The Ten Best Anime Christmas Episodes, Part II

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.

Reindeer Chrono
Art by 柚木ガオ

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.

Love Hina Christmas

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.

Homeless godfathers and modern wisemen

So that does it for my list!  Here are the entire top ten:

  1. Tokyo Godfathers
  2. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
  3. Love Hina
  4. Chrono Crusade
  5. Maison Ikkoku
  6. Read or Die
  7. Big O
  8. Kimi ni Todoke
  9. K-On!
  10. Toradora

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!

22 thoughts on “The Ten Best Anime Christmas Episodes, Part II

  1. Tokyo Godfathers keeps popping up on my radar, which must be a sign that I need to watch it. I might add Sailor Moon to this list just for nostalgia, but other than that I haven’t actually seen a lot of anime with Christmas specials.

        1. It is HARD to be reviewer. I’d like to do more reviews on my blog, but I just find that writing an interesting review is an art form that takes more commitment, discipline, and talent that I have!

  2. I saw it coming: the return of last year’s no. 1. 🙂

    There is an episode of Lucky Star, IIRC its title is “The Many Ways to Celebrate Christmas”. I think that would be a welcome addition.

    1. Good pick…I’m assuming, since I haven’t seen the episode. But I do believe one of our bloggers, Zeroe4, wrote about it last year. It seemed like a fun episode!

  3. *Sees Tokyo Godfathers best anime on Christmas list* Yeah, I have no problems at all with this list. None at all. Even though I expected TV shows instead of a movie. Yeah 😀

    On another note, I guess this will be another Christmas where I have to watch it…again!

    1. Thank you Sir Justin! You should watch it…and then post about it! And link back to my article with your monster of a blog, hehe. 😉

      1. You mean watch Tokyo Godfathers on Christmas for the 10th or 11th time (ok, probably the 3rd year I’ve watched it on Christmas but I’ve watched this film a lot ok!?!?)? Not a problem!

        …And did I just get a request to link this for next week’s RRM? Y-you jerk! How dare you tempt me like this!!!

  4. Off the top of my head, I can recall the “Miyuki” special of Ai Yori Aoshi. It takes place before the main series and is a nice foreshadowing of the change to come in the lead male’s life.

    Other than that, I’m personally a fan of Sister Princess’s Christmas episodes (yes, even the one in RePure), though I do not expect anyone to agree with me on that one… 😛

    1. I’ve never seen either series, though you’ve given me another reason to try Ai Yori Aoshi. My eye test has always said “yes” to that series, even if the reviews have said, “NOOOOOO!”

      1. Have the reviews been panning Ai Yori Aoshi that much? I mean, ANN gave it relatively good scores, and considering how harsh the reviewers there can be with that type of show, I think that’s a good sign, myself. (Those reviews have also noted that the Christmas special is the best single episode of the series.)

        Either way, it’s definitely a show I’m fond of, having one of my favorite romances in anime, so you have my recommendation.

  5. A nice reversal is the Kamichu! christmas episode. One of goddess Yurie’s friends is manager of a Shinto shrine, and she hates Christmas because she feels Shinto is losing out to it. Boy, I can understand that.

    A funny one, and an underrated series in general, is the Christmas episode of Those Who Hunt Elves II. Ritsuko may be sixteen years old, a military otaku, and stuck in a fantasy land stripping elves to get home, but darned if she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.

    1. That’s a really interesting rec for Kamichu! I’ve never seen the series, but I might just have to check out that episode.

      1. Oh, you need to see it. You know this season’s Gingitsune? Kamichu! is its spiritual predecessor, and it’s an amazing little series. They managed to take something as tired as a beach episode and turn it into a masterpiece. Seriously, check it out.

    1. I remember how well you like the series! I actually thought of you when I was I doing my write up about Chrono Crusade!

  6. Maison Ikkoku’s Christmas episode made my list last year as well. Those are some of the most bittersweet episodes in the series, and I realized just how sweet of a man Godai was turning into after all he went through so much trouble to return Kyoko’s gift from her husband – even though the rock was a painful reminder of why he couldn’t be with the person he loved. I was always indifferent to his character, but after these two episodes, I really liked him.

    1. That’s a really interesting idea you brought up – how Godai changes through the course of the series, and especially through his efforts in this episode. He really does start out as a character that one feel indifferent about, or whom we might even root against, but he changes through the course of the series. Thanks for the comments!

  7. One of my favorite Christmas time amine episodes and the one that led me here) is from the 1990s anime The Irresponsible Captain Taylor. They just do a wonderful job of capturing the look and feel of a romanic snowy Christmas night.

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