Happy Valentine’s Day/Singles Awareness Day, my readers! <3 Froggy
To celebrate the occasion, here is a quick list of my favourite Valentine’s Day anime episodes.
Note: There are spoilers for the series listed in this post, so be warned.
5. Kimi ni Todoke S2 – Episode 1 “Valentine”
Kimi ni Todoke is a frustrating series to watch. Its pacing is slow and ponderous. Contrived situations keep getting in the way of the main couple. In other words, it’s full of your typical Shojo Shenanigans.
Even so, Kimi ni Todoke contains nuggets of truth in its storytelling. Sawako’s shyness may be exaggerated to the point of caricature, but her thought process in the Valentine’s Day episode strikes me as completely believable. She makes chocolate for Kazehaya as a “thank you” gift, but she’s secretly in love with him, and she’s scared that this may show through her actions. She agonises over small details like how many nuts she put in his chocolate. Her pain is familiar to anyone who has attempted to act normally in front of their crush.
In the end, Sawako can’t muster the courage to give Kazehaya her chocolate, and he can’t muster the courage to admit he wanted them. What ultimately deters Sawako from giving him the chocolate is when Kurumi asks her if she had ulterior motives for making it. Sawako is distraught; she is too honest to pretend and yet not honest enough to confess. And so she runs away.
Her action sets the scene for the drama of the rest of the season. For a show whose title literally means “reaching you”, there’s not an awful lot of reaching out.
It’s agonising, but part of the reason it’s so agonising is because it’s true.
4. Code Geass R2 – Episode 12 “Love Attack”
You know it’s a good Valentine’s Day when you swap places with a ninja maid who dates every single girl in the school, backflips in the air to evade missiles and giant robots wielded by those very eager to date you, all while wearing a goofy hat pictured above.
There’s really nothing more to be said about Code Geass. In sheer entertainment value it has no peer. It is a perfect encapsulation of everything that is beautiful about anime. This Valentine’s Day episode was incredibly romantic.
3. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – Episode 17 “Valentine’s is a Day for Chocolate”
Sakurasou is a series of soaring highs and crushing lows. I’d say the Valentine’s Day episode was my favourite episode of the anime overall. It’s essentially a repeat of the Christmas arc, but the conflict feels much more organic here. Sorata’s decision to prioritise Nanami over Mashiro is a cruelty born from kind intentions.
That’s not to say his good deeds weren’t motivated by his jealousy of Mashiro, but here it manifests subconsciously via his preferential treatment towards Nanami. He’s especially kind to Nanami because he doesn’t feel jealous of her. The Sorata/Nanami dynamic is tinged with a bittersweet and melancholy air because you know Sorata’s internal issues prevent him from truly loving her. For her part, Nanami confesses her heart out to Sorata, only to quickly backpeddle. Perhaps she is aware that once her feelings are out in the open, things will never be the same.
The theme of things left unspoken carries over to the other relationships portrayed in this episode. Rita comes all the way to Japan to visit Ryuunosuke for the day, but in his stubbornness he locks himself in the toilet. When she leaves, he quietly regrets it. Misaki makes mountains of chocolate for Jin, but he never even comes to visit her. Mashiro is left waiting on the rooftop right until the very end of the episode. Everyone has their hopes dashed on Valentine’s Day.
2. Kimi to Boku S2 – Episode 7 “Sweet, Sweet, Bitter”
Episode 7 of Kimi to Boku is a story about how things don’t work out and yet somehow manage to work out anyway. An unnamed girl confesses her love to Shun but is turned down. Mary, who also has a thing for Shun, is shocked by the realisation that her love won’t necessarily work out either. In the end, she fails to give him her chocolate.
All of this prompts Chizuru to take action. First he embraces Mary and then, at the very end of the episode, he tells her that he loves her. And even though he knew from the start that she doesn’t love him back, he feels overwhelmingly happy, like he’s gotten a weight off his chest.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Chizuru and Mary. They’re both awkward young people who hardly communicate with each other. But this doesn’t feel contrived or irritating because you’re not supposed to see them as a couple. They’re simply teenagers struggling with hormones and their place in the world. The ideals they yearn for (symbolised visually in the anime as a lonely yet bright and sunny place) are shown to be far off; neither of them know how to get there. But in the end, they are both able to see it clearly, even if they cannot truly understand what it is they’re searching for.
One of the things I love about Kimi to Boku is how well it conveys nuanced relationships without much dialogue. Although the series can feel slow and plodding at times, the art direction and pacing came together really well here. This was one of Kimi to Boku’s finest episodes.
1. Hyouka – Episode 21 “The Homemade Chocolates Case”
I can still remember how I felt the first time I watched this episode. I was spellbound. The climax of the episode hit me like a punch in the gut. When I finished, I stared vacantly at the ceiling, dazed and reeling.
