After the sudden twist in art style and direction exhibited by the second half of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt's previous episode, it is admittedly a little harsh of me to expect anything similar from this sixth instalment of the series. Nonetheless, a little part of me was left hoping for something similarly surprising from this week's outing... a hope which of course left me disappointed.
Instead, this episode sees Panty and Stocking return to school after quite an elongated break, only to find that their previous position as High School queens has been usurped by a new pair of sisters - Scanty and Kneesocks. Original names, huh? Anyhow, this dynamic duo are related to the mayor of Daten City, and have used their influence to take complete control of the school with an insistence on following the rules at all time, bringing a new era of conformity to everything from school uniforms onwards. Not exactly the kind of environment that appeals to Panty and Stocking, naturally.
With the girls unable to do anything to exert their superiority over their rivals, Panty and Stocking soon find themselves relegated to the worst class in school filled with geeks and otaku... and a Ghost that they were pursuing earlier, who promises to let them in on some secret information in return for his life. Next thing we know we're in an underground Ghost factory, run by the demonic Scanty and Kneesocks, which is where the real fun begins...
After frankly boring me for the first half of this episode (which is just a single story rather than two sub-episodes this time around, incidentally), things suddenly get interesting once the Panty and Stocking versus Scanty and Kneesocks face-off begins - not in terms of plot or story perhaps, but most certainly in the form of an absolutely fantastic sequence of breath-taking, high octane and expertly realised action that easily surpasses anything else from this series thus far. If you've found yourself with doubts about Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt's art style, these scenes were the clearest indication yet of how, where and when it can work and work well, and it was simply stunning to watch, especially when matched against the show's largely stellar sound track. To hell with the plot, when this series sits down to some seriously over-the-top gun-toting, car-chasing, weapon-wielding action it delivers, pure and simple.
It's starting to feel like every time I start to worry about the longevity of this series over the past couple of episodes, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt pulls something out from its nether regions to wow me until I sit up and take notice again. I really hope it can continue to do so, as at last this series is beginning to exceed my expectations, even if it isn't with the frequency that I might like.