Shiver to the bone, for winter is upon us. As the temperature dips low, and the holiday ornaments go up; we at Honey’s Anime want to set ourselves right in the middle ground and do what we do best; give you all great anime. So, as you wrap your fingers around your marshmallow filled cup of hot goodness, we implore you to sit back and let us soak you into our Top 10 Anime Snow Scenes.
10. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2012 – Mar. 2013
Forced to switch dorms after taking in a handful of abandoned kittens, Suimei High School student, Sorata Kanda, finds himself within the misfit corridors of Sakura Hall. Littered with the likes of quirky individuals such as Ryuunosuke, an isolated programmer; playboy Jin, animator Misaki, and many more, Sorata sees it best to find owners for the kittens as soon as possible and return to his original dorm. But when Mashiro Shiina, a top-notch artist, transfers into that very same location, Sorata finds himself less willing to part from the mischief-filled Sakura Hall.
Where there’s mischief, there’s romance; and this scene is a classic. As we always say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Episode 14 of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou illustrated a lovely scene in which Sorata and Nanami convene on a beautiful evening under the cascade of a red umbrella. As small flakes of snow feather downwards, the bells signifying a match made in heaven seem to chime louder than usual. Fairytale or not, it’s hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t want to spend an evening under that very same umbrella.
9. Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Dec. 2014
To obtain the Holy Grail, an artifact capable of granting its user any wish, seven individuals partake in the Holy Grail War. These seven individuals are known as magi, and amongst them; as a new competitor, is Rin Toosaka. Using the unique ability of magi to control Servants, Rin and Archer seek to triumph above the rest in this magical battle towards supremacy.
Embracing someone for the first time can be an outrage of emotions, but sometimes breaking through that sheet of ice separating two individuals is the best step forward for nurturing a relationship. Illyasviel’s appearance in episode 15 is almost as soft as the light-weight snow surrounding her. As she reaches out towards Berserker, you can feel the cold air between the two whisk away as they embrace each other’s presence. Berserker’s staunch black against Illyasviel’s negating white, topped by splashes of red make for a painting that speaks more than just a thousand words.
8. MUSHI-SHI -Next Passage- (Mushishi Zoku Shou)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Apr. 2014 – Jun. 2014
What are mushi? That’s to say that they are something that can even be explained. Capable of extraordinary things, such as taking the form of ordinary objects, or manipulating the human senses, mushi are a spectacle just as much as they are an anomaly. Existing long before humans, and mostly unknown to the mass population, these creatures are simply beings that transcend human understanding. Thus, Mushi-shi such as Ginko, dedicate their lives in hopes of unveiling more about them.
MUSHI-SHI is not a show meant to be taken on the surface, but to be looked at through eyes that can see much further. Episode 3 tells us a tale of a boy, Toki, residing within a vacant body; his mind lost within an expanse of sorrow as wide stretching and empty as the snow cloaked scenery in which he resides. The tall trees of the winter forest tower overhead with their skeletal frames; while the outstretched, open landscapes feel endless, as though Toki’s journey back towards control of his own body will be a futile one without end. Forced to be a vessel for parasitic mushi resembling snow. MUSHI-SHI -Next Passage- is a symbolic masterpiece that can speak wonders to anyone who’s willing to listen, and this memorable snow scene is one of the best examples of them all.
7. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Feb. 2010
It’s Christmas day as Kyon makes his way over to the SOS’s Brigade holiday celebration. All is festive as usual, except for one thing; Haruhi Suzumiya has seemingly disappeared. So, begins this interesting tale of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya as things delve deeper into mystery with no one remembering Haruhi nor the SOS Brigade. With strange events turning on top of each other one after the other, will Kyon ever be able to set things back in order?
A complicated past and a timid yearning for reprimands. The words spoken to oneself is usually the best understood. As light flakes leap from the sky and waver down upon these two souls, a light sense of sensuality imbues within the brisk of the winter air. As if in stark contrast to the bustling city behind Kyon and Yuki Nagato, these two characters draw us into a quiet, slow paced, attractive intertwining of threads between two individuals. The softness of the falling snowflakes echo this tune as we look upon in joy and comfort; hearing their thoughts and feeling their sorrow as if it was our own.
6. Nisekoi: False Love (Nisekoi:)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Jun. 2015
Once bitter enemies of opposing gangs, Chitoge Kirisaki now finds herself struggling with growing feelings for the once despised yakuza heir, Raku Ichijou. Now, with a new girl around town jumping on board the fight for Raku’s heart, Chitoge is now caught in an odd scuffle of appearances. However, Raku seems to have his attention focused elsewhere as he hunts down the contents of a mysterious sealed locket, as well as his first true love.
