Know it or not, Japanese culture has adopted Christmas and has become one of the most popular holidays to celebrate. Not surprisingly, Christmas has found its way into anime as well. This series of article titled ‘Anime Christmas picks’ will aim to showcase Christmas within anime.
To be sure, there are some significant differences between a Japanese Christmas and Euro-American Christmas. ‘Ah! My Goddess’ dedicates multiple episodes to the Christmas season. The episode titled “Ah! The Beleaguered Queen of Vengeance” highlights a number of themes that can speak to both cultures with meaning.
Wealth vs. Poverty:
One of the most outstanding themes is a redefinition of what it means to be wealthy or poor. Much of the episode focuses on Sayoko Mishima’s inner struggle. Having come from a wealthy family and given every privilege, Sayoko still finds that she longs for something more.
Sayoko takes advantage of a rumored split between Keiichi and Belldandy. Despite having a rough history with him Sayoko feels winning over Keiichi would resolve her loneliness. Hoever, all efforts to gain Keiichi’s affections result in miserable failure. Keiichi clearly values his relationship with Belldandy failing to even take notice of Sayoko. Realizing his oblivion to her advances, Sayoko is left with the unfamiliar and bitter feeling that she still can’t get what she wants. It almost plays out like Scrooge trying to win Bob Cratchit's approval but being rejected after the gift of a holiday bird.
It’s the thought that counts:
Running parallel to Sayoko’s inner turmoil, Belldandy is determined to make a gift for Keiichi. Her decision to hand craft the sweater is puzzling to all who take notice. Her sisters illustrate easier ways for a goddess to make the sweater and Sayoko believes that buying an expensive sweater will achieve the same appreciation.
The old Christmas adage of the thought counting for more than the price tag is given special attention. Belldandy explains that by hand making the sweater, she has imbued her gift with far more meaning than it could have had otherwise. Alas, the Sayaoko grinch begrudgingly realizes that Christmas is something more.
Christmas spirit, it is usually associated with all the warm and fuzzy feelings. By the end of the episode, Sayoko has a scene with Belldandy. Disgusted that her station means so little, Sayoko demands to know why Belldandy is so special.
Sayoko’s admits her hate for Belldandy but Belldandy replies with loving sentiment. The exchange highlights the root of Sayoko’s misery and Belldandy’s happiness. Lacking warm feelings left Sayoko empty where as Belldandy’s happiness is derived from them.