10 Best Anime Movies To Watch During The Holidays

There are endless anime options for fans of the medium, and the winter holidays are always a fun time to engage in a different style of storytelling. The winter holidays result in a wide range of seasonal programming where some of the most unexpected anime will get festive for the holidays.

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Sometimes, an anime will deck its halls with Christmas decorations and other popular forms of holiday iconography. In contrast, others will instead indulge in family values and the spirit of togetherness and gift-giving. The winter holidays are a great time to watch any anime movie with friends, family, or by one’s lonesome, and these films carry the most seasonal cheer.

10/10 An Unconventional Christmas Classic From An Anime Auteur

Tokyo Godfathers

The trio of homeless outcasts with a baby in Tokyo Godfathers.

Satoshi Kon was one of the most exciting names in anime, and his four feature films are staggering accomplishments that remain relevant to this day. Kon is an expert at dark psychological dramas. Still, Tokyo Godfathers shows off the storyteller’s softer side through this tale of three outcasts who attempt to accomplish a miracle on Christmas Eve.

Tokyo Godfathers parallels the Biblical origins of Christmas as a trio of homeless individuals attempt to reunite an abandoned baby with its family. This turns into a cathartic exercise for everyone involved, and it’s an emotional tale that deserves to be watched every winter holiday season.

9/10 Magical Girls Meet Their Match Against A Freezing Foe With An Icy Agenda

Sailor Moon S: The Movie

Santa reveals himself as Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon S: The Movie.

Sailor Moon is a beloved anime property that’s nostalgic comfort food for many of the audiences who grew up with the series. There’s a lot to love about this iconic magical girl series. The franchise’s second movie, Sailor Moon S: The Movie, is the perfect anime adventure for the winter holiday season.

An evil ice princess plots to freeze the entire planet, which means that this movie is full of snow and icy elements. However, the traditions of Christmas are equally prominent, right down to Tuxedo Mask dressed up as Santa Claus, and an overall message that reinforces family.

8/10 A Sweet Story Of Family & Acceptance With A Snowy, Supernatural Edge

Wolf Children

Mother plays with her children in the snow in Wolf Children.

Mamoru Hosoda is another anime visionary who loves to blend the ordinary with rich fantasy or virtual worlds. Belle has been heralded as Hosoda’s masterpiece, but Wolf Children is a more emotional tale that’s perfect for the winter holiday season. Wolf Children is a tender story about an overwhelmed mother’s efforts to look after her two half-wolf children following the passing of her wolf husband.

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This family lives in fear over the possibility of their secret getting out, and every moment emphasizes their bond. Wolf Children isn’t strictly connected to Christmas, but snow-filled environments are plentiful, and it’s the perfect family film to visit during the holidays.

7/10 Sweet Subcultures & Human Experiences Bubble Up To The Surface

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

Protagonist explores the winter market in The Night is Short, Walk on Girl.

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl isn’t strictly a Christmas movie, but the magical, endless night that plays out for the film’s inquisitive protagonist and the lovestruck suitor is set against the cold, sterile winter season. Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, every sequence in The Night is Short, Walk on Girl becomes an ambitious visual masterpiece.

The movie is all about the beauty of life and the unexpected whims that it can take when it’s approached with an open mind. There’s a celebration of friends and the importance of human connection during the holidays. Its touching message hits even harder during the holidays.

6/10 A Touching Tale Of Love, Loss, & Life’s Possibilities

5 Centimeters Per Second

Akari and Takaki from 5 Centimeters Per Second.

Makoto Shinkai has directed some of the past decade’s most emotionally draining anime features. 5 Centimeters Per Second is only a little longer than an hour, but it accomplishes an incredible amount in this brief time. It touches base with two potential partners, Takaki and Akari, during three pivotal periods in their life.

5 Centimeters Per Second is a story that’s about learning how to let go and move on. These powerful moments occur during the height of winter, and harsh weather conditions become important factors in this bittersweet love story.

5/10 A Mysterious Invader Arrives With Shocking News That’s Steeped In Seasonal Flair

Tenchi Muyo The Movie 2: The Daughter Of Darkness

Ryo-Oki drunk at Christmas in Tenchi Muyo The Movie 2.

Tenchi Muyo! is a wild fantasy adventure series where an ordinary teenager, Tenchi, finds himself the center of unexpected alien affection. There are many series and spin-offs within the Tenchi universe, including three feature films.

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Tenchi Muyo the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness involves the mystery of a girl who shows up and claims to be Tenchi’s daughter, only for a much larger demon conspiracy to come to light. The Daughter of Darkness is set in July, but it’s oddly full of Christmas iconography, whether it’s lights, decorations, Santa costumes, or weapons based on toys.

4/10 A Powerful Imagination Opens Up An Inexperienced Heart

Whisper Of The Heart

Shizuku takes in a winter landscape in Whisper of the Heart.

Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart is a sweet love story from the 1990s that celebrates the power of imagination and the written word. Shizuku is a typical Ghibli female protagonist who longs to be a novelist and escape away into the fictional worlds that she immerses herself in at the library.

A chance encounter and the emergence of a giant cat leads Shizuku to believe that she’s perhaps met her soulmate. Whisper of the Heart excels as a coming-of-age romance, but it also embraces the holiday season and uses this special time of year to further unite its characters.

3/10 A Holiday Wish Triggers A Series Of Sweet Romantic Possibilities

Love Hina Christmas Special: Silent Eve

Keitaro and friends in Christmas costumes in Love Hina Christmas Movie.

Love Hina is one of the stronger harem series to come along. The awkward relationships that Keitaro forms with Naru and the rest of the women in his orbit result in some deeply satisfying character development. This special holiday installment clocks in at under an hour.

Love Hina Christmas Special: Silent Eve centers around a sweet tradition where a wish that’s made on the first Christmas of the millennium will come true. Keitaro hopes to use this opportunity to seal the deal between him and Naru, which is positioned as a heartwarming holiday story.

2/10 A Christmas Kaiju Battle Celebrates The True Spirit Of The Holiday Season

Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas

A Kaiju Christmas Tree attacks in Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas.

Neo Yokio was initially produced for FX’s ADHD animation block before it would eventually premiere on Netflix. The series technically has American roots and was created as a love letter to anime. However, it should still be fair game considering that it’s actually animated by Production I.G. and Studio Deen.

Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas is a supersized installment that also operates as the series’ swan song. Pink Christmas leans into the anxieties of the winter season’s gift-giving, ugly Christmas sweaters, and even renegade Christmas trees. Neo Yokio’s fascination with this pleasant time of year makes it one of the silliest and most satisfying anime Christmas spectacles.

1/10 The Edgy Outcome To A Politically-Fueled Robot War Culminates At Christmas

Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz

A message of war is seen by public at Christmas in Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz.

Gundam Wing found great success in North America due to its prominent placement on Cartoon Network’s Toonami anime programming block. It is most audiences’ introduction to the mecha franchise. Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz is a theatrical conclusion to the anime that wraps up the events of “Operation Meteor” and the conflicted mobile suit pilots at the center of it.

Endless Waltz gets a lot of praise for the extravagant redesigns of its central Gundam mobile suits, but it also chooses to depict these events during the holiday season. This melancholy war story benefits from winter aesthetics and a false sense of security that’s associated with the holidays.

NEXT: 10 Cozy, Autumnal Movies That Will Get You Ready For Fall

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