Itsudatte My Santa

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! And what a way to celebrate this special occassion than to blog on a Christmas-themed anime. Nope, not that one-off episode of an anime series where they specially set 1 episode for Christmas. I’m talking about the entire anime series themed with Christmas. Still can’t figure which anime I’m talking about? Why, it’s Itsudatte My Santa of course.
 
Okay, maybe this isn’t exactly an anime series but more like an OVA. Yeah, only 2 episodes here rather than the usual 12 or 13 episode tv series. Also it’s approximately 30 minutes long. Though it’s short, this comedy-romance anime is sure enough for some laughs for the Yuletide season.
 
So let’s get down to the story. In the beginning of episode 1, we hear a narration from a teenager named Santa about Christmas myths. You know, how Santa Claus is discovered by the parent’s own kids when they pull off their fake white beard or how the kids witness that it was their daddy which put the presents under the Christmas tree rather than the real Santa Claus himself.
 
Unfortunately, Santa has never experienced all these because he has always spent his Christmas alone as his parents are always overseas and away. Sad. Poor kid. Even the presents he got were from the mail and so is the cake sent by his grandma. All he wants is to spend 1 nice Christmas with his family. And because he has never experienced it, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Can’t blame him.
 
But his life is gonna change a little when a teenage girl by the name of Mai, asking him loudly in front of the crowded fountain square, that if she could spend 1 night with him. Imagine Santa’s embarrassement and the misconception when the other people heard this! And Mai even smacked him and called him a pervert when she heard what other passer-bys had to say. Haih…
 
Declaring herself the Santa Claus that gives children hopes and dreams, 2 police officers then proceed to take her away because she’s too noisy, much to Santa’s relief. But it’s just a short reprive as Mai somehow manage to escape custody and continues blabbing something about how unlucky he is right now and shouldn’t run away. And while Mai’s still blabbing about how she’ll bring him good luck if she spends a night with him, Santa’s already gone. I guess what this guy really needs is peace and quiet. Wait a minute, doesn’t he have that every Christmas?
 
Then donno how we see Mai holding on to Santa’s hand as he’s desparately trying to flee. Talk about a quick change in scene. Of course Santa told her that since he didn’t believe in Santa Claus, he doesn’t need her help as she wouldn’t understand. When Mai asked him why, Santa then stopped and told her that since he was born on 24th December, he was given the name Santa and thus that’s why he hates Christmas. Ah… I see. But… Mai then dropped and laughed like mad, rolling over her tummy saying how corny it was and how she’d lose to him on this. Santa must be feeling very low.
 
And as Santa ran away in tears (depicted funnily here), Mai apologized and said she didn’t mean to tease him like that because it sounded funny as it came out from his own mouth. Is it? So she pleaded to him once again and promise to take care of him. But Santa is still stubborn and refuses her help.
 
So over the next few scenes we see how Mai ‘annoys’ Santa and tries to help him ‘improve’ his conditions like giving him a better can drink than the one he bought, be his ‘fighting partner’ instead of just playing the ordinary fighting games at some video games outlet, or even becoming some idol just for him. But that last one attracted lots of perverted photographers as they happily snapped away Mai in her cute and sexy outfits. Up till now, do you notice that the crowd  seems to stand and stare at them whenever Santa and Mai argue or so. Like busybody only. Watching as though they dunno what’s going on. Wait a minute. They don’t, right? Also, Mai’s limited powers can only ‘wish’ for things that starts with ‘San-‘, like sanma (a type of fish) and sanparu (sample).
 
