Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Christmas Movie
First Released: August 2003, 92-minute film
Summary: Three homeless individuals have banded together, roaming the streets of Tokyo with little regard for responsibility or the future. Hana is a kind transwoman, Miyuki is a runaway teenager, and Gin has a troubled past he would prefer to forget. It’s Christmas Eve and they find a newborn baby in a waste pile as they’re searching it for a Christmas present. Despite their situation, they decide to take the baby and embark on a search for the mother. The detective work begins as the three search for clues in the baby’s belongings. The search takes them on a long journey to places they never expected, especially as they begin to discover more about their purpose in life.
Tokyo Godfathers is the third film directed by Satoshi Kon, which was preceded by Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress. He continued on to direct Paprika. I have enjoyed all Kon’s films, whether they are a cerebral mindbend like Paprika or more grounded like Tokyo Godfathers. The story is full of coincidences and character bonds. Hana, Miyuki, and Gin share a strong bond because of the difficulties they have shared, but several small bonds come into the picture as the three are searching for the baby’s mother and have to meet with old friends and acquaintances. The story does a good job balancing the difficulties of life with the small blessings and comedy of everyday life. The godfathers are complex characters that develop as the film progresses and they discover more about themselves and what needs to be done to improve their lives. The animation was gorgeous, the voice acting was well done, and I was entertained from start to finish due to the proper pacing.
You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a new favorite Christmas movie!
You might not like it if: You have the mindset that anime needs to be strange and off the wall.
Note to the Viewer: Satoshi Kon was working on his next film, Dreaming Machine, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He did not finish the film before passing away in 2010. The film will hopefully be completed and released in the future, but Masao Maruyama is hesitant on completing it because it would not be Kon’s finished work.
AMV – Fiat Lux by Tsunderbird Studios/PieandBeer
(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. I figure if you haven’t seen the show, you don’t know what’s getting spoiled anyways, right?)