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Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt Complete Series Limited Edition Anime DVD Review

11 min read

Nothing screams fun like non-standard, slutty and vulgar angel who just wanna screw and eat sweets..

What They Say:
The Anarchy Sisters Panty and Stocking are two nasty angels who got booted from the pearly gates for being foul-mouthed bitches! Now they spend their days blowing up ghosts in the lecherous abyss between Heaven and Earth. Panty likes sex, Stocking likes sweets, their afro-sporting main man Garter Belt has a fetish we can’t mention. Together, they’re keeping the streets free of bodily fluids. Ghosts don’t have a prayer against their panty pistols and stocking swords, and if this debaucherous duo can collect enough Heaven Coins, they just might get their halos back. They’ve got a slim chance in hell, but rolling commando is the best way to get lucky – especially with Panty and Stocking!

Contains episodes 1-13.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for the release is pretty standard here and works well as we get the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 192kbps while the English adaptation gets a bump to 5.1 encoded at 448kbps. The show is one that does utilize the forward soundstage well with all the action and dialogue that gets thrown around. The show has a frantic feel to it which isn’t a surprise and it ranges well from quiet to loud scenes all over the soundstage. The two mixes are similar, it’s just more that the English mix bounces up the level a bit which actually works in its favor. It’s also a difference in how the dub is done as it’s more in your face than the Japanese track and the design just feels more pump up. But it’s pretty appropriate for it and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2011, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series is spread over two discs with seven on the first and six on the second. The series is filled with a lot of action, movement and bright colors in a particular palette which works in its favor. There’s a lot of solid colors but some nosie visible in the backgrounds, which is muted because of the palette choices used. It definitely helps to smooth things down a bit, but it varies depending on the size of the screen you’re using. The show has a lot of very good looks to it with the color design overall, the detail that holds up well and the flow it. Some of the faster action scenes start looking a little rough in some places, but those are few and far between.

Packaging:
The packaging for the limited edition version of the release is solid with a heavy chipboard box that holds two standard sized DVD cases. The box shows the style of the series very well and doesn’t hold back with the vibrancy. The front panel has a good look at the leads with their bright and dark colors and a good blending of blues and purples. The back cover goes for similar backgrounds but darker in order to draw a contrast with Scanty and Kneesocks which is definitely similar but different than what we get on the front cover. The box as a whole keeps everything about the characters and the colorful and nicely designed logo, so you’re not getting things that don’t belong here.

Inside the box we get the pair of standard size keepcases where it uses the same kind of design as the box does. The first volume is give over to Panty and Stocking with a wraparound piece that lets them each have their own panel as the colors flow and blend across them. The second volume does the same with the two demon sisters in letting them stand out with their own panel as well. The cases are clear but we don’t have any character artwork on the reverse side for either case, instead doing splashes of color design like the backgrounds on the front covers but also adding in the episode breakdown by number and title as well as all the extras that are available. No show related inserts are included in this release.

Menu:
The menu design here is kept simple but effective with a lot of bold colors and some character artwork used against a static screen. In a way, it’s kind of bland and mellow compared to what the show is, but I’d almost say I prefer this approach to it since we get so much in the show. Doing a ton of animation, humor and swearing here would be the wrong approach, especially if tender ears approached and the whole thing was on a loop. I do think it could have been gussied up a bit more though. The layout is standard FUNiamtion fare with a few submenus to move around in for episode and language selection but it all works smoothly and without issue. On the extras disc, we do get a language selection section on the first screen for the segments that warrant it and it defaults to Japanese when no other language track is available.

Extras:
The extras for this release get themselves a separate disc which is definitely a plus so that they have the space to do some fun stuff with. The extras are comprised of eight extras that run just under nine minutes total in which they go for more craziness and hilarity. They definitely have more a flash animation feel for pieces of it, definitely not the same level as we get in the main show, but the humor hits all the fun that you’d expect from it as the cast just goes silly and does plenty of cute bits. We also get a twenty-one minute sequence that highlights all the ghost explosions that were done in the series with both main and alternate/multiple angles used to show how it resulted. There’s even an extensive forty minute documentary that covers how they were made and filmed which is a real treat to see in action.

Promo videos are included as well as some of the pre-broadcast commercials that were shown on their official site. There’s a good variety to the commercials here beyond that as well, including the DVD trailers. Add in the opening and closing sequences and you’d have some good stuff. But add in outtakes? And a silly making of the lingerie scene? You’re golden. The outtakes are almost too much as it went for over sixteen minutes. That all might be more than enough, but there’s also a twenty-three minute “Talk Live” segment with the people involved in the production that talks about what went into it and some of the troubles they faced. It’s definitely a fascinating look at the show from the point of view of those behind it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the more controversial and divisive shows to hit in the last few years, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt could only come from Gainax. The series is one that captured attention for that alone but also for the simple fact that it looked like American animation more than Japanese animation, as it has a strong alignment with th Power Puff Girls. The series is also one that feels like it’s aimed a lot more towards an American audience from the start, especially with this particular kind of humor, which we really don’t see often. It’s a show that’s strong with its sexuality in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen before in anime and the dialogue along definitely stands out as it feels more like a fansub translation of a clean show. But it’s pretty damn accurate which is off-putting since so little anime really goes in this direction.

