Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anime for the Holidays

These are some quick holiday recommendations I have for die-hard otaku or just general anime enthusiast. Like the Halloween one I did, I'm basically picking titles that you wouldn't have to see several seasons of a TV show to understand anything about the characters or the story that a token "Christmas Episode" of a series would have. So, as nice as the 3 X-Mas episodes of Ranma 1/2 were, they don't help if you haven't seen the whole series prior to that. Anyway...


Before he was making assloads of cash with Love Hina and Negima, Ken Akamatsu did a one-shot manga story that was turned into this 2-episode OVA. One X-Mas Eve, a lonely young man named Santa(yep, Santa!)is spending another year without his parents who're out helping unfortunate kids somewhere else in the world. So, he is visited by Mai, one of several teenage girls that works for Santa Claus, since he apparently fired all the elves for sexy Japanese girls. Mai has the power to turn into a tall blonde girl only on Christmas Eve, and takes Santa on a trip around the world to see the good his parents do. We cut ahead a few months later to an obligatory "beach episode" where we're introduced to even more of Santa's little helpers showing in in bikinis. This was a cute short OVA series, which hinted that there was going to be a 3rd episode complete with a giant reindeer mecha fight, but it turned out to be a gag ending.


While the anime industry mourns the recent loss of creative genius Satoshi Kon, you can enjoy probably one his finest productions around the holidays with this heartwarming film. Taking place on Christmas Eve, a homeless trio finds an abandonned baby, and resolve to locate the girl's parents. During this, they all inadvertently uncover their own pasts, and achieve their own sense of self-discovery. The movie was Kon's third directorial, and really shows how far he had come from Perfect Blue. This is the best example of a holiday-themed anime, although the fact it takes place during Christmas and New Year's isn't an overall scheme of the film, which makes it a great film for any time of the year.


Satoshi Kon's second directorial movie was this one which on its own doesn't have much anything to do directly with the holidays, but it makes for the perfect New Year's movie. A TV director does an interview with his childhood idol, an aging Japanese film idol. While reflecting on moments of her life, she interweaves it with parts she played in her movies as she searches for her lost love. The movie wonderfully captures the passage of time of a tragic celebrity, and how it affects the lives of the people around her. I highly recommend watching this on late New Year's day while you treat your hangover.

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