Category Archives: Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life. Charlie Brown Christmas. Polar Express. Love Hina.
Yes, you read that right. Among all these classics, I include Love Hina among my required Christmas viewing every year. The Christmas special for the show is my favorite episode of one of my favorite series, and is my favorite Christmas anime episode among the many I’ve seen.
Love Hina is an angst ridden show, and this specific episode is full of it. Keitaro is excited, thinking that Naru may confess to him (or at least give him a gift), and is heartbroken to find that she apparently still harbors feelings for her former tutor. All this while Keitaro works himself to the bone to get Naru a meaningful Christmas gift.
The angst in this episode, and in other shows like it (ex. Maison Ikkoku), works because we like the male lead. In Love Hina, in fact, Keitaro is the better person of the potential pairing. Naru is more attractive and much smarter, but she’s also weak-hearted and all too often unkind; Keitaro, on the other hand, always puts others above himself.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
- Luke 2: 4-20
Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Tokyo Godfathers is a movie that follows three homeless individuals that find a baby in the trash around Christmas time and try to find the child’s parents. When I first heard the plot if the movie, I wasn’t really excited to watch it, but it’s a lot better than the basic plot sounds. The movie delves into ideas of shame, forgiveness, acceptance and belonging.
One interesting thing about this anime is the way Satoshi Kon used Christian elements. Kon really seemed to have a better understanding than most anime creators about Christianity. Instead of using random crosses as decoration here and there or a vampire fighting priest, he actually uses a sermon to set up the storyline that the characters hear while attending a dinner/sermon for the homeless.
“Jesus was born to offer those alone a place in which to be alive.”
And there were not many more alone in Japan than the three main characters. One is an alcoholic man running from debts, Gin, another is a transsexual, Hana, and the third a teenage runaway, Miyuki. Through the adventure of finding the baby’s parents, whom they name Kiyoko meaning ‘pure child,’ they each are forced to confront the reason they wound up on the streets.
They all have a different reason for leaving home, but the reasons are connected by feelings of shame and hopelessness. Each has done something they are ashamed of and are sure their actions mean they can never be accepted back home. I was particularly moved by the scenes with Miyuki, as she sits sobbing after confessing what she did to her father before running away saying that she can never return because of it and her breakdown after trying to call her parents and not being able to speak. Despite telling Gin and Hana she can return home whenever she feels like it, after her confession she says what she truly believes. Read the rest of this entry
Today is the 23rd, which means Christmas is in two days!!! This post is about episode 12 of the classic anime Shugo Chara! The episode is entitled, “A Sad Christmas Eve!”
When I think of Christmas, I think of a holiday of enjoying the company of those whom I love, but this ideal concept isn’t always the case. I grew up as a military brat, so my dad missed a lot of birthdays and Christmases. Because of this I learned early on that it is rather hard to have celebrations like Christmas when you feel alone.
Similarly, in this episode of Shugo Chara! we witness what is like to be with people you love on Christmas Eve and also what it is like to be alone. One one side we see Hinamori Amu as she spends Christmas Eve with the Guardians and really enjoys her time. On the other hand, we see Tsukiyomi Ikuto as he is alone and hurts other people. The saying fits, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
Interestingly enough, I can relate to both characters. Read the rest of this entry
Episode 3.5: “To Santa”
Usagi Drop is one of my very favorite series, but my last taste of it was the conclusion to the manga, which I found lacking (to put it mildly). So it was refreshing to watch this Christmas episode, a six-minute piece that was part of one of the DVD releases.
In the short, Daikichi prepares for Christmas by explaining the ins and outs of Santa Claus. I was surprised at how the legend has translated to Japan – chimneys, letters, cookies, reindeer, and all. Some of these traditions are European in origin and others North American. Rin’s carrot for the reindeer, I’ve discovered, is actually a tradition from English-speaking countries.
More closely to home, though, the episode reminded me of how I’m raising my children. Before kids, I was pretty vehemently against telling them about Santa. I didn’t like the idea of lying to them, and I remember how hurt I was when I found out the truth about the big man. But once I had children, my attitude did a 180, and it became a no-brainer to continue the
It may be that those who read this article will think me an impostor, for I not only am writing about a shoujo anime with a heavy focus on romantic relationships, but also chose my subject before watching the episode in question. All I knew about the tenth episode of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun was that it was to be A Christmas Episode, and hence ideal for this series here at Beneath The Tangles. Right? What could go wrong?
