The Other Side of Animation 2015 Christmas Special Part 1: Ziggy's Gift Review

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Ah yes, it’s Christmas time! Time to review two different Christmas specials! I could have gone with the instant classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas, but that’s owned by Disney, so I won’t tackle it. Plus, you should already own the movie. I also could have gone with the timeless classic, The Snowman. However, I decided to tackle maybe one of the lesser known Christmas specials with Ziggy’s Gift. This 1982 TV special was directed by Richard Williams, the same guy behind the Chuck Jones-produced Christmas Carol and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and is based off the popular long running comic, Ziggy.  Ziggy’s Gift is a short, but charming little Christmas special that has some famous pedigree behind it. How good is it? Is it an underrated classic? Or should it have been forgotten for a reason? Let’s find out!

The story revolves around our small lead character Ziggy, as he spends Christmas as a street-side Santa to get money for charity. Along the way, he encounters a very clever thief, a crooked businessman, and a bumbling cop. Honestly, that is pretty much it for the story element.

So, what is jolly about this Christmas special? Well, besides the overall experience being labeled as charming and cute, the animation is top-notch for TV animation. It’s slick, has good comedic timing, and is very expressive. Ziggy might not be one of the most interesting comic characters, but he is a genuinely nice character. He’s not selfish at all during the special. I also like the cop character. He isn’t a jerk or a doofus cop; he is one who is actually doing his job. As usual, for a Christmas special, it’s atmospheric, heartwarming, and actually touching. I think it’s kind of funny that I’m using a word such as touching and heartwarming with someone like Ziggy.

However, there are a few elements to point out for odd reasons or at least that could have used some explanation. For example, throughout the film, Ziggy uses an honestly out-of-nowhere magical cauldron that he got for his street Santa gig and gives money out to two different individuals. One of them happened to be a butcher who has all of these turkeys. Now, Ziggy buys all the turkeys, only to release them. So, was he not worried about the cars running over the scared, freed turkeys? How did the cauldron become magical? Why was the cauldron owned by the crooked businessman? How did the police officer’s star become one of the saving graces of the show? How did the sack that the thief was carrying get the same magical properties as the cauldron at the end of the special? In the end, this is one kind of special where you don’t really mind not getting the answers. The point of the story is that the magic from the holidays is coming together to help out others. It’s another special with nothing, but good morals.

Ziggy’s Gift might have its odd and surreal moments, but with top-notch animation, some pretty good jokes, and likable characters, this is one Christmas special worth checking out. I have seen that it is available on DVD, so if you can find it for cheap, I would say pick it up. It has a lot more charm than most holiday specials that are based off of comic book characters. Now then, I think it’s time to go back to the individuals of Cartoon Saloon, the studio behind one of my favorite animated films, Song of the Sea, with their second-made animated film with Santa’s Apprentice. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Rating: Go See It!