Seasonal specials are a hallmark of the holiday season in Western media, but Christmas treats aren’t quite as prevalent in Japanese animation. While many popular anime shows receive a Christmas-themed episode during their run (especially if they air around December), sometimes even playing a distinct role in the ongoing plot, productions are specifically geared around and/or made for the season a lot less often.
However, they do exist and range from movies to OVAs (original video animations). If viewers are looking to add a little more diversity to their winter streaming list, these awesome anime Christmas features are well worth checking out and should help ignite the Christmas spirit.
Released in the gap between the slice-of-life show’s first and second seasons, Aggretsuko‘s Christmas special takes the show’s charming brand of satire on contemporary life and dresses it up for the holidays.
IN We wish you a metal Christmas, Retsuko struggles to make the most of Christmas Eve when she forgets to make plans in advance after being distracted by a newfound addiction to social media. To top it off, the adorable red panda has to work overtime while everyone else is out celebrating.
8/9 Sailor Moon S: The Movie-Hearts In Ice
Adapted from one of the side stories in Sailor Moon manga, this wintry tale does not revolve around Christmas, but features the holiday in its peripheral periphery as the action unfolds. Everyone’s favorite black cat, Luna, takes center stage in the film when she falls for a human boy after he saves her life.
Meanwhile, the Sailor Scouts must contend with Princess Snow Kaguya, an icy alien whose cold heart freezes over planet Earth, and her band of snow dancers.
7/9 Tendo Family Christmas Scramble
Although Ranma1/2 had an official Christmas episode, “A Xmas Without Ranma”, in its sixth season, the iconic shounen anime would later receive a second Christmas story in the form of an OVA.
As usual, the Tendo family household is in disarray, but this time the family and its two dignitaries rush to organize a Christmas party at the behest of Kasumi, who claims that Santa Claus himself asked her to host the celebration. In the midst of last-minute party planning, Akane and Ranma stress over gifts for each other.
6/9 Clannad Another World: Tomoyo Chapter
Although the beloved visual novel’s anime adaptation revolves around protagonist Tomoya and his most canonical love interest, Nagisa, Clannadits OVA “Another World: Tomoyo Chapter” explores an alternate history in which Tomoya begins dating Tomoyo. The pair keep their relationship a secret from their classmates, fearing that Tomoya’s reputation as a criminal will damage Tomoyo’s image as student council president.
The OVA isn’t Christmas-oriented, but its most climactic (and romantic) scene, and its snowy backdrop, is exactly what you’d expect from a holiday romance.
5/9 Tokyo Godfathers
Directed by Satoshi Kon, the same director responsible for the avant-garde anime films Perfect blue and Paprika, comes this quirky but heartbreaking Christmas tale. Inspired by the Western movie, 3 godfathers, the film follows three homeless Toyko citizens who find an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. Consisting of a runaway teenager, a transgender woman and an aging alcoholic, the trio decide to do whatever they can to reunite the baby with its parents.
Godfather of Tokyo is by no means a typical Christmas film, but the warmth and essence of the holiday is still at its core.
4/9 Christmas night
This adorable party special is one of them Pokemon franchise Pikachu Shorts: a collection of shorts next to it Pokemon movies, either played before the movie or be available as extra content with the purchase.
Christmas night depicts the antics of Ash, Brock, and Misty’s Pokémon on a holiday night when the trio leaves them unattended to retrieve a Christmas cookie. The chaos that ensues is sweet and warmly nostalgic for anyone who grew up watching the adventure anime, even if they never managed to watch the short before.
3/9 Snorlax snowman
Another entry from pokemon’s library of Pikachu Shorts but the animation’s appeal is hard to resist. The snowy story isn’t definitely about Christmas, but the short’s frigid setting and Pokémon’s determination to make a snowman certainly brings to mind the holiday season’s signature cold weather.
The mouse for the Pokémon’s snow creature ends up being the bane of their existence when Snorlax inadvertently leaves them stranded at sea with only a floating ice cube preventing them from becoming Poke popsicles.
2/9 The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Acts as a sequel to the anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiyabegins the film with the members of the SOS Brigade, an unofficial high school club with a mission to investigate supernatural occurrences, planning a hot pot party to celebrate Christmas.
But when Kyon shows up at school on December 18, he discovers that reality has been mysteriously altered. Classmates are missed, some are there when they shouldn’t be, and no one but him remembers the world as it once was.
1/9 5 centimeters per second
This bittersweet coming-of-age tale may not be all about Christmas or an evening literally haunted by its spirits, but it centers on a boy who can’t move on from the precious memories of a snowy night from his youth or girlhood . he used it with.
The film is divided into three episodes, each showing a different period in the main character’s life as he grapples with the realities of how time and distance affect the relationship you hold dear.
MORE: The Best Animated Christmas Movies