Just last week, I was talking over udon noodles with one of my closest friends, Jessica, who does not watch anime, about differing Christmas traditions here and in Japan.
“You know,” I said, gushing like the Japanophile I am, “If we were in Japan this Christmas, we might be more likely to celebrate with a bucket of KFC and strawberry shortcake.”
“You’re bullshitting me,” Jessica replied. She looked at Kailer. “She is bullshitting me, right?”
“Most Japanese people are Buddhists,” Kailer said. “The New Year is a much bigger deal.”
In fact, out of the 30 shows I watched this year, only one had a Christmas special. Actually, scratch that. That show, Denki-gai no Honya-san, has had two and counting!
I’ve been reviewing Denki-gai for Anime News Network, and the show moves very quickly through the seasons. In eleven episodes, we’ve spent two Christmases with the cast. In case you’re not familiar, Denki-gai is a show about young customer service workers at an manga bookstore that specializes in erotic doujinshi. Cue nonstop blushes and hilarious sexy-silly misunderstandings.
At the cast’s first Christmas, during episode three, the group holds a party on Christmas Day after working hard all Christmas Eve. It’s constantly alluded to that in Japan, Christmas is a romantic holiday meant to be spent with a loved one. For this decidedly single ensemble, it means having a cosplay pizza party.
The second Denki-gai Christmas takes place at the bookstore. Christmas Eve means a mad rush of sales of erotica for customers who plan to spend Christmas curled up with a sexy book in lieu of a special someone. The capstone is when a government worker whose job is to regulate sales of erotic manga plays Santa with a bag of confiscated books…
Which the cast gives away to fans of erotic manga…
Like this elderly couple.
It’s pretty clear that there’s nothing religious about Christmas in the Denki-gai universe. Actually, I’d go as far to say that nothing is sacred in this anime.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas with your loved ones, if that’s your jam, and an awesome Thursday if it isn’t. According to Denki-gai at least, as long as you’re having fun, there’s no wrong way to celebrate Christmas.
This post is the eleventh installment of The Twelve Days Of Anime, a blogging series in which anime fans write about shows that inspired or impressed on them this year. For all the posts in this series, visit my table of contents.