For people who want to set aside the traditional rewatch of Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Elf, or even Gremlins during Christmas and try something a little different, here are some anime Christmas recommendations. Christmas comes with all sorts of classic traditions, from spending way too much on gifts to a turkey dinner with family. Another upside is getting to binge some favorite Christmas themed movies or TV shows.
This can range from evergreen classics like It's A Wonderful Life to more unconventional choices like Bad Santa. Even clearly non-Christmas movies like Raiders Of The Lost Ark or a James Bond adventure can evoke some seasonal nostalgia. Anime isn't commonly considered a rich source of Christmas themed entertainment, but there are definitely some great anime movies and TV shows that are fun to watch around the holidays.
Here are some of the best anime Christmas recommendations.
Tokyo Godfathers was directed by the late, great Satoshi Kon (Paprika) and tells the tale of three homeless people who find an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. They work together to track down the parents while some lucky coincidences keep them moving forward. Despite some of the movie's dark themes, Tokyo Godfathers is still a warm, uplifting tale with some beautiful animation.
Aggretsuko "We Wish You A Metal Christmas"
Aggretsuko is a cult Netflix anime that follows a red panda named Retsuko who struggles with her stressful job and finding love while venting her frustrations by singing death metal at karaoke. Despite the show's fantastical elements, it's quite grounded when it comes to depicting work and relationships.
"We Wish You A Metal Christmas" is a Christmas special that also serves as a season finale. It finds Retsuko alone at Christmas while Haida, a co-worker who has a crush on her, struggles to work up the nerve to speak to her after she previously rejected his advances. At only 22-minutes, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is a funny, bittersweet little gem of an episode.
My Neighbor Totoro
While it's not actually set during Christmas, a little Studio Ghibli is always a good idea at Christmas. My Neighbor Totoro is arguably Hayao Miyazaki's best work - which is saying something for the director of Ponyo and Spirited Away. The movie is an utterly delightful tale of a young girl who moves into an old house with family and befriends a big, furry creature that lives in the forest. The film combines charming animation, sweet humor with just the right amount of melancholy.
Neo Yokio "Pink Christmas"
While Neo Yokio itself received somewhat mixed reviews for its first season, the "Pink Christmas" special from 2018 got much warmer notices. Neo Yokio stars Jaden Smith and Jude Law (Captain Marvel) and takes place in an alternate universe where Magicians exist and rule society. "Pink Christmas" is a satire of both anime itself and the commercialization of the season, and is a both funny and dark adventure to add the anime Christmas rotation.