Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt : A metaphorical middle finger

It doesn’t take much to see that GAINAX’s latest controversial offering, Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt, is referencing American cartoons at every corner possible. Aside from Chuck, who the creators said was a homage to Gir from Invader Zim, the entire show seems to be one elaborate parody of The Powerpuff Girls. The show even attests to this by including characters with the Powerpuff Girls’ faces in the show as cameos, hidden to most by spotted by the sharp-eyed.  Some call it a fresh concept. Some call it an affront to American animation, an insult of Western Culture and perhaps, completely unacceptable to any normal person to watch.

However, it occurred to me that all that might just have been the point of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.

Now, as much as I would like to write an entire post on every single reference to western culture in the show , I don’t really want to regurgitate and repeat what most bloggers have already been saying. Everyone knows that this show is very similar to The Powerpuff Girls. It’s been said enough already.

It’s like GAINAX sat down one day, looked at a map of America, and pointed their respective middle fingers. Why do I say so? The way I see it,Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt seems to excel in making fun, or even completely tearing down the walls of Western Culture.

Episode Titles

Thus far, most , if not all, of the episode titles have been modeled after American movies. Pulp Fiction, Death Rate 2000, and what seems to be a subtle reference to Fight Club. The funny thing is that the show probably has as much in common with these aforementioned shows as I do with Borat.

The point is that the title is usually in direct contrast with the content of the episode. It’s like someone taking your favourite painting or photo and sketching a mustache on it. It fucks it up for amusement. How similar could Pulp Fiction be to a story of sperm turning into ghosts?  Heck, I won’t even be surprised if they do a reference to High School Musical in their titles any time soon.


“I’m a holy man minus the holiness.”

What strikes me is the show’s , or rather, the original comic’s complete destruction of the idea of angels, or rather, or Catholicism/ Christianity and the concept of angels being messengers of God.

In this show, the two Angels could have been said to embodiments of two of the seven sins : Lust and Gluttony. Even the priest isn’t spared. Garterbelt was hinted to be perhaps, not only a homosexual pedophile but also a pornography-reading, tissue-loving man, whose afro seems to double up as an extra ball sack. What happened to the idea of keeping yourself pure and away from sins?

Angels have been mentioned in not only the New Testament, but also the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Angels were the messengers of God. They were holy, and pure, and comforting. Our angels in this show, however, are vulgarity-spewing, one-night-standing sinful females. Nevertheless, it’s more entertaining this way.

Sibling Rivalry

More so in cartoons per se than western culture. Most of the time, a cliche plot we have is a mild rivalry or tiff between siblings, and after <conflict> they work together and become good siblings again. It’s also a overworked trope in TV shows for children.

But the affinity and hate the characters display is beyond that. It’s like watching a reality TV Show. Vulgarities are flying  everywhere, and even the monster is obscene. Which is even more hilarious given the nature of the show, which completely brings it out of the range of cartoons children watch.


All in all, I guess I still end up repeating what most people have said : Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is in essence, an adult, sexualized version of The Powerpuff Girls. Or perhaps, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt aims to subvert and invert these pre-existing tropes in Western TV culture, by twisting them and turning them into things beyond our expectations.

Speaking of expectations, the show has really exceeded mine. I know its humour is crude, its content raunchy , yet it’s probably one of the better shows that has come out for a long time. I don’t mind if it’s pointing its middle finger at the shows I’ve watched most of my life, as long as it continues to be as hilarious and entertaining as it is now.

About Valence

I blog things.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt : A metaphorical middle finger

  1. Alx2oy says:

    I was kinda put off by this when I read the syposis..but I watched it and DAMN I got mindfucked..

  2. Lenneth says:

    If you think about it, if this production is an insult to the Western culture, then what about how the Japanese culture was depicted by the american shows? Apparently dressing in full black and spouting random noises makes you a ninja, and how eating sushi makes it look as if you know Japanese culture very well. Personally I don’t really think it is much of an insult to Western culture, rather it is more of promoting it to the audience. Oh and speaking about Garterbelt, I find his afro funny, especially when it exploded when he couldn’t get any tissue to wipe the you know what due to the ghosts of the fallen “white” soldiers hating the tissues for wiping them clean, literally, though I still find it strange that his it came from his hair and not under there, all in all I enjoy watching it, who cares if every part of the show is absurd random sex jokes and vulgarities, it is amusing to watch, and I prefer Stocking, hehe.

