Hello everyone one and all. Welcome to another collaboration by Shoujo from Shoujo Thoughts and myself. We meet once again under our title of Sci-Fi and Sparkles to Discuss Christmas anime and some other surprises in the second half on Shoujo’s Blog here: Link.
In this collab, Shoujo will be Red and SJ while I am orange and ST in order to make this easier to read. Hope you have fun and you are welcome to talk about your own favorite christmas like or just plain Christmas episodes yourself in the comments!
SJ: Aaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnddddddd begin!
SJ: Do do do do do do do do Batman! Here’s Batman to get us started on the right foot!
SJ: Ta da!
ST: Batman approving things is the best way to start anything. How have you been recently, Shoujo?
SJ: I mean, I’m here! Still coping, still being a cat mom, still looking forward to getting back into the classroom after the pandemic. 🙂 How about you, Scott?
ST: I’ve been, if one word, busy. Have a dog that likes to get her attention, working a little bit here and there, then that school thing which is that school thing. Though, it’s been fun times still :).
SJ: Any bit of safe and healthy fun a person can get right now is greatly needed! Today I left my house and went into a public building (by necessity) for the first time since…wow, March? If you don’t count visiting a mostly empty school to clean out my classroom, that’s nine months! This pandemic is more than enough to be rough on anybody, whether you’re working from home, in school, unemployed, or in-person essential. We all miss seeing people and going places! Regrettably, it’s not all going to blow over by Christmas, so in lieu of in-person celebrations with friends and extended family, it looks like we’ll need to celebrate with anime!
SJ: (I miss gathering greatly, but I’ll also say, *clears throat* Oh no. Celebrating with anime. What a hardship.)
SJ: Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to collab with me! 😀
ST: You’re welcome Shoujo. I’m glad to be doing something with you again.
ST: I have been outside of my house for work due to being an essential worker, but at least I can choose when I work and having that work place enforces people wearing masks and the six foot distance rule to keep us a bit safer. I have that privilege in place that a lot of other people don’t, which is frightening and sad.
ST: To turn this around, what are some anime that give you some warm feelings? Could be Christmas themed, takes place in winter, or neither of those things. I’m still coming up with some of mine right now.
SJ: Is it too early in the collab for me to bring up Hakuouki? (I promise I’ll only do this once!) Because the events of the OVA collection Hakuoki: Sekkaroku (or Hakuouki: A Memory of Snow Flowers) take place in winter, and there’s something about watching along this time of year that makes those six episodes particularly special. So much of Hakuouki is [sort of spoilers, but like, history already tells us??] tragic, and these episodes–while still sporting suitably somber moments–bring a lot of gentle “awww”s and great laughs. ❤
ST: Early for you to bring it up? Nah. I think you bringing up Hakuouki is very on brand. In general, I think a lot of anime can handle a lot of the most solemn moments ever yet bring such levity as well. It’s pretty amazing to see it happen.
ST: I can’t necessarily ask for a lot of specific moments because I haven’t watched it, but what kinds of things speak to you the most during those moments?
SJ: Scott, I laughed out loud when I read “very on brand for you.” You’re not wrong, but I laughed all the same. 🙂 Okay, but to answer your question, I’ll bring up one very specific instance out of several.
SJ: There is an early morning scene in which Hijikata opens his sliding door to greet the cold winter morning and sees that the first snow of the year has fallen. At the same time, he hears a small commotion. Commander Kondou and two of the Shinsengumi’s other oldest members, Gen-san and Shimada-san, are excitedly making their first footsteps in the newly fallen snow. They’re elated, laughing. Hijikata smiles fondly to himself and thinks that they are like children.
SJ: Truthfully, they’re anything but childish, but as a counselor once told me, childish and childLIKE are different. Even after everything the men have been through and everything they’ve seen, they’re still capable of such innocence, and it’s implied that Hijikata reflects on as much as he watches them.
SJ: Hijikata, being a demon Vice Commander but also a secret poet, composes aloud a haiku comparing the snow to tatami mats, only to be startled by a teasing Souji and sweetly sincere Chizuru who have come to summon him for breakfast. Souji mocks his poem, but Chizuru thinks it’s well done, causing Hijikata to blush. ❤
SJ: With Christmas before us–a time in theory dedicated to peace and goodwill–these displays of childlike wonder and gentle comradery is so poignant. The world is hard, but no matter our situation, there is still such beauty in it and in those who appreciate its wonder. ❤ Especially now (2020, why~~??), I think we all need to try and remember that. A Memory of Snow Flowers, although of course fictional, abundantly illustrates these concepts: the world–though imperfect–is still beautiful, and relationships matter.
SJ: But now that I’ve rambled about Hakuouki, the greatest anime franchise to ever exist (*wink*), maybe it’s time to get outside of my wheelhouse. Scott, will you tell me about a title that really gets you into the holiday spirit or conveys this season’s feelings?
ST: I keep thinking about this, but I can’t think of one particular series that puts me into that spirit. It’s hard, but I am a big sucker for those found or forced family series in anime where a group has to work together and they become family from surviving a lot of things. I do know that is Hakuouki, but that is in things that are in my favorite franchises like Gundam and such. I am one of those people that watches something and really enjoys it, then kind of moves onto the another thing. I am a massive scatter brain that can get bored sometimes and it takes me a few years before I get around to rewatching things…
SJ :Nothing wrong with watching, enjoying, and moving on! The world needs all types! (Not just those who get obsessed with a show and never let it go, like me, lol.)
ST: So, I will bring up my most recent example of this kind of thing which had a Christmas episode too. Captain Harlock: Endless Orbit SSX is another great show that I am a sucker for because it is a space opera series, but also has a found family series too. Captain Harlock is a space pirate and is like the dad of a group of people on his ship called the Arcadia who are with him for one goal, finding people a place where human kind can live in peace because the Earth is currently under control by aliens and are actively trying to destroy him and his crew. It was heart warming and comforting to watch this beacon of warmth and the best humanity has to offer fighting in rebellion every week with this crew from all walks of life and eventually winning.
SJ: (I know I’m interrupting but I have to because OH WOW OKAY THIS IS WHERE HARLOCK: SPACE PIRATE ON NETFLIX CAME FROM! THE NEW ONE IS A REMAKE! Okay, sorry, I got excited, lol. Please, continue.)
ST: The most christmas like episode for me was not exactly that christmas episode, but the episode where the little girl Revi found a stray cat on another planet. A cat that had a radio beacon on it to alert the enemy, but it was eventually removed and the girl got to keep her cat. The warmth of the girl with the cat slowly radiated in the show from keeping it secret with one of the older shipmates who liked seeing it to Captain Harlock himself who held the cat and smiled for one of a few times in the show. He was mad at how far the Illumidas for using such underhanded tactics on something pure and innocent. Even in the harshest of times, he doesn’t want to ruin any little kid’s life and imagination. The best space dad ever!
ST : Look at that face. It’s an anime cat, but still a wonderful and very cute anime cat. There are so many little moments like that in the show. Small moments between the crew that are so heartwarming and warm and fuzzy. Very Christmas-like in that way (though I don’t think that I will talk about the Christmas episode because it’s so pure, yet so sad). The cat appears quite often in the little girl’s arms and all over the place and I am glad that it’s here even if it’s causing destruction. That face is just so cute like the little girl carrying it.
SJ: Cats are cute in all forms! =^..^= Even 80s style anime cats! Anyway, it sounds to me like the theme of that episode is a great one for the Christmas season, defense of and appreciation for innocence. I’m not one for 80s anime, but your comment on the sorrow of the “real” Christmas episode has me… very curious…
ST: (We may need to see if there is a certain 80’s anime out there for you because there is plenty of early shoujo out there which are powerful and influential in their own right. I may need to check them out first to see if they are Shoujo quality material though.)
SJ: (I mean, I’m game to try!)
ST: Yeah, that episode was really sad. It involves Revi, that little girl again and her dad saying hi on Christmas for the last time even though Revi will never know that’s the case because she’s too young. It’s just a lot to take in.)
SJ: But before I trapes off to Google again, you know what’s a staple of the holiday season? The Toradora! Christmas episodes! Whenever someone mentions Christmas anime episodes, they’re the first that I think of. (Not to mention, Toradora! is just a fantastic show all the way around!) I’m almost positive that we’ve both seen them, too!
Please continue on to read our thoughts about Toradora Christmas on Shoujo’s blog right here: Link