10 Best Festival Episodes In Anime

Holiday episodes might grab the most attention, but some of the best episodes in anime have the cast attending local festivals. In Japan, festivals are held to celebrate several special occasions: people often dress in traditional clothing, enjoy tasty treats and fun games, and come together at the end of the night for a fireworks show. Schools often hold festivals and fairs, largely run by students, showcasing athletics, food, and other skills they want to display to classmates and visitors.

These episodes vary greatly in tone from show to show. Some will use the festivities as a break from the action or milk them for as much comedy as they can. Others will use them as a set piece for some of the most dramatic and even heartbreaking moments in any anime. Here is a list of the best festival episodes in anime history.



10 Code Geass (2006-2008)

code geass pizza hut product placement

As Lelouch bemoans, his student council duties have an annoying way of interfering with his plans to launch a coup d’état against his evil emperor father. However, there are some events that he ought to pay closer attention to. “Declaration at the School Festival” contains several interesting turns in all players’ efforts to achieve their goals in Area 11, making for a packed and interesting episode.

While Lelouch tries to juggle his civilian obligations and some of the best revenge plots in anime, Kallen and the Black Knights consider their plans and feelings about his secret identity Zero. As Britannian royals Schneizel and Cornelia build up their forces for war, their younger sister Euphemia makes a stunning announcement that she is moving to return the Japanese their rights. And in the middle of it all, Suzaku uses his state-of-the-art mecha to make a giant pizza for his classmates!

9 Free! (2013 – 2021)

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club is an anime series about competitive swimming.

Free! features a couple festival episodes. In “Hesitant Loosen Up!”, a masked Rei not-so-stealthily following Rin through the busy booths is a high point of the first season’s comedy. However, it’s the one in Eternal Summer that’s more memorable to many fans. “The Butterfly of Farewell!”’s title might mislead viewers into thinking it’s tragic but that comes later in the season, this episode highlights some of the most heartwarming friendships in Free!

When Iwatobi High School holds a culture festival, Haruka represents the swim team in the school relay race, giving a variation of his internal monologue about how he loves the water, but ultimately not feeling the wind quite so much. Then, though the team worries that Rei’s recent secrecy means he’s quitting, he reveals that he was taking private lessons from Rin: the two are now close enough that Rin is happily helping Rei branch out from butterfly stroke.

8 Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (2014)

As befits such a romantic comedy, the finale of the anime centers around Roman Academy’s summer festival. All of Nozaki-kun’s funniest characters and their unique comedic gags are in top form in this episode. The fireworks are only half of how “If This Feeling Isn’t Love, Then There is No Love in the World” ends the anime with a bang.

All the couples in the show enjoy the festival together, from Seo hauling Wakamatsu off to play games with her to Kashima joining Hori in taking reference photos for Nozaki’s manga. As for Chiyo, after a callback to the moment she fell for Nozaki in the first episode, she manages to finally confess her love for him as the fireworks boom above them. Nozaki’s response leaves it ambiguous whether or not he heard and understood what she was trying to tell him.

7 Pokémon (1998 – present)

Pokemon Game Ghost Type Scary Horror Gengar Spiritomb

As Ash and company journey across region after region, they attend many local festivals. One of the most notable among them is also one of Pokémon’s darkest episodes. Maiden’s Peak’s summer festival commemorates the local legend of a ghost whose true love died at sea two thousand years ago, and who lurks on the peak waiting for young men to replace him.

Like in real-life festivals celebrating summer, Ash and Misty have fun dressing up, dancing, and indulging in carnival games and food. The event ends with the people of Maiden’s Peak floating small boats lit with candles into the ocean, to peacefully guide the souls of the dead. Unfortunately for Brock and James, the ghost’s latest targets, banishing this lost soul is a little more difficult.

6 Assassination Classroom (2013 – 2016)

Class 2-E celebrating in Assassination Classroom.

In “School Festival Time,” Class 3-E finally starts to shake off their status as some of the best anime heroes with the worst reputations. Over the past season and a half or so, the kids have been secretly honing their various skills as they train to assassinate their alien teacher. Fortunately, many of these skills also help them in their personal lives and in the cutthroat environment of Kunugigaoka Academy.

Normally secluded from the rest of the student body, the class shocks everyone with their successful cafe. It doesn’t outstrip the top students’ better-sponsored venture, but comes in third after it gets the school on the news. Even Nagisa’s terrifyingly controlling mother is impressed enough by his success and happiness to start accepting his independence and supporting him.

