What's your favorite cartoon?
By itself, this question would act as an icebreaker for conversation. For this show, however, it's a vital part of pre-viewing consideration.
The premise of the show is as simple as it is unremarkable. Two anti-heroines (with emphasis on the anti) are angels kicked out of heaven, who now have to hunt down different monsters of the week and grab coins so they can eventually return. Typical macguffin hunt. The meat of the show, however, lies in the characters' interactions, both with each other and their environments. This is where that question comes in.
The biggest thing that sets this show apart from other anime is the fact that it heavily takes from western cartoons. Hiromi Wakabayashi said that the inspiration for the show started from Drawn Together
, and you can see a smorgasbord of other influences shoveled in as well. Fans of shows like South Park
, Cow & Chicken
, Ren & Stimpy
, or The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
will find many similarities. The jokes are lewd and crude, the heroines are selfish and irreverent, things are exaggerated to the point of irreconcilability, and crazy situations are preferred to anything coherent. The very first episode has the duo fighting a literal pile of shit, and one memorable fight sequence with another duo takes a large chunk of time in the bathroom.
What if your preferences lie with Jonny Quest
, Batman: The Animated Series
, Mummies Alive!
, or Thundarr the Barbarian
? Fans of cartoons with an overarching plot, relateable characters, and drama may be horribly disappointed—or even insulted. While that's not to say they simply don't exist in Panty and Stocking
, their presence is vastly shafted in favor of comedy.
In a way, this works in its favor, as it instantly sets itself apart from its contemporaries. Unfortunately, most of that seems to come about from trying to imitate a niche, rather than develop its own identity. In trying so much to be like shallow toilet-humor action-comedies, it succeeds on every single front. The story is shallow, the toilet humor is almost constant, the comedy becomes predictable as a result, which seriously hurts the action.
For fans of such things, it may be just as entertaining. For everyone else? Steer very clear.