I have this weird thing. Just the one! I love Christmas. Celebrating capitalism is a big thing for us commi refugees. But I rarely if ever like Christmas specials (or New Years when it comes to anime). As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about those Halloween specials. I really wish there were more in fact.
However, once in a blue moon, I do come across a Christmas episode or movie that really makes me appreciate the season. As these are few and far apart, I figured you would all appreciate me sharing them with you.
Of course, you can share your favorites as well. I bet Clannad is going to be mentioned by someone!
In loose order:
5. Tokyo Godfathers
This is possibly my least favourite of Satoshi Kon’s movies, which means I like it a lot. A heartwarming Christmas tale about learning to appreciate what you have through the eyes of those that have so little. This beautiful story will remind you about the true spirit of the season.
Once you strip away the fancy decorations and expensive gifts, Christmas is about finding a warm spot in the world with people you love. Kon’s precise and understated style, which always respects the audience allowing them to draw their own conclusions, will leave you full of hope. What better gift can there be?
4. Toradora Christmas Arc
With time, I’ve come to realize that my disappointments with ToraDora were mostly on me. I simply expected it to be something different. It will never be the type of story that speaks to me but it is a very well made anime that I would recommend without hesitation to fans of romantic dramas.
And the Christmas episodes really do shine. Slowing down the action and stripping away all the extra noise and commotion, these episodes really allow the simple story of young love with all the frustration and confusion it entails, take center stage. Those emotionally devastating scenes taking place against an eerily quiet background, as the white snow slowly falls covering the world in pristine coldness, will remain us all of the painful ache of first love.
These episodes are all tinged with a beautifully delicate pain on a very silent night. Put the shopping away and enjoy the stillness.
3. Gabriel DropOut
The few CGDCT connoisseurs I know have told me this show was a disappointment. I respectfully disagree. I Love Gabriel DropOut. It made me giggle and had me smiling the entire time. In fact, it even has one of my favourite anime Christmas episodes.
The great thing about this particular Christmas special is that it doesn’t dwell on hallmark card platitudes. Just because it’s the Holidays doesn’t mean you have to be all solemn and reverent. One of the rare Christmas specials that keeps the lighthearted tone of the series. This special had me in stitches and remains a super fun episode to watch this time of year.
2. The Disappearance of Haruhi Shizuma.
Man, this show has grown on me. I was a bit bored through the first season and disappointed with the lack of narrative focus that didn’t take full advantage of the seemingly complex backstory. However, Endless Eight was a masterpiece and The Disappearance is very close behind in my mind.
The subtle melancholy and stress that permeates the events leads a wistful feeling to the movie that will have you in an introspective mood. Christmas is a great time to take a moment and look within ourselves at what is really important to us. It’s a beautiful thing when an anime can remind us of such an important lesson.
1. Gugure! Kokkuri-san
I’m just going to say. On the record! Gugure Kokkuri-San does not get the recognition it deserves. I don’t care what you think. Fight me! You won’t cause you haven’t seen it or don’t remember. My point exactly! This show had occasional flashes of brilliance and there was much more under the surface than the zany antics led on. Unfortunately we will probably never get to know all the details as another season is about as likely as…another season of any of your favourite shows that have been off the air for years…
The first season ended on a beautiful Christmas episode that mixed the usual surreal humour with a surprisingly earnest look at simple family dynamics with an absolutely heartbreaking twist. This episode managed to fill me with equal amounts of joy and sadness and remind me of the fragile nature of happiness.
Let me say it again, Gugure Kokkuri-san does not get the recognition it deserves…
Well there you have it. Five beautiful anime options for the holiday season to share an anime with friends and loved ones. Or with me! So let me have YOUR recommendations and I will do exactly what the holidays are for (judge you silently…)