The chill of winter can feel a hundred degrees warmer than a lonely heart. Sitting in solitude on a bench against the backdrop of a frosted winter night sky, Kosaki Onodera is aware only of her circling thoughts. The pungent white of the snow that rests atop the surface of the scenery is as euphoric as the dynamic between Raku and Kosaki as he makes his way into the beautifully brewing narrative. Two hearts tied together by the fabric of a red scarf is all that is needed to turn this beautiful winter scene into a memorable heartwarming sensation. With episode 11 as evidence, winter isn’t as cold after all.
5. A Lull in the Sea (Nagi no Asukara)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Apr. 2014
Those who dwell in the sea, and those who dwell on land have long since been experiencing a rift between their two communities. Now, forced to attend school on the surface, Hikari Sakishima, Manaka Mukaido, Kaname Isaki, and Chisaki Hiradaira must fight social discrimination, differences in cultural lifestyles, as well as the weight that comes with the everyday life of a high schooler. But perhaps there is even more dwelling within the depths of the lives of these four.
The stillness of the resting body is as tranquil as an untouched hill of snow. Undisturbed by the forces of the exterior, the atmosphere is almost adolescent and unburdened like the innocence of a child. Kaname, Hikari, and Miuna meet the barren lands of their once glorified underwater world here in episode 18. Where life once bustled, and the creation of unforgettable memories once thrived. Now, hit with a new reality, one may feel sorrow at such a revelation. However, there is a therapeutic nature to the sight of those existing without worry. The flow of water moving through space, while its inhabitants, asleep, remain still without forcing themselves against its natural movement; singing the tune of Taoism and reaching the unattainable heights of enlightenment. This is a scene filled with many emotions, but more so, a moment of many lessons learned.
4. KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! (Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Jan. 2016 – Mar. 2016
After dying on his way home from buying a videogame, Kazuma Satou is offered a second chance at life; however, it will be within a fantasy world. With the option to take one item of choice with him, Kazuma chooses what he lays his sights on first, Aqua; the goddess who granted him his second life. Unfortunately, aside from her good looks, she’s rather useless. To top it all off, the world of a fantasy game isn’t quite as entertaining when you’re living it for yourself. Nonetheless, it’s still the best scenario for some the best scenes in anime.
As with any other day in the life of KonoSuba, a snow day makes for another round of pure unadulterated fun. Tasked with ridding the lands of the treacherous Snow Sprites in episode 7, whose fluffy cuteness is causing an upset within the balance of life; Kazuma, Aqua, and the rest of their crew suit up and set forth to bring them to an end. However, this is not before they slander each other for their quirky choices of outfit, perverted tendencies, and downright clumsy behavior. This is a snow adventure that'll remind you of those long hours out in the backyard, when the excitement of a single day felt like an eternity. KonoSuba is always a great show to watch anywhere, and at any time.
3. Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Mar. 2014
Following the loss of his mother, prodigy pianist Kousei Arima singlehandedly watched himself fall to pieces as he fell deaf to the sound of his own piano playing. Two years have now since passed, and as Kousei lives his rather normal life alongside childhood friend Tsubaki, his world is once again thrown into an uproar after meeting violinist Kaori Miyazono. Now with a new eye towards the world, Kousei finds himself caught untangling the strings of the beloved piano.
Just as Kousei is deciding to pull the plug on his perseverance, looking directly into the eyes of what he sees as a failed attempt at finding hope within the world, a calling speaks out to him in the timid voice of Kaori. An emotionless atmosphere reflecting the cold winter air, becomes lush with the warmth of their hearts here in episode 21. Kaori strings her hands along to the tune of a powerful symphony, uplifting the spirit within Kousei, and turning those cold flakes of snow into touches of extended love and care. Your Lie in April is truly a beautiful piece.
2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Sep. 2016
After suddenly being summoned to another world, Subaru Natsuki is caught fending for his life as he is only moments away from his own demise. With the help of a mysterious silver-haired girl named Satella, Subaru is saved. For the time being, that is. It is not before long until they are both murdered. With their deaths now a reality, Subaru discovers a hidden ability within himself. He is revived a few hours back into the past thanks to “Return by Death”, allowing him a temporal do-over. However, life is never so simple.