5 A Silent Voice (2016)

Shouko watches the fireworks in A Silent Voice.

Based on the manga of the same name, Naoko Hamada’s film adaptation of A Silent Voice is up there among the ranks of anime films guaranteed to make you weep. As a child, Shouya Ishida and his friends bullied Shouko Nishimiya for being deaf, until she had to transfer schools. Made a social pariah for his role in the bullying, a teenage Shouya reconnects with Shouko to try and make amends for hurting her, and the two soon grow close.

A fireworks festival sets up one of the movie’s most heartbreaking sequences. Blaming herself for her friends’ and family’s problems, Shouko uses the festival as a distraction so she can attempt to take her own life. Shouya is seriously injured stopping her, and tearfully admits his own past attempt to Shouko to convince her to keep living. Later, highlighting the movie’s themes of forging connections and rejoining community, Shouya’s ultimate realization that they have moved on from the past also takes place at a school festival.

4 Ouran High School Host Club (2006)

Group shot of the main characters in Ouran Host Club

Though Ouran is high up there among anime that fans crave a second season for, “This Is Our Ouran Fair!” is a more than fitting send-off to the Host Club. Tamaki’s arranged engagement to Éclair Tonnerre and the background machinations between the powerful families involved has broken the Host Club apart. However, after everything Tamaki has done for them, his friends aren’t about to give him up so easily.

The annual Ouran Fair is the Host Club’s biggest chance to show their stuff to their peers and families. This time, their costumes, horse-drawn carriage rental, and displays of crazy skill are more than just entertainment: they’re a rescue mission! Their outpouring of love drives Tamaki to leap out of a moving vehicle and off a bridge to reunite with Haruhi and affirm his loyalty to his best friends, and the final scene of all the other Hosts dancing with Haruhi under the fireworks show is perfect.

3 Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (2019 – present)

Kaguya and Miyuki's kiss

This zany comedy’s second season used its highly lauded sports festival episode to reveal a less explored side character’s tragic backstory. While Kaguya-sama: Love is War may be one of the funniest anime of the 2010s, it is made great by the way it also handles the serious and emotionally heavy points of the story. As Kaguya and Miyuki start to crack under the pressure to confess their feelings, they use Shuchiin’s culture festival as the chance to make their big moves.

The climactic episodes of the third season see Kaguya struggling to figure out how to make Miyuki confess to her, while Miyuki plans to set a perfect scene for Kaguya to confess to him. Their characteristic overthinking and dramatics fuel much of the comedy of these episodes, but that only makes it hit harder when the two of them finally put their feelings out in the open. Amid a storm of heart-shaped balloons, Miyuki admits he wants Kaguya to come to college abroad with him, and Kaguya responds by kissing him for the first time.

2 Blue Exorcist (2011 – 2017)

Rin and Yukio Okumura Fanart by Deviant Art

While this arc technically has not yet received an animated adaptation, fans still faithfully await the announcement of a third season of Blue Exorcist. Among the events that they would love to see animated is the Academy Seven Wonders Arc. After the Exwires investigate the titular school mysteries, they prepare in earnest for True Cross Academy’s school festival in an arc that mixes humor and tension.

Some nights of the festival require students to come as couples, leaving Rin and his classmates hilariously scrambling for dates for several chapters. But the plot is still lurking in the background, and the festival abruptly ends with the Illuminati spy at the school being revealed, Lucifer himself making an appearance to provoke the exorcists, and Izumo being kidnapped.

1 My Hero Academia (2016 – present)

The Dance Team during the U.A. School Festival Arc in My Hero Academia

U.A.‘s sports festival comprises one of the best tournament arcs in anime. However, the culture festival depicted in the fourth season is equally entertaining for different reasons. After harrowing battles with the Shie Hassaikai, Class 1-A refuses to rest on their laurels, determined to show their classmates the best possible time (and the public their best possible image) at the U.A. school festival.

Their efforts to put together a live band and dance are a wild success, with Kyouka using her Quirk and secretly amazing voice to lead and Bakugou working out his aggression issues on the drums in the back. The sight is so uplifting that Eri, a child so badly abused by the Shie Hassaikai that she had forgotten how to show happiness, breaks out into a big grin. Though Izuku is currently fighting a villain and isn’t there to see, the happiness he’s protecting is more than clear enough for the audience to see.

Leave a Comment