New Panty and Stocking: hopes are substantially high for Trigger’s takeover

A few days ago, Studio Trigger officially announced their upcoming project, New Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, at Anime Expo 2023. This announcement was made alongside the debut of a new PV that includes both new and old footage of our favourite foul-mouthed angels.

It was confirmed during a panel that Trigger is taking over the IP from Gainax, the studio which produced the original 2010 anime series – or rather, the rights have been reverted to Trigger, which only makes sense when you know that the studio was founded by ex-Gainax employees. The original director of the 2010 Gainax series, Hiroyuki Imaishi, now serves as the co-founder of Trigger – so although at a different studio, Panty and Stocking is in the capable hands of the original director.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Season 1, Episode 1).
Panty and Stocking, the Anarchy sisters, as they appear in the first episode of the 2010 series. The two angels have been kicked out of Heaven due to bad behaviour, and sent to Daten City to earn enough Heaven Coins to buy their way back home.

New Panty and Stocking Promotional Video

As much as I would’ve loved to watch a full minute of brand-new Panty and Stocking animation, I was surprisingly grateful for the side-by-side comparison between the original Gainax series and the new material. In fact, if the IP was anything other than Panty and Stocking, I might have taken the recycled clips as a sign that there was nothing to get excited about.

The PV begins with our beloved Panty appearing to piece herself together from a million little cubes, as if reforming herself after having been neatly chopped up into pieces. She and Stocking proudly flip the camera off before a high-octane montage of the original Gainax season plays. To my relief, the new Trigger animation does not falter from the delightfully cartoonish character designs of the original Panty and Stocking.

Panty and Stocking’s angel forms, used for transformation scenes and suchlike.

I could just imagine a new series being commissioned that only utilises Panty and Stocking’s “angel” designs, the more traditionally anime-style forms that the original series broke out for transformation scenes or other romantic moments. As cute as those designs are, in my opinion they are best used in juxtaposition to the squat, silly, Nickelodeon-inspired style of the original series. It takes me back to my childhood, and the many Saturday mornings I happily spent watching The Powerpuff Girls and Invader Zim – plus, it complements the rude n’ crude sensibilities of the show far better than a standard anime style ever could. Thanks to Trigger, the legacy of noughties cartoons lives on in Panty and Stocking.

Panty and Stocking - peekaboo!

What’s in store for New Panty and Stocking?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though – Trigger have not yet confirmed what type of project this is going to be. Of course, I’m holding out for another 13-episode anime run, and Trigger staff have even mentioned having enough ideas for “10 seasons and a movie”, but very few details regarding the project have been set in stone. “New Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt” is a working title and the PV, as fun and gorgeous as it was, conspicuously avoided covering any mention of specific creative directions that Trigger have planned for the new series.

Panty and Stocking's weapons
Panty and Stocking’s undergarments transform into heavenly weapons to bust Ghosts with – a pistol for Panty, and two katanas for Stocking.

Not that I’m worried – really, I’m not! I’m a long-time fan of Studio Trigger and their many projects, which are consistently produced at a ridiculously high calibre (my personal highlights of theirs include Little Witch Academia and BNA: Brand New Animal). They also have more than enough experience working on Western projects – I am not exaggerating at all when I say that their work on the Steven Universe episode “Mindful Education” elevated the entire show to another level. They also produced the arrestingly energetic opening animation for OK KO! Let’s Be Heroes, which I did not once dream about skipping in 112 episodes.

If the team were to make any changes, I would hope that a redesign for Garterbelt (Panty and Stocking’s mentor, the reverend of Daten City) is on the table. In response to the new series announcement, several Twitter users voiced hopes that the project will move away from harmful stereotypical depictions of Black characters, an issue that is unfortunately still very much prevalent in the anime world. I can only hope that the studio that gave us the iconic Rei Hōōmaru will be able to refashion Garterbelt into the character he deserves to be.

Panty and Stocking with Brief!
Other prominent characters in Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt include Brief, the nerdy but earnest teenage ghost hunter, who is often the subject of Garterbelt’s sexual advances. Let’s hope that last part won’t be carried on in the new series.

Not just any anime studio could produce a show as unexpected, experimental and stylised as Panty and Stocking, but Studio Trigger have proved their cartoony credentials multiple times over (not to mention housing several team members from the original series). With an enthusiastic, seasoned team on board and Imaishi at the helm (who had apparently played a major part in convincing the higher-ups to consider this project), I’m confident that New Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is exactly where it needs to be. Whether it’s a new series, an OVA or a set of shorts, I am absolutely here for it.

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