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Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt Complete Series Blu-ray Anime Review

12 min read

Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt
Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt
Some of the most foul mouthed and fun anime characters get their high definition debut. These characters never sounded so vulgar in my ears before.

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 this release brings us what we saw for the DVD release in that we get the original Japanese in stereo and the English in 5.1, though this time around we get them in lossless format. The mix is pretty busy in general with both tracks and the stereo mix uses the forward soundstage well with plenty of impact and some good directionality throughout. The English language mix uses the rear channels a bit more for some of the music and sound effects to give it a bit more of a push and there’s some better bass to be had during the bigger action sequences. The show is still largely dialogue driven – wacky dialogue and over-expressiveness – and the forward soundstage is pretty well utilized here as it moves across it and has some solid depth and placement overall. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues 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 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second with all the extras. While the series has aq distinctive visual look and it stands out well with its style of animation, it’s not one that I thought was hugely vibrant for a lot of it. The color palette for the DVD release was a bit muted and that’s essentially the feel it has here, albeit much stronger looking in terms of color definition and noise. There’s still nosie to be had in it, much more visible in the black segments of the series, but it’s not something that looks to be introduced here but rather just a part of the source. The busy nature of the show has the bitrate all over the map since there are a lot of stills mixed in, but also a different level of detail to it. With the way the show is designed, encoding has its own positives and negatives that more traditional anime series don’t but the bitrate here is pretty good overall. The series doesn’t look striking but it’s certainly better, sharper and clearer than what we had before.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is quite a lot of fun as we get the heavy chipboard box with a bit of extra style that really sells it. The front of the box showcases Panty as she straddles her gun while naked. It’s heavy on the pink and goes well with the blue of the gun itself. Her expression is priceless and the backgrond is filled with stars, done as some sparkly glitter paper that is full of fancifulness. The back of the box does the same kind of design but with Stocking taking the piece with her sword alongside her that covers her in just the right way. The box is just so absolutely sparkly and colorful and amusingly sexual that it really works well and is just great to look at.

Inside the box we get the two Blu-ray cases that shows off some very different pieces of artwork. The first volume gives us Panty and Stocking pressed up close against each other, naked outside of small bits of their trademark pieces of clothing, with some light and angelic aspects added as well with the angel wings and general background colors. And it adds just enough fun to it with Panty giving you the finger, albeit censored. The second volume gives us a look at the men of the series which has them being shown from behind that just feels all manner of wrong. It’s ad arker cover overall with the colors and the tone of it but it still has a good bit of humor to it as well. The back covers are laid out the same but with colors respective of their volumes and it gives us some good shots from the show that highlights the wacky nature and characters. We get a good breakdown of the episodes by number and title and the second volume lays out all the extras in clear fashion. The cases do have reversible covers, which are a bit darker, as one is given over to Scanty and the other Kneesocks so you can get your taste of the bad girls as well.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is definitely one that works well even though it’s not typically my favorite. It works a lto of busy clips with some vocal music playing along where it has a good pacing but not too frenetic. Some of the clips even slow down enoguh to let you just enjoy what it’s actually showing, but it’s mostly just a regular barrage of silliness, action and sexy. The navigation is done with no background to it and just large block styled letters that dominates the lower twenty percent of the screen. It uses some good garish colors and is just kind of offensive to the eyes but works well enough. Submenus work the same and some of it is a bit hard to read against the clips that play, but it’s still something that in its own weird way does manage to work well enough.

Extras:
While the extras from the DVD version are here, we also get some new additions for this edition. The first of the new extras is a twenty-two minute piece that brings us some fun material that has the English language adaptation team showing some of what they worked through to bring this to life. It’s a very fun piece overall since it lets the four principals sit together in a room and just talk about how fun all of it is with their characters and stories interspersed with bits from the show itself. The second new extra is a twelve minute sit down with Panty and Stocking, which is essentially an extension of the first piece with just the four going on more about the property overall.

The extras from the previous edition 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 sweets 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:
While I didn’t see this show in simulcast form, I enjoyed it a lot when I got to the DVD. Revisiting it again now in high definition, it definitely shows that the series has some good replay value and that even if you know some of the gags and the way the language works, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. With what FUNimation and the adaptation team there did shows that they 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: January 15th, 2013
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 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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