Niccolo Mejia ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Contributor
Back in 2010, the famous Japanese studio GAINAX rocked the anime scene with the bombastic Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Largely well received in both the East and West, the DVDs were sold internationally. However, America is only just now receiving an English translation of the manga adaptation.
Not many comic adaptations of animated series quite capture the original art style the way that Tagro was able to for this manga. Had the manga been in color, each page would fit seamlessly into the anime. It surely helps that Panty & Stocking drew inspiration from manga and American animation, but the designs for the new ghosts fit in nicely while still being original. Much to the dismay of some fans, this issue does not include a transformation scene that Panty & Stocking is known for; however Panty and Stocking do make appearances in their more angelic outfits.
Each of the nine stories is paced lightning fast, rivaling the chaos of the source material, or any given episode of Kill la Kill. The parody of the magical girl genre comes across throughout the issue. Following the anime’s central theme, each mission these two angels are deployed to handle involves something sexual or a bodily function. While the anime seemingly covered every gross action humans do, this manga issue manages to find even more truths to disgust us with. It would have been nice for each story to be longer though, because the constant stream of gags and witty one liners becomes a bit repetitive. The only chapter including secondary characters Scanty, Kneesocks, and Brief, is especially short, and only uses those characters for small gags. If you can stomach the gross out humor, though, you just may find depth where you least expected it.
Tagro’s take on Panty & Stocking also makes social commentary on censorship, which is a perfect topic for the characters to be faced with. This is especially well done in the crossover chapter, where the cast of Panty & Stocking meets the cast of Tagro’s own manga, Abnormal Physiology Seminar. Without spoiling anything, it gets the audience to think about censorship right from the mouths of the characters being censored. Otaku culture is lampooned in this issue as well, and points out the misogyny in the anime fandom of the East in typical GAINAX fashion.
The end of the issue includes bios on each ghost destroyed by Panty and Stocking in the manga, as well as a great postscript from Tagro. Reading these is sure to be enjoyable for the perfectionists out there who like to know as much about a series as they can. Hiroyuki Imaishi, director of the anime as well as Kill la Kill and Gurren Lagann, leaves a special message at the end of the book as well. All of these ending pieces add a certain charm to the book that you do not see in many one-offs such as this one. It was interesting to see the interplay of adapting something to a less complicated medium, especially from each artist’s point of view.
The cast was well used and the jokes will have you laughing out loud while you read, but the secondary cast was barely used at all. The new ghost designs are inventive, as well as the lore surrounding their conception. Each chapter was a mixture of gross and thought out, making for a fun ride between comedy and critical commentary. In the end, the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt manga gets an 8/10 with a high level of recommendation.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt is published by Dark Horse Comics and can be purchased for $9.99.