven, the sisters must cleanse the city of the evil spirits that roam the city by transforming their lingerie into holy weapons. When they successfully subdue them, they gain Heaven Coins, and if they have enough, they can buy their way back into Heaven. However, the sisters are also constantly indulging themselves with men and food which complicates their mission. 

Characters

Panty Anarchy

Panty may be over 1,800 years old, but she appears to be 18. She’s loud, spiteful, and shameless, but that isn’t the reason she was kicked out of heaven. Panty presents herself like a fashion trendy celebrity and loves being the center of attention.

Her lust is the main reason she was kicked out of heaven. She’s loud and proud about her sexual conquests and her main goal is to bed 1,000 men. When it comes to fighting, Panty uses a gun and is a practitioner of the ‘shoot it until it dies’ technique which causes a lot of problems for her in battle.

Stocking Anarchy

Stocking’s over 1,700 years old, but, like her sister, appears to be much younger as she appears to be 17. She’s the complete opposite to Panty as Stocking is quiet, calculative, and rather short when angered. Stocking wears gothic lolita clothing and prefers to be out of the spotlight.

Her gluttony is the main reason she was kicked out of heaven, and she continues to eat massive amounts of pastries on Earth. She says she doesn’t have an interest in being sexual, but at times she shows that she has an interest in BDSM and is an active believer in pursuing a relationship for love and not for superficial features. When it comes to fighting, Stocking uses two swords and uses a more strategic approach when it comes to fighting. 

Garterbelt

Garterbelt is an immortal priest who looks after the Anarchy sisters and tries his best to lead them on the right path. He usually fails, but at least the sisters get the job done. He is dedicated to his work as a reverend, has an interest in younger males, and is devoted to the art of BDSM. 

Briefers “Brief/Geek Boy” Rock

Brief attends Daten City High School along with the Anarchy sisters, but he is often bullied because he’s a geek. He’s rather shy, but he’s determined and has an interest in the supernatural which leads the sisters to call him ‘Geek Boy’. He has a crush on Panty, but Panty doesn’t return those feelings and often puts Brief in danger due to her lack of concern over him.

Chuck

Chuck is the Anarchy sisters’ unwanted pet, and they use him as a convenient punching bag throughout the series. However, Chuck isn’t really affected by their beatings since he’s a supernatural being who is used as heaven’s messenger. He resembles Gir from Invader Zim in his dog suit. 

Scanty

Scanty is one of the major antagonists in the series. She serves as Panty’s foil as she’s a rule-abiding version of Panty, but she doesn’t match Panty in terms of sex drive. Scanty fights with dual pistols and is an excellent marksman, but she has a short temper which usually leads to her and her sister’s downfall in battle. 

Kneesocks

Kneesocks is the other major antagonist and is Scanty’s younger sister. She serves as Stocking’s foil. She’s similar to Stocking in the sense that the two are much more calculative and careful than their older sisters; however Kneesocks does have a tendency to become erratic when she sees that rules are being broken. Kneesocks has a habit of setting traps before and during battle, but she also fights with dual scythes.

Is There A Manga?

Yes. While the show was an original concept, there was a manga published to go along with the anime after its release. It was released from 2010-2011 in Kadokawa’s Young Ace manga anthology magazine, and it only has 9 chapters which compiled into one volume. The chapters were mostly inspired by many films such as Ghostbusters, A Better Tomorrow, and Alien as well as a novel, The Perfect Play

What Inspired This Show?

Well, this show is something that hasn’t been seen in anime, even to this day. It’s considered too risque and just straight up depraved because the show is about angels who are unapologetically full of lust and gluttony. Many people wonder what inspired the show to be as crude as it was.

Gainax’s Hiromi Wakabayashi was behind the conception of this original series. In an interview with Grant Alexander, Wakabayashi talked about the inspiration for the series, American shows and comics. The show that takes the most credit is Comedy Central’s 2004 series Drawn Together, an animated American adult sit-com that revolves around spoofs of many popular characters such as Betty Boop, Link, the Disney Princesses, and even internet flash characters from sites like Newgrounds who live in a house for a Big Brother-esque show. 

