You probably already know that if you don’t “believe,” you can’t see Santa Claus. But did you know that there are multiple Santas? And rather than delivering presents, they actually give you wonderful dreams? Also, some Santas are girls who wear short dresses (maybe you already knew this from Itsudatte My Santa). Oh, and they cook turkey and Christmas cakes (and only these foods).
The special episode of Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi, entitled “Miyuki,” is a fantasy. Like episodes of old sitcoms that cross the line into the fantastical for one episode, Ai Yori Aoshi does likewise, as Kaoru, one year before the events of the original series, bumps into a Aoi look-a-like dressed in red garb and owning the ability to phase through walls. Revealing herself as a Santa, she grants Kaoru’s unspoken wish to spend Christmas with her.
Recommended by Frank of A Series of Miracles, I decided to watch the episode even though I have only basic knowledge about Ai Yori Aoshi. Still, I was able to enjoy this little gem, even though it’s handmade for fanatics of the series, featuring quite a bit of fanservice in the form of character appearances and wish fulfillment.
That isn’t to say the episode won’t be a worthwhile watch for those of you who, like me, haven’t seen the show. It has an “innocent even while slightly ecchi” tone that many series of that time held, which surprisingly helps to create a nice nostalgic feel to the episode, aided by a focus on snow and winter romance.
Also touching was a brief scene in which Kaoru dreamed about his mother. She passed away a number of years ago, and Kaoru’s dad had died before that. He is an orphan, and his family situation, on multiple levels, makes for a lot of difficulty in Karou’s life. And if this episode is any judge, it also makes for a definite feeling of loneliness and longing.
The Bible stresses the analogy of us as God’s adopted children. Before Christ came, we were lost in our sin (and many remain so), “orphans that never knew their name.” But Christ’s atoning sacrifice is, in a way, like filing the final paperwork of an adoption process, as we officially are united with God as His children. And the story of that adoption begins, in a sense, on that Christ’s birthday.
But as the episode only quickly touches on Kaoru’s mom, what’s ultimately most fulfilling is a nice ending that cleanly meets the desires of both Kaoru and the audience, while adding a touch of Christmas “magic” that seems to fill so many campy American Christmas specials. But in the case of Ai Yori Aoshi, the magic works, weaving a beautiful and heart-warming episode for the chilly season.