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Tokyo Godfathers

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Product Details

  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,015 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Kon directs his third anime feature with the holiday film Tokyo Godfathers. 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 premiered at the Big Apple Anime Fest in 2003.

Customer Reviews

Good story, good animation and likable characters.
In the film we get drawings with a good amount of detail in the main characters and in the background when it is close-up.
Sebastian Fernandez
Highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of anime, animation, or just great films.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 31, 2004
Format: DVD
I consider this movie a breakthrough. It is the first I've seen that equals - or passes - good live-action movies for subtle development and interaction of characters.
It took the first 30-45 minutes to get going, but that time was used to establish the characters and the setting. Be patient - it's worth the wait. After that, the movie is really about families. I don't mean the "Leave it to Beaver" kind, with Mom, Dad, and their children by each other. I mean the real families these days, where the ideas of Mom and Dad need to flex and where the children are unrelated to one or both. I mean a real family with real problems, holding together because everyone is struggling to hold it together.
The animation is good and the character animation are very good, but excellence is the norm these days. The plot and story are what make this movie stand out. As an aside, I was interested to hear a few English words adopted into the Japanese idiom, "homeless" and "godfather" being the most obvious. I was also interested to see that the Spanish speech wasn't subtitled - English speakers will need to puzzle it through, same as the Japanese listeners did.
This isn't an "adult" movie, but there's not a lot here for kids. That's fine. Kids have their own movies, and we need ours.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2004
Format: DVD
With such films as "Perfect Blue," "Millennium Actress" and now "Tokyo Godfathers, " Kon Satoshi has rapidly ascended to the ranks of the masters of animation in Japan, side by side with such dignitaries as Miyazaki Hayao, Takahata Isao, Otomo Katsuhiro and Oshii Mamoru.

Like his other films, "Tokyo Godfathers" takes place in modern Japan and part of the joy of the film is seeing the wonderland of Tokyo come alive in vivid animated splendor. To achieve this particular look, Kon filmed live scenes of Tokyo, then animated overtop of the backgrounds, to give his characters a completely realistic environment in which to live their fantasy. The overall effect is really amazing.

The characters are three homeless people, each with a hidden background of severe pain that buries their proverbial hearts of gold. They form a strange, nomadic family, with Gin, a decade-long veteran of the Tokyo streets with a sad and mysterious past, Hana, a slightly pathetic aging drag queen who wants to play the role of mother to the odd clan, and Miyuki, a hard, aggressive teenager who isn't quite sure about the decisions that lead her to this life. Add to that Kiyoko, a foundling baby abandoned in a sack of garbage and discovered on Christmas eve, and the family is complete.

As with "Millennium Actress," Kon effectively weaves together several stories into an complete picture, each thread joining together briefly as it touches the lives of one of the three characters, then separating as they part. However, in the world of "Tokyo Godfathers" there are almost no strangers, and each person met along the path contributes something to the Christmas miracle of Kiyoko.

"Tokyo Godfathers" is very touching and sentimental, as a proper Christmas movie should be.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Shanshad VINE VOICE on April 25, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll be the first to admit that my preference in anime and movies in general tends to be for the magic, the larger than life adventures, the epic battles and the surreal mind trips through other worlds. But anime isn't all magical girls, mecha, battle action and hentai-and Tokyo Godfathers isn't any of those things. Director and writer Satoshi Kon is a past master of dramatic tension and character development and those who have scene Millennium Actress or Perfect Blue may have more of an idea what to expect from this movie-but I suspect even they won't anticipate how the story twists and turns.

The setting is Tokyo at Christmas time. The characters are three homeless people: Hana, an aging drag queen, Gin, an embittered drunkard, and Miyuki, a smart mouthed teenage runaway. This unlikely "family" is about to find their lives forever changed by the discovery of a newborn baby abandoned in the trash. Sounds kind of depressing, doesn't it? The characters don't seem like they'd be likable at first, the animation isn't forgiving-these characters aren't idealized stereotypes. And then the "magic" begins. Satoshi slowly and subtly unveils his characters through the movie's unexpected twists and turns. What starts as a quest to return a baby, becomes a journey of self-discovery, adventure and redemption for these three remarkable characters. And by the end, you're breathlessly along for the ride. It's a movie that's a reminder of how incredibly good character development can be-and rarely is, even on the live action screen. For a viewer like myself, it was a surprising and touching treat. And belongs in any decent anime collection.

The animation style is gritty and realistic. Don't expect the typical big eyes or wild hair.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Drazen on May 1, 2004
Format: DVD
This second feature by Satoshi Kon, like "Ice Age", spins off of John Ford's 1948 western "Three Godfathers" as a Christmas allegory of three grown men trying to deal with an orphaned baby. This time, we have a runaway teenaged girl, an alcoholic ex-athlete and a middle-aged drag queen who form a kind of family in the underworld of Tokyo's homeless. The discovery of a baby in a trash dump takes them all over town for the week between Christmas and New Years (thus starting on a Christmas holy day and ending on a Shinto/Buddhist holiday), with the coincidences and miracles becoming more and more improbable yet ultimately satisfying.
This hasn't been dubbed into English, which is just as well, because the original voices are perfect, from the hysterics of the runaway to the completely unfeminine voice of the drag queen (if it HAS to be dubbed in future, better that Harvey Fierstein takes the role of Hana). And while this movie and the anime series "Witch Hunter Robin" give intriguing glimpses into post-Bubble homelessness in Japan, and a feature on the subject would have been a welcome extra, I can see why the DVD producers didn't dwell on it. Still, a great movie from a great director.
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