Tokyo Godfathers  

UK Distributor: Columbia Tristar

BBFC Certificate:  12

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  £14.99 

Running Time: 88 minutes (approx.)

Audio Options:  Japanese 5.1 & Spanish 5.1

Subtitles:  English, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Shay Marx (guest)

Even homeless hobos are entitled to a Christmas!

Tokyo Godfathers follows the path set by Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress, fantastical “what if” events firmly seated in reality. (A polar opposite to the majority of Studio Ghibli films.) Three unexpected heroes find an abandoned baby in a trash pile while scavenging for Christmas presents. Homeless themselves, the decision is made to save the baby from a fate similar to their own.

Hilariously funny throughout Tokyo Godfathers is full of witty dialogue offensive put downs and visual comedy. The three godfathers Gin, the reluctant father figure, Miyuki, the teenage runaway