Part of the reason this episode hit me so hard is because it was so atmospheric and heavy. The tension is built up slowly and deliberately until it’s almost unbearable. By the time Oreki confronts Satoshi, you’re clinging to every word. It’s one of those mysteries where the ‘why?’ is infinitely more important than the ‘how?’
Another reason it made a strong impression on me is because I saw a lot of myself in Satoshi. If I’m completely honest with myself, I’d probably have done the same thing in his situation. I have done similar things in the past.
As depressing as this episode was, it didn’t end on a complete downer. Life moves on, stopping for nobody. Oreki is becoming increasingly more active and empathetic, and Satoshi continues to search for answers. Next year, things won’t be the same.
Hyouka captures the utter ambivalence of Valentine’s Day for high school students. It can be bittersweet and bewildering and a little bit painful. But it’s part of growing up, and one day the memories will seem fond and sweet.
Hyouka is heavy, yet not never maudlin. It portrays youth as ephemeral yet timeless. Hyouka is one of my favourite anime ever.
Once again, Happy Valentine’s Day, guys! What are some of your favourite Valentine’s Day-themed episodes in anime?
Ah, Valentin’s Day, that time of the year where couples confesses their love, everything is puke inducing romantic, the animes air episodes that cause diabetes and I´m here in front of my computer as always which reminds me how I am alone and nobody loves me. A magical day, indeed.
Also, Hyouka FTW, the only anime where the guy has the opportunity to get out of the friendzone and chooses not to do it, poor Satoshi.
I do like V-day because it’s great for silly jokes. I don’t think there’s any point taking it seriously or feeling ashamed because you’re single. If you really loved someone, you wouldn’t need a commercial holiday to do it, you know?
Also, I think there are many guys who would choose to remain friends with a girl, even if he liked her. The idea that guys should always snap up the opportunity for potential attention from a girl (or sex) is probably half the reason so many people end up in relationships that don’t suit them. I actually think Satoshi made a good decision not to date Mayaka because he’s clearly not ready for a relationship yet. The way he went about avoiding the issue was dickish, though.
Of course, of course, haha. I was just being cynical there, it’s my kind of shitty humor.
Excellent list, sasuga frog-kun! I’m tearing up a bit here, especially when I read the Kimi to Boku portion. I painfully love that episode, and you bringing it up here just made the feels come back and well up in my chest. ;;_;;
Was the Yuuki-canteen girl episode also in that Chizuru-Mary episode? That was beautiful, too (though not as beautifully heartbreaking as Chizuru-Mary’s).
Nah, the canteen girl episode wasn’t part of the V-day episode. I agree that was a really beautiful episode too.
Also, that’s a lovely screencap. Now I’m getting kinda choked up in feels too lol
Happy Valentine’s Day! Great to see Hyouka on your list… it’s such a memorable episode and reading your post made me go back and rewatch it!
Two of my personal favorite Valentine’s Day episodes have to be Toradora episode 23 and K-On!! episode 22… They’re both so different (one ends in an intensely tumultuous storm of raw emotion, while the other is warmly nostalgic with a touch of gentle sadness), but still manage to stick out in my mind. :)
Ah yes, I remember that Toradora episode. That would’ve been sixth on my list. I’m a bit ashamed to say I haven’t seen the second season of K-ON! though. I should definitely get around to rectifying that one day!
Nice choices there. I haven’t seen much of Kimi to Boku and I haven’t seen any of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, but Kimi no Todoke feels like a classic despite its pacing issues and occasionally tiresome melodrama, and I applaud Code Geass’ general goofiness. I’m glad Hyouka made it to your number one spot though – it’s a great series as a whole, and that particular episode really is one of the best regardless of theme.
Hyouka was well ahead of my other choices. That episode really was great. I think the last two episodes were the strongest two episodes in the entire series. Hyouka ended on a ridiculously high note.
Valentine’s Day? What’s that? It’s hurting me just hearing about that. Is it somekinda satanic spell?
Don’t worry. Close your eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist.
My favorite Valentine episodes are when kawaii anime girls actually made proper edible chocolates for consumption.
You know, this is something that occurred to me relatively recently, but as someone who more-or-less empathizes with Mayaka’s position, I actually don’t think Satoshi’s actions were as cruel as they were portrayed in the anime.
If anything, I think Satoshi hurt himself the most in the end.
It’s really ironic, because I don’t think Mayaka was hurt as much as the anime made it out to be.
I think Mayaka expected it. She was essentially rejected once already. It takes a certain mindset to get past the first rejection and decide that you’re still going to try pursuing the same person even though you KNOW he doesn’t like you. At that point, you confess to them more out of the sake of confessing than out of real expectations of anything happening. It’s a sort of stubborn pessimism. Kind of like charging into battle when you know you’re already going to lose.
Having been in something similar to Mayaka’s position, I think I would I have expected Satoshi to reject me.
