Featured image credit by 40原 and 花見ゆうき via Pixiv
'Tis the season once again! Or, at least, it was. The halls just got decked, the sleigh bells finished ringing, and it was a brightly lit wonderland for this last month of the year. And for us kigurumi enthusiasts... reindeer-themed kigurumi.
Image credit by deme via Pixiv
That's right, reindeers.
Nope, not just any Christmas-themed kigurumi. A reindeer is by far is THE best Christmas-related theme (among others) that adheres to a specific kind of animal character, and fits perfectly into the onesie build we all know and love. So much so, that it appears in festive occasions one way or another so consistently, and this of course includes many animated shows over the last few years.
As for the actual numbers... let's just say that reindeer kigurumi might soon very well surpass bear kigurumi as the second most popular animal-theme of kigurumi featured in anime and similar media.
Essentially, Reindeer = Kigurumi
Searching for kigurumi images online is... not really difficult at all. But when you're trying to search for specific themes, or images, or groups of specific themes for images, the downward spiral of results can get frustrating pretty quickly.
But that is never the case when you're searching for reindeer kigurumi. In fact, you don't even have to use the word "kigurumi" to get lots of kigurumi results! You can simply type, let's say, "reindeer costume", and at least half of the results will appear as a kigurumi onesie. This is unlike most other animal themes, where sometimes even the word "kigurumi" would mostly yield mascot-type results instead.
Needless to say, the same trend seems to happen to anime as well. There will be a good number of reindeer mascot-type kigurumi appearances, but overall the reindeer kigurumi onesies would still edge out. Though this time, when it comes to anime, the choice to use a kigurumi onesie was most likely made to preserve the face of the character wearing it. Can't have that waifu-tier face being obscured by a comically designed reindeer kigurumi mascot y'know.
As for why reindeer kigurumi onesie results are more popular than mascot reindeer kigurumi results, we're not really sure. Maybe that's just the sheer power of Yuletide consistency for reindeers plus onesies.
It is Almost Always Rudolph
So, how many images here in this specific blog post are themed after a red-nosed reindeer kigurumi? That's right, more or less almost all of them. Rudolph just has a much stronger PR and character appeal that simply falling into standard reindeer designs sometimes isn't even considered an option! As such, it is understandable that anime series usually don't just go for the generic designs. They would obviously stick immediately to the "brightest" design of them all.
I mean, you could probably make the argument on why workshop elves could be a nice alternative. But let's face it, none of those are ever going to come close to the Christmas star power of Rudolph. One more solid reason why Christmas kigurumi automatically means reindeer kigurumi.
Although... we probably shouldn't dive too deeply on the intricacies of Rudolph as a possible licensed character kigurumi.
One Theme, One Color, But Countless(?) Designs
Removing licensed character designs out of the equation, cat kigurumi can rely either on additional accessories and different color splashes. Same with a bear kigurumi, though colors are only limited usually to black, brown or white. Others, like tiger kigurumi, can only rely on base color variants.
This is curiously not the case with reindeer kigurumi. The brown fur, antlers, occasionally red nose, and sleigh bell on the neck might seem too specific of a combination. And yet, we can see a lot of variations in design among its anime appearances despite having mostly just one theme and one color.
To be fair, this isn't exactly a reason to permanently identify reindeers as a Christmas animal (much as bunnies shouldn't always be associated with Easter), but this attribute balance sure hell makes it the much more attractive option. Especially compared to the familiar reds and greens of other supposedly Christmas-themed kigurumi onesies and costumes.
More Comedic than Cute
Another odd thing about reindeer kigurumi in anime, is that it has always been more associated with slapstick comedy moments, or at least comic relief scenes, than depictions of pure wholesome cuteness. Don't get me wrong, reindeer kigurumi are definitely cute by default. It's just that, the context of the instances they appear in anime are often related directly to a "laughtrack-inducing" stereotypical comedy scenes.
Maybe because reindeers are supposed to be funny? Is it a Rudolph-ridiculing, Santa-judging thing? We're not sure. In fact, in some of these cases Christmas is completely taken out of the equation, leaving only the comedic essences of a reindeer kigurumi's existence.
Full-time (Land-based) Winter Gang Member
Lastly, along with fur seals and penguins, reindeers are part of the obligatory winter package, and thus will inevitably be featured in any special occasion during that season, the most popular of which, of course, is Christmas.
... specifically in the Northern Hemisphere, of course. Though, any snow-covered landscape is still technically acceptable. Our intrepid Antarctic adventurers, for example, did have a few other... aces, up their sleeve, when the entire base decided that it would be a good idea to unleash all the winter-themed kigurumi in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere "heat".
But even if we go outside the standard winter package, don't fret. If you somehow were not able to unleash the full Christmas-themed winter-themed powers of a reindeer kigurumi, it's still a basic animal-theme that is worth using for other occasions. For example, bat kigurumi definitely isn't just limited to Halloween, is it?
Well... maybe with the exception of a few "non-reindeer-optimized" kigurumi occasions.