    • Valence says:

      That’s the point of the ‘metaphorical middle finger’ expression. It’s like they decided one day that they hated the West and produced this parody-ridden piece of animation. Both cultures insult each other all the time. We have the slit-eyed depiction of Asian races in Western culture, and the hulking, monstrous, blue-eyed depiction of Western races in our Asian culture.

      And that’s the reason why it’s refreshing to watch. Everything is new! Doesn’t matter if a particular someone thinks that it’s a piece of crap , it’s fucking hilarious to watch.

  3. karry says:

    “it’s probably one of the better shows that has come out for a long time”
    God, what kind of garbage are you watching usually, if THIS pile of shit is better ? I suppose i’d rather watch this than some reality TV, but other than that…i dont know if any person with even an inkling of a brain would actually enjoy THIS. Which explains why you USians love it so much.

    • Valence says:

      I’m happy I’m not from the US, so I don’t fall under your boundaries. Clearly, you have not seen the other kind of cookie-cutter garbage anime that have come out recently, or have barely paused to think about anything at all. I mean, how many harem shit do you see every season?

      Why do I find it to be better? Read Eneora’s comment :
      “The animation was really refreshing. No cheesy harem cliches or whatsoever.
      I agree that it’s probably one of the better shows that has come out for a long time.
      I’d rather watch this than the super-milked anime series like Bleach or Naruto.
      Gainax did it again.”

      The very reason why it’s refreshing is probably the same reason which puts you off this show. I don’t mind, seeing as how you are probably one of those ego-centric ‘USians’ ( Citizens of the United States? Americans?) who automatically conclude that everyone on the internet comes from the same country – and perhaps share the same kind of thinking as you do. Only a person with an inkling of a brain would think like that.

      Oh well, I can’t do anything to change the way you think, but to each his own.

  4. Eneora says:

    The animation was really refreshing. No cheesy harem cliches or whatsoever.
    I agree that it’s probably one of the better shows that has come out for a long time.
    I’d rather watch this than the super-milked anime series like Bleach or Naruto.
    Gainax did it again.

    • Valence says:

      Ah, now there’s someone who gets the point. Don’t mind if I quote you?

      Yep, recently most of the anime that come out have been way too cliche for me to watch properly. Harem this, ecchi that. Plots overused, humour cold.

  5. biotoxic says:

    I’ve been watching this series as well. It’s not fantastic or anything, but it’s entertaining and surprising. The animation reminds me of various shows you’d find on Cartoon Network, except with a truck load of sex references. What the hell was up with episode 3, I think my jaw hit the floor watching that one.

    • Valence says:

      I know right? It’s not fantastic, I admit. It’s probably not going to be remembered as ‘a classic’ or anything along those lines, but it is indeed entertaining to watch. I honestly felt that all those references to western culture actually made it funnier.

  6. Shance says:

    About holiness, I’ll have to note that these are “Fallen Angels” we’re talking about. Of course they’ll have to be the bad examples in order to fit the bill.

  7. trewdys says:

    “What strikes me is the show’s , or rather, the original comic’s . . .”
    >original comic
    I know the manga came out first but it was an adaptation of the anime, not the other way round.

    • Valence says:

      That’s weird, from what I heard the first comic was released before the show was aired, although the idea for the show was created before the comic.

  8. hiroy_raind says:

    huh, I was at first really doubted this anime’s premise and goes “WTF Gainax!?” when it was first announced/saw the trailer (well okay, who doesn’t?), and really held back watching the first episode when it was released on the streams of internet.

    but now, each time every episode is out, I sat comfortably and enjoyed the heck out of every episode out there.

    Thank you Gainax.

  9. Maserbeam says:

    I’m glad Gainax is having fun making this show — it’s certainly showing. Interesting to note that the people I personally know who don’t like this anime for being crass and off-the-wall ridiculous is essentially ZERO. It’s mostly internet fodder that only exist to rain on our parade while we’re having all the fun.

    And I’m having a blast! \o/

    • Valence says:

      Well, there are some people who don’t like this show. Can’t blame them , really, but let’s have a blast before they rain on our parade again.