The series has an overall theme and sense of self about it but it uses a rotating creative crew that comes up with the scenarios, direction and plotting while all tying into the bigger story that’s thrust in hard at the last episode. This lets the show stand well on its own throughout as each episode is broken up into two half length stories. This helps to keep the humor tight without going too far with a theme or a gag and driving it into the ground. It also gives each bit a somewhat distinctive voice so it doesn’t come across as the same thing over and over as the lead characters deal with their situation. This again isn’t something we see too often, but the structure and design of the series is ideal for it and it works really well both in single episode form and marathon form.

The show revolves around a pair of characters called Panty and Stocking, two angels that are residing in Daten City, a place that’s considered on the edge of both heaven and hell. The two are working under the mandate of god to earn passage back into heaven by gaining heaven coins. They get these when they go on missions for a priest type named Garterbelt, a boisterous black man with a big afro who has quite a story himself. Along with their little dog-like abuse critter named Chuck and a jeep that they call See Through, the pair deal with all manner of ghosts that come up in the city and gain the coins of varying number when they destroy one of them.

Suffice to say, the pair are very distinctive in their personalities. Panty’s a blonde who just loves to have sex and fuck all day long if she could. She’s on her quest to a thousand encounters and has no problem talking about all things sexual, which is hysterical to watch. By comparison, we get her younger sister Stocking, a goth-like chick whose real addiction in the human world is that of Tsweets and food. She can’t devour enough of it and will spend hours in line for things. And in the end, neither of them are that interested in dealing with the ghosts in order to get the coins, but they do want to go back to heaven so they end up cajoled, tricked and otherwise badgered into doing what they have to do simply because of how Garterbelt applies pressure or sets thigns up.

With the structure of the series, they get to go through a ton of different types of ghosts that have varied appearances and forms in order to interact with the real world. One takes over vehicles so he can go faster and faster without climaxing, another is a huge vomit monster. It gets to be interesting to see how they deal with the variety of ghosts and their incarnations in the real world. Naturally, they always end in killing off the ghosts, which is done with a brief live action sequence that’s pretty by the numbers as it goes on but is still a nice bit of creativity. The show does bring in a little more of a challenge along the way with a pair of demon sisters named Scanty and Kneesocks that get involved and they have a real hard on desire to take them down, but they’re incompetent on their own level. The only thing that helps them more often than not is that Panty and Stocking are either fighting with each other or just don’t care to deal with the sisters.

The show is simple concept when you get down to it, but where it wins, big time, is in the execution. The show has a simple seeming look to it with the Powerpuff Girl designs, but there’s a whole lot of intense detail that can be had here. There’s such a constant flow of activity, words on screen, background action and more that it’s hugely impressive. A sequence with Panty shooting along some windows alone really was eye-catching with what it did and the general tenor of it. The show moves through a few styles as well, getting all mature and serious when the girls transform (so hawt!) and then dipping into other areas as well as a volleyball game drops to a South Park form for a bit. And the show is hugely referential as well with a lot of episodes done as themes that are far more western in nature than Japanese. Add in the amount of English text throughout and you’ve got something that you can easily show to someone who doesn’t like anime and they’d never know.

Because of the nature of this show, I alternated the episodes in watching them dubbed or subbed. As much as I enjoy my anime in Japanese, there are some shows that really do fare better in English and this is close to the top of that list. While there’s a solid cast throughout, the real shining moments here are with Jamie Marchi and Monical Rial as Panty and Stocking. The dub script is cruder, raunchier and certainly a lot more racy. And it works brilliantly. While I liked the Japanese script a lot and laughed, watching the dubbed episodes with others and showing them the difference really drove home how different they are. Not in terms of story, but just the comdey and humor. The original script is solid and very funny, but the English dialogue is just laugh out loud hilarious and left me in a fit of laughter. There are things that fall flat at times and sometimes it feels like it’s just overpowering the flow of debauchery that comes from the characters mouths, but it’s wholly (and holy) appropriate.

In Summary:
I didn’t catch this series in simulcast as someone else reviewed it, but I’m sort of glad that I did. Experiencing this now without the weekly hype machine definitely helped to temper expectations, but I think I got something more out of it because of the English language adaptation. The team here did a fantastic job of taking top drawer material and showing that there’s a ton more hilarity to be had and that some shows really deserved to be fully adapted rather than localized. It’s a small distinction, and we do get a proper translation in the Japanese form here, but the series is one that I would forcefully recommend watching in English and just loving every glorious moment of humor. It’s not a home run every episode, but there’s so much variety and so much fun that I was hugely entertained from the start to the finale frame. Highly recommended.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Panty and Stocking in Sanitary Box OVAs 1-8, Ghost Explosion Collection, Promotional Video, Outtakes, U.S. Trailer, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A+

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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