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A shrine at an anime matsuri.
A shrine at an anime matsuri.

Anime Matsuri: Best Episodes to Watch!

Savannah WalkerSavannah Walker
Published Time
Posted on July 09, 2024
Modified Time
Updated last July 09, 2024

Are you ready to dive into the colorful universe of anime and visit their matsuri episodes? These special festival-themed episodes in anime are like a burst of fireworks on a summer night—vibrant, exciting, and full of surprises! Let’s explore why you should join the fun and which episodes are essential!

What is a “festival” episode?

In anime, a festival episode, or matsuri in Japanese, is a special episode that captures the essence of traditional Japanese festivals. Generally, these episodes often feature lively celebrations, dazzling costumes, delicious food stalls, and sometimes even supernatural encounters! They’re also popular because of Japan’s rich culture from your couch. Here are some favorite must-see episodes to introduce you to these fun matsuri!

“The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak” (Pokémon)

“The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak” is one of the most incredible festival episodes in Pokémon. Ash and his friends end up in a seaside town during its yearly festival, where they meet a real ghost! This episode mixes old stories with exciting Pokémon battles, creating a spooky but fun atmosphere.

In this adventure, Ash, Misty, and Brock arrive at Maiden’s Peak just in time for a special once-a-year celebration. The town has an exciting story about a beautiful young woman who has been waiting for her lost love for a long time. As Ash and his friends enjoy the festival, they learn about the town’s history and the ghost that shows up yearly.

Ash, Misty, Pikachu and another girl at a summer festival.
This festival episode is also a ghost episode! Image via Anime Annoyance

The episode gets pretty creepy when Brock and Team Rocket’s James fall under the ghost’s spell. The ghost is a Gastly, a mischievous Pokémon playing tricks! This leads to fantastic battles and funny moments as Ash and his friends try to save the day.

This episode is great because it combines ghost stories, Japanese culture, and Pokémon action. Overall, it’s a perfect mix of scary and fun, making it a fan-favorite episode that shows off the excitement of a Japanese festival with a spooky twist.

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“The Promised Port! Wano Country Arc Act 3 Begins” (One Piece)

Ahoy, mateys! Set sail with the Straw Hat Pirates to the Wano Country, where the “Fire Festival” lights up the night sky. In this epic One Piece episode, the crew immerses themselves in Wano’s vibrant culture, joining the locals in a fiery celebration that marks a pivotal moment. It’s not just a festival; it’s a breathtaking spectacle that ignites the spirit of adventure!

An episode of One Piece that features the Fire Festival.
The Fire Festival is inspired by Obon! Image via IMDb

Wano Country’s Fire Festival is a mix of traditions, myths, and the indomitable spirit of its people. The episode also captures Wano’s distinct cultural identity, from its traditional dress to lively performances and culinary delights. As the night unfolds, the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves amidst a revolution brewing in the shadows, adding depth to the festivities. Finally, it’s a feast for the eyes and a testament to One Piece‘s ability to weave grand adventure with cultural reverence.

“Star Festival” (Date a Live!)

Love meets chaos in the “Star Festival” episode of Date a Live! As spirits crash the festival, our protagonist must navigate romantic encounters amidst the festival’s cosmic backdrop. The Star Festival, known as Tanabata in Japan, celebrates the legend of two star-crossed lovers separated by the Milky Way. Moreover, it’s a tale of romance and action that twinkles like stars in the night sky.

Characters from "Date a Live" at the Star Festival.
This episode is inspired by Tanabata! Image via Facebook

Date a Live! takes the Tanabata festival to new heights with its supernatural twist, where cosmic beings disrupt the peaceful celebration with their unpredictable powers. Amidst the chaos, our hero faces dilemmas of the heart and battles that transcend the boundaries of time and space. Overall, it’s a whirlwind of emotions against a backdrop of shimmering lights and heartfelt wishes! Because of this, the Star Festival episode is a must-watch for its blend of mythic lore and modern-day romance.

“The School Festival is for Me?” (Sailor Moon)

In Sailor Moon, Usagi and her friends transform their school’s ordinary festival into an extraordinary adventure. From maid cafes to talent shows, this episode sparkles with friendship, magic, and a touch of mischief. It’s not just about having fun; it’s about discovering new strengths and forging bonds that shine as bright as the moonlight.

Sailor Mars singing at a matsuri in an anime episode of "Sailor Moon".
Sailor Mars gets to shine in this episode! Image via CBR

Usagi Tsukino, also known as Sailor Moon, is embroiled in school festival preparations alongside her friends, each bringing their unique talents to the table. From Rei’s psychic booth to Ami’s genius inventions, the festival becomes a stage for lighthearted antics and self-discovery moments.

As darkness looms on the horizon, Usagi and her friends must balance school life with their duty as Sailor Guardians, adding a layer of suspense to the festivities. It’s also a celebration of youth, friendship, and the indomitable spirit that defines Sailor Moon’s legacy.

Why should I watch an anime matsuri episode?

You should watch an anime matsuri episode because it’s a journey into Japanese culture and creativity. These episodes offer a glimpse into traditional festivities, mythical tales, and the spirit of camaraderie that defines anime storytelling.

A girl in a yukata resting among a fireworks festival.
Which episode is your favorite? Image via Wallpaper Cave

So, grab your popcorn, don your festival yukata, and get ready to dance under the anime stars! Which festival episode will you explore first? Let us know in the comments below, and share your favorite festival memories from anime! 

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