Tokyo Godfathers (2003)



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

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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
PG-13 (for thematic elements, violent images, language and some sexual material)
Animation , Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Aya Okamoto
as Miyuki
Seizô Katô
as Mother
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 (65) | Top Critics (26)

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.

Full Review… | December 9, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

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

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

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

Full Review… | February 17, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Takes anime to a whole new level.

Full Review… | September 7, 2008
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 27, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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


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

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer


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

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