The show was notorious for its dark humor and satirical nature. The show tackled controversial topics such as masturbation, abortion, homophobia, xenophobia, and even necrophilia. The show was also known for its constant violence and featured the characters going on murder sprees, being murdered, but they always come back unharmed in the next episode. While Panty & Stocking didn’t tackle all of these issues in the way it’s inspiration did, the show did take a few pointers from it and became its own entity.

Cast of Drawn Together

What Elements Were Taken From Drawn Together?

Wakabayashi and his team saw Drawn Together when they were in America and figured why not try creating a show similar to it. While the show isn’t as crude as its inspiration, references to sex and fetishes are scattered throughout the series. Panty’s open and unapologetic about her sex life, and she doesn’t care for people who try to slut-shame her. The rest of the characters also sprinkle in hints to their sexual preferences in the series as well, with many of the characters sharing an interest and appreciation of BDSM. 

The series also isn’t as violent as its inspiration, but violence is everywhere in the series. A running gag in the series is the constant beating and deaths of Chuck at the hands of the Anarchy sisters. However, Chuck always comes back unscathed in the next episode only to be killed all over again, much like the cast of Drawn Together

There’s also a running gag of Brief being put in danger or falling into garbage all the time. Panty usually puts him in danger due to her utter lack of interest in him, and she often forgets he exists. Brief also is the object of Garterbelt’s interest as it’s meant to reference the ‘priests being into young boys’ stereotype which is most likely inspired by Drawn Together’s morbid humor when it comes to poking fun at stereotypes.

Panty & Stocking Transformed

What Makes It Stand Out?

The Anarchy Sisters

The show stars two badasses who don’t take any lip from anyone. They do what they want, when they want, and however they want. They don’t care about what anyone has to say about it because at the end of the day, they can’t be forced to do something they don’t want to. This attitude makes them a breath of fresh air compared to many female anime protagonists who present themselves as proper young ladies. 

As earlier noted, Panty is open and unapologetic about her sexual encounters and doesn’t care about what others around her think. She does things on her own terms and doesn’t let others define her choices. A prime example of this is when an enemy somehow reverts Panty back to a virgin just before she completes her goal of sleeping with 1,000 men, but she doesn’t care and still says that the 999 still count because they did happen and magic wasn’t going to take those experiences away from her. 

Stocking is also as unapologetic as her sister and does things on her own terms. As a glutton for sweets, Stocking is usually seen indulging in cakes, candy, and other sweets and doesn’t care about what anyone has to say. This also extends to her romantic life. In an episode, Stocking falls for a repulsive ghost named Patrick Fagry despite everyone being disgusted by him and his putrid mannerisms, but Stocking’s a firm believer of the heart wants what it wants and doesn’t care about what others think because she’s happy. 

The Art Style

While Drawn Together inspired the premise of the show, The Powerpuff Girls inspired the unique art style of the show and continues to be referenced in many draw this art style challenges as the Panty & Stocking style to this day. The series does have instances where it takes on a more traditional anime approach, but the show is predominantly drawn in it’s Powerpuff Girl-esque style. The series takes inspiration from the blocky arms and legs from the Powerpuff Girls, but the characters are given fingers and toes, unlike their nubby counterparts. The series also gives the characters big eyes and simplistic hair shapes much like the ones in the Powerpuff Girls.  

This iconic art style isn’t just acknowledged by artists. Companies like Good Smile Company have acknowledged it as its own style. They released a set of Nia and Yoko figures in the show’s iconic style to commemorate Gurren Lagann’s 10 year anniversary in 2018.

The Soundtracks

Every piece of media be it TV shows, video games, and films has an original soundtrack. However, very few of them become iconic amongst the public. Panty & Stocking’s OST is one of the few that managed to break out into the mainstream and launched artists into popularity.

