- Alt. Name
- Watashi no Santa, Always My Santa
- Release Date
- 7 December, 2005
- No. of Episodes
Itsudatte My Santa! is a 2005 Romantic Comedy Original Video Animation from Japanese animation studio TNK. While some viewers may not know the studio, longtime anime fans will recognize them as the creators of the ecchi anime series High School DxD. Don’t underestimate any anime series from any studio, as even the best studios can create the biggest flops and vice versa. Can a studio that is predominantly known for creating one anime make anything worthy of viewers’ time and patience? Potentially, but only time can tell if TNK has created something magical or just another piece for the campfire.
What if you were born on December 24th; would you like Christmas? How about if your parents decided to name you “Santa”? Santa strongly dislikes the Christmas holiday because he is always alone, and his parents never take the time to wish him a “Merry Christmas” or even a “Happy Birthday.” Yet one Christmas Eve, Mai, a Santa-in-training, appears before him and promises him that she will do everything in her power to make him happy. With Mai’s help, Santa shall discover the true meaning of Christmas and the magic that happens in this world.
When a potential viewer learns that a series can be summed up in a single paragraph, it is a huge red flag. However, for OVA’s, that’s not always the case, and since this is only a two-episode series, each lasting just under a half an hour timeslot, a single paragraph would be just right. The writing within this anime was better than expected and easy to follow at the same time. Itsudatte My Santa focuses less on world-building and more on character development, which works well with this anime. One cannot expect any giant leaps in a small-time frame, and the creators seemed to understand this problem that many short anime series face. However, instead of focusing on something that would only be unrealistic but questionable, they concentrate on what they did have, and that’s character development.
However, the positives within this anime stop there, and the long list of negatives begins. The most considerable elephant in the room is that the story has a lot of character development, but it is fragile and forgettable. Sometimes it makes the viewer question what the creators took out of the source material, and TNK probably didn’t take much out, if anything, from the one-shot manga. Another negative aspect of the story is the hard-to-miss transitions; they’re hard to miss because they’re so harsh they could be used to cut bricks with them. Usually, this negative has to do with the age of the anime, but even in 2005, they’d be considered flawed.
Outside of the obvious two problems, one that may not be noticed as quickly is that the creators seem to give up halfway through the series. While the first episode takes place during Christmas, the second episode jumps to summertime for whatever reason. When both parts are put together, they are a half-assed story attempt of “A Christmas Carol” and a romantic tale, and the creators somehow failed at doing either. With the massive time skip from episode one to the second, this is questionably the most questionable “Christmas” story of the twenty-first century.
Though when it comes to the OVA’s art style, it’s somewhat of an improvement, but that’s still not a compliment. The character designs and color patterns are well crafted, and even though they’re very forgettable, they do well within the series. What doesn’t work is that everyone has the same facial features; they just changed the color and style of their hair. Cutting corners is not a bad thing within anime, especially with the artists’ quick turnaround time, but considering that nothing is inspiring or original about these characters or anything creative about them is rather sad.
After the first couple of minutes, the viewers will be well aware of the choppy animation that would make animated series from the seventies look modern. But what makes the mediocre art style stand out even more, is the terrible production value they received. Another problem this anime had was the countless still-shot scenes used to expand the story, including animation that looks like they were played out in an elementary student flipbook. This would not be as bad if Itsudatte My Santa were the first attempt by a studio, but this wasn’t the first attempt, and if it was, this studio needs to shut down production for a long time.
When it comes to the characters of this anime, they are not as bad as one would think based on everything wrong within the story. Santa is the main character and is best described as a lonely boy who dislikes Christmas. He is often teased for his odd name and has grown to stay weary of people during the holiday season. His parents were never there for him or even acknowledged him as he grew up.
Mai is the other main character of the anime; she is a student at the Santa Claus Academy. Though she is not the best student at the academy, she is having a hard time using her magic. She can only conjure up things that start with “san” in the Japanese language. She was sent to San-chan to cheer him up as her mission, but she eventually falls in love with him in the process.
Sharry is Mai’s best friend and rival. Unlike Mai, she is an elite in Santa Claus Academy and is not afraid to boast about her accomplishments. She often says “Gorgeous” whenever she uses her magic, making any objects present to her grow to immense proportions. She was sent to retrieve Mai to finish up her studies at the academy. Though she is very forgettable, she is one of the many characters created solely for the OVA.
MaiMai is the little sister of Mai, and decided to live with her. She tends to tag along with his big sister wherever she goes. She also tends to slap anyone who interferes with her spending time with her big sister. Though if one is hoping for more character development within the one-shot manga, they’ll be sad to learn that she is another character created solely for the OVA.
After viewing this anime, the viewer will encounter many problems with the story, animation, and art style throughout the entire experience. Though there is one silver lining in this short anime, and that is that it’s only two episodes and can quickly be completed with hardly any effort. There was a goal of some kind when this adaptation happened; whatever that goal is, we’ll never know. However, we know that even the worst western animation would be arguably better than this OVA. If one decides to watch this anime, don’t expect headaches and questionable moments that will make the viewer think about their life choices.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.