As sure as the taxes, it comes at the end of every year: the New Year. Time for looking back, looking forward and just going crazy, to celebrate and do all the things you for obvious reasons could not do in the Christmas Episode
Manga and anime love the New Year. After all, this is where you can show all the girls and some of the boys looking good in kimono while making the traditional visit to the local shrine. Of course you can also dress some of them up as mikos (yes, some of the boys, too!) taking against the visitors. Or you can just let them stay up late to see the first sunrise of the new year - if they can stay awake, of course!
In Western media, often a source of date anxiety. Common things include big fireworks, lots of champagne and New Year's Resolutions
and, not least, the breaking of them. And of course, a toast When the Clock Strikes Twelve
. That is, of course, if you agree whether it is the first or the last stroke which marks it (it's the first). And if the characters can stay awake. In fact both young and old characters may fall asleep before midnight, indicating immaturity for the former, and fatigue for the latter. In action-adventure shows, the plot will often involve a bomb set to go off exactly at midnight local time (often the ball in New York City's Times Square or the show's equivalent).
Some works use the new year as a natural starting and/or ending point for their stories. In series it may be used as an excuse for a Clip Show
Since the whole point of New Year's is the date turnover, it can be weird when this trope meets a work where the year is never given. If that's the case, expect the words "old year"/"last year" and "new year" to appear where the actual years would normally be mentioned.
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Anime & Manga
- Kokoro Library: The three sisters, Iina, Aruto and Kokoro, pray for good things to happen in the new year - however not exactly the same things.
- Hayate the Combat Butler: Nagi wants to see the first sunrise of the new year in Kujukurihama. Guess which butler-in-debt has to take her the 100 km (62 miles) there - on bike!
- Kedamono Damono: Haruki gets a night job as a miko in his female form to earn some money so he can buy a gift to Konatsu. But his partner as miko is also in love with him, and since she does not know the facts she wonders if the good looking girl she is working together with really is the cousin of Haruki as she was told.
- Mangaka Haruka Fukushima noticed in the afterword that one could say that she only made this story to draw Haruki as a miko.
- Mao-chan: Alien spies Yuriko and Chinami have disguised themselves as mikos to get people at the shrine to get people to touch one of their cute animals (a big sheep in this case) promising them that their first dream of the year will come true. But touching the sheep in reality puts people to sleep. Which soon leaves Kagome with her hands full since she is the only one of the defence forces not to touch the sheep.
- W Juliet: Makoto celebrates New Year's Eve at Ito's family. Problems however quickly ensue when Ito gets her beloved Wholesome Crossdresser to dress as the boy he is.
- Keroro Gunsou had a manga chapter where the platoon decides to hold an all night party whilst the Sarge builds one of his Gundam models...except he uses solvent based glue which won't dry fast enough and makes obnoxious fumes when you try to hair dry it, so with the plan of watching the sun rise over his new model nixed they all engage in drinking alcohol and making wishes for the new year. It does not end well...
- The anime adaptation of the episode had the characters (including the Narrator) wish everyone a happy new year. We then saw the Platoon playing various games (abusing Giroro in the process) and have an evening party... which also does not go well (to the extent Dororo is grateful he has been forgotten).
- A later manga chapter has the Sarge learn that he has been asleep for nearly a week, has missed New Year's and finds the house completely deserted (or so he thinks, it's revealed in a bonus chapter Kururu was hiding where the Sarge couldn't see him and didn't want to "babysit" him). He comes to the conclusion the Earth was invaded whilst he was asleep, puts on a Pekoponian disguise battlesuit and goes out to fight, only to find the Hinatas went to the temple to get their good luck messages for the year, and the others went home to be with their families.
- 20th Century Boys has New Year's Eve as the climax (kind of) of the first plot arc.
- Toradora! takes up the plot on New Year's after a short Time Skip from the Christmas Episode/Wham Episode. It contains evidence that Nothing Is the Same Anymore because Taiga can talk to Yuusaku without stuttering and becoming a dojikko. It turns out to be because she's over him and has realized she's in love with Ryuuji. A new beginning, of sorts.
- Cardcaptor Sakura has an episode where she goes to the temple with Tomoyo and gets an odd fortune from Eriol (i.e. one lacking in good luck that he magicked).
- In Future War 198X Laura and Wataru are enjoying drinks on the balcony while watching the sunset on New Year's Eve, talking about their hopes for the future, right before hearing news that World War III has broken out in Europe.
- In Kill Me Baby Yasuna, Sonya, and Agiri use the first school day after New Year to hold a combined New Year, Christmas and Halloween Party.
- In Lucky Star Konata and her father visit the shrine of the Hiiragi family after New Year.
- Kimi ni Todoke's first season ends with a New Year. We have another one in later manga chapters, a year later.
- "New Year, New Disasters" from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series is centered around this.
- "Days Of Auld Lang Smurf" from Empath: The Luckiest Smurf takes place over four days leading to New Year's Day, during which the Smurfs experience the "resurrection" of Papa Smurf's generation of Smurfs, which turns out to be a spell cast on them by the witch Chlorhydris.
- The Night of Wishes: The story took place on New Year's Eve and it was about an evil wizard and an evil witch having difficulties fulfilling their evil quota that year. Their only hope was a wish-granting potion that could only be brewed on New Year's Eve.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who: The Movie had its main action set around New Year's Eve in 1999.
- The New Year's Eve episodes of the well-known 1970's version of Match Game (which had the year in its name, i.e. Match Game '74) ceremonially updated the logo sign (and title) used in the opening to reflect the new year.
- Friends had a couple of New Year's episodes, the most notable one being where Chandler kissed Joey.
- "The One With the Routine" has Monica and Ross attempting to get on TV whilst on-set filming Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
- Mr. Bean also celebrates New Year's and has invited a pair of friends for it. However, he's such a lousy host they fast forwarded his clock to leave early and join another party.
- Not New Year-related as such but always shown on New Year's Eve in half of Europe: Dinner for One
- Engine Sentai Go-onger had a New Year's episode where the characters were dressed in kimonos. They also broke the Fourth Wall at the start to wish the audience a happy new year. And there were clips of the exploits of the characters over the past year (unfortuantely for Gaiark, they were all of their defeats).
- Kamen Rider Den-O also had one where the characters dressed in kimonos and received fortunes from the temple.
- The episode "Sylvesterpunsch" ("New Year's Eve Punch"note ) of the German sitcom Ein Herz und eine Seele.
- "The Countdown" episode of The O.C. (Season 1). Date anxiety, check!
- The M*A*S*H episode "A War for All Seasons" encompasses a year in the life of the 4077th, bracketed by a pair of New Year's celebrations.
- A Barney Miller episode takes place on New Year's Eve.
- The X-Files had "Millenium" as its New Year's episode. As suggested by the name, it aired in 1999 and is about superstition surrounding the new millenium. Perhaps surprisingly, it doesn't have to do with Y2K. It does have to do with religious fanatics using zombies to bring about the end of the world. In true X-Files style. "Millenium" pulls double duty as not only an X-Files episode, but the series finale to Millenium, another Chris Carter show. It also marks the first kiss between Mulder and Scully, just as the clock strikes midnight.
- Each season of Babylon 5 lined up with a calendar year in the show's universe, but only the first season finale had the New Year's celebration as a backdrop. This being one of the show's famous Wham Episodes, by the time the ball dropped, quite a few major changes had happened.
- A New Year's episode is the most obligatory thing the fireworks industry-based reality series Pyros could do; an episode splits the GFA crews between Quebec City and Rio de Janeiro for their respective New Year's Eve celebrations.
- Revenge: The flashback episode "Legacy" in season 1, all about how Emily/Amanda first got started on her revenge scheme, is set on New Year's Eve 2002.
- Until 2006 (when a combination of New Year's Eves falling on weekends, the writers' strike, and the premiere of Carson Daly's own New Year's show ended this practice), NBC aired new episodes of The Tonight Show and Late Night on New Year's Eve. Tonight historically featured a segment (dating back to the 1950's with Ben Grauer) covering festivities from Times Square. Conan on the other hand, for Rule of Funny, celebrated for Central Time instead, usually preceded by "tributes" to obscure celebrities who had "died", and an equally bizarre countdown.
- One year featured a subplot with correspondents who accidentally celebrated New Year's in South Bend, Indiana (which is in Eastern Time) and got caught in a police chase racing to Hudson Lake, Indiana (a town on the border of Central Time)
- El Chavo del ocho: When the residents of La Vencidad had a New Year's party, Don Ramón invited everyone to celebrate at his house because, unlike the others, he wasn't able to contribute in any other way.
- Modern Family had a New Year's Eve episode in its fourth season.
- The Mad Men episode "The Doorway" ends with Dec. 31-Jan. 1, 1967-68. Don and Megan have some neighbors over for a New Year's party.
- The Louie third-season finale takes place on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
- A Rhoda episode has Rhoda throwing a New Year's party, with the twist that everyone dons a Halloween mask. (Including, naturally, Carlton the doorman.)
- You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish And Dougal had a Hogmanay Special, notable in that the guests at the Laird's Hogmanay party were played by people other than the four main actors. (The other regulars on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, newsreader Jim Naughtie as Mrs Naughtie's son, and Sandi Toksvig as a very tall golfer.)
- The first couple of songs in the second act of Rent deal with the new year and how the characters succeed or fail in changing their lives: Maureen trying to win back Joanne, Roger choosing to believe in The Power of Love, Mimi failing to quit heroin.
- The Peanuts special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown centered around a New Year's party that Charlie Brown couldn't enjoy because he was assigned to write a comprehensive book report on War and Peace over Christmas Vacation.
- The Rankin Bass special Rudolph's Shiny New Year deconstructed the New Year's celebration, depicting it as a necessary ritual in order for time to continue flowing. This is exploited by the Big Bad Aeon, a creature who lives for exactly one eon long and is nearing the end of his lifespan within a matter of days. He kidnaps Baby New Year so the celebration can't proceed, and if it can't proceed, time stops, and if time stops, then he doesn't have to die. Yeah, the special analyzes death being a natural process, which means someone gets screwed over no matter what. Have fun partying while someone takes their last breath!
- Arthur's New Year's Eve. Arthur, who has never stayed up on New Year's Eve, hears wild stories from the other kids about what happens at midnight. Prunella claims there's a big green flash in the sky, Francine claims the New Years Police show up to arrest anyone who didn't throw away last year's calender, Binky claims there's a wresting match on TV between an old man and a baby, and Buster claims all the parents going out on New Year's are really attending a big meeting where they come up with new ways to be rotten to kids.
- Wunschpunsch: The episode "Night of Wishes", directly adapted from the book the series is based on, takes place on New Year's Eve.
- Phineas and Ferb has the season 4 episode "Happy New Year!".
- The New Batman Adventures episode "Holiday Knights" included a segment where The Joker threatened to gas all the revelers in Gotham Square precisely at midnight. Batman, naturally, saves the day and afterwards meets Commissioner Gordon for coffee (a New Year's tradition carried over from the comics).
- The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Sappy New Year" (1961) had the two birds swearing off practical jokes as a New Year's resolution. But when their attempts to do good deeds are misinterpreted as mischief, Heckle starts to revert back.
- The Popeye cartoon "Let's Celebrake".