  10. flyzice says:

    I didn’t pick up this anime because at first glance, I already have this “What? The Powerpuff Girls?” thought. I’m sure most of us had the same thought. It’s too similar. If I don’t like the western counterpart, what makes them think I would wanna pick up this one?

  11. Nopy says:

    The Powerpuff Girls reference is definitely the most obvious one, but it seems most people have forgotten or haven’t noticed the great similarities between PSG and Dirty Pair Flash. It’s more like Gainax just decided to take an anime and a cartoon and mash them together.

  12. Lemon Wedges says:

    Wow, oh wow. I need to watch this!

  13. ippius says:

    this show is just a giant trolololol. the funny thing is, if they had animated the whole series in the style of their now infamous first ep transformation scene, a TONNE of hatred ovar teh intrawebs could have been avoided. however, popularity was clearly not wat GAINAX was pursuing for.

    i thought the first ep was really great in terms of its action, especially for its simply stellar second half. however the more recent eps have hardly matched its initial flamboyant and ridiculous action, focussing more on the tasteless and shameless. Personally i enjoyed action rather than some really unsubtle skanky jokes, but to each his own.

    Nevertheless P & S is one of my downright favourites of the season, because of its unconventional and unrelenting lambasting of popular concepts in anime today, metaphorically taking a dump on moe and today’s fanservice garbage. That said if filthy jokes aren’t for you, then there’s NO reason you should watch it.

    • Valence says:

      I agree with what you said, but I think it does more than metaphorically take a dump on anime. I think it takes a dump on Western Culture more than it does on anime. I mean, look at all the references to movies they make! Besides, I find the series to be the twisted lovechild of The Powerpuff Girls and GAINAX’s humour anyway.

      Which makes this show all the better. I’m not looking for too much in terms of ‘action’ ,but comedy? Hell yeah.

      • ippius says:

        haha yeah i guess u can’t rly blame some ppl for just not finding P & S funny. Jap toilet humour seems to be pretty different (or at least GAINAX’s take on it).

        good point bout the movie references. most of the segment titles are playing on Hollywood blockbusters.

        • Valence says:

          >High School Musical


          But I find the Japanese to be even less liberal than the West. But when it comes to tastes in entertainment, the Japanese win hands down.

  14. ippius says:

    “>High School Musical

    totally my bad.

  15. Great share, thanks for the post.

  16. Loki says:

    Well, what can i say.
    Once there was an america that spent effort on making cartoons.
    they made nicely draw cartoonish cartoons, and on top of that they had some sort of message.
    But today American cartoons are a piece of shit.
    Im 22 now, but this problem came long before that.
    Whenever i turn todays TV on i met all sort of disgusting scrawled toons that tries to appeal the eye by making their protagonist contort, explode, vomit, etc.
    In other words: easy, stupid comedy without plot or message at all.

    The first of this piece of shit i met was Ren & Stimpy. Disgusted the hell out of me. Appart from that, some episodes had great humor and liked them…. but still an hysteric crap.

    Today isnt difficult to find this kind of formless cartoons with crazy colorfull scenarios that to bring anything to the spectator.
    Where did old schools cartoons like Ninja Turtles, Inspector Gadget, The mask (love it even today) and so many others go?

    Western people definitely threw the towel in animation.
    They make retard cartoons for kids 6 or 7 down, because…kids give a damn if it is flashy enough. Thats the same reason western people are still thinking that anime is for kids and lots of them are censored.

    Let bring Disney to this. Disney characters and movies (animated ones) WERE dedicated to all ages, Aladdin, Hercules, Cinderella, Tarzan, Anastasia…. those are the grail of western culture.
    But, they dont exist in the minds of today’s childs.

    Did you know that Akira Toriyama (i think he was the one) imposed the look of big eyes in anime by imitating Walt Disney cartoons? (Mickey, Donald, etc)

    What about Japan?
    When Western cartoonist stalled and started going down, Japanese ones were improving their techniques and today…. anime cant be even compared with our “things”.

    Not only their drawing is far FAR superior, but their animation and stories too.
    Leaving behind the fact those big eyes, they look so damn good, and they look like humans, when what we got on our side of the globe? a ultra deformed cow or a chiken with snots hanging from ther noses.

