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Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 14,176 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 49 user | 71 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tôru Emori ...
Gin (voice)
Aya Okamoto ...
Miyuki (voice)
Yoshiaki Umegaki ...
Hana (voice)
Shôzô Iizuka ...
Oota (voice)
Seizô Katô ...
Mother (voice)
Hiroya Ishimaru ...
Yasuo (voice)
Ryûji Saikachi ...
Aged Man (voice)
Yûsaku Yara ...
Miyuki's Father (voice)
Kyôko Terase ...
Sachiko (voice)
Mamiko Noto ...
Kiyoko, Gin's Daughter (voice)
Akio Ôtsuka ...
Doctor (voice)
Rikiya Koyama ...
Bridegroom (voice)
Satomi Koorogi ...
Kiyoko, the Gangster's Daughter (voice)
Mitsuru Ogata ...
Hidenari Ugaki (voice)
Chiyako Shibahara ...
Eriko Kawasaki (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Christmas in Tokyo, Japan. Three homeless friends: a young girl, a transvestite, and a middle-aged bum. While foraging through some trash, they find an abandoned newborn. Hana, the transvestite with delusions of being a mother, convinces the others to keep it overnight. The next day, using a key found with the baby, they start tracking down the parents, with many adventures along the way. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the ultimate dysfunctional family.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violent images, language and some sexual material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 November 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Héroes al rescate  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$37,127 (USA) (16 January 2004)

Gross:

$128,985 (USA) (2 April 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is full of "12-25" (Christmas) references, including: The number on the key; the cab fare; the address in the newspaper ad; the cab license plate. See more »

Quotes

Hana: Since Ken died I'm like a canary... that's forgotten it's song.
Miyuki: You sing all the time!
Mother: So, Ken died did he?
[whispering]
Mother: AIDS?
Hana: He slipped on the soap.
Mother: Well, death is always a hair's breadth away.
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits: The skyscrapers dance to Beethoven's 9th done with synthesizers and Japanese lyrics. See more »

Connections

References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Sensitive and beautiful
4 September 2005 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

Having suffered through the painfully pretentious and shallow, pseudo-Lynchian mess of Perfect Blue, I was understandably skeptical about watching another film by Satoshi Kon (I have not yet seen Millennium Actress, but am now quite intrigued to do so). Tokyo Godfathers (a title which at first struck me as belonging most probably to a pseudo-psychological mafia thriller) was not only a pleasant surprise; it was the best anime feature I've seen in many years, probably since Ghost in the Shell, excluding anything by Hayao Miyazaki. Like the classic Grave of the Fireflies, Tokyo Godfathers struck me as unusual in the fact that it draws much from European cinema – English, Irish, German or Italian – while most commercial anime features try to mimic American film-making. But while Grave of the Fireflies was painfully sad and bleak, Tokyo Godfathers is irresistibly charming, and manages to be funny and incredibly touching at once like few anime films – few animated films, at that – ever achieve.

Tokyo Godfathers is remarkably non-violent, as pacifistic perhaps as Miyazaki's films. You won't find any grand futuristic structures or fantastical creatures here; in fact, the animation may seem crude at first. But the characters are where the film really hits its mark. Kon triumphs, like in his excellent series Paranoia Agent, by not succumbing to the accepted prototypes and standards of how characters should look in an anime film; the lead characters in the film are all gorgeously ugly, in a way that even Miyazaki had not yet dared to do. Even the child character, Miyuki, is chubby, and not cute and beautiful in the way little girls 'should' be, by the unwritten laws of anime. Thus, Kon's characters are believable and true to life; they are three anti-heroes, outcasts from society, each running away from their pasts. Especially charming is Hana (AKA 'Uncle Bag'), the golden-hearted transvestite, who supplies much of the film's comic relief but also some of its most touching moments.

Tokyo Godfathers – despite some far-fetched but amusing plot twists and coincidences – is at its core a very simple story, a beautiful little story about family, love and friendship. Few anime films are so unpretending; and thus, few anime films manage to be so strong. Watch Tokyo Godfathers; you'll laugh, you'll cry. And believe you me, ten minutes into it you'll forget it was ever animated.


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