Excretion Without Honor or Humanity
Our first introduction to the premise of PSG is this story of haunted toilets and a giant faecal monster. The premise is a classic Magical Girl Premise, two girls from another world who must fight monsters in order to attain rewards and return to their world. The joke is that the Magical Girls in question are shallow monsters obsessed with sex and sugar respectively.
Much has been made of the visual style and its inspiration from 90s Hanna Barbera fare (it in turn influenced by anime, 60s HB and 50s UPA). As refreshing as it might be when cast against the standard anime fare of today, there are signs that it suffers from it’s multiple dilutions of influences. And unfortunately that’s mostly seen in this first story.
As bold as the design, movement and colours are in the characters, the backgrounds in this episode also are. This means it looks cluttered, overly busy and the foreground gets confused with the background.
There is also a problem with far too much exposition to set everything up. As fun as the opening theme with its auto-tuned Panty, Stocking, Panty, Panty, Stocking mantra is, they could have used that time more effectively by setting up the premise in the theme tune.
I still enjoyed it, but was a little disappointed in the execution. Thankfully that was erased by…
Death Race 2010
Set during the day, as opposed to the night time of first story, the colour design and backgrounds begin to work in the show’s favour. Sushio’s in charge of animation here, and we get a lot of comedy action that is closer to Imaishi’s Re:Cutey Honey episode than the hectic barrage of Dead Leaves. You could argue that some of action comes at the expense of gags per minute, but I’d rather have action than exposition filling that time.
The Clamor of the Beehive
Here we get the introduction of Briefs, the nerdy teenage fanboy of Panty. Who dresses like a Ghostbuster. They meet him when infiltrating a school where students are going missing. The gags start coming a lot faster in this episode compared to the opening two, but at the cost of showcase animation. There’s definitely a question of where their priorities are and balance between the various aspects of the show lays throughout the episodes.
Sex and the Daten City
An episode without a ghost for the girls to hunt, instead it involves the debut of Panty & Stocking’s first motion picture. Only it turns out Panty had unknowingly filmed a porno film, and so they go on worldwide hunt to destroy all copies. Probably the most effective episode all round to date.
Another episode where the “Anarchy Angels” have a falling out, and struggle to defeat their foe. Probably most notable for introducing paedophile priest gags into the show as we see Garterbelt taking an untoward interest in Briefs. Some funny gags, but not that memorable as an episode.
Whereas this episode about the ghosts of sperm taking over a tissue paper factory definitely sticks in your mind. The gags don’t come as thick and fast as Catfight Club’s but they are delivered with more aplomb. I’m certain the sperm as soldiers gag has been done many times before, but probably not with this amount of thought given to the visuals.
In conclusion, it’s clearly not a show for everyone, lots of folks will get stuck at the puerile humour and not see the craft involved. It’s not a show where folks are going to stick with it to see if they might warm up to it. They might not even stick around for the second story in the first episode.
For my tastes, I think it pulls it off quite well. There’s room for improvement, but when you look at other shows, animated and otherwise, mining the same vein of humour it’s doing a lot right. Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time, I am looking at you and your over-long, leaden sketches.