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Occasionally, something comes around that you have to take a good hard look at to fully understand it. This isn’t your average anime. This is Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. This feels like something deeper. This feels like a satire. This feels like a package wrapped up in brown paper and addressed to Americans. The tag reads “Enclosed: One Mirror.”

It takes place in Daten City… America, Japan, who cares.

The first thing that struck me about Panty and Stocking was the sheer weight of American pop culture references! Almost every episode is an allusion to an American movie, High School Nudical? Chuck to the Future? Furthermore, almost every episode dealt with some sort of American stereotype, or contained some sort of running joke that was a reference. I just about lost it when I saw Ren and Stimpy in there. Sex and the Daten City was a particularly telling episode about the cult of personality in America and how nonsensically obsessed we are with our celebrities.

There was one episode in particular that made me think this anime wants its audience to dig a little deeper… it was the one where they swung from Daten City to the neighboring Little Tokyo, a glum city where glum people seek their glum happiness… and live a glum life. Suddenly the art style changed. Everyone was drawn in an old low-budget anime style… and with that change, we weren’t talking about Americans anymore. That episode was about a Japanese salary-man and how absolutely terrible his life is. That episode was trying to say something about that sort of life… and that episode alone would be enough cause for an American to look closer at all the American-style episodes.

Don’t let your eyes fool you. This is the same anime.

The anime seems to be trying to deliver a message. If I had to wager a guess, it would be about breaking free from the shackles of conventional thought… perhaps. Honestly, I can’t say with 100% authority… I’m not sure anyone could. Here. Feel free to try. I will link below a video. This is from episode 10, a music video. Contained within, there are so many musical references that I am not qualified enough to point them all out. Yet, they are all iconic enough that I recognize them as references! That is the general feeling of the entire series. Even if you don’t understand the specific references, you understand that there is something deeper there. There is some sort of greater meaning lurking just beyond the surface… or maybe not. Maybe it is just another show about sex and violence… maybe they all are.


One Comment

  1. Yeah, some people/someone on Danbooru (not sure if it was a group effort) made this-
    It has a large number of the music-references from the video. I love the anime too, and have watched all thirteen episodes twice.

    …I heard that the final episode was released right around Christmas, so many people accused Gainax of ruining the holiday >.>
    Either way, I’ve seen many parodies of the art style already. I think my favorite one was Margaret & Elizabeth of Persona 4 & 3 respectively, in the same position and making the same faces as the demon sisters in one of their earliest scenes… Either way, ’tis a good series.

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