The Fall 2010 anime season has come with a couple of very odd shows and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt might prove to be the weirdest of the bunch. It is also not entirely what you might think it is.

Panty and Stocking are angels who have been kicked out of Heaven for behaving badly. They are put to work in Daten City, a city on the fault line between Heaven and Hell, by Reverend Garterbelt. Their job? To exorcize the “Ghosts” that occasionally terrorize the city and collect the “Heaven” coins that they drop to gain readmission to Heaven. They are joined by a small green, Invader-Zim-esque dog Chuck and get around the city in their pink Humvee, “See-Through”.

Panty is a sexy blonde with an insatiable hunger for sex. True to her name, her panties become a pistol named “Backless” (wait, what?) that fires ordinance which is very effective on Ghosts. She can get rather rude and violent when crossed, loves spicy things, and hates sweet things.

Stocking is a goth loli with long, dark hair and a pair of striped stockings that turn into two swords, named “Stripes I & II”, that slice through Ghosts like a knife through warm butter. She tends to be the more moderate, intelligent, and responsible one. She loves sweet things and hates spicy stuff.

I think this transformation sequence (WARNING: NSFW!) says pretty much all else that could be said of these sister angels. But odder still, that’s actually not typical of the animation style at all.

Panty & Stocking is what would happen if a whole bunch of people at Gainax watched the entire line-up of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and said “we could do that.” The series borrows and parodies a lot of clichés from Western animation and mashes them all together with Gainax’s trademark kookiness to create a unique and edgy comedy blend.

What I like about it

Just about everything. Panty & Stocking is brilliant in its execution. Gainax has basically beaten Western animation at its own game, creating an incredibly dark comedy with some racy scenes and all sorts of oddities and touches that will never fail to surprise and delight.

I refuse to say more for fear of spoiling this show. Just watch it. Really.

What I don’t like about it

It’s pretty much brain candy. There’s almost no depth to the episodic story-telling whatsoever. If you were looking for something to really make you think or evoke deep emotions, Panty & Stocking isn’t it. Look elsewhere.

Also, it does get pretty racy, which makes it somewhat difficult to show to friends whose sense of humour isn’t as dark as my own. It really isn’t for everybody, but I think that can be said of everything Gainax has ever done.

In summary

See it if only for the experience of having your mind blown in a very unique way. While not the most ridiculous thing Gainax has ever done, it’s up there.