Tis’ the season! Christmastime is my favorite part of the year and during this season I love to read cozy holiday-themed stories. Here are four recommendations for festive manga that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Merry Unbalanced Christmas
A quick one-shot manga, this shojo romance follows the formulaic opposites attract trope, but is still enjoyable nonetheless. The main character, Tsumare, has her hopes crushed after finding out her extravagant pastry reservation has been canceled (yes, you read that right). Running into the arrogant Sousuke proves to be a nuisance at first as he showers her with expensive gifts in order to apologize. But this chance meeting leads to a greater experience for the two. This story gave me A Christmas Carol vibe as it follows the theme of “money doesn’t automatically buy happiness”. It reminds us that we should cherish the small things in life. It’s a very over-the-top and goofy manga for sure, but the story is cute.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King, the ruler of Halloween Town but longs for something new. When he accidentally stumbles upon Christmas Town, he decides to try out this brand-new holiday for himself. But with a sinister Oogie Boogie waiting in the wings to take over Halloween Town in Jack’s absence, will Jack be able to make his Christmas come true? There are no words to describe just how much I love this movie! And the graphic novel version of this beloved movie captures the true essence of the film in book form. This version pretty much covers the same exact events in the original story, but I felt it was adapted well for a manga. It has all the feelings intertwined for both Christmas and Halloween. Plus TokyoPop has some amazing spin-off stories set in Halloweentown for fans of the franchise.
Part shojo romance and part fantasy, Sweet Rein has a very unique concept, unlike other Christmas stories I’ve read before. I enjoyed how the author Tsukaba has traditional holiday elements in her story and gives them a new creative spin. In this story, the main character Kurumi is trying to learn how to be the best Santa she can be with the help of her reindeer, Kaito. The story has a strong adventurous spirit as each new chapter brings a new journey for Kurumi, from fulfilling Christmas wishes to learning how to use Claus magic. While the story starts out at Christmas, it takes place throughout the four seasons (in each volume). A perfect read for getting into the holiday spirit.
When I found out the creator of Sailor Moon has a Christmas-themed manga, I knew I had to read it. This seasonal tale drawn in Takeuchi’s signature style follows the main character Ryoko who is unlucky in love but loves to be a matchmaker for others at her school. Ryoko is trying to navigate her feelings surrounding being alone for the holidays while also developing feelings of first love. Though a short story this story feels nostalgic and I loved the fun banter between Ryoko and her love interest, the mysterious DJ Choco (who she has had a huge crush on). It’s a school-themed shojo romance that is funny, wholesome, and sweet.
What are some of your favorite holiday-themed manga? Let us know in the comments.