But the crowd was pushy and wanting for more, thus pushing Santa and he accidentily bumped and made a guy dropped his box of cake. Yeah, this guy looks like some sort of a gangster and because he’s got no name, I’ll call and refer to him as Gangster Boss. Plus, Gangster Boss has got lots of his ‘yes-man’ cronies. Haha. Saying yes to everything or anything to Gangster Boss’s favour. And since his cake’s been destroyed, he’s pretty mad and proceeds to pound Santa, even though Santa offered to buy him a new one. But Gangster Boss said it wasn’t the same anymore. Luckily, Mai manage to land a super kick on top of Gangster Boss’s head and all his cronies are in a shock to see Mai doing that to their boss. She goes on saying how she’ll protect him and won’t allow them to lay a single finger on him. With that she and Pedro won’t forgive them. Yeah, the gang thought Pedro is some terror macho wrestler but it’s just actually Mai’s little stuffed reindeer. Shock! And Gangster Boss is gonna punch Mai, but she managed to evade all his blows.
 
And with all the ‘San-‘ things she summoned in that fight (even Samba…?!), Gangster Boss thinks she’s mocking him and is really furious now. As Santa watches them, he thought of going home but he felt that he couldn’t leave Mai alone and took up a stick and whack Gangster Boss’s head from behind. All his cronies are mad and are going to get back at them. But Mai who saw what Santa had done is now even more determined to protect him. And calling forth the powers of Pedro, some truck full of sanma unloads everything on those cronies. Dunno whether it’s really Pedro’s powers or just a freak accident. So the 2 manage to make their escape as the cronies are being bogged down by the fishes.
 
Meanwhile back at Santa’s place, while Santa nurses his injuries, Mai takes a shower. We hear that Mai’s some sort of Santa Claus in training. Also, she mentions that her real self is a bustier and more developed body than the current one because the magical powers that she summoned can be in ful effect when one believes in Santa Claus, just like when Santa saved her from those thugs earlier on.
 
A little ecchi part here when Santa’s gonna touch Pedro, Mai burst out of the shower and tells him not to touch Pedro. Of course Mai got embarrassed and thought that Santa’s a pervert and throw many things at him. Round 2. Poor guy. Later, the 2 had some chat regarding Santa’s lonely problem, how his parent’s were never home, that kinda stuff, thus Christmas isn’t anything special to him. But Mai then hugs him. Aww… She apologizes even though her grandpa (Santa Claus, that is) knew of his problem but never came to help. Therefore she wants to help him by staying with him for 1 night and asked him not to die as she squeezed him!
 
But Santa isn’t thinking of dying, he just wants a Christmas party, much to Mai’s relief. And so with a whiff of her magic, they had a littlle Christmas party together. Looks like Santa’s having the time of his life. Then out of the blue she wanted to see the person Santa has a crushed on a grab some photo under Santa’s shirt. Of course, Santa denied that she’s his girlfriend and that she’s just a senior member in his club and he just admires her. He went on to say she’d be probably be on a date since it’s Christmas Eve. Hmm… Your eyes don’t lie, boy. He does have a crush on this girl.
 
After some blabbing on some Christmas history like it’s a day where they celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday and the lights are shining for him just that he didn’t realized it, Mai asked if he now believes in Santa Claus. Well, Santa the way he said he believes it was as though just to please her. But Mai’s happy and asked him to close his eyes. When he does, Mai gives him a quick kiss! Surprise! She says it’s magic to give other people her own fortune and luck, and Santa’s suppose to feel lucky now.
 
Just then, Santa’s handphone rings. Who could it be? His parents? Nope, it’s Minako. Who? Santa’s club senior member. Ah… And she’s inviting him over to her place, much to Santa’s joy. Mai looking spaced out and worried there. She then interrupted their talk by hanging up the phone, much to Santa’s annoyance. She says it’s her magic which made this dream come true for him. Then Santa scoffs her about that magic thing by saying it isn’t real and that she should be able to tell the difference between reality and dream. And when Santa said that magic and Santa Claus couldn’t exist, I guess Mai felt that all her efforts earlier on fell on deaf ears. Yup, she looked kinda sad. Before she ran off, she told him that she did this all for him also because she loved him! Wah. Shock!
 
I’m not sure whether Santa’s running to chase after Mai or not, but he arrived at Minako’s place. There, he found out that Minako didn’t call him earlier. Then Santa just realized Mai’s words about giving her fortune to others. So I guess that was her doing. Minako proceeds to tell him that even if she’d invited him, Santa wouldn’t come because he always prefer to be alone. Right back at ‘cha. Yeah, and all his nice classmates are asking him to come in. Some flashback when Santa’s celebrating his birthday with his classmates in school when he was very young.
 
