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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. Time to celebrate and do all the things that for obvious reasons you couldn't do in the Christmas Episode.

Manga and anime love the New Year; in Japan, it's essentially the biggest holiday of the year (Christmas, which is the biggest holiday of the year in North America, is celebrated a bit differently there). 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 Miko (yes, some of the boys, too!) to manage the crowds and sell charms and fortunes to 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!

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In Western media, often a source of date anxiety (and a New Year's Kiss!). Common things include big fireworks, lots of champagne, and the making (and inevitable breaking) of New Year's resolutions. And of course, a toast and the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" When the Clock Strikes Twelve. That's provided you can agree on whether it's the first or the last stroke which marks the change (it's the first). And that 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 at the ball-drop 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.

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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.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics): Issue #21 revolves around Mega Man stopping Xander's Emerald Spears from setting off a time-bomb on New Years midnight stroke.
  • The New York Four goes out with a bang! A countdown to be exact.
  • In Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, in an early strip, Reid and the gang attend a New Year's Eve party. Reid meets a bore, smokes some dope, and shouts out "Big Deal" at the stroke of midnight.
  • A Bronze Age Superman story featuring Jon Hudson, the Superman of the future year 2020, was set during New Year's Eve. Instead of a ball drop, an orbital habitat descended to Earth. The story also featured Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadian Android Orchestra. The character continued to be referred to as "Superman 2020" in the titles of subsequent stories, even though it was now 2021.
  • Issue 3 of the 1990 Superman/Batman: World's Finest miniseries is set at New Year, a week after the Christmas-based previous issue. Luthor and Joker take advantage of the festivities to take revenge on each others' cities.
  • A New Year's party reveals a major plot point in Zot! when the year ticks over from 1965... to 1965. The visitors from Jenny's Earth are the only ones who notice anything wrong; everyone from Zot's Earth says before midnight that next year will be 1966, and after midnight says that last year was of course 1964. This kicks off a storyline that starts to suggest that Zot's Earth may not be entirely real.

    Fan Works 
  • "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.
  • New Year's celebrations on the Harvey Girls Forever! Fanon Wiki are really unforgettable. When it is New Year's on Harvey Street, kids can be allowed to drink champagne as stated by Bobby the Elder, then they'll want to light off fireworks when it is midnight. Also, they can be involved with the television for an event called the Harvey Ball Drop!

