I…don’t want a lot for Christmas…
There’s just one thing I need.
I don’t care about the presents…
Underneath the Christmas Tree…
I just want you for my own…
More than you can ever know…
Make my wish come true…
All I want for Christmas…
Is…you…to read our posts and enjoy them!
Hey everyone, Josh here kicking off the 12 Days of Christmas Anime series, where for the next twelve days, we discuss Christmas episodes featured in various anime! From shows that really get into the deep meaning of the holiday, to shows that just throw a Christmas tree in the background and call it a day, we cover the gambit of anime that decide to set an episode or two during this, the most wonderful time of the year!
To kick things off, I’m gonna be taking a look at the Christmas episode of one of my favorite anime of all time.
Though this particular episode doesn’t mention anything about the birth of Christ, Bethlehem, or the three Wise Men of the East, it does give you the warm fuzzies synonymous with the holiday! So let’s get Jingle Bell Rocking and Rolling, shall we? Let’s check out the Christmas Episode of My Love Story!!
Okay, for those who need a refresher—Ore Monogatari, or My Love Story!!, is a 24-episode series based off a manga created by Kazune Kawahara. The series shows the beginnings of love between Takeo Gouda, a large, physically imposing freshman in high school with a heart of gold, and Rinko Yamato, a petite and caring high school girl with a penchant for baking. Thanks to their friend, the always stoic and level-headed Makoto Sunakawa, Takeo and Rinko beat all the typical tropes a lot of star crossed lovers tend to go through in other anime, and begin a romance filled with many new discoveries and loads of love and laughter. (Rest in Peace, Chris Ayres.)
Today, we’ll be looking at Episode 17 called…wait for it…”My Christmas.”
The episode kicks off with a bunch of rough looking hoodlums walking down the sidewalk, acting like they’re the baddest guys around much to the fear of those around them. Of course, this gets their jollies off, and the conversation starts up about this mysterious huge guy who beat up a cop, and is strong and big like a bear. Of course, the leader thinks this is just a myth…until said hulking beast appears from behind, scaring the crap out of them. And what’s stranger…he has a girlfriend! Of course, this is our big loveable lug Takeo meeting up with his adorable girlfriend Rinko. Roll opening credits!
As the two lovebirds walk along, Takeo relishes the fact that this is his first Christmas with a girlfriend; though the weather outside is frightful, the fire of love in his heart is delightful. Rinko suggests to him that, since none of their friends seem to have any plans this year for celebrating the Yuletide, they should have some fun with both of their friend groups. Takeo is on board with the idea, of course, as are his bros back in school when he extends an invitation to them. Heck, even Suna seems…well…SLIGHTLY less deadpan. Just slightly. You REALLY need to know what to look for to be able to see it. Later, one of Takeo’s friends, Kurihara Osamu, asks Takeo if it would be alright if he confessed to his crush, Nanako Yamazaki, at the Christmas get-together. Takeo is of course on board with the idea, and fully supports Kurihara in his endeavor.
Later, Rinko gets a message from Takeo—the party is a go! The girls are naturally excited (though they don’t throw Rinko up in the air like the boys tried to do with Takeo…and failed miserably), but Nanako seems a little conflicted. In a sidebar conversation, she asks what it means when a guy tries to hold a girl’s hand. Of course, Rinko says that it means he likes her. Nanako mentions that she did go to a movie with Kurihara, and he held her hand, but he didn’t come out and say that he liked her. Naturally, Rinko is excited about this, stating that even though he didn’t SAY anything, he’s clearly interested. When Nanako mentions that she is also interested in him, Rinko excitedly offers her assistance with getting the two hooked up, much to Nanako’s chagrin.
Later on, Takeo and Rinko meet up to make the reservations at a local karaoke bar for the party. While finishing up the arrangements, Takeo notices the large Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza. The cashier says that if someone climbs up the tree, plucks a particular star off the top, and asks someone out, they’ll say yes. Of course, due to the tree’s height and frigid temps, it is pretty hard to do. When the cashier states that Takeo could probably do it, Takeo declines. saying that he doesn’t need it. Bless his heart. On the way home, Takeo spills the beans that Kurihara wants to confess to Nanako at the party. Of course, Rinko is right on board with this and suggests that the two of them give the potential lovebirds plenty of time to be alone.
Fast-forward to Christmas Eve, and the group meets up for their shindig. Kurihara, denser than depleted uranium, makes an offhand comment about Nanako’s bare legs. Dude…read the room. Oy. Anyway, the group gets together in their karaoke booth with a perfect view of the large Christmas tree. Rinko relays the story she heard earlier about the star in the tree and Kurihara, still not able to read a room, makes a joke about how high it is. Open mouth, insert foot. True to their plan, Rinko and Takeo maneuver their friends around in such a way to get Nanako and Kurihira to sit together. He seems excited and she seems…puzzled. TIME FOR A PARTY MONTAGE!