Santa felt guilty and declined his friends offer to stay because there’s an important place he needs to go so that he can apologize to that person. So he rushes off to the fountain square and found Mai sitting there all by herself and in a depressed mood. And some talk which sounded like ‘I’m-sorry-I-don’t-deserve-your-fortune’ kinda stuff. So in the end Santa decides to give back her magic by kissing her back! Surprise!
 
And what do you know. It’s midnight and it’s Christmas! At the stroke of midnight, suddenly Mai glows and transforms into a sexy Santarina and Pedro into a beautiful reindeer stag. Santa must be shocked at first but he soon realized that this is the same Mai with that under developed body. And she managed to transform was because Santa believed in her. With that, the 2 go on a date as the sleigh they rode on glides through the five foot way passing everyone watching in awe and surprise. And off they go as they fly high into the night sky.
 
But before they can go on a date, Mai says they have to deliver presents to all the kids around the world first. Hey, I thought this was supposed to be that old grandpa’s job? And so Santa learned a thing a two about those unfortunate kids and about life and dreams. And after all that, Santa receives a call from his mom, asking him if he’s eating right and all that usual stuff a mother worries about her child. I guess Santa then felt that he’s a lucky boy and understood what his mom said. He doesn’t hate them anymore. And after a few more ‘lessons in life’ words from Mai, Santa thanked her for everything and glad that she showed him all this.
 
It’s quite a beautiful sight to see the sleigh as the burst through the clouds on a full moon night. Hey, there’re many other Santarinas doing their rounds of delivering presents too. I guess this is how that old grandpa Santa Claus managed to finish it all in 1 night, huh? And as Christmas is going to be over soon, Santa hugs her and asked if he’ll ever meet her next Christmas. Mai says if he’s a good boy, she’ll come and bring his presents. Yup, looks like he’s gonna wait for her. And we hear that same narration of what Santa said in the beginning of this part. Only difference is, it ended with a more positive note, like it’s important to continue believing because if you do, Santa Clause exists.
 
The episode ends with Mai knocking on Santa’s door the next morning. She’s crying because she’d used up all her magic powers and can’t go home. What she’s gonna do? And Santa replied that it has nothing to do with him. Hahaha. Looks like Santa got his wish to be with her again fast.
 
Episode 2 begins with another narration, but this time from Mai. Something about if there’s a short separation consisting of being able to see each other again tommorrow, then there’s a tragic separation that consists of not being able to ever meet again. But she wants to believe that even if the 2 are forcefully separated, there’ll be a bond between the 2 that will not disappear. Yeah, it sounds kinda sad, though.
 
A change of scene where Santa and Mai are having an outing at the sandy beach. Mai wanting to put some sun lotion on Santa’s back but the passer-bys misconstrued and thought that she wanted to ‘stick it in’ in public. Ahem ahem. And when Mai realized things, she smacks Santa with a paper fan, calling him a pervert and such, and there she goes again with that giving the children of the world dreams and hopes.
 
You’ll pretty much figure out that the second episode somewhat nearly follows the same flow, pattern and structure as the first one. That’s because soon after that, that 2 police officers again drags her off to the police station for being too noisy. So if you keep your eyes peeled, you’re gonna notice and go something like, ‘hey, isn’t that somewhat similar to the first episode?’. And again, dunno how she managed to escape from them and yells back at Santa why didn’t he rescue her this time, much to Santa’s surprise.
 
Just then a small and short girl (her head seems proportionately bigger than her body) named Maimai, who’s supposed to be Mai’s little sister from the Santa Claus Kingdom, appears and tells them that somebody is coming. Who is it? Making her grand entrance through the huge tidal waves (or is it a whirlpool) is Sherry, Mai’s childhood friend as she runs towards them. Yeah, this part is a little exaggerated. The force of her speed was so great that it destroyed all the things in her path on the beach. Yup, everybody else’s being knocked out.
 
