Presents represent our feelings of love and adoration to the people we give them to, and there’s no time like the Christmas season to reminisce about our favorite gifts that we’ve given or received. A handmade scarf, tickets to see your favorite band, a ring... whatever it is, your favorite gift occupies a special place in your heart and makes you think of the friend or family member who gave it to you.
Since gift-giving is so emotional (and so deeply embedded in Japanese culture), it’s no surprise that some of anime’s most tear-jerking scenes come from a character’s reaction to receiving a present from someone close to them. Let’s take a look at the Best Gifts Given in Anime!
4. Winry’s Earrings from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Specials
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: August 2009 – August 2010
A short OVA called “Simple People” gives us a peek into Winry and Riza’s respective views of the world. They both take things as they come and try not to stress too much over the details, and we can see how Winry does this in her interactions with Ed and Al when they come home to get fixed up. She’s furious if Ed breaks her automail and comes back to Resembool without calling first, but immediately forgives him if he brings her earrings as a present to ease the tensions.
Once the brothers come back for the third or fourth time, they see that Winry has pierced her ears in enough places to wear all of the earrings they bought for her at once. It’s a heartwarming gesture, and Winry’s only reason for doing it is because Ed and Al gave them to her. This adds an extra layer of sweetness to a later scene in the anime where Winry entrusts Ed with her earrings as she prepares to venture into the frozen tundra without him. It’s a wordless reminder for both of them to stay safe in the tough battles ahead.
3. Lily’s Song from Zombieland Saga
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2018 – December 2018
We never thought that a series about zombie idols would have us bawling our eyes out, but Zombieland Saga is unpredictable like that. Being a zombie, particularly one who died not too long ago in the same prefecture that the girls are trying to save, comes with the tragic fact that your surviving friends and family could recognize you and mourn even more for your loss. And this is exactly what happens to the youngest member, Lily, in episode 8 when her bereaved father starts coming to their shows.
Lily’s relationship with her father was strained since she had always loved him and tried to make him happy, but he became so wrapped up in her success that he stopped spending time with her and wasn’t able to help when she had a heart attack at a very young age. So the girls decide to create a song for Lily to sing to her father as a way of saying goodbye and assuring him that she really did love him no matter what. It’s the only thing she can do in her current situation, but it soothes his heart nonetheless and left us reaching for the tissues to dry our eyes.
2. Koro-sensei’s Yearbooks from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: January 2015 – June 2015
The students of Class E have been spending the entire series trying to kill their teacher Koro-sensei, but what happens when they actually succeed? In episode 46, the kids tearfully return to their classroom, only to find huge books on each of their desks from their teacher. Before his death, Koro-sensei took the time to individually handcraft yearbooks and advice books that he had personalized for each student.
The books contain advice (in manga form!) about jobs, romance, parenting, and specific tips for each member of the class based on their strengths and weaknesses. Nagisa narrates that, without realizing it, everyone got so engrossed in reading that they forgot to cry and fell asleep. Even though he’s gone, Koro-sensei will continue to affect their lives for many years to come.
1. Yato’s Shrine from Noragami Aragoto
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2015 – December 2015
Yato doesn’t exactly look or act like the mighty god of calamity that he actually is. He wears a tracksuit, sleeps at other gods’ shrines, and drags his partner Yukine along to do odd jobs for 5 yen apiece. He seems like a childish bum, but Hiyori knows that Yato is a kindhearted soul who puts himself in danger time and time again for the ones he loves.
In episode 7 of Noragami’s second season, Yato is sulking in Kofuku’s house because he wasn’t able to use the money he got to make a shrine for himself. Hiyori decides to craft a mini shrine on her own as a present, hoping that it will cheer him up. To her surprise, Yato is reduced to wordless tears at the gift, overwhelmed by how big of an honor it is to receive what he’s wanted more than anything in his entire life. It doesn’t matter that it’s made from popsicle sticks and construction paper – the shrine that Hiyori made for him becomes Yato’s most prized possession.
This Christmas, we hope that the gifts you give and receive mean as much as these gifts meant to Winry, Lily’s dad, Class E, and Yato. But, even if you just manage to put a smile on someone’s face, that’s still just as valuable.
What did you think of our list? What are your favorite gifts in anime? Have you ever cried at any of these scenes? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!