During the party, it seems as though Kurihara is REALLY striking out with Nanako…she seems put off by his advances (or lack thereof) and he just keeps putting his foot in his mouth. He’s treating her more like a FRIEND and less like someone he’s interested in as a partner. Dude, you gotta try a little TENDERNESS with this girl! You gotta hold her, squeeze her, never leave–
Oh, sorry. I have a habit of quoting Otis Redding every so often when it comes to romance and love. I’m working on that. Ahem. Moving right along…
The group decides to take the party outside to check out the large Christmas tree. While the others are caught up in the experience, Kurihara decides to take Nanako’s hand, much to her surprise. However, instead of doing what normal people would do in this situation and, you know, CONFESS, he quickly lets her hand go and walks away. Nanako calls after him, clearly flustered, asking point blank what ARE they to each other? Once again, Kurihara is as stupid as a bag of rocks and says that they are “sorta” friends before going inside. Kurihara, how stupid can you be?! How could you put the girl you’re interested in dating in the friend-zone ESPECIALLY when she has expressed interest in you?! HOW?! HOW!?!?!?
Later, it’s time for the surprise gift exchange. Sunakawa gets free pick, of course, and gets Takeo’s gift—a wooden bear carving. Takeo…my dude…I’m gonna need you to do better next time sir. A bear carving Is…well…you know what? It’s on brand for you, my dude. Bless your heart. Takeo manages to gently maneuver Kurihara to pick Nanako’s gift. And by “gently maneuver,” I mean he pretty much hands afro-bro the ribbon that connects to her gift which is…umm…you know what? I don’t know exactly what it is. Rinko, taking after her man Takeo, hands Nanako the ribbon for Kurihara’s gift which is…I think it’s something for building muscles. Not quite sure again. These guys really need gift-giving lessons…or a registry.
Up next for the party—karaoke! Takeo and Rinko take up maracas and a tambourine because they’re so freaking adorable while Kurihara picks his favorite song to perform: “Mirakei Answer” by Trustrick, the OP for this very show. Talk about a coincidence! Kurihara gets Nanako to join in for the song, and continues to treat her less like a potential love interest and more like a “buddy.” She walks out without saying a word. Rinko goes after her, and after some prodding by Takeo, Kurihara follows.
The two girls are then accosted by the thugs from earlier in the episode. Kurihara sees this and quickly calls for Takeo to come and handle the situation. One glance from our bear bro and the hoodlums are sent running. Nanako finally lashes out a Kurihara demanding to know why he had to call Takeo to help instead of resolving the issue himself. Tearfully she runs off, yelling at Rinko that not everyone can have such a lovey-dovey relationship like her and Takeo. When Takeo meets up with Rinko, she admits that she could’ve been wrong and should have been more considerate of Nanako’s feelings. Takeo agrees and states they must learn how to watch over the two of them and not interfere, much like Suna did with the two of them…
Speaking of our stoic bro, he’s busy looking after Kurihara who is sulking over the events of earlier, feeling that there was no way he could’ve handled those three hoodlums on his own. Honestly, I think that was the right move—Kurihara does not look like the kind of guy who would be able to take on several thugs on his own. Best to bring in the muscle to help out. Sometimes you have to fight smarter not harder. Takeo tries to be quiet and not say anything, still wanting to be the silent observer and not interfere, but come on, this is Takeo Gouda we’re talking about. Expecting him to sit on his hands and be quiet is atypical to his nature! Our burly bro bellows at Kurihara to be a man and do something about the situation in order to get what he wants.
As she walks home alone, Nanako gets a call from Rinko—she needs to hightail it back to the meetup spot ASAP. When she arrives, Rinko tells her that Kurihara is trying to climb up the massive Christmas tree to get the special star, wanting to show the woman he loves just how capable he is as a man. He’s already fallen several times, but thanks to Takeo repeatedly yeeting his friend back in the tree like a rag doll, he manages to grab the star and give it to Nanako, confessing his feelings. Of course, she accepts. Takeo and Rinko are both happy at the turn of events, and Rinko gives him his special gift—a Christmas stollen. Because nothing says love like a fancy fruitcake.
Back at school, Kurihara is on Cloud Nine, relaying what happened after the date, now feeling comfortable calling her “Nanako” instead of “Nanako-san.” Ah, Japan and your naming conventions. Meanwhile Nanako is also telling the details of the after-party, revealing that she and Kurihara actually had their first kiss that same night…much to Rinko’s despair as her and Takeo have yet to share that special smooch. Of course, now being a FULL expert on relationships, Nanako offers to help. Roll Credits!
I have to say, this was a very sweet episode. Ironically, this episode is entitled “My Christmas,” but it doesn’t focus on Takeo and Rinko. Of course, they’re present and help spur on events, but the relationship between Kurihara and Nanako is front and center. I also love the fact that Takeo tries to take the Sunakawa approach and be hands off after failing to bring the two love birds together, but in the end, he just can’t help himself and gets involved in his own way, while letting Kurihara handle his business. It’s so true to his character; “I’m gonna let you do this thing yourself, but whatever support you need, I’m gonna be there for you.” We should all be so blessed to have a friend like Takeo in our corner.
So where does this leave us with regards to Christmas? Umm…well… this episode doesn’t really focus in on the holiday itself. In fact, this episode takes place on Christmas EVE not Christmas Day. There are the typical trappings of the holiday like the tree and the snow and the overall festive feel, but nothing REALLY about the holiday. Just like the episode of Kodocha I reviewed last year, Christmas in My Love Story!! is used for romance, and honestly, considering this is an anime about love and relationships, it’s fully on brand.