The reason why Sherry is eager to see Mai is that she wants to clean up the mess Mai left behind, which happens to be an order from Santa Claus himself. And like Sherry said, since this world isn’t big enough for 2 Santa Claus, she suggests that Mai go home. But Mai said it’s Sherry who should go home. And for that short period there, Sherry believed Mai words and was gonna go home. A-ha! Sherry was almost taken in by her own trick. *Smack*. Luckily she realized it.
 
Though it’s been half a year Mai has been stucked with Santa, Sherry remarked that she hasn’t gained anything from this except to hang out with this ‘useless man’. Mai refutes her claims and continue saying that Santa was born on 24th December and was given such a name, and he’s a good man. Sherry was shocked at first. But she quickly dropped and laughed like mad, rolling on her tummy and saying how corny it was and how she’d lose to her on this. Deja vu, isn’t it? Yeah, that whole speech from Sherry’s just like what Mai said in episode 1. But this time, Santa and Mai runs away (also funnily depicted) crying and say how much they hated Sherry. Hahaha.
 
But Sherry challenges Mai and says that if she could be her, then Sherry will tell her higher-ordinates to give Mai the position of taking care of things here. Of course Mai accepts it. And off they go. I’m not sure how is this challenge’s gonna solve things. I mean, Mai’s just gonna summon giant things that starts with ‘San-‘ like sandwich, sandals, sampan, three-stringed kyoto, sunglasses, three plates, sandbag, among others. And each time, Sherry disposes all of them by just saying "Gorgeous!". Yeah, you’ll find out that this is her favourite word too as she’ll use it frequently.
 
Santa told her not to go on like this, but a teary Mai insists and that she won’t lose because she wants to be with him. Just then, Mai summoned sauna and it fell and trapped Sherry. And Sherry seems a little worried because Mai summoned something like this on a hot day. Because she’s trapped in it, Sherry’s desparately asking Mai to let her out as it was getting real hot. Nope, not the girls, but the temperature. A sauna on a hot sandy beach in summer. That’s Hell on Earth, literally. Haha. Then Mai summoned a giant coral reef (sango) inside the sauna. Well, out of the frying pan and into the fire. That’s Sherry’s case as she’s being pinned down by the coral now.
 
But Sherry said nobody won here and asked her to solve this. Maimai took a pin and burst the coral (looks like it’s just an inflatible) and said let’s go eat. Looks like Sherry and Maimai are big eaters! Yeah, devouring lots of watermelon and plate after plate of noodles. Must be that hungry, huh? Then we hear some story that Mai and Sherry studied together to become Santa Claus at some Santa Claus school, how their parents knew each other, but Sherry didn’t think of them as friends as she’s always ahead of Mai in terms of class and such. Yup, looks like another odd pair who always quarrels. Well, opposites do attract. And after all that tough talk from Sherry, she in a way got fed-up of it all and walked off. Oh my, Maimai’s still hungry and wants to eat! Well, looks like Mai has to go get more grub for her. Oh yeah, don’t you notice too that just like in the first episode, everybody else’s just watching them, dunno what’s really going on.
 
Remember that Gangster Boss? Yeah, it’s that part again. But this time Sherry bumped into him causing him to drop his watermelon. And since he’s watermelon’s destroyed he’s in a fit over it but before he could do anything, Sherry retaliated and scolded him back about being so picky about a watermelon and pounded him as all his cronies watched in shocked and horror. Haha. And in 1 final blow she magnified that broken watermelon and landed on them all. No fish this time, but I guess a watermelon will do. Yup, Sherry’s still mad over that Mai thing. You don’t wanna mess with her when she’s like that. No chance at all for them.
 
