When I first heard vaguely of Panty and Stocking I settled down to watch it on the assumption it'd be so bad it's good.
After watching the first episode my opinion was, well, this show is so good it's good. Panty is aggressively potty-minded and aggressively ecchi but in a manner that's stylish and funny and weird. I am a sucker for such fare, especially from Gainax, who know my funny bone better then most anime studios.
I enjoyed Re: Cutie Honey, after all, and boy was that both perverted and weird. I was considerably more nonplussed with Dead Leaves, a previous twisted and sick bit of deranged humour from Panty's director... but I found myself enjoying this a fair deal.
Granted it was a show that apparently respectable critic types were decrying when they were declaring that I don't know Bakuman or something was worth viewers time. I saw the first episode of Bakuman. Trite, trite stuff. Why have inspired and oversexed weirdness when we can have bland and unimaginative works extolling the virtues of being a mangaka? Hooray!
Panty, however? Fantastic and an instant must watch. You either find it very funny or find it worthless, I'm sure.
And if the show just kept coming with its appropriately foul-minded humour and inspired bouts of weirdness (ever thought you'd see sperm depicted as soldiers preparing for the landings of Normandy? Do you even want to know what the Normandy they're landing on IS? ...probably not) the series then slapped me upside the head and knocked me cold with their fifth episode.
What happened with the fifth episode? Well, in the second half, for no reason, it became another show. One with the quiet desperation of the working salaryman with an art shift so strongly inspired by Studio 4C I'd be surprised if nobody associated with it was involved.
I'm not going to go into detail here. But the second half of episode five is the sort of thing I think many people who hate Panty would like. It's probably one of the strongest bits of character drama I've seen from anime in 2010, if not the strongest.
It also solidifies my impression that just for its willingness to mix its shameless fanservice with aggressive and often arty weirdness, Panty is easily the best anime series airing right now.
Go on. Prove me wrong. Or right. Or ignore this overlong post. Hooray.
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