Not every moment spent in the snow is an elated one. Sometimes the cold snips harder than you’d imagined, and thus you are left crumbling at the malevolent hands of the bitter ice. Subaru shares this cold pain in episode 15 of Re:ZERO as he holds his dear friend, Rem, in his hands in hopes for a miracle through compassion. Looking upon the pain and sorrow in his face, the snow that surrounds him doesn’t resemble the sensual essence that we’ve seen in many other snow scenes within anime; but instead, a void stained by a frigid lack of empathy, battering against him like fists to a punching bag. At least he won’t have to live through this torture for long. Sometimes the winter cold can truly bite hard.
1. ERASED (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2016 – Mar. 2016
With the ability to be uncontrollably sent back in time moments before a tragedy, 29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma utilizes what he can to save the lives of many. He calls this ability ‘Revival’; and when he is framed for the murder of his mother, he is yet again sent back in time. This time; however, he is sent back 18 years in the past to 1988. With the assumption that his mother’s death may be linked to the murder of his old classmate Kayo Hinazuki, Satoru sets out to save the future, by repairing the past.
A sliver of hope could fuel the soul for decades, and it is that underlying facet that makes episode 3 of ERASED such a charming experience. The icicles hanging from the tree below a starry expanse dance around the scenery like Christmas lights flickering to an uplifting tune. Its shimmer of white against the calming deep mixture of greens, reds, and blues of the night sky shines brighter than the sun. Setting off the atmosphere like fireworks as we position ourselves in Satoru’s and Kayo’s shoes. Looking up above as though worshiping a god of good fortune and brighter futures.
Things can be viewed within a multitude of ways depending on their depiction, and of course, the eyes of the viewer. With these updated Top 10 Anime Snow Scenes, we hope to extend that versatile interpretation of the ever-increasing, beautiful presentations of the use of snow within anime. A cold touch can hold some of the most effective emotions; and if any of these scenes managed to touch you in one way or another, let us know in the comments below. Hopefully there’s enough snowy appeal to keep you warm all winter long.
Don’t forget to bundle up!
Other Reference: Kiseijuu Ep18
A few days ago, in the early-morning of downtown Tokyo, a blanket of snow decorated the usual concrete pavements and made things really inconvenient for the hard-working salarymen who were probably more concerned for whether the trains would get them to work on time. For us, anime fans, it was a reminder that some of the unforgettable moments between our favourite characters took place while they too were being pelleted in the freezing cold.
As the turn of winter hopefully brings us more scenic moments, we at Honey’s Anime present to you our list of Top 10 Anime Snow Scenes.
10. Kanon 2006 (Episode 10)
Of the three big adaptations of Key games made by Kyoto Animation, it should come to no one’s surprise that Kanon, being the one set in winter, would have some of the greatest snow scenes in anime. The bigger challenge is picking the best among the many emotional moments dispersed throughout its run.
Unlike Air and Clannad, Kanon is possibly at its best nearer to the beginning when its character interactions felt a bit more natural before the dramatic developments later in the series. Being less apt than Clannad in creating a coherent overall narrative that combines every heroine’s stories, the climactic scene of Makoto Sawatari’s character arc ends up being just as memorable, if not more-so, than the “main” heroines’ stories.
As Yuuichi finally realises that the girl in front of him, who seeks nothing more than his affection, does not have much longer in the world, he devotes to her his undivided attention and a promise of love that he will be unable to fulfill. Dawn breaks to Yuuichi sitting alone in the snowy mountain, having lost an important someone who he did not learn to treasure until
9. Kara no Kyoukai: Shuushou
If you’re one of the lucky ones to have seen Kara no Kyoukai films the year they came out, the experience may have been burnt into your mind as one of the most technically brilliant displays of animation quite possibly there ever will be. Fans of the series are glad to know that the glorified epilogue consisting only of one scene, the first meeting between Mikiya and Shiki, might possibly be even better looking.
To set the scenario, Mikiya and Shiki have survived the horrors of the film series and everything should have rightfully ended with the masterpiece of the 7th film. Mikiya is walking up a hill under the falling snow, possibly to make his way home. On the way, he notices Shiki looking out the scenic vista with an expression he has never seen on her before. It doesn’t even need to hit him that he finally sees the part of her that he always wanted to see.
Shuushou is the final piece of the puzzle (before Mirai Fukuin) that franchise fans didn’t know they needed to complete the story. It’s almost an unnecessary bonus that this short episode easily contests for the most visually appealing use of snow in anime with the best of this list.
8. Girls und Panzer (Episode 9)
The rookie Japanese high school tankery team, Oarai High School takes on the veteran Russian-themed victors of last year’s tankery tournament, Pravda is in the disadvantageous stage of a snow-filled trench battlefield no less. Our protagonists’ tanks suffer serious damage in the initial scuffles and are driven into an abandoned building, where they are given the ultimatum of cutting their losses by surrendering or fighting to the end.
