Translation/Adaptation: Zack Davisson, Carl Gustav Horn
What They Say
Panty and Stocking are cute but highly dangerous angels, booted out of heaven for wrath, sloth, lust, envy, avarice, and gluttony (at least pride wasn’t high on their list). Now residing among the sinners of Daten City, the angels try to earn their way back into grace by exorcising evil at the behest of their questionable preacher boss, the Afro-bedecked Garterbelt!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ahead of the anime release that came out in the fall of 2010, a seven chapter manga series also took place for Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Produced by TAGRO, the project is one that complements the anime series (my god, has it been this many years?) but isn’t bound by it. In fact, it’s stated clearly that this is its own timeline and world and not meant to be fit into the anime series narrative itself. That works to its advantage because the whole point of it is two-fold. One is to keep new chapters published before, during and after the series was broadcast for a bit. And two to simply have fun with the characters. And series director Hiroyuki Imaishi definitely liked that they managed to get TAGRO, during a break from his own series Abnormal Physiology Seminar, to have a lot of fun with this.
Though this is its own work, you can definitely hear and feel the anime series itself throughout a lot of it, just in black and white. Panty is pretty much the slovenly little perv that you’d expect while Stocking does everything she can to look proper and disinterested in the world while being really interested in quite a lot of dirty things. And Garterbelt does his best to keep them both on track while hiding his secret of being totally into guys. That area is the only one that feels a bit off, simply because of the tone that’s applied to it through a different cultural lense. The stories are straightforward here, where we get the basics of how it all works such as when they get assigned to deal with a Ghost Cloud in the first chapter, as that shows how they all operate together, some of their gear and also a light look at their transformation process. The lives of these characters are really no different than the anime, but we just get to see different aspects of it.
The book plays to plenty of dirty jokes and most of them work well in the pervy way, though Garterbelt’s secret just feels forced, and there’s a lot of fun in seeing how it’s all designed here with the world and its technology as well as how the characters blend into it while dealing with the ghosts along the way. TAGRO’s able to bring a good feeling to it all with the background design along with his assistants and that does make for a lot of fun, even in black and white, because you can feel the energy exuding from it all. But in the end, what really draws you to the book is the relationship between Panty and Stocking. And while it doesn’t reach the same level as the anime does since they’re going for different approaches here, what we do get is just a whole lot of fun, whether it’s Panty sleeping with the postman while Stocking is waiting for a package, or just the kinds of things Stocking tries to hide about her real interests in the world. The two have some great banter and jokes with and about each other throughout and that, along with the layout design, keeps it all moving right along.
The Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt anime series was certainly a divisive show for a lot of fans, but it’s one that I found myself loving just for trying to do something different in so many ways. Sometimes you have to offend to find your voice. The manga series from TAGRO doesn’t go as far as the anime series does, but it contains the same spirit and style of it. There’s a lot of good, simple fun to be had here alongside a lot of pervy jokes, funky action action and a lot of teardowns of the characters by each other to make themselves feel better and superior. The end result is a very fun time to be had, one that’s a surprisingly quick read overall even as dense as it gets in places because of the artwork and panel design. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book going into it since companion manga series to an original anime project can be really hit or miss, but this one largely does it right. And after the series being done for a few years, it’s like visiting an old friend again.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+:
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 13th, 2015