The Original Soundtrack not only has iconic album art that’s been recreated all over the internet but also provides some of the best music to come out of an anime and launched the international fanbase for many of the artists involved in the making of the soundtrack.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt The Original Soundtrack
The producer of the series’ soundtrack was ☆Taku Takahashi of m-flo who recruited TeddyLoid and others to the project. In an interview between ☆Taku Takahashi and TeddyLoid, POWDA (TeddyLoid’s manager) mentioned that if they passed on Panty & Stocking, they wouldn’t have been able to see that making music for anime is fun and would never have gotten the opportunities to perform abroad.

A few months after the release of the first album, a second album titled THE WORST ALBUM was released. This album contained a few new songs and remixes of songs from the first album. We had the chance to sit down with Taku Takashi, and he gave us a lot of information about the development of the albums. He mentioned that he was first contacted by the label Flying Dog to work on the Chobits soundtrack (which ultimately didn’t come to pass) before asking him to do the Panty & Stocking album.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt THE WORST ALBUM
In the interview, Takahashi talks about the series’ director, Hiroyuki Imaishi and his interest in giving the show a theme song like the ones from American shows in the ’70s and ’80s. Takahashi mentions that he recruited Hoshina Anniversary to help, and the theme song to the show is a sped-up version of the song Hoshina Anniversary provided. 

The Music Video

Fanmade anime music videos were very common in the 2010s, but official anime music videos are pretty rare, except for idol anime. For the people who have yet to watch this show, a good way to gauge your interest in the show is to watch the music video D City Rock, which is totally not a reference to Kiss’ Detroit Rock City, because it highlights the lowbrow humor, the character’s motivations, and it makes so many pop culture references that will make your head spin. 

The English Dub

After Funimation got the rights to the series in 2011, they began working on a dub. It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-dub or anti-dub because the dub for this show perfectly reflects the nature of the show and its characters. Compared to its original format, the English dub is much more vulgar in terms of language, and Jamie Marchi’s oversexed performance as Panty works perfectly with the over-the-top nature of this show. 

The dub arguably also works better because the show does make a lot of Western references and does appear to be a Western show based on its art style. The dub does take a lot of liberties with the original script to set up dirty jokes, but it doesn’t compromise the series. If anything, it makes it stronger.

Panty & Stocking

The Dreaded Question: Season 2 WHEN?!

In the anime’s final episode, it looked like everything was going to wrap up nicely. However, the show took a hard left turn and ended on an unexplained cliffhanger where Stocking revealed herself to be a demon before cutting Panty into 1,000 pieces and leaving Brief to piece Panty together. This left the audience in shock and to this day, there is no confirmation of a continuation. Gainax has taken this in stride, and it seems like they revel in hearing the fans cry for a second season. 

Every so often, Gainax trolls fans with teasers to a continuation of the series. The most recent tease was in 2016, where Gainax tweeted a post with a silhouette of the Anarchy sisters with a ‘coming soon’ text in the middle. Fans were ready for an anime sequel, but it was just marketing set up to sell new merchandise and announce a cafe event in Kobe to commemorate the series. 

At this point, it’s hard to say if we’ll ever get a second season of the series because most of the staff left Gainax and now work for B. However, there is still hope. In a past TRIGGER live stream, Akihiro Satou and Hiromi Wakabayashi mention that the creators “…would love to do a second season of Space Patrol Luluco (in the same vein as Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt)…” if there’s enough of a demand and if they can find a studio to work with them. This news is hopeful, and we secretly hope it happens. However, in the meantime, we must settle with the unofficial continuation to the series in doujin form. 

The doujin, Cemetery Hills was written by Wakabayashi and picks up where the anime left off. This means that the protagonist of this doujin is Geek Boy as it follows him on his adventure to restore Panty back to normal. It’s not the full length, fleshed out series fans are looking for, but at this point, this rare look into a potential season is the only thing fans of the series have. 

The downside to this continuation is that it wasn’t made publicly available, so it’s a rarity amongst fans. Only a few fans have read the doujin, and there’s no way of reading it online since it was a Comiket exclusive.

Where to Watch

Oddly enough, it’s very easy to watch this show. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is currently available to stream on Funimation’s site with a subscription, but the first two episodes are free to watch in English and Japanese. If you’re looking to own a copy of the series, the show is also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

GAINAX/GEEKS, Comedy Central
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