    Speaking of plot and stories…
    Up to today there where tons of animes that made me laugh and cry, and lots of other feelings, (try “Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru”, a 6 episode anime and tell me) but not even 1 today’s cartoon that outlined a smile on my face.

    I want to keep talking about lots of other stuff but i dont know how to allocate it without leaving the issue.

    In resume, i think giving the middle finger to western animated culture and made fun of it is the right of the strongest. But they are “bullying” us beacuse we “threw the towell” as is said earlier and decided making stupid, retard, incoherent, flashy, effortless cartoons.

    • Valence says:

      I wouldn’t go to say that western animation is now nothing but ‘effortless, stupid, retard’ cartoons. Although I admit they are completely degenerated and manufactured to appeal to a legion of kids who do nothing but watch TV, numbing their minds and gaining fat instead of exercising or doing something else.

      But seriously, you have to admit that western animation today is a shame. Back then, I grew up on the likes of Disney movies, Mickey Mouse, amongst others. Now children grow up watching the protagonist bash someone up as entertainment. Not to say that anime isn’t guilty of this, of course. But think about it – all the same. All are the same.

      And effort is a big issue too. Since I don’t hail from the West, I’m not sure about the schedule in which they release animation, but I know for sure that Western Animators are paid much more than Japanese animators. SO why the big gap? Why can’t there be a constant release, a more fluent and creative animation? All of the animation nowadays are slapstick, or crude, or , not to sound overly biased, anime copies, such as Teen Titans.

      Perhaps it’s the exposure to anime that made us see the difference. I no longer watch Tom & Jerry. I was tired of Tom being bullied by Jerry endlessly.

    • Hikokomori says:

      I believe it was Osamu Tekuza who created the big eyes style in manga and anime.

  17. Monitox says:

    I don’t know if it is really a insult of western culture. I mean Dokuro chan and some other animes used the perverted angels theme and a lot of catholic references too. The pedo priest is fun too but just like that.
    The thing is, if they want to make fun of western animation why they do that in a anime that is not for the same people who watch western animation? Most of the American cartoons are not that famous in Japan .
    Besides, what kind of middle finger is that, it is like a sexy japanese schoolgirl with a really short skirt is triying to insult me, lol.
    Yeah, if they want to send a middle finger to western culture, they are doing it wrong.
    They are too obvious or not obvious enogh.
    American “adult” cartoons make the middle finger to western culture all the time (South Park, Family guy, The Simpsons, Draw togheter, Duckman). Gainax wants to do that too? they have a lot to learn.
    So, i don’t think that P&SwG is that deep or has a social cultural agenda, for me, it is just another american cartoon, this time Made in Japan. They just took some beers and said, hell let’s make some nosense, just like american do.
    It is an awesome show, i will watch it, but is not a revolution in animation.

    • Valence says:

      P&SwG isn’t that deep. It’s just that in my opinion , one of its major draw points is how much it makes fun of the West. Other examples of such a show would be the Simpsons.

      While Dokuro-chan makes fun of Catholicism, something the Japanese might be able to relate to, since it’s a religion and all, P&SwG may be the first one to outright make it clear that they’re making fun of the west. Every episode is based off a movie name, characters actually based off the Powerpuff Girls (with occasional cameos, to boot) and everything. It doesn’t feel like an American cartoon, since it’s so, well, crude. Yet it feels better, and perhaps slightly funnier.

      • gunshy says:

        The person you replied to was absolutely right. Since when did playing with references become ‘giving the finger’ to something? I don’t understand your leaps in logic that immediately turn a fun parody experimenting in style and content into something derisive; maybe it’s just very poor word choice. But seriously? ‘They use popular American movies as episode titles, so THEY ARE CLEARLY FLICKING US OFF AND NOT JUST BEING FUNNY OMG!!’ It occurs as more irreverent of the American culture it is emulating than a true criticism of it.

        “It doesn’t feel like an American cartoon, since it’s so, well, crude.” /What/? What about South Park? Family Guy? Drawn Together? Beavis and Butthead? Come on, man!

  18. Pingback: Valence’s Anime Awards 2010 : B Side – Good awards | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  19. Pingback: 2010 in review | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  20. I¡¦ve recently started a web site, the info you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

Comments are closed.