Tokyo Godfathers

After watching the trailer for this animated feature a few weeks back, I knew that Tokyo Godfather was next on my list. After watching Ghost in the Shell (Canada, USA, Europe), I needed something different, something not necessarily SFF in style and scope. And Tokyo Godfathers seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Like Makoto Shinkai's 5 cm per Second (Canada, USA, Europe), this one is a drama which could have been produced using real actors for a mainstream crowd. And as such, it's a very interesting movie.

Here's the blurb:

The story takes place in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on Christmas Eve. Middle-aged has-been Gin, aging transvestite Hana, and teenage runaway Miyuki are three homeless friends who have formed a kind of makeshift family structure. Their bond is tested when they find an abandoned baby while searching for food in a garbage dump. They have no choice but to care for the infant themselves. The group travels throughout the city, searching for the baby's parents and coping with their personal reactions to the situation.

Tokyo Godfathers was directed by Satoshi Kon, known for his work on the animated films Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Paprika. Keiko Nobumoto, head scriptwriter for Cowboy Bebop, was involved in the production of this one.

Visually, the picture quality is excellent. The imagery is gorgeous, and they really managed to make Tokyo come alive. But it's the story, at times sad, funny, and touching, which truly carries the movie forward. Unfortunately for those who can't stand them, Tokyo Godfathers has not been dubbed and one must rely on subtitles. But they are well-done, and I had no problem following the action.

The characterization is the very best aspect of this movie. The interaction between Gin, Hana, and Miyuki is equally hilarious and heart-warming. How the creators managed to create such a balance between three disparate characters -- a grumpy, alcoholic hobo, an ex-drag queen, and a runaway teenager -- makes for a thoroughly memorable experience.

Tokyo Godfathers benefited from a wide release, so it should be easy to find at your local video store (You can also get it at 80% off on!). And considering how moving the story can be, I wouldn't be surprised to see it again on the silver screen with flesh-and-blood actors at some point.

Indeed, Tokyo Godfathers shows that anime can appeal to the mainstream public when done right. Give this one a shot. You won't look at homeless people quite the same way afterward. . .

Here's the trailer:

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

15 commentaires:

Todd Newton said...

Loved this film. Loved loved LOVED it. Perfect Christmastime movie for people [like me] who buck the traditional claymation stuff. The characters have heavy problems they have to work through, genuine quirks that make them believable and sympathetic, and while the story isn't exactly "happy" the whole way through it does warm the heart to watch. Good call.

Adam Skinner said...

This is one that I haven't seen yet. I tend to gravitate towards the bite-sized nature of series, since you can take them in a little at a time or have a longer, continuous story.

I'll make some time for Tokyo Godfathers, though. I have the KAA v2 of it.

Matt Keeley said...

Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue is also a very good film. The DVD was hard to find for a while, but I think it's back in print now. And the movie's available on Netflix Instant Watch. It's a psychological thriller about celebrity.

I know you watched the Bebop film, but have you watched the TV show yet? Fantastic fantastic show, even if it sometimes wears its influences too openly.

I've enjoyed your anime reviews - your excitement is contagious.

Sophie said...

Just wanted to thank you for these anime posts. As a non-anime fan, I was introduced to many great animated movies.

I was a bit doubtful at first, but after watching Spirited Away and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki had me hooked. I rented Princess Mononoke recently and it was great too! I watched 5 cm per second and Sword of the Stranger on YouTube and both were very good! Thanks to you, I have quite a few Japanese animated movies on my list of things to watch!

Special thanks to your friend Emilie, without whom you would probably have not given Hayao Miyazaki flicks a shot, and thus never introduced many Hotlist readers to the wonderful world of anime. For that, Emilie deserves all the kudos we can give her!:D

Anonymous said...


I would never have walked by the anime aisle at my video store if not for these posts of yours. Both Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away were fantastic, and I'm thinking of watching 2 CM per Second on the internet soon. So thanks for opening the door for a new world of wonders for me.

And thanks to Emilie for intriguing you enough about Miyazaki's movies. Hopefully she's getting some free books out of this!!!;)


Anonymous said...

On the other hand, perhaps you should rename your blog "Pat's Anime Hot List"

Anonymous said...

You say it's "not dubbed" like it's a bad thing. Come on!

If you're serious about anime, you can't watch it without subtitles.

Surely, I'm not the only one who thinks that way?

Aria said...

As an anime fan, always have prejudiced against them being dubbed by non-japanese voice actors but the Hayao Miyazaki films I've recently watched has me craving for more of the like. I haven't watched Tokyo Godfathers yet but I've read a lot of good things about it, but for some reason I haven't really gotten the urged to see it. Although the trailer does enticed me to look for the english dubbed version.

Aria said...

And your review helps too. :)

Peter said...

A few years ago I didn't understand what the fuss is about. To me, it was totally cheesy and unfunny.
Later I saw Paranoia Agen and I'm now convinced of the brilliance of Satoshi Kon.
But I'm not sure if I'll like this one more the second time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he's saying "not dubbed" like it's a bad thing. He just knows that non-anime fans might find subtitles offputting.

Chalk me up as another person who wishes to thank Emilie for getting Pat back into anime movies!:-)


Anonymous said...

I for one, don't understand why people find subs offputting.

I find I can't watch anything without subtitles... even stuff in English. I have to be able to SEE what is being said as well as hear it. This a) makes the experience much fuller and b) keeps some of the nuances from getting lost in the viewing process.

Dream Girlzzz said...

Like many here, I was introduced to quite a few Japanese animated films by Pat's anime blog post and I'm loving it.

I think it's cool for him to share his thoughts on the subject with us, because most of us wouldn't know where the hell to start. So by introducing us to quality anime works, I feel that Pat is upholding the Hotlist's mission: to spread the word about all that's good in speculative fiction.

So thanks to both Pat and Emilie for opening our eyes to another medium filled with great works!:)

And yes, that girl deserves some free books or something to pay her back for her kindness!

Suzie said...

Anime has never appealed to me, but I've always been quite fond of Disney and Pixar movies. So when I decided to rent Spirited Away as part of a 2-for-1 promo, I figured I had nothing to lose. And wow! What an amazing movie! I was blown away!

From now on I'll keep an eye on your anime posts! So thanks to Pat and thanks to Emilie for convincing him to give these movies a shot!

Blake said...

Gave Tokyo Godfathers a try yesterday and it was very good. It was my first attempt with subtitles and it worked well for the most part.

Thanks to you and Emilie, Pat! Like the others who have said so before me, your anime posts are helping me discover a whole new world of cool stuff out there!