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.
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.
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.
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.