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Showing posts with the label Anime

Laid-Back Camp: Christmas Camp, Mount Fuji and the Laid-Back Camp Girls (2018)

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Do you need something warm and simple sometimes? Me too.

The anime series Laid-Back Camp (Yurucamp) is exactly what it sounds like. There is camping, beautiful scenery, friendship, and yummy-looking food. The last two episodes of the 12-episode series follow the main characters, a group of high-school girls, on a Christmas Eve camping trip.

In "Christmas Camp!" the girls meet up for their planned excursion. Friends (and founders of the school outdoors group) Chiaki and Aoi arrive early and get ice cream at the store up the road. Rin (an experienced solo camper) arrives on her moped, but can't find anyone else, so she sets up her tent a little ways off. Nadeshiko (hyper enthusiastic newbie) gets dropped off by her sister and she and Rin talk about the plan to trade off making meals.

Chiaki and Aoi find firewood at the store and get Rin to come carry most of it on her moped. (Their adult chaperone spends most of these two episodes amiably drunk.) Rin's friend Ena ar…

My Love Story!: My Christmas (2015)

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I've been enjoying the show Ore Monogatari!, released in English as My Love Story! The show follows Takeo, a high school student navigating love, friendship, and life. He's a huge person with a lot of physical ability, but that means girls generally think he's "weird" or "scary." In the first episode, that changes, as he and Yamato fall for each other immediately. The series follows the ups and downs of their relationship and their friendships in a way that's sweet, sensitive, and surprisingly complicated for two characters who are so good-hearted.

In this episode, it's Christmastime, and Yamato suggests having a party with her friends from her all-girls school and Takeo's friends. This isn't the first time they have all gotten together, and Takeo's friend Kurihara confesses to Takeo that he wants to date Yamato's friend Nanako. At the same time, Nanako confides in Yamato that she and Kurihara have been out together, but she'…

Pokémon: Holiday Hi-Jynx (1998)

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Yes, there’s a Christmas episode of Pokémon. Don’t blame yourself if you didn’t know, though. This episode is actually a little challenging to get your hands on in America. It was dubbed and aired with the original run, but not much since.

The episode opens with Jessie of Team Rocket pretending to be asleep until a snare net goes off, trapping Santa, who had been coming in through the window. Of course, this was a test run, and “Santa” was actually James. Jessie is pleased how well her trap works, and indulges in a brief flashback to being a bratty child, waiting for Santa, only to have a Jynx Pokémon dressed as Santa come in and steal her favorite doll.

Meanwhile, Ash and friends are on the beach when they spot a Jynx, holding a boot.

Now, Jynx is the reason for the problem with this episode. Jynx is vaguely female-person-shaped, and has black skin with big eyes and giant pink lips. Yeah, you probably know why this episode isn’t aired now. It’s unclear how much blackface iconograp…

Shirobako: The Little Key Frames Girl, Exodus Christmas! (2015)

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I love running across unexpected Christmas!

Shirobako is a series following a group of young women who are trying to start careers in the anime industry. The main character is Miyamori Aoi, who works as a production assistant at Musashino Animation.

The series has a slow start and a huge cast of characters, but I like how well it portrays the tension between wanting to work in an artistic field and the reality of trying to make that happen. It’s also really fun to see how many people it takes to make an anime series.

“The Little Key Frames Girl” is the eleventh episode of the series.

Over the first twelve episodes, the company Aoi works for produces an anime called Exodus, and at this point she’s in charge of making sure the final episode is completed on time. She needs animators to work on the most difficult key frames for the final climax, but everyone she calls is busy, and she’s running out of contacts.

She starts walking through the city, and I suddenly realized that it was C…

Sailor Moon R: Venus: Minako's Nurse Mayhem (1993)

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I have been watching through Sailor Moon as the new subtitled version has been coming out over the last two years (167 episodes and counting!), and this is the only Christmas episode I know of.

It's not a great episode, just middling, being mostly filler.

It's Christmastime, and the city is all decorated, but a terrible flu is going around and all but one of the Sailor Senshi is sick in bed. Minako (Sailor Venus) is the only healthy one in the bunch, so she's been going around to her friends' houses to help them feel better.


Unfortunately, she's a terrible nursemaid, and a large part of the episode is slapstick surrounding her attempts to cook a good meal or put on soothing music, only to get the spices completely wrong or blow up the stereo. Really, you need skill to fail this badly.

When Mina gets to Usagi's place, she finds that Chibi-Usa is feeling okay too, but she's frustrated that no one will let her help while the family is sick. Maybe because sh…

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

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Rotten Tomatoes has a list up of the top 25 Christmas movies. I was embarrassed to count six we hadn't seen. However, only one was in the top ten: Tokyo Godfathers. Well, Christmas miracles being what they are, that was actually available on Netflix streaming (and subtitled, no less). Naturally, we decided to give it a shot.

This is a Japanese animated movie about three homeless people who come across an abandoned infant on Christmas Eve and set out on a quest to find its parents. On the way, we uncover what brought them to the streets. One is a drunken gambler, the second a drag queen, and the third is a young runaway.

There's no shortage of social commentary stemming from the fact the world dismisses them as trash, but I didn't find it preachy. The drag queen is used as comic relief at times, and there's more than a little stereotyping here. Nonetheless, the character is cast in a very favorable light. Be aware there a few moments that might make you cringe, but the…

Itsudatte My Santa! (2005)

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Japan has an incredibly bizarre relationship with Christmas. Without getting too involved in the details, the holiday has been appropriated and transformed into something akin to Valentine's Day. That said, they do seem to understand what Christmas means to Europe and America and the concept of Santa Claus. They understand, but they clearly have no problem reinventing it as something completely different, as they did in the two-part OAV, Itsudatte My Santa! I suppose I should mention the first episode is based on a manga.

Before we go on, I want to make it clear the episodes we saw were dubbed, not subtitled. Setting aside the fact dubbing is usually pretty bad, it injects an element of uncertainty around whether or not what we saw accurately reflects the original. There were plot points and ideas here that seemed absurdly random, which adds to my skepticism. I tried to find some indication online as to whether this was accurate or not, but I had very little luck one way or the o…

Ranma 1/2: Tendo Family Christmas Scramble (1993)

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Whee!  I made Erin watch this, even though I knew he wouldn't get it.  And if you haven't seen the rest of Ranma 1/2, you won't get it either.

I am fascinated by Japan's adoption of bits of Christmas.  It's not a national holiday there, very little of the population is Christian, they have just decided that it's an excellent excuse for a party.  Even just from what I can tell by watching a few anime holiday episodes, Christmas is seen as a time to have fun, give small cute gifts, and go out with your romantic partner.  I approve.

Ranma 1/2 is one of the few anime that I have made the time to see all of, because it amuses me to no end.  This episode is one of the OVA series, which is to say it was a video release, not part of the initial TV run.

The plot is fairly straightforward: Kasumi has a dream that Santa wants her to throw a Christmas party, so she does. Nearly every significant character in the 161 episode series has at least a cameo, so good luck keepin…