Listen, I’m not the biggest anime fan. I’m oblivious at best, unless you count that time I binge-watched “Beastars” and “Saint Young Men” just because the premises were wack enough. But what I do love are Christmas specials, so what better way to compromise than by viewing holiday specials with my totally and extremely non-anime fan goggles?
Here are a couple of my picks. Yes, I’m totally new to this.
“Sakura’s Wonderful Christmas”
Let’s start with one that’s more familiar to non-otakus. In this “Cardcaptor Sakura” holiday episode, Sakura’s friend Yukito is the dreaded Christmas baby—and by “dreaded,” I mean easily forgotten. In order to fix that, Sakura attempts to find the perfect gift for him. As most holiday episodes go, it takes a chaotic turn when Sakura, Yukito and their friends meet up at an amusement park, suddenly faced with some evil ho-ho-ho monsters.
“Yuri!! On Ice”
“Gotta Supercharge It! Pre-Grand Prix Final Special!”
Long story short, it’s deliciously shippy!! OTP to end all OTPs Viktor and Yuri travel to Barcelona for the Grand Prix ice skating finale, which leaves them some time off to go exploring on their own. They head to the city’s famous Christmas markets, where Yuri surprises Viktor with two “engagement” rings. (Yeah, I squee’d writing this.)
“Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku”
December specials are usually in the fantasy-slash-cheesy realm, but not this one. If you like your holiday cheer with a dash of realism and adulting dread, then “Wotakoi’s” “Bleak Christmas” might be for you. The quote “working adults don’t get Christmas, anyway” seems to be the thesis of the episode, with characters trying to squeeze holiday spirit into capitalistic life—especially when they have to clock in during Christmas day.
“A Very Digi-Christmas”
On the flipside, if you want the usual in the menu, the OG “Digimon” crew is here for the Christmas package you all know and love—feel-good themes, sentimental reunions and an evil Dark Animal Digimon (a.k.a. Arukenimon) that’s out for blood.
“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.”
“Frolic! Silent Night”
We’ve recommended “Saiki K.” before, but here’s a recap: The titular character is Saiki Kusuo, a telepathic teenager who just wants to be normal. “Frolic! Silent Night” is the first out of three holiday episodes of the show, and this one revolves around Saiki’s one-sided friend Nendo—Nendo thinks they’re friends, but Saiki begs to differ—who reveals that Santa has never visited him. The solution? Saiki’s dad dresses up as Mr. Claus, of course.
“K-On” revolves around five high school girls who become friends after joining the Light Music Club. Their Christmas special, however, is focused on two characters—Ui and Yui—and their sisterhood. It’s all about familial love, annoyance and a bit of nostalgia, a.k.a. Christmas in a nutshell.
“Kimi ni Todoke”
If you’ve watched “Love, Actually” for the 1,403rd time already, you can still get your rom-com fix with a shouju series. “Kimi ni Todoke’s” holiday episode sees main girl Sawako and her almost idyllic Christmas (plus birthday), just as things get cozier for her and her love interest Kazehaya.
Still from “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.”