What’s Your Favorite Christmas Anime?
When Christmas draws near, many fans find themselves re-watching certain beloved anime series or films. Toradora, with its wonderful bittersweet Christmas episode. Amagami SS, about a boy who was got his heart broken on a past Christmas Eve and therefore dislikes Christmas, until one of six new heroines (each with her own arc) offers a second chance for him to find love. But for me, the Christmas anime I will always rewatch is The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, though this year’s annual rewatching is a particularly sad and difficult one.
Now is time for my annual pre-Christmas re-watching of the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Which will be a very hard thing, this year of all years, naturally. pic.twitter.com/eLZm51ofoZ
— J-LIST 🎅 (@jlist) December 14, 2019
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series really stands out to me as perhaps the most perfect example of anime that’s thoughtful and complex, and if there’s anyone left in the world who would insist that “animation is for kids,” I’d immediately point to Haruhi as the one show that totally disproves this. The series first draws you in with a bizarre “episode 0” which is the SF film the characters have made, though we don’t know this on the first viewing. Then the episodes are shown out of order (if you’re viewing by original broadcast order) on purpose to further confuse fans. It worked like a charm, and I’ve been enthralled ever since.
Although the two Haruhi series had some flaws (some fans truly hated the Endless Eight), one thing that was totally and utterly perfect was the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film. It tells the story of a day when Haruhi suddenly disappears from the universe, and all reality is reorganized so that Yuki, Mikuru, and Koizumi aren’t aliens, time travelers or visitors from other dimensions, but normal humans. Kyon has to find a way to return the world to “normal,” if he chooses to.
Although I do my rewatching of the film every December like clockwork, this time the visuals seemed to have more impact than they usually do. I realized it was because I was watching it in my Tokyo condo, which is so much smaller compared to our home in Gunma, that I’m only 20 inches away from my television. I really enjoyed watching it this way and could appreciate the additional visual punch every scene had.
— J-LIST 🎅 (@jlist) July 18, 2019
The Saddest Year for Anime Fans
2019 will go down in history as one of the saddest years for anime fans, because of the terrible arson attack on Kyoto Animation. On July 18, a deranged individual brought a large container of gasoline into the building and poured it out near the entrance to the company, splashing gasoline in on several individuals and shouting “Die!” as he ignited it. The subsequent fire resulted in the deaths of 36 animators and other staff and injured an additional 33. It was one of the worst massacres in Japan in postwar history, and a terrible blow to the industry.
As I wrote in my initial post after the attack, one of the greatest things about living in Japan is what a safe country it is, and it’s almost unthinkable to feel yourself in danger, anywhere you are in Japan. People are honest, always returning lost wallets to the police when found, and murders are incredibly rare. (Only Iceland and Singapore have lower homicides per 100,000 citizens than Japan.) Perhaps it’s because Japan is such an honest and upstanding country that when any sad event happens — such as the 通り魔 toori-ma or “devil passing by on the street” attacker who stabbed and killed Nitroplus music producer Shingo Minamino — that the shock is so great.
The suspect is 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, and purportedly blamed the studio for plagiarising a novel idea he’s submitted. He’d apparently been preparing for the attack for some time and may have been behind the 200 death threats the studio had received in the year before the attack. The suspect underwent intensive medical care including skin grafts and has been transferred to a Kyoto hospital. When released, he’ll be arrested and charged, and given every legal defense he’s entitled to. Like the person who went on a rampage in Akihabara that killed seven back in 2008, the Kyoani arsonist will likely receive the death penalty.
There was a bright side to the tragedy, which was that all the world came together to express our love and gratitude to Kyoto Animation for all the wonderful stories they’ve told us over the years, donating money to #HelpKyoaniHeal. In the end, more than $20 million was raised for the victims. Kyoto Animation said that it won’t use the money to rebuild its business but will only provide it to the victims and survivors.
The studio held a ceremony to say goodbye to their deceased friends and colleagues on November 5th. On their official English page, the company thanked fans for their support, saying, “We will continue to create animation for all over the world that help people have dreams, hopes, and impress them. Please continue to watch over us.”
What’s your best Christmas anime to re-watch every year? Tell us on Twitter!
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