Reviews

Nov 27, 2015
ggultra2764 (All reviews)
Tokyo Godfathers is a rather unique film from Satoshi Kon as it differs from his other works in that the movie is not as heavy on the cerebral side. Set in Tokyo during the holiday season, the movie focuses on a trio of homeless people from different walks of life who come across an abandoned baby and journey throughout the city to learn of the whereabouts of the baby's parents. While doing this, each of these people come to grips with their tragic pasts as the movie explores the varying circumstances that led each of our main trio to wind up living on the streets.

This movie is a rather unique one as it believably explores the issue of homelessness, a social issue that is not often explored within anime or many movies for that matter. Instead of trying to skirt around the issue with a positive spin on things, Tokyo Godfathers explores the hardships that can be faced by those trying to survive day-to-day without a home and struggling for money and food. The movie shows our main trio being treated like societal outcasts as they usually find themselves verbally and physically abused or interact with people ignorant of the hardships they face with their harsh lifestyle. Plus, we are shown the challenges that come with being homeless as the trio scurry through garbage to find what they can to survive on and living in shantytowns with other homeless people.

The plotting and characterization in Tokyo Godfathers is also quite strong. Within its 90 minute run, we learn of each of the differing circumstances that led to Miyuki, Gin and Hana to live out on the streets and the movie explores these three gradually trying to come to grips with their tragic developments. In addition to exploring our homeless trio, the movie also builds up on exploring the circumstances that led to the baby Kiyoko getting abandoned. The reasons surrounding her abandonment are not as straightforward on the surface as you would think as hints are dropped throughout the movie exploring more to her story and comes to hit close to home for our homeless trio as they come to grips with their own problems.

Another major component to the film that is quite noticeable is the presence of convenient developments that take place with our homeless trio and Kiyoko's journey through Tokyo. Being a rare case of a movie centered around Christmas, these convenient miracles are a frequent occurrence throughout Tokyo Godfathers' run. While deus ex machina is often a lazy way to introduce plot twists in a work, the plot device fits in perfectly with this movie as Kiyoko is symbolically portrayed as a source of hope for Miyuki, Gin and Hana in redeeming themselves for the problems that led up to their homelessness. It also fits in with the Christmas setting of the movie since learning to value the bonds of family, friends and other interpersonal relationships is a major component of the holiday season that is overlooked by many nowadays due to the heavy encouragement of materialism and consumerism that is increasingly becoming commonplace in many global cultures when people think of Christmas.

In terms of visuals, Tokyo Godfathers makes use of Satoshi Kon's realistic drawing style. The movie features vast and believably drawn settings of the Tokyo city area and lifelike character designs that show a variety of looks and body types to offer believably to the realistic story it tells. Movement within the movie is convincingly fluid with characters walking or running about at a natural pace and having moments of excellent animated sequences, particularly chases taking place during major points in the movie's plot.

Overall, Tokyo Godfathers is a rather unique film in many facets thanks to its focus on a social issue not normally touched upon with homelessness, being one of the few anime titles themed around Christmas and the movie not being as much of a mind-bender compared to Satoshi Kon's other works. With strong plotting and characterization complimenting these facets, this is a definite recommendation I would encourage anime fans to check out if they love the any anime works that stick out from the norm of what the medium offers up.