Tokyo Godfathers

2003

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Beautiful and substantive, Tokyo Godfathers adds a moving -- and somewhat unconventional -- entry to the animated Christmas canon.

AUDIENCE SCORE


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Movie Info

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. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

Cast

Hiroya Ishimaru
as Old Homeless Man
Yuusaku Yara
as Miyuki's Father
Kyoko Terase
as Sachiko
Mamiko Noto
as Kiyoko/Gin's Daughter
Mitsuhiro Ogata
as Hidenari Ugaki
Chiyako Shibahara
as Eriko Kawasaki
Kazuaki Ito
as Akiko Takeguchi
Atsuko Ito
as Akiko Takeguchi
Atsuko Yuya
as Nobuyuki Furuta
Jun Horikawa
as Toshitaka Shimizu
Masato Harada
as Youto Kazama
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Critic Reviews for Tokyo Godfathers

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (25)

In one sense the plot involves returning stolen goods to a thief, but Tokyo Godfathers is really about longing -- for family, for children, for parents and for the lost past.

Dec 9, 2013

No amount of shoehorned-in razzle-dazzle can keep this forced fable from feeling like a shadow of Kon's early work.

Dec 9, 2013 | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

Japanese animator Satoshi Kon has a striking sense of composition, but I'm more impressed by his storytelling skills.

Feb 17, 2012 | Full Review…

Takes anime to a whole new level.

Sep 7, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

One of the most moving, enjoyable and wholly unconventional Christmas stories to come along in a long time.

Mar 25, 2004 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Demonstrates an idiosyncratic human touch. Kon is unafraid of the unseemly and unsightly.

Feb 27, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Tokyo Godfathers

Meh, not really my kind of anime. It was hard for me to keep interest in this story of a baby found by three homeless people during the Christmas holidays in Tokyo, and their search to find her mother. The characters didn't appeal to me, their pasts and how they became homeless didn't endear them to me, and the art style and animation did nothing for me. I guess I just prefer fantasy or sci-fi flavored animation more. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have bothered to finish this if I hadn't told the person who recommended it to me that I'd watch it. Perhaps others will enjoy this more than I did. Tokyo Godfathers makes a genuine effort to tell a heartfelt and touching story, it just wasn't a story that I could bring myself to care about.

Lewis C.
Lewis C.

Super Reviewer

½

A "delightful" little Christams story. Beats the hell out of that horrible "It's A Wonderful Life".

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

½

Saw this movie again and I decided that it deserves a higher rating! The story is a little unconventional for an anime, but that's why I like it so much. It's a perfect combination of humor and drama, and boy is it funny! Hana is definitely my favorite character, it's how he/she talks, walks and looks. And I guarantee you, even if you're not a fan of anime, you're gonna enjoy this and have a good laugh n_n It's beautifully animated, the details, the facial expressions, the colors, the lighting, everything. Love it love it love it!!!!

Saskia D.
Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

½

Tokyo Godfathers is a good movie, but it's probably the weakest of Satoshi Kon's films. I don't know if I've outgrown anime, because Paprika elicited a similar underwhelmed reaction, or if I just managed to watch all his best work before the bookend stuff. This for sure has its moments, like the stunning climax (which gets immediately undercut by the lame ending), and Kon has put together a lovable ensemble of characters. But it's a huge tonal mismatch, for one. A Christmas comedy about three vagrants and a dumpster baby...followed by an insane woman trying to kill herself and said baby after kidnapping it from the hospital? Uh, I could imagine this causing some discomfort if you showed it at your next holiday party. This just doesn't hit like the rest of Kon's work does. Anime is a medium that can parlay a lack of focus into tonal strength since it's so visual/multisensory. The more you're getting the better, pretty much. Tokyo Godfathers, unlike Kon's other films, does not have the narrative required to take advantage of this. Simply put: it's done a disservice by being an anime. Worth watching, but if you've already seen Millennium Actress or Perfect Blue, you've gotten the best of Kon.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

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