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The ensemble comedy 200 Cigarettes is set on New Year's Eve in 1981.
  • The Apartment: Fran finally abandons her loathsome married boyfriend at a New Year's party, and rushes over to Baxter's apartment, finding him popping a bottle of champagne just after midnight.
  • Bitter Moon has a rather dark take on this, near the end.
  • Carnival Night: A Russian rec center putting on a big New Year's bash has to thwart the newly installed director, who hates fun and wants to make things dry and boring.
  • Cavalcade opens with the family celebrating New Year 1900 and ends with them celebrating New Year 1933.
  • In The Divorcee Ted stalks out of a New Year's party after seeing his ex-wife Jerry canoodling with another man. At a different New Year's party, Ted and Jerry get back together, embracing as the balloons fall at midnight.
  • The main heist of Entrapment takes place on New Year's Eve.
  • Forrest Gump: In New Year's Eve 1971-72, Forrest encounters Lt. Dan after appearing on Dick Cavett's show. They see the ball-drop together at a crowded bar, but Forrest spends his time thinking about Jenny (who leaves his rock drummer boyfriend in the meantime) and the Lieutenant stares blankly while everybody else celebrates (made more heart-breaking since he had joked about Forrest owning a shrimp boat the minute before), with only Forrest wishing him a happy new year. After an incident with some hookers who insulted Forrest, Lt. Dan wishes him a happy new year as well.
  • Four Rooms is an anthology film following a loopy bellboy working a very memorable shift On New Year's Eve as the only employee on staff.
  • The Godfather Part II: A key scene revolves around Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba, which took place on January 1, 1959. On New Year's Eve 1958-1959, Michael discovers Fredo was the one who sold him out to Hyman Roth. Michael confronts him at the New Year's Eve party and gives him a symbolic Kiss of Death. The Cuban Revolution then forces Fredo and Michael to flee back to America.
  • The Gold Rush includes a scene where Charlie Chaplin sets up a New Year's party for the girl he has an unrequited crush on. She doesn't show up. A downcast Charlie then wanders to the local tavern to watch through the window as all the prospectors and prostitutes have a raucous New Year's celebration.
  • Ghostbusters II: the New Year (1989/1990) is a major plot point.
  • Holiday has its first act set on Christmas, its second act on New Year's Eve (with a big party as a centerpiece), and a third act a couple of days later.
  • The Holiday ends on New Year's, as Iris returns to England with Miles to celebrate with her brother's family and Amanda, with the promise of a better future.
  • The Hudsucker Proxy has Bookends at New Year's Eve 1958 and 1959 (supposedly), and a clock motif that's conspicuous throughout the movie.
  • The Irony of Fate is a Russian romantic dramedy classic set on New Year's Eve and early New Year's Day, involving various celebrations and romantic entanglements.
  • Kolberg: Joachim, the mayor of Kolberg, is in no mood to celebrate New Year's 1807, as he knows the French army is approaching and will be attacking Kolberg soon. His niece Maria still lights the candles on the Christmas tree, though.
  • More American Graffiti intersperses events from New Year's Eve 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967.
  • New Year's Eve is a romantic comedy following the intersecting events of various characters, all taking place on the titular day.
  • New Year's Evil is a Slasher Movie whose villain kills each time it strikes midnight in a different time zone, with his final designated victim located in LA.
  • Ocean's 11: The 1960 original — Ocean and his gang rob 5 casinos at once on New Year's.
  • Peter's Friends takes place during New Year's weekend-long reunion between old involving friends from university.
  • The Phantom Carriage: The protagonist David Holm almost dies on New Year's Eve, which would mean that as the last sinner to die in the year, he would be tasked with taking up The Grim Reaper's job. However, he sees how evil he has been in his life and is filled with regret, so he is allowed to resuscitate and go make amends for it for the rest of his life.
  • The Poseidon Adventure, as well as its remake Poseidon, are disaster films set on New Year's Eve.
  • At the end of the film Radio Days, Joe's family celebrates New Year's Eve together at home while Sally spends the night at a lavish ball with other radio personalities.
  • The final scene of the gangster film, Shanghai Grand, is set in the new year of 1934. It's also at this very moment where the protagonist gets shot dead by his best friend, in the cover of fireworks going off and a cheering crowd in a background.
  • In School Waltz, Gosha's decision to abandon his wife Dina on New Year's Eve and go out, instead of staying home to celebrate, is what finally convinces her that their marriage is a failure.
  • San Francisco opens with the good folks of the Barbary Coast celebrating New Year's 1905-6. The revels are interrupted by a fire that breaks out an apartment building, which sets up some of the plot and foreshadows the great earthquake and fire at the end.
  • Strange Days: The ending takes place at a big New Year party.
  • Sunset Boulevard has Norma Desmond inviting Joe to a New Year's Eve "party" at which he turns out to be the only guest.
  • Terror Train is a Slasher Movie set aboard a train where a bunch of students have come together to celebrate New Year's Eve, not knowing that there's a killer among them.
  • Trading Places had the train party on New Year's Eve, where the group attempts to steal Beeks' reports. The actual climax where Valentine and Winthrope use the report to get rich and ruin the Duke Brothers is close enough, as it takes place January 2.
  • When Harry Met Sally...: Its New Year's scene is so iconic that someone on Twitter suggested starting the film at 10:30:28 pm local time if one wanted to count down to the new year with the movie instead of the ball drop.

    Literature 
  • Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" takes place on New Year's Eve.
  • Isaac Asimov's "What If— (1952)": The first New Year's celebration after their wedding, Norman accidentally spilled his drink on Liwy and they had to leave early. When they see what might've happened in the timeline where he marries Georgette, he still spills it on Liwy.
  • Around the World in Seventy-Two Days: Bly and her fellow travelers toast the New Year and sing "Auld Lang Syne" while en route from Hong Kong to Yokohama.
  • Ben Snow: "The Edge of the Year 1900" takes place on New Year's Eve 1899, with Ben getting mixed up with a Cult that believes that the world is going to end, and Ben having to solve a murder that occurs on the stroke of midnight.
  • City of Bones opens on New Year's Day as LAPD detective Harry Bosch, at the scene of a suicide, reflects on how the holidays always lead to an increase in suicides. Later that day, Bosch gets the call about the bones in the hills which starts the main plot.
  • Discworld's Hogfather: Since Hogswatchnight, in addition to being the Discworld's You Mean "Xmas" festival, is also its New Year's Eve (the name plays on "Hogmanay" and "Watchnight"), this book ends with the Canting Crew hearing the strike of midnight and wishing each other a happy new year.
  • In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, The Golden Demon started publication on New Year 1897 and thus the story begins on a New Year night complete with traditional Japanese New Year customs like kadomatsu and a karuta game.
  • Make Room! Make Room! takes place in a future 1999, and ends just after midnight on January 1, 2000.
  • In Mary Poppins Opens the Door, the second-to-last chapter, "Happily Ever After", begins on New Year's Eve, and ends on New Year's Day. During "the crack" in between the first and last strokes of midnight, Mary Poppins and the Banks children attend a party with characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
  • 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.
  • The entirety of Pippa Passes takes place on New Year's Day. It's the only day off all year for Pippa the silk weaver, who spends it taking a walk through town.
  • A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: In Christine's story, she feared The End of the World as We Know It that would come on New Year's Eve when she as a teenager had heard from a Catholic teacher that either Russia was going to convert or else the whole world is doomed. Christine stays up waiting until she falls asleep, New Year's Eve passes, and nothing cosmic happens. This incident is told in all three stories in the book (the final account being Ida's, which closes out the story with Father Hurlburt watching her braid her hair), with Christine telling it to her daughter Rayona as the reason she gave up on religion.

