P&Sw/G 10: Anarchy
This was good. This was sublime. This was brilliant. Go and watch it NOW.
There are three segments here with maybe a hint of a Hegelian dialectic but whatever. Let’s get on with it.
The first segment, “Inner Brief” is classic Panty and Stocking: seven minutes of toilet plot with toilet humor, toilet climax and toilet resolution. What I found remarkable here is how much aggression P & S showed toward Garterbelt in this story. I’ve always felt like in the classic genre of a group of heroes under a handler/mastermind the animosity between the leader and the led is repressed. Here it explodes as the sisters get to whack Garter around like it’s nobody’s business. It’s pretty darn awesome.
I wasn’t looking forward to the next segment, “Chuck to the Future”, simply because I didn’t like Chuck. Well, I like him now. What started out kinda moronic (Chuck’s against Fastener) evolved into something experimental (Chuck against the flies) and ended in I don’t know what but it was amazing. Again, there’s something major going on in this segment: Chuck starts out like one of the classic Looney Tunes that will never die but is doomed to be tortured again and again by the writers. It’s supposed to be funny, but here it stops being funny and still Chuck doesn’t die…instead there is some sort of realization?!
The third segment is a music video. I’d like for you to pause for a moment: considering how the “music performance episode” is already threatening to become as stale a staple as the “beach episode” and the “school festival episode” (Kyoani, I’m looking at you!) what sort of animation team would follow up such an intensely twisted segment as “Chuck to the Future” with a video showing off the main characters singing a pop song? Who would dare risk ending a hardcore crescendo of 17 ½ minutes like this?? THE GAINAX GUYS, AND THEY PULL IT OFF.
It doesn’t get any better than this. The song starts with a subtle yet not subtle tribute to Hideki Anno with the title of the sequence being “We are Angels”, 二人はヱンジェル. Before you bite my head off and point out that the Eva Angels in Japanese were called 使徒 (“shito” = apostle) and not Angels, that is not at all what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the fact that the spelling of the katakana word for Angel here starts with the obsolete kana ヱ, an incorrect usage much loved by Anno who used it in Gunbuster (Exelion spelled ヱクセリヲン) and in the Evangelion films (ヱヴァンゲリヲン). And anyway, PSG is all about the English so I’m sure someone in the crew was thinking of Eva Angels too ;)
The “plot” of the video is of course anarchy, and in this case at least we as viewers have to take the writers’ case with some seriousness, after everything we’ve seen in the show so far. This anime is definitely an artistic project that is pushing boundaries. It’s also great to see Gainax continue to develop itself. In my very first post on this blog I talked of how anime was slowly but surely (at least in some quarters) growing out of Japanese nationalistic fantasies into a more open, normal view of the world. I mentioned Code Geass and I was also thinking of Evangelion, especially compared to Gunbuster, say. As soon as the video started to show the band in various countries, I was wary of how they would show them in Japan. And guess what? The Japan scene is as corny and stereotypical as the others. Wow.
There are a lot of funny references, which I’m sure all the fans will enjoy, though of course for me the t.A.T.u. shout-out is best!
See, I know what I’m going to say will be disputed, but for all of Gurren Lagann‘s Fight the Power, I find stuff like this is far more effective in achieving the same aim: