Welcome to this week's special edition of Kin'youbi Mosaic weekly ramblings! You may notice that I've been adding some things here and there to this blog, so check them out if you're interested.
News has been pretty sparse this week, so instead, I'm going to do as other blogs like to do around this time and talk about some Christmas episodes in anime. Instead of doing a "favorite Christmas episodes" thing, which will likely just re-iterate many classic Christmas episodes that others have mentioned, I'm just going to mention four Christmas episodes that I have seen and are particularly memorable.
Spoilers will follow, so read with caution.
Sister Princess, Episode 20
In this episode, the sisters plan a special gift for their brother Wataru. To keep their brother in the dark about it, Sakuya gets Wataru to accompany her and hang out in town up until Christmas evening. What makes this episode memorable is what the present ends up being: the sisters have been practicing a song, which they all sing to their brother. Afterwards, Wataru says that it is the best Christmas gift he has ever received.
Sure, it's a bit cheesy (the song itself is good, though), but it's still cute and memorable. And here's something to consider: if Wataru is so happy about having his sisters sing to him for Christmas, how much more so is God when His children sing to Him for Christmas? (Or any other day, for that matter.)
The iDOLM@STER, Episode 24
There's a lot going on in this episode taking place around Christmastime. The girls of 765 Pro have been drifting apart due to their increasing workloads, which has been depressing Haruka, otherwise the cheerful one that always lifts up the moods of the other girls. Things have gotten particularly bad right before this episode, as during a rehearsal for a musical she's in, she nearly falls into a pit, and the producer, in saving her, ends up falling in himself and ends up hospitalized. All this, combined with her fellow idol Miki calling her out for being selfish in wanting everyone to rehearse together, causes her to break down as she loses sight of why she became an idol, and quits the job.
Thankfully, through a series of events, she decides to go back to being an idol--and at the same time, her best friend, Chihaya, has assembled the other girls of 765 Pro to all give a public message to Haruka about how much they miss her and how they are sorry for not realizing what she was trying to do--and at the same time, they announce the New Year's concert which they will all be participating in.
Again, it's pretty cheesy stuff (all of the entries in this post are, kind of; I guess I just like that stuff), but still a nice moment, especially as it comes at a very pivotal moment in the series.
Chocotto Sister, Episode 1
On the other hand, Chocotto Sister, an unlicensed little gem, has Christmas as the starting point of the series. In the first episode, Haruma Kawagoe, a single college student living alone, gets a surprise visit on Christmas morning from Santa Claus, portrayed in this show as a biker chick riding an airbike (definitely one of the more… unique portrayals of Santa in anime). And the Christmas present? A little sister!
Sure, Haruma asked for a little sister for Christmas… about twelve years ago. And sure enough, the little sister he received is about 12 years old… Santa explains that it takes some time to prepare a little sister, as it's not like preparing a toy robot or something…
The rest of the episode has Haruma slowly growing to care for his new sister (in a familial way, mind you), whom he names Choco. It's all rather cute, if a bit cheesy (again). What is particularly memorable here is the flashback scene where the young Haruma asks for a little sister for Christmas; as it turns out, his mother was due to give birth to a sister, and Haruma was anticipating that and says how he will care for her. However, his mother ends up having a miscarriage, and ends up unable to make any more children. Disappointed, Haruma actually goes and prays to God, asking Him to provide the little sister his mother cannot. Who knew that God would hear his request and fulfill it, even if it takes several years for it to happen? And thankfully, despite Kawagoe's initial protests that his current situation is not conducive to taking care of a little sister, he still willingly takes up the responsibility.
The whole thing is also reminiscent of God answering prayer… on His own time. Has God ever answered a prayer that you had prayed a long time ago? Or perhaps He answered it in a way that was not quite what you were hoping for, but has resulted in your growth?
Pokémon, Episode 39/66*: Holiday Hi-Jynx
Yes, I'm going there. This episode of the Pokémon anime is the first Christmas-based episode in this series, at a time before Delibird became the designated Present-deliverer. In this episode, Jynx is the one that delivers presents, and when Team Rocket try to steal Santa's presents, Ash and company stop them. In other words, a pretty typical Pokémon anime episode… except for a number of things.
First of all, while this episode was initially supposed to be episode 39, the previous episode was the ill-fated Porygon episode that got banned for supposedly inducing seizures in children; as such, the show was re-scheduled in America to be episode 66, leading to some inconsistencies (this episode still has Ash's Charmander, despite it having evolved into a Charizard in episode 65.
Second, the show was pulled off the air for a long time after some critics called out the Pokémon Jynx for being a racist portrayal of the old "blackface" stereotype. While the episode has returned back to the rerun rotation, this criticism has ultimately led to Jynx's design being changed to have a purple face instead.
Third, the episode features a Lapras that can speak the human language through telepathy, which is pretty rare in the anime (and notably, the Lapras that Ash has during the Orange Islands arc does not have this ability).
Finally, this episode has an interesting case in which the dub script arguably is better than the original Japanese script. In both scripts, Jesse (Musashi in Japanese) is out for revenge against Santa, as his Jynx actually took a doll from her. As it turns out, the Jynx was just going to fix the doll. The change is that, in the Japanese script, Musashi had simply moved away, so Jynx could not find her (kind of a silly thing for a Santa that supposedly knows about children all over the world); the dub changes it so that Santa could not visit Jessie the next year because she stopped believing in him, which arguably is better reasoning.