The beauty of Director Mizushima’s shows is his ability to make his characters’ actions elicit strong emotions through a short time-frame. The Oarai tankery rode a wave of unexpected success to reach where they are, the semi-finals of a national tournament with immense glory even if they lose. It is only then that the true cost of their defeat is revealed, that if they lose, their school will be gone by the next year. Even though our girls are determined in mind to win, their spirits have fallen apart in the face of insurmountable odds and the burden that they shoulder.
Starving and cold under the roof of the freezing shack, main lead Miho is pushed to consolidate everyone’s spirits. And thus, in a desperate effort doing the only thing that comes to her mind, we have the cringiest yet also one of the most heartwarming anime snow scenes.
And if this scene doesn’t work for you, there’s a brilliant sequence of the Russian tanks riding to battle with Russian folk music playing in the background just one episode before.
7. 5 Centimeters Per Second
Right behind Hayao Miyazaki and the legendary Satoshi Kon, Makoto Shinkai is probably the next most prolific director for cinematic anime. 5 centimeters per second, quite possibly the masterpiece that stands above the rest of his repertoire, features one unforgettable moment between its two lead characters who overcome a harsh snowstorm and years of unclosed distance to share a special moment together.
After an unbearable separation, Takaki and Akari realise that the end of their emotional relationship is near as Takaki will soon follow his family to an island too far for them to remain meaningfully connected. Knowing this, the two plan for one last meeting, bringing closure to what they know will never be. Even then, as Takaki travels train-by-train, facing hours of delay due to a snowstorm, he perhaps wonders that maybe even mother nature does not want anything to be made from his innocent relationship with the girl he loves.
However, his efforts are surely rewarded when he realises that Akari, who never stopped waiting alone in the station, shared his feeling of dread and the sheer happiness of knowing that once again, they were reunited. It may not have been for long and in the grand scheme of their lives, it certainly did not mean much. But when the pair wanders to the tree under the snow and acknowledged their feelings with a moment of intimacy, we all knew that it was something worth remembering.
6. Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)
Since Wolf Children follows the lives of its titular half-wolf siblings from the time of their conception to over a decade later, the part where they’re forced into exploring the Japanese countryside to escape from the strict conditions of the city, gives us many an eye-candy to enjoy.
There’s something to be said here about contrasts and the masterful way Mamoru Hosoda shows Hana, the endlessly persevering mother of the siblings, finally enjoy herself after years of backbreaking work to support her children. Not only do they escape the confinements of a society that cannot be relied on, the three are finally able to run free among the endless natural landscape.
Dashing through the snow-buried forest in a gorgeous display of what modern day Japanese animation is capable of, Hana and co. escape reality for just a bit in the midst of what may be best described as a dreamland of snow and distant mountains. Even though we know that the harsh reality of loss and growing up waits around the corner, this scene best represents the escapism that people need, even if it is just a little bit, to keep going. And even then, it does not take long for Ame and Yuki, two children who were never meant for the human world, to quickly find themselves in life threatening danger at the expense of their mother’s constant worrying.
5. White Album 2 (Episode 12)
“Everytime I see the snow I’ll remember...”
White Album 2 is probably the least-seen anime in this list, partially because many viewers may have the misconception that it is a sequel to the first White Album. This is certainly not the case, as White Album 2 stands independent as a cream-of-the-crop offerings to the romance anime fan and a truly mature approach to high school love relationships.
Unfortunately, the show’s best feature is its ability to put the audience into very uncomfortable situations where we’re not quite sure how exactly to feel. After learning that main lead Haruki’s romantic relationship with Setsuna, who for all purposes is as kind and thoughtful as any high schooler can be expected to be, might possibly have been the greatest personal error he could have made, we finally see Haruki confess to the true love of his life, Touma, hours before she forever leaves to another country.
Having always hid their feelings for one another and knowing that they have reached a stage where their relationship cannot be forgiven, the pair connect for the first time in utter betrayal of whatever feelings they have for Setsuna and completely changing the nature of their precious friendship. In a moment of dramatic irony, the snow that was supposed to serve as a remembrance of the best times of their relationship becomes the catalyst for them to err in the worst way possible.
4. Aria the Natural (Episode 26)
“I wonder what kind of adult Alicia-san wanted to become?”
Akari Mizunashi is one of the most memorable protagonist’s of the 2000s by virtue of her unending optimism. Even then, she wouldn’t be anywhere near as nuanced if it wasn’t for two other great characters, her mentor Alicia and the mysterious yet joyful city of Neo-Venezia.