Meanwhile, Mai who went to get some more food, stumbles upon her teacher, Noel-sensei, doing some fried cuttlefish. She’s telling Mai about the board’s decision and that she must yield to it. But Noel-sensei is giving Mai some time to say goodbye, that is, she has until before 12 midnight on Christmas Eve, or else they’ll be forcefully separated. Mai’s looking spaced out knowing that a time limit has been set. At the same time, Sherry’s seem to be eavesdropping on their conversation and from her point of view she thinks Mai has no courage to do so. Thus, Sherry decides to help Mai in doing so. Is this part of her scheme so that she could clean things up or because Mai’s her friend and she wants to do it for her?
 
So over the next few scenes, Sherry tries to help Mai to say goodbye to Santa. Starting off with that beach volleyball play. Poor Santa, he’s always getting hit in the head by the ball no matter where the serve comes from. Then there’s the part where Mai, Santa and Maimai were watching the fireworks together. Sherry asked if Mai has told him already but Mai said not yet. Sherry suspects it maybe because of Maimai who’s with them therefore Mai can’t say it as Sherry proceeds to forcefully take Maimai away but Maimai bits her hand in protest. It’s the same thing too even when they’re at the hot springs, but this time Maimai bit Sherry’s butt! Hahaha! Hmm… Maimai really does enjoy staying by her sister’s side.
 
Soon the seasons passed, from summer to autumn to winter. Santa and Mai looked so happy together if you don’t mind that ruckus from Sherry trying to keep Maimai away from them in the background. Before you know it, it’s already December and it’s snowing. Sherry and Maimai are still at it. Haih… Looks like Sherry realized it too. Well, nothing’s really achieved for the past half year and Sherry’s looking worried that Mai will be forcefully taken away without having to say goodbye to Santa. Remember that procrastination line? Uh-huh. And also that saying which goes something like ‘never put off tomorrow of what you can do today’.
 
So in a last ditch attempt, on Christmas Eve, time’s running out and Sherry has made reservations for the 2 of them at some restaurant and other stuffs as well so that they could be together. Well, now Maimai’s busy playing video games while Sherry plans it all. *Smack*. Anyway, Sherry’s lecturing Maimai into helping her sis but Maimai seems engrossed in her video game when Mai comes in and heard everything. So a lot of that uncertainty, sad, frienship, realization, believe-in-him kinda talk, bla bla bla as Sherry tries to help Mai out with her last date with Santa. Also some flashback when they were young and together. I guess Sherry’s intentions of helping Mai are true and sincere. Just look at those tears in her eyes. Uhh… there’s something in my eye too…
 
And before Mai runs off to where Santa’s waiting, she tells Sherry that what she needs to tell Santa and Sherry is not goodbye but thank you. Aww… A teary Mai realized a lot of things then like how Santa’s an important person to her. Well, better late than never.
 
Mai managed to find Santa waiting for her at that square and spilled the beans. Yeah, finally she managed to tell him that she’s going back to Santa Claus school and apologizes for not telling him earlier on. But Santa’s quite an understanding guy as he asked her to go back and he doesn’t mind to wait for her even if it’s a year or two. Some more talk of hope and reassurance. Just then Sherry and Maimai arrived as Sherry told them to go on their date. But looks like it’s just a few minutes more to midnight. How can they achieve all those that Sherry had planned for in just a few minutes?
 
Yup, Sherry and Maimai are gonna buy them some time by stopping time itself. Maybe that’s how Santa Claus delivers all his presents in 1 night too. As the 2 transformed into a Santarina and a Santa’s little helper look-a-like (I think that’s what Maimai’s supposed to be) and stopped time just before the minute hand strikes midnight and say that this is their present for the both of them. And off Santa and Mai went and have their fun date. I guess this is what couples want when they’re having a whale of a time on their date. Yup, that is time to stop like that forever.
 
Before Mai leaves Santa, that usual thanking speech, thank you for being my friend and all those sort of stuffs. She then says that it isn’t necessary for her sensei to come pick her up and that this isn’t really a separation because she’ll definately come back here again, just that she’s just going back to school.
 
