This review is part of the 2010 Reverse Thieves Secret Santa Review Project. More information about this project is available here.
When Satoshi Kon died earlier this year it didn’t really hit me as hard as it did many others. I hadn’t actually seen any of his movies before then. A few hours after news of his death broke, I had the chance to watch Perfect Blue, and after doing so I decided to watch any of his movies I could get my hands on. Since I am history’s greatest procrastinator (proven by the fact that I waited until the 23rd to write this) it wasn’t until a few months later that I bothered to buy Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers, and even after that Tokyo Godfathers just sat on my shelf until just shortly before I started writing this. It’s a pretty big coincidence that my Secret Santa anime ended up being something I was planning to watch, and that I even had it on DVD already. Coincidentally, it’s also a Christmas movie. That’s a lot of coincidences.
Tokyo Godfathers tells the story of a trio of homeless people living in the streets of Tokyo – the aging alcoholic Gin, the transvestite Hana, and the runaway teenage girl Miyuki. One Christmas Eve, while rummaging through some garbage, they find an abandoned baby along with a note saying to take care of it. Despite Hana wanting to keep the baby for herself, desperately wanting to feel like a mother, the group decides to use the clues they found along with the baby to find her parents and return her to them.
One thing that makes Tokyo Godfathers an entertaining film is its ability to find humour despite some of the sad and tragic things going on in the story. There are absurdly silly things like a Yakuza boss having his car roll over him and getting stuck because a fat lady bumped into it on a snowy hill, and the running gag of our homeless heroes narrowly avoiding horrible deaths through what could only be acts of God. Despite whatever tragic events the story throws at you, it’s always willing to just have a good laugh every now and then.