Episode Count: 2
Genre: Fantasy / Comedy
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 25 Dec 2008
Holiday fluff from Ken Akamatsu.
Santa is a lonely and depressed guy. No, not the jolly fat man who brings you presents every Christmas. This Santa is just an average guy who happened to have been born on Christmas Eve and his parents named him Santa because of it. He’s depressed because he has been alone most of his life while his parents are off doing their life’s work, so Santa has never had a happy birthday or Christmas. On this Christmas Eve, ‘Santa Claus in Training’ Mai has been sent to Santa to bring him happiness.
Now, when I normally see the name ‘Ken Akamatsu’ – you know, the guy who created Love Hina – my usual reaction is one of indifference. I don’t actively seek out any of his titles, but I don’t particularly avoid them either, so when I got a chance to borrow this series, I thought ‘why not?’ and gave it a go. This double shot OVA didn’t do too much to overcome my preconceptions about his work, of which this is the first that I have seen, but I’m not so cold as to let a two episode OVA change my impressions one way or the other significantly. Thus ends the ‘full disclosure’ portion of this review.
For me, Ken Akamatsu’s name on a project leads me to a few reasonable expectations: cute girls, fanservice and pantsu. If you don’t know what that last one is, you should read a few anime message boards sometime. Anyway, this bit of Christmas fluff met my expectations where all of that was concerned. Don’t forget the pushover guy, too. Par for the course so far. So Santa Claus trains cute girls to help him deliver presents every Christmas Eve? Who knew? Well, this is Ken Akamatsu, after all.
Storywise, with only two episodes, nothing is particularly deep (not that I expected this to be), and characters are basic archetypes. That said, despite the fanservice, the first episode does have a reasonably touching story. It’s nothing profound, but it does have heart, so I can’t fault it any for that. It’s also the more Christmas-related of the two. The second episode takes place primarily in the summer (cue swimsuits!) and introduces two new characters. At worst, the series comes across as an Ah! My Goddess clone, though not quite up to the same standard.
I do want to point out my favorite scene in the entire series. In episode two, while two of the main characters are arguing on the beach, a supporting character sits beside them eating slice after slice of watermelon, tossing the rinds aside, completely oblivious to the racket going on around her. I was practically on the floor laughing during this scene, and by itself it is reason enough for me to watch the series again sometime.
And there you have it. My Santa! is a harmless piece of holiday fluff that you can put on if you have an hour to kill. Personally, I found the fanservice to be a bit much; I’d expect it in something like Love Hina (which I have not seen), but it seems just a little out of place in what is, at least on the surface, a Christmas show. On paper, Itsudatte My Santa! is a cute concept. In practice, it ends up being a somewhat rushed aspiring harem comedy. I’ll probably watch it again because it is fun, though for Christmas Day viewing, the second episode isn’t really necessary. Episode one is decent – if fanservice-laden – holiday fare.