Nothing says Christmas like anime. Maybe.
Well, the year is winding down, and so we have come upon that favored winter holiday – Christmas! But in this season, what anime make for a good watch?
The fact is, there are very few standalone Christmas-themed anime. While many season-long efforts incorporate Christmas into the storyline, the problem with watching these is that the episode or episodes in question often derive their spirit of the holiday from an overall context of the show. For instance, Toradora!’s Christmas party doesn’t really hold much weight when viewed in a vacuum.* So it doesn’t really work to point someone in that direction when asked for a good anime to watch leading up to the holiday. Even Christmas special-style OVA’s, often of no relation to the original show’s overall plot, don’t really work as good things to recommend, because they nevertheless require a familiarity with the original show itself.
There are a few Christmas-themed standalone anime, though. However, you really can’t recommend something like Itsudatte My Santa! in good conscience to someone, can you?
So with that in mind, what can one really recommend to watch during this time of the year?
A lot of what one should watch or recommend is related to how to conceive of Christmas. If you tend to take a purely holy view of the holiday, then I would probably argue that maybe it isn’t the best time of the year to be watching anime, since even those shows that deal with the holiday take it from a Japanese perspective, and thus dispense almost wholly with the religious aspect of the celebration. On the other hand, if you think of Christmas as being largely about family and friends, then anime does in fact offer opportunities for togetherness.
The best anime to watch at this time are those which are either movies or short OVA’s. These you can watch in a single sitting, eliminating the need to cajole your friends or family into sitting down for thirteen or twenty-six twenty minute intervals. As for the type of anime, I would certainly stress that it should be something at least somewhat in keeping with the season – so, in other words, you might want to put down that copy of Tokyo Babylon and instead opt for Howl’s Moving Castle. You want it to be something that you also think your family members would enjoy as well; if you have smaller siblings or cousins, this is particularly important to remember.
Even though I’ve steered away from recommending any specific titles, there is one movie that I think is a great one to watch during the Christmas season – Tokyo Godfathers. It takes place on Christmas, and concerns the actions of three homeless people who find an abandoned baby. The rest of the movie is spent trying to find the baby’s mother. In doing so, we also learn more about the three people themselves, such as how it is that they ended up on the streets in the first place. Its a truly heartwarming story.
However, I must caution that one of the homeless men is a transvestite. I only caution about this since this could be a problem if you have a more conservative family member who you are planning to have sit down with you. I know that, although it is a wonderful movie, if I tried to get my father to watch it with me, he’d be too busy rolling his eyes to take it all seriously, sadly enough.
Anyway, the point is – if you want to watch something that has the (secular) spirit of the Christmas holiday, pick something you can then invite your family and loved ones to watch with you. Nothing like bonding with one another to bring on that Christmas cheer.