Ever since I watched and enjoyed both Skip Beat! and Honey & Clover, I have been burnishing my shoujo credentials. I’m glad I went into shows like Clannad, Kaichou wa Maid-sama! and most recently Ouran High School Host Club with an open mind. And if I ever get around to watching Toradora! and Kimi ni Todoke, the transformation will be complete.
But seriously, I think it would have been helpful to have watched Kimi ni Todoke before Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, since I suspect they have more than a passing similarity. I can say about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun that it is about teenage romance, yes — the good and the bad, the thrilling and the awkward — but also about growing up, learning about others, and perhaps most important of all, learning about oneself.
It’s no secret that the Christmas season brings out the best and worst in people. I tend to focus on the former since I’m a big believer in the “holiday spirit” for an excuse to put differences and disagreements aside and just be nice to people. Like not getting upset and honking that the car that just cut in front of you, or giving an extra tip amount to your waiter.
Kindness can spread like wild fire as well, but you have to light the first match.
Taiga from Toradora! thinks in a similar way. Normally a fiery and sometimes violent young woman, around Christmas she suddenly transforms into a sweet “angel” that Ryuuji can hardly believe it. In fact, through a span of 3 episodes about Christmas in Toradora!, Taiga stays in her “good self”, which Ryuuji discovers may actually be part of her true self (or so we hope).
Kimi ni Todoke
Episode 22: “Christmas”
I had long intended to watch the Kimi ni Todoke anime or read the manga, and finally did last year after the second series aired. I gave up way too many hours of sleep to marathon the show, which totally hooked me. I think one of the main reasons that I enjoyed the anime so much was because it and it’s hero and heroine are so innocent. This innocence is reflected in the Christmas episode, which only slightly delves into the romantic, unlike so many other Christmas anime episodes.
Sawako, who has now developed strong friendships and camaraderie with her classmates, in invited to the annual Christmas party that Kazehaya helps throw. And though she desperately wants to attend, she’s torn. As a good daughter, Sawako feels she can’t ask her parents to go, since Christmas is so important to her goofy dad.
This year, when rewatching the episode, I thought about how I might react when my daughter someday asks to spent the holiday apart. I actually gave this thought a lot of consideration, as I had watched a similar storyline the in holiday episode of Castle that had aired a few days earlier. And…I think I’m a lot like Sawako’s dad! Christmas is extremely important to me…also, I’m a wee bit silly around family.
I’m also sentimental, and I could definitely see myself saying the same as Sawako’s dad:
Sawako [or insert my daughter's name] was our Christmas present.
It doesn’t work too badly, since my daughter was born just a few weeks before Christmas.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Christmas songs are ubiquitous during the holiday season. In my household, we have Michael Bublé, Martina McBride, Andrea Bocelli, and MercyMe playing constantly. The music of the season has become part of the holiday tradition for many families. A lesser tradition here on this blog is my rewording of a song that has become a holiday classic – “My Favorite Things.”
Chihaya is only a few weeks away;
Anime tropes even if they’re cliche;
Saber rises above the other kings;
These are a few of my favorite things.
Mawaru Penguindrum coming on Blu-Ray;
Kiritsugu finally fights against Kirei;
Rikka to Yuta with a pinky clings;
These are a few of my favorite things.
Episode 11: “Various Ways to Spend Christmas Eve”
In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to retry an anime that I dropped over a year ago, Lucky Star. Last time I tried to watch the series, I made it to only episode 4. For this project, I watched episode 11 which takes place on Christmas Eve. The biggest things to stand out in the episode were related to the Japanese understanding of Christianity and Christmas.
One of the characters in the series stated that she wasn’t sure if it was okay for her sister, who was a shrine maiden, to wear a wedding dress for her wedding. This whole idea comes from a difference of understanding in Judeo-Christian and Japanese Religions. In Christianity, the main part of the belief system is this concept of faith. For example, the concept of grace through faith or that Abraham’s faith is credited to him as righteousness. For people of the English language, we can even refer to religions as faiths or beliefs.
In Japanese, the religions of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism are based upon action and tradition, such as going to temple festivals, praying to kami at shrines, or even dedicating children at temples. Read the rest of this entry