Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all! Even if you’re not celebrating with a special person today, you’re all welcome here. My fiancee has to work tonight, so I’m here to talk some anime and manga with all of you while I eat some sweet, sweet chocolate. So grab your candy and beverage of choice and a snuggly blanket cause tonight we’re looking at Valentine’s Day themed episodes and chapters from anime and manga. Now these are just personally my favorite episodes or moments that focused on Valentine’s Day in ways that were either amusing or touching in the context of the show or series. I know there are a ton of others I could put on this list, so I’m interested in hearing your picks down below, or even just your favorite treat to eat on Valentine’s Day. Here are four picks for some of my favorite anime and manga moments this holiday.
Hyouka Episode 21 – The Homemade Chocolates Case
I think this is by far one of the most interesting Valentine’s Day episodes I’ve watched in a while. Partly because Hyouka is such a great series (see my review here) and partly because it takes the simple act of giving chocolates to someone and turns it into both a mystery case and an opportunity for important character development.
In this case, Mayaka plans to make an extravagant homemade chocolate for Satoshi after he rejected her a year before with the excuse that her chocolate wasn’t of good quality. Determined to make him accept them this year, she and Chitanda craft the perfect homemade chocolate heart. Sayaka leaves the chocolate for Satoshi in the clubroom to find as she goes off to Manga Club, but when Chitanda returns to the room, the chocolate is missing. Thus starts the search for Mayaka’s chocolate and the mystery of who took it from the club room.
It may not seem like such an important mystery, but I think what makes this episode important in the scheme of the series is the character development and emotional investment behind the importance of these chocolates. To Mayaka, they represent her feelings for Satoshi, feelings that were rejected the year before. This may very well be her last chance to have a relationship with Satoshi. For Satoshi, her chocolate represents and uncertain future and temptation. To him, a relationship with Mayaka would mean a chance of returning to his old, over-obsessed self, a self that he hates. Behind the care-free Satoshi, we finally see this sense of inner turmoil that he’s been facing and hiding from everyone else. And that is what makes this episode so good.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Episode 14 – Valentine’s and Hot Springs!
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a great series and I’ve reviewed this OVA before on the blog, but it is still good enough to include in this round-up of best Valentine’s Day episodes. Episode 14 of the anime deals with some pretty basic Valentine’s Day traditions like the giving and receiving of chocolate from the person you care about. But what Kobayashi does is use the fantastical nature of the show to give this tradition an absurd edge to it while also having some touching moments.
The OVA follows each character as they prepare for Valentine’s Day in their own way. Tohru adds some love potion to her homemade chocolate. Takiya returns home from work to find an in-game gift from Fafnir. Lucoa melts down five bowls of chocolate and prepares to spread it all over her body. And Kanna receives chocolates from Riko at school. After, all the characters go on a trip to the hotsprings. The episode seems to combine two standard rom-com trope episodes: hot springs and Valentines. However, we still get quite a bit of character development throughout.
I talked about this a lot in my review of the OVA, but I really do like how they use Tohru’s efforts to drug Kobayashi as a moment of character and relationship development. Kobayashi suspects that Tohru has done something weird to the chocolate and basically tells her if you break my trust, our relationship is over. Tohru realizes how important it is to have trust in a relationship and hides the chocolate away and makes another batch sans the love potion. I also really love the relationship between Takiya and Fafnir and how they’re feelings for each other are transmitted through games and shared interests. Fafnir’s gift of a sword in the MMO they play together becomes a low-key sweet moment between people who aren’t very good at expressing their emotions.
Skip Beat Volumes 23-25
Skip Beat is one of my all time favorite mangas, as you can tell from my ongoing volume-by-volume reviews. One of the things I love about the series is its love of taking typical romance tropes and flipping them on their head because of Kyoko’s hate for all things love and romance related. In terms of Valentine’s Day, the series takes the concept of this holiday and spins it way out of proportion to fit the personality of its main character and also extends the story into multiple chapters. This may be the longest Valentine’s Day plotline that I’ve ever read. But what we get in ridiculousness, we also get in romance and character development.
The Valentine’s Day chapters have a lot going on in them with Kyouko finding out that she missed Ren’s birthday and planning a Valentine’s/Birthday gift for him. Then she gets roped into making homemade chocolates for the lead singer of Vie Ghoul, who she hates with a passion. There’s also the side-story of Kanae giving chocolates to Hio. It winds up being a nice compilation of stories revolving around Kyouko’s hatred of the holiday. But I think, in the end, her hatred makes this one of the best Valentine’s chapters I’ve ever read.
Kyouko’s hatred of the holiday stems from her hatred of her past self, the self that was conned and drawn in by Sho. She hates the self that this holiday conjures up in her memory, one of a woman who is too blinded by love that she let herself waste her life trying to be the perfect girlfriend to Sho. She’s scared. Scared of returning to that weak self she sees in her past, that she’ll lose all ability to be an independent and smart woman. When Vie Ghoul pretty much forces her to make chocolates for him, she flips the concept of Valentine’s chocolates on its head by making curse chocolates, imbued with all her hatred. But, in contrast, we see her let down her guard with Ren, making him a beautiful jelly in a stemmed glass. It’s one of those moments where we see her mask crumble and see another moment where Kyouko begins to let herself love again.
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless Episode 7 – Tanaka-kun’s Valentine
It’s been a while since I’ve watched Tanaka-kun and now returning to the series for this has reminded me why this show is both comfy and entertaining. Tanaka-kun is the epitome of laziness and sloth, with his best friend Ohta there beside him for everything from carrying him to and from school to making sure he doesn’t fall asleep for too long. Episode 7 combines the comfy slice-of-life feel with a touch of mystery for something that becomes pretty entertaining and cute as the characters try and figure out who gave Tanaka chocolates.
The episode focuses on Valentine’s Day, a day that Tanaka has no interest in whatsoever as he would have to put in effort to find and give a White Day gift in return. As some of his classmates lament the fact that they have not received chocolates this year, Tanaka finds a box sitting in his school bag with a mysterious note saying “I’m always watching you.” Thus the search commences to figure out who gave him chocolates with the help of Ohta.
We find out in the end that his sister is the one that made him those chocolates as she has a bit of big brother complex. She also stuck a bar of bitter dark chocolate in there for Ohta as she knows he only likes sweet things. It becomes pretty amusing to see how she tries to get under Ohta’s skin because of her jealousy of his relationship with her brother. I definitely wouldn’t compare this to the kind of mystery and character development we see in Hyouka’s episode, but I thought it was entertaining nonetheless if only to return to the deadpan deliveries and comfy feel of a slice-of-life that goes easy on the drama.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
There are so many other great episodes and manga chapters to put on this list. Let me know in the comments below what your favorites are and what your favorite Valentine’s Day treat is.
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