Just then, time resumes and a beam of line shone down on Mai. Reminds you of Star Trek or even the opening sequence of Mr Bean! And wow. Even as Mai is slowly floating up through the beam of light, she and Santa can still manage to cram in lots of those lovey-dovey talk stuffs. Is this amazing. How long do they want to reassure themselves. Yeah yeah, we all know you both like each other and will be together again soon. So go already! I don’t mean to be pushy nor do I want to see them separated, but I felt that they’ve said too much already. Nothing really wrong with that, though.
 
And just like in the end of the previous episode, Mai again narrates that line in the beginning of this episode but with a more positive tone as she transform into that sexy Santarina. With full speed, Mai blazes through the night sky on her sleigh with Pedro as the others watched from below and cheered for her to go on.
 
Before this episode ends, we see Noel-sensei now knocking on Santa’s door and she’s a little furious. Why? According to her, Sherry’s job was to bring back Maimai and not Mai. Yeah, looks like it was Maimai who’s missing from kindergarten. Yup, after tossing back Mai into Santa’s apartment, everybody’s in a shock to hear that. Poor Maimai, now she’s in tears. But that name on that paper looked ambigous. At first glance one would see it as Mai instead of Mai square, meaning Maimai. Get it. Yeah, and that earlier part where Noel-sensei had that little talk with Mai didn’t mentioned any names either.
 
Hey, wait a minute. I thought there were only 2 episodes. But there seems to be a preview of a 3rd episode at the end. Looks like Santa and the 3 girls are together and are having fun. Hmm.. Sherry and Mai looked like in some competition over Santa. And what’s with that transformation of Pedro into a… mecha Pedro?! Well, it looks fun but I’ve searched high and low for this episode but nil. Maybe they’ve stopped production or maybe they’ll release it next Christmas. Dunno. Or maybe… it’s all fake. Just to get your hopes high up.
 
Overall, I find this 2 episode OVA quite entertaining to watch. If you don’t mind the nude scenes, then I suppose it’s worthwhile to watch, especially together with your family or loved ones. What nude scenes you say? Well, not that obvious, but it’s mainly when Mai changes into the bustier Santarina self. That even if you look real hard. And no… I’m not a pervert! But it seems that I prefer the under developed Mai rather than the bustier one. To me, the former seems prettier and more kawaii. Hehehe.
 
Though it’s a short series, the few characters are quite zany and interesting enough for a few, if not many laughs. So are the voice acting of the characters as well as the drawing, animation and even the backdrop art, especially when it’s snowing at the square, they’re quite pretty well done. Okay, maybe it’s not the ultimate or the most beautiful of works, but I kinda find it all satisfying.
 
The action and comedy at certain points are a little fast paced. Yeah, before you know it, there’s a change of scene already and if you’re too slow, you might be wondering what’s happening and may have to rewind a little to understand what’s going on. So you have to be a little alert when that happens and get ready to expect it. But I guess that’s what makes it funny and unique too.
 
Another thing I would like to note is that during the mid-intermissions or the beginning of the episodes, the voice overs which say "My Santa…" reminds me of those like in The Simpsons opening. Ah… those memories of yester-years. Yeah, those low church choir kinda voices. Nothing to it really. Hmm… In a way, it’s quite soothing to hear such ‘angelic’ kinda voices.
 
In this show there’re lots and lots of life lessons that you could learn and realize, which is quite appropriate for the holiday and festive season. From the usual don’t give up, to the ubiquitous hopes and dreams. If you don’t mind all that talking about it in the first place. Well, at first I felt a little annoyed, but hey, they’re trying to convey a message and it’s not like a picture where it can be automatically described in 1000 words in your head without saying. Plus, it’s those kind where it’ll make you go "Ah… that’s so true…" or "Hey, he/she’s right".
 
Whether you believe in Santa Claus and magic or not or whether they really exists or not isn’t an important case here. What’s more important is that one be a good boy or good girl all year long. Not because to get presents, but rather, wouldn’t you feel better if the whole wide world just treat each other a little better and with respect? Isn’t that the true spirit of Christmas?
 
And oh yeah… Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! HO HO HO!!!