The way the episode played out makes a lot of sense to me. I think Mayaka intentionally decided to give the chocolate indirectly to Satoshi. She didn’t want to be present to see him reject her. I don’t think I would have had the heart or the courage to see his response in person.
The fact that “she needed to go to the Manga Society” was definitely an excuse so she didn’t have to be present when he found the chocolate.
In other words, I probably would have expected him to find it and make his response while I was out of the room.
Worst case scenario, he would have left it on the table and went home, refusing to take it. Or perhaps he would have texted me a response. Best case scenario, I think I would have expected some silly excuse for why he “can’t take it” like the previous year’s “it can’t be melted chocolate.”
And I think I would have appreciated it that way, because I don’t think Mayaka wanted a direct response or a definitive rejection. She would have been happy to laugh it off and pretend to be angry at how “unreasonable” Satoshi is. In her shoes, I think I would have pretended it wasn’t a big deal. It’d definitely sting, but I would have been prepared for it.
The way it turned out in the anime was definitely a unexpected, but by no way far-fetched. I think if I were Mayaka, I would have assumed “missing chocolate” = chocolate in the trash can, but in either case, I wouldn’t have wanted to go looking for it or learn the details of exactly what he did to the chocolate. The end result is the same. Satoshi didn’t accept it. I would have been hurt the most that by the fact Satoshi LIED and pulled Chitanda into our embarrassing situation, but apart from that, I’d probably be sulking like normal.
When it comes to dating and new love, a lot of people are hesitant to say how they really feel. People give a lottttt of excuses, and people do it all the time because they don’t want to say something harsh in somebody’s face. A lot of people communicate through hints and signals. It’s very very very normal in this world.
That’s why I don’t think Satoshi’s actions are as horrible as they are portrayed.
Thanks for the comment. As someone who relates to Satoshi, this made me feel a lot better about myself, you know :)
I did get the impression Mayaka wasn’t really that mad at Satoshi. When she told Chitanda that she knew Satoshi had the chocolates, I could tell that she had expected this would happen all along. It put a smile on my face when Mayaka said, “Let’s go stuff ourselves with cake!” It really did feel like she was just sulking, not that she was completely crushed and heartbroken. That said, I did think it stung a lot for her, because she must have still have been hoping things would work this time. So I still do think Satoshi is the main person to blame for this situation.
But I get your point. I tended to blame Satoshi harshly because Satoshi blamed himself harshly, but in a situation like this, nobody knows the right course of action. People are complicated. I’m still really, really bad at rejecting people. It doesn’t seem like there’s a good way of doing it that doesn’t hurt the other person. There are bad ways of doing it and then there are worse ways.
Feelings are complicated, eh?
That Hyouka episode was splendid. Though I was on Houtaru’s side on wanting to hit Satoshi, as understandable as it might be. … But that Kimi ni Todoke episode actually makes it near #1 on my LEAST favorite valentine episodes. I understand that Sawako thinks too much about her feelings, and that the series’ pace was always slow, but as a viewer that meant we had to watch 25 minutes of indecision, throughout which I was muttering “Just give him the damn chocolates already …”
One good one that no one mentioned here comes from Cross Game. There’s a lot of chocolate giving in this episode, but we learn a lot about the characters and their relationship status by HOW the chocolates are given and received. For instance, Aoba, tsundere for Ko, so she would never buy him chocolates, finds out he got some from other girls. She playfully tries to snatch the bag away and it winds up in a passing truck, so she has to buy him chocolates anyway to make it up to him.
Yeah, that Kimi ni Todoke episode really was frustrating. (The entire second season is super frustrating.) But at least you only had to spend 25 minutes in her head instead of the entirety of Valentine’s Day ;)
The Valentine’s Day episode in Cross Game is pretty good, but it’s funny how I didn’t remember it until you brought it up. I think it’s the kind of series I remember more for its overall mood and character dynamics than for its specific events.
I have only watched one series from all the ones you have talked about. If I had to describe that episode of Hyouka I would say it was sublime. I liked everything about it and I think it was very good executed. It did not make me think Satoshi was a horrible person (some people think that) thanks to that episode in fact, I could appreciate it more. Not everyone is ready for a romantic relationship and even if the feelings are mutual there are other factors which are also important.
Sorry if there are any grammar or spelling mistakes.
Hey, thanks for the comment! I’m glad that Hyouka episode resonated with you. I also don’t think Satoshi was a bad person; he’s human and makes mistakes. I think he did make a good decision not starting a relationship with Mayaka, but he needs to confront his issues honestly and he went about it the wrong way. I empathise a lot with that, though.
When I read the title of your post, I instantly thought of the Hyouka episode. Man, that show is stunning.
Yep, it looks like a lot of people thought of the Hyouka episode too. I had no idea it made such a strong impression on so many people! It really is an amazing show.