In one winter outing with said mentor, Alicia begins to roll a snowball out of the blue, letting it form into a progressive larger snow boulder. On the way, many other people from Neo-Venezia, complete strangers to the two, kindly and enthusiastically help out one by one until they reach the seaside. In doing so, she imparts to Akari her own insecurities from when she was younger and what gave her strength to become who she is.
Strangely but perhaps expectedly, Aria is one of two entries in this list that captures traditional Christmas values of family and happiness, and does so while beautifully encapsulating the thoughts of its characters. We finally begin to crack the shell of the always kind but somewhat distant Alicia, and we experience the joy and wonder of it through the eyes of Akari as we always do. Aria’s snow scene may not be the prettiest in any senses, but it captures a beauty through the interactions of its characters that not many newer shows are interested in doing.
3. Tokyo Godfathers
“I want to go home.”
In 2010, we lost one of the greatest anime filmmakers of all time, Satoshi Kon. Although Tokyo Godfathers might not be as immediately impressive as the sentimental Millennium Actress or the thrilling Perfect Blue, it embodies Kon’s incredible portrayal of stunning moments of human interactions and his ability to blur reality and combine it with the fantastical elements that make an amazing theatrical story.
The main trio of the movie, a gathering of social outcasts, are panicking as they desperately try to keep an abandoned baby they found safe from a crazy psychotic woman. They find themselves at the edge of a rooftop, the woman carrying the baby like a suicidal mother would as she hangs off in tears, held only by the trio’s efforts. As the comedic and tragic climax of the film would have it, the woman’s grip slips right as she regains her senses.
There are no words worth trusting to describe the moment when not even God would allow for the baby’s death to happen.
2. Clannad After Story (Episode 22)
“The Place Where Dreams Come True”
Even though Clannad is decidedly not the snow-themed franchise of the KyoAni-Key trio of seasonal shows, it outdoes its peers in so many ways that there is no question of its place in having some of the top snow scenes in anime.
Perhaps the real question is why this particular scene is chosen over the more emotionally-taxing death scene just the episode before. The girl in the illusory world, never given a name, exclaims that the end has also come for the robot and her and is glad that they have fulfilled their purpose. The robot desperately tries to keep her alive for just a bit longer, mirroring the life and death struggle that Tomoya and Ushio are facing in the real world. Nothing is given to the viewer explicitly and even at its climax, it takes more than a few rewatches to realise the true significance of this scene.
Yet, considering this as the moment of thematic completion, where the concept of family becomes the rightful victors against all odds and the humble dreams of the ceaselessly lovable characters are finally realised, it simply felt right to highlight the moment that enabled Clannad to become what it was always supposed to be about.
Though it’s not something that should be left as an overthought, the effort put into the visuals of the illusory world has never been topped even in Kyoto Animation’s future works in terms of pure aesthetics. Despite that, the number one scene of this list, also by the Kyoto Animation, rightfully takes it place as the studio’s possibly best ever sample of visual storytelling.
1. Suzumiya Haruhi no Shousetsu (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya)
It was always difficult to really feel that Yuki, Mikuru and Itsuki were characters when their agenda and priorities always revolved around Haruhi. The solution is simply then: let Kyon do his thing when the very center of their universe is no longer there to keep the world turning.
Realising that maybe his world isn’t that great when without the source of all his troubles, Kyon finds for the first time that he had always taken the people around him for granted. Through his worries is the accompaniment of the only person who has always been by him in his darkest times, a girl who he relied on but never really acknowledged.
When the two find themselves alone on the rooftop as their predicament, for now, comes to a close, we hear Kyon once again consolidating his thoughts in his usual sarcastic tone. It’s almost as if this was but another episode in the group’s usual hijinks, where Kyon settles down after a day of stress and redirects his irk towards Haruhi. But then, when the snow descends, Kyon finally melts the icy exterior of the girl whose attitude was almost as cold as her namesake.
This definitely is not just another moment in the SOS Brigade’s hijinks, for Kyon’s gestures, Yuki’s eyes and the soundless descent of the snow are more than enough to give us the entire story.
Snow in anime, whether it’s to serve as a thematic motif or to emphasize the raw emotions of an important scene, is a staple that holds together many a great moments to our viewing pleasure. It is a merciless reminder that things will take their course regardless of our feelings and decisions, but also a magical phenomenon that many are grateful for and a sight that ties together some of the greatest moments of storytelling.
Is snow something that you look forward to? Is there another winter moment in anime you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comment section below.