Friday, 3 December 2010

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - Episode 10

The longer Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, the less I've known what to expect of the series, particularly after bringing us a Stocking-centric love story last week.  As if to confirm my decision to give up on assuming anything about this show, it goes and does its own thing once again.

The first half of this episode is actually pretty standard fare - Panty and Stocking have been shrunk to a miniscule size by some plot or other executed by Scanty and Kneesocks, and although we don't get to see exactly what happened at all we do get to see the aftermath of this shrinking - Brief having a whale of a time looking after looking after our new downsized heroines before inadvertently swallowing them.  The rest probably writes itself, complete with an attempt to hurry nature to remove them from his body before our anarchic pair run rampage around Brief's body, treating it like some kind of theme park before finally being removed thanks to Garterbelt's... err... genius.

From here on in is when things get weird - rather than fill the second half of the episode with a single story, it's instead split into a "trilogy" of short mini-episodes labelled Chuck to the Future, which of course follows Panty and Stocking's loyal pet as he endures his usual series of deaths, disembowelments and so on.  The best thing to be said about these three short efforts is that they're "experimental" - while the first short is pretty standard and decidedly cartoon-like about its treatment of Chuck's adventure, the second and third segments try to do things a bit differently, first via lots of long, swooping and surreal zooms before delving into a horror-esque environment largely in black and white complete with background pops and crackles as if from some old B-movie.

If that doesn't leave you fascinated enough, then just wait for how this episode closes out - a full-blown, MTV parody treatment of D City Rock, one of the insert songs from the show's soundtrack (you'll recognise it soon enough) complete with Panty, Stocking et al as a rock band.  Put simply this is all kinds of awesome as it riffs on and nods to a whole host of famous bands and album covers (including Gorillaz and Lady Gaga) while also having a whole lot of fun with its anarchic titular characters doing "the music thing".  It's immensely entertaining and the kind of thing you can watch over and over and over again without getting bored of it.  To be quite honest, I'd be more than happy if the rest of this series from now on was just GAINAX animating the rest of the show's OST.

Really, that final segment blows away everything that went before this week with its awesomeness, making it hard to concentrate on the rest of the episode.  That said, the opening scene at the start of this week's episode was the most wonderfully Freudian thing ever to come out of anime, while I can't help but admire GAINAX for using almost half of an episode just to play around with some stuff to see what sticks - I guess that's the kind of thing you can get away with when you're a hugely successful studio, and hopefully some of those experiments will serve them in good stead for future productions as there was some interesting stuff in there.  Oh, and did I mention that music video?  Go and watch it.  NOW.

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