An original Christmas song from a nearly two decade-old quasi-harem anime series—where said “harem” is a dozen siblings—is probably the thing anyone might ever expect to be solid, let alone a highlight. But ours is the strangest timeline in which we live.

Sister Princess
Takayuki Hattori (composer)
Karen (pipe organ, vocals)
Aria (solo)
Sakuya, Chikage, Mamoru, Rin Rin, Haruka, Marie, Yotsuba, Shirayuki, Kaho, Hinako, & Mami (choir)
“Sono Kiseki wa Towa ni”/“The Miracle Is Forever”

It came out in 2001. I saw it in 2004, courtesy of The Anime Network on-demand. I was thirteen at the time. Yes, I adored this trash at the time. And yes, it was given a 10 on the 1-to-5 Rating Scale of Desirability on one of my Christmas lists—when I was little, I formatted my lists as Excel spreadsheets—an honor shared with the distinguished likes of my Neon Genesis Evangelion DVD box set.

And yes, I still had affection for Sister Princess long after all that, extending even through the first couple years of college. Fascination for the music went on even longer; hell, I picked up that My Sweet Twelve Angels album of image songs from Right Stuf not even four years ago after seeing it on sale for super cheap!

No, I will not try defending any of it. This is as old shame as it gets.

But this Christmas song from the first anime series still is something else. Embedded above is the original Japanese rendition for the song, but Fun Fact! When ADV (rest in peace) dubbed this show, they went so far as to get all of their voice actors to perform the song in English, and that version sounds just as good. It’s a damn shame that one seemingly can’t be found on YouTube.

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Also, I respect that they not just sidestepped the more conventional, treacly tack that an original holiday song could have taken, but went with a full-on church hymn. Which includes, of course, drenching the whole room in gorgeous pipe organ. The lyrics even manage to imbue themselves with both the most earnest and idealistic strain of Christmas spirit AND religious weight without ever explicitly mentioning Christmas or Christianity. That is honestly impressive, and it works so well here.

Is this UDSA-certified cheese? Yeah, maybe. But this is cheese worth believing in, even as an anomaly from the dark anime depths.

RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is usually a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime. This week, however, running from Sunday December 3 to Saturday December 9, is a daily rundown of favorite songs related to the holiday season.