Posted by: Leek | December 23, 2013

7 Anime related features to get you ready for Christmas Eve: Number 2

Christmas Eve is only a day away, have you done all your holiday shopping? I hope so. If not here comes the first of two great Christmas specials that I have no choice but to revisit every year. Which is what I would like to say about today’s but it definitely falls into the more recent category. Maybe not as recent as one of the features on this countdown but still pretty damn recent. Anyhow use this to warm yourself up a bit if you’ve been doing some last minute shopping in the cold.


Barely beaten out for Number One

Background and Reasoning
Christmas episodes are often considered some of the funniest and most entertaining when they come to town. But there are very few that are just flat out legendary. At episode 12, Aikatsu! was starting to pick up some speed and get popular, but it still hadn’t hit the peak of it’s existence just yet. Now after the Christmas episode there were a lot more people who were willing to talk about it. And, let’s be honest. A lot of people are STILL talking about it. I’m still talking about it. And I’ll probably keep talking about it until I become an old man and have some kind of memory fault at the cost of old age.

The Christmas season has come and the four freshman learn that there is a rather big, annual Christmas party at the Starlight Idol Academy. Ichigo, being Ichigo, volunteers to take the reigns in organizing everything and it’s not too long until the other three are pulled in and forced to work by her side. Party preparations appear to be going smoothly until Ichigo is called on to help cheer up one of her classmates. After learning about her classmate’s Christmas desires, Ichigo decides that it’s her priority to make sure her classmate’s wishes come true. But with a performance later in the day and a tall order to fill, it turns into one of the biggest expeditions that an idol could expect to fill. Oh, and it’s all caught on camera.

Episode 12 of Aikatsu! is just an instant classic and one of the most ridiculous Christmas episodes you could expect to see. Just like Ichigo Mashimaro, it doesn’t really need any context and you’ll pick up on the individual traits of each character as they go through their Christmas mission. In general, it feels like how all of the best Christmas episodes should be. One depressed character has a very far-fetched and borderline impossible Christmas dream that they want to come true. And the ever simple minded main character decides to take that burden on their shoulders and find a way to make that dream come true. But where Aikatsu! doesn’t necessarily have the “emotionally touching” factor that episodes like this would have, it makes up for it in the ridiculous department. If you haven’t watched Aikatsu! yet this episode might just convince you to check out more of it.

So go ahead and check it out if you haven’t. If you’ve been one of the great people who’s seen episode 12 of Aikatsu! already or just got through watching it, then feel free to read more about my thoughts on it below.


Man I love Christmas

All the Rest (aka spoilers)
So why am I so convinced to watch Aikatsu! episode 12 every year?

Episode 12 takes place rather early into the first season and we’ve only had a bit of time getting used to some of the newer faces. Regardless, everybody has begun to take shape and the staff has gotten quite comfortable with turning the simple into the ridiculous. The Christmas episode of Aikatsu! is no exception to this rule. Ichigo has just generally begun to take shape as what Ichigo would develop into later in the series. A really impractical yet somehow amazing main character that manages to pull off miracles that make absolutely zero sense. The world just manages to get bent to her will and all the people she’s met and helped out find a way to make sure her idiotic plans somehow work. There was no guarantee they would find a Christmas tree in any forest, Ichigo had no grasp on time, and it’s a miracle there was anyone to help them carry the tree. And I generally question how they managed to stand that tree up in the front of the school. I mean how many idols does it take to lift a tree up like that? There’s really just no punchline to that joke.

I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure this is the first occasion where Ran’s, “Is this really Aikatsu?” line really had some impact. Sure, Ichigo had been doing some really ridiculous things prior and the gang goes on to perform equally ridiculous feats later. But this really feels like the first occasion where things get so blown out of proportion that even the cast (including fans) begin to realize that Ichigo is straight up bonkers. It was so big that even Aoi was concerned that they might have scarred their images by appearing on the television special riding a giant tree down a mountain. And even Orihime had no fucking clue what to say to them. It’s one of the rare occasions where most of the cast is actually dumbfounded. It’s only a short time until it becomes standard and only Ran has the ability to try and look at things realistically.


This is what idols do

But let’s be practical for a moment. What is it that idols actually should be able to do all within the span of one day? Scale a mountain in the middle of a blizzard? Check. Chopping down a tree so gigantic that probably belongs in a National Park? Check. Riding that tree down the same mountain you just scaled (all without tearing off it’s branches)? Check. Managing to load that tree into a truck so that it can be transported back to the school? Check. Still having the stamina to put on a Christmas performance without any problem whatsoever? Check. Having the stamina to party all night long after all is said an done? Check. They don’t make em’ like that just anywhere.

I actually like how Mizuki doesn’t show up until the end of the episode. But if I were to take a guess I bet she could have taken down that entire tree with one swing of an axe. Actually, if you asked staff their opinion on the subject they’d probably tell you that. Oh, and I guess I shouldn’t forget we get the “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” performance for the one and only time during the first season. Because, you know, Japan knows about three Christmas songs: Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish you a Merry Christmas. We Wish You A Merry Christmas being the one they actually didn’t translate because it only has one real line you need to be able to sing. But the real reward at the end of the tunnel is Aoi and Otome getting the adorable Christmas outfits. That’s all you really need to make a good Aikatsu! Christmas special.

The Aikatsu! Christmas episode is something that will go down in history. And I’m glad the staff recognized the positive reception so that this year they could pay a ton of homage to it in the second season. Ichigo’s beloved axe (used to fall a gigantic pine) is now a recurring item. And if Aikatsu! decides it needs a third season I have no doubt we’ll be seeing more absurdly up-scaled Christmas shenanigans. But who’s complaining?

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Responses

  1. Don’t forget to point out its subtle nod to my favorite series:


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