    Music 
  • "Happy New Year" by ABBA. If you just listen to the chorus, it appears to be a celebration of better times to come, but the verses are about how New Year optimism always turns to disappointment in the end.
  • "New Year's Day" by U2, with the refrain "nothing changes on New Year's Day", with its lyrics being about the Polish Solidarity movement around that time.
  • "New Year's Day" by Taylor Swift, about being with somebody she cares about after the party celebrating the New Year is over.
  • "New Year's Day" by Bon Jovi.
  • "It's Just Another New Year's Eve" by Barry Manilow.
  • "Maybe Baby (New Year's Day)" by Sugarland.
  • "My Dear Acquaintance (Happy New Year)" by Regina Spektor.
  • "Let's Start The New Year Right" by Bing Crosby.
  • "New Year's Resolution" by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.
  • "Funky New Year" by the Eagles.
  • "The New Year" by Death Cab For Cutie.
  • "New Year's Day" by Pentatonix.
  • "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" by Ella Fitzgerald.
  • "New Year's Eve" by Tom Waits.
  • "11:59 (It's January)" by Scrawl.
  • "Bringing In A Brand New Year" by Charles Brown.
  • "New Year's Eve" by Snoop Dogg.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Japanese Wrestling Association had the JWA New Year International Competitions in the 1960s. After splitting off, All Japan Pro Wrestling had the New Year Giant Series, to which New Japan Pro-Wrestling responded with the New Year Golden Series. AJPW used to have the New Year NWA Series but that stopped after both it and NJPW split off from the NWA.
  • Dragon Gate had the Primal Gate series at the start of every year until it was replaced with Open The New Years Gate series.
  • CZW New Year New Opportunities
  • TNA iMPACT! 287: New Year's Eve Knockout Special (which wasn't an all women's show for those of you familiar with TNA terminology, but they were the ones predominately featured)
  • ZERO1 Wrestler's 8 - New Year Gigs
  • Great Canadian Wrestling has its New Years Evil events.
  • Fight The World's New Years Nightmare.
  • Ganko Pro's New Years Manly Battle
  • Coastal Championship Wrestling's Homicidal New Year (yes Sabu was prominently featured, why do you ask?)
  • DDT New Year's Gift Special
  • NOAH New Year Navigation
  • Dramatic Dream Team: The New Year's Gift Special...specials, they celebrate it.

    Radio 
  • 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.)
    Hamish: Och, we never celebrate Hogmanay.
    Dougal: No, we do not. It clashes with New Year's Eve.

    Theatre 
  • Alison's House takes place on the afternoon and evening of December 31, 1899. Much thought is given to the changing times that are symbolized by the dawn of a new century.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • In Animal Crossing, The Villager and the other residents gather together to count down for the new year with a timer and festivities; from New Leaf onward, the celebrations are hosted by Isabelle and Redd, and in New Horizons, Redd is replaced with Tom Nook.
  • Hotel Mario: Starting the game on New Years has the "Here We Go" screen instead says "Happy New Year" on January 1.
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: The 2018 New Year Event introduces a special holiday-themed version of Madoka, as well as plots where the characters say their New Year's wishes and participate in contests.
  • Persona:
  • The Cold Cold Heart DLC for Batman: Arkham Origins takes place around New Year's Eve.
  • The pre-titles level of James Bond 007: NightFire is a way-cool rail-shooter/driving level through the streets of Paris on New Year's Eve.
  • Every New Year in Dragalia Lost, emissaries from Hinomoto travel across the world to spread good fortune at the behest of Amaterasu. There are three such events related to these visits.
    • Fortune From Afar, involving Ieyasu of the Boar Clan and his merry band of adventurers.
    • A Clawful Caper, where Mitsuhide of the Mouse Clan and her band pursue blessings stolen by the cat dragon Ebisu.
    • Cursed Connections, where the villainous Doman impersonates a member of the Ox Clan and infiltrates the Halidom to elude pursuit by a band led by the onmyoji Seimei, who also leads the Ox Clan. This is immediately followed by Fortune's Fray, where a tournament of fighters all gather to spread knowledge of Hinomoto's culture.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon; most of Chapter 1 takes place on New Year's Eve, and Ichiban himself was born and Switched at Birth on New Years.

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in Melody. Even though the story references both Christmastime and a Valentine's Day knockoff, New Year’s Day is not mentioned once.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Sanders Sides: In "A New Year of Lying to Myself... In Song!", Thomas and the Sides discuss how to make reasonable New Years resolutions.
  • Tsukiuta's twitter short stories show the characters' daily lives, including how they spend holidays like New Years. Of note is the January representative Hajime, who comes from an important (essentially aristocratic) family that has large-scale formal ceremonies for the new year, which he, as the young heir, must attend.

 
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Big Resolution

The Greens and Gloria prepare for their New Year resolutions.

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