Last year during this season I talked about the Christmas episode from The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, so it is only fitting that this year I would talk about the Christmas episode, Episode 22, from the “original” The iDOLM@STER anime. (And no, I do not mean Xenoglossia; the one from 2011.)
Our 13 girls of 765 Productions have reached incredible levels of popularity, with no sign of slowing down. They have jobs left and right, and Producer, Ritsuko, and Kotori have their hands full trying to manage everyone’s schedules. Amidst all this, though, Haruka feels a bit lonely. With everyone so busy with their individual schedules, she rarely gets to see any of her friends unless they get the same job. As for everyone getting together in one place, that never happens naturally.
As such, Haruka comes up with the idea to have a Christmas party, to try to set up an event that can gather as many people together. Producer agrees to the party, though he notes that only those who have finished with their work on Christmas day can go—after all, for idols, Christmas is a day to spend with their fans. Indeed, as Haruka informs the others about the party, they all mention that they have work on that day, so they think it will be unlikely they can attend.
In the end, though, Producer is able to arrange everyone’s schedules so that, ultimately, everyone makes it to the Christmas party eventually. It’s a happy ending to this little Christmas story… for now, at least. What happens afterwards is another story, but since this is a post about a Christmas episode, I will focus on the Christmas party for now. As simple as it might have seemed to have a time when all of the girls could gather together, to me, it reminds me of my own family gatherings during the holidays.
Various countries designate certain holidays as times for families to get together. For many in the West, Christmas is one such holiday, with most schools closing out a semester during that time and giving students multiple weeks off to make it easier for college students to return home. Even the US military makes special arrangements for the time around Christmas and New Year’s so that its members can more easily take leave during that time (although one can only choose to take leave during either Christmas or New Year’s). As a member of the US Navy myself, this “holiday leave” period is precious to me, as it is one of the few times both myself, my college-age younger brother, and my mother can get together.
Our different paths in life have taken us far apart. That is the natural course for many families, who accept that their adult children cannot stay in the same house as their parents and need to move out to live their own lives. And yet, we still recognize families as important, so we designate holidays when we can gather together, however far apart we are. These gatherings do not happen naturally; some degree of intentionality has to open up the opportunity, even if it is as simple as a designation of a national holiday. But such a designation, combined with the cultural acceptance of “a time for families to gather” and the work of schools and organizations to allow for people to take time off during those times, has allowed even the most scattered of families to gather in one place at least once a year.
I should note that, in Japan, this time is typically New Year’s rather than Christmas, with Christmas not being a national holiday and only celebrated as a time for romantic couples or just for the fun of it. Nevertheless, for the girls of 765 Pro, who thanks to their humble beginnings feel like a family themselves, the holiday creates an opportunity for them to all get together. And as I watch, I am reminded of my own family gatherings during this time, and how important they are to me.
So as we close out the 12 Days of Anime Christmas, I would like to thank God for the opportunity to see my family around this time every year, and for my family and for those who help make these gatherings possible logistically. If you have any Christmas family traditions or other times your family designates as get-together times, feel free to share them in the comments!
The iDOLM@STER can be viewed on Crunchyroll.