Yesterday, I gave numbers 6-10 on my list of the ten best Christmas anime. Today, we’ll complete our countdown!
5. Maison Ikkoku
I don’t think any anime series has ever done angst better than Maison Ikkoku, which balances that teeth-clenching feeling of “Why don’t they get together?!” with writing and character development that keeps us interested, still, one hundred episodes in. Episodes 39 and 40, one of a number of Christmas episodes in the series, is no different. Godai spends the episode tracking down an important rock (yes, rock) for Kyoko, and we see what each means to the other as the countdown to the Christmas party ticks away.
4. Chrono Crusade
I really dislike Chrono Crusade – I never made it to the end because I found it terribly boring. Episode 12, however, is an exception. While perhaps drifting into cheesy territory (though isn’t cheese acceptable during the holiday season?), the episode does a wonderful job of both being heart-warming and reminding us that not everyone feels happy this time of year, focusing on Azmaria and her sad past while demonstrating the power that we have to make the holidays special for those in need.
3. Love Hina
Without fail, I watch the Love Hina X’Mas special every year. Originally airing as a 44-minute TV special, the episode is the most romantic of the series (and quite possibly my favorite single episode of any anime), pushing past the pair of other episodes involving Naru’s confessions of love. Surely inspired by the aforementioned Maison Ikokku episode, the plight of poor Keitaro and the over-the-top pain that Naru puts him through makes the end of this episode all the more delightful.
2. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
A melancholy episode, much like Read or Die’s, episode 35 of Macross involves pained feelings of romance against the backdrop of war during Christmastime. What sets the episode apart is how heavy it gets. As the violence of war leads to civilian casualties, there’s a poignant scene at the episode’s end in which townsfolk gather together, in an impromptu manner, to sing “Silent Night” at a bombarded church – a surprising and emotional way to end a superb episode.
And…at number one…
1. Tokyo Godfathers
The anime that tops my list is the only one that isn’t from a series – it’s a standalone movie from masterful director (and sorely missed) Satoshi Kon. The classic follows three homeless individuals who are trying to track down an abandoned baby’s mother on Christmas Eve. Though gritty and vulgar, the movie manages to be far more meaningful than most sappy Christmas fare, presenting several redemption stories amidst the violence and suffering of the streets. If you haven’t seen the film, by all means, please check it out this Christmas season.
So that does it for my list! Here are the entire top ten:
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
- Love Hina
- Chrono Crusade
- Maison Ikkoku
- Read or Die
- Big O
- Kimi ni Todoke
Now it’s your turn to chime in. What did I miss? What would be your number one? Or if you’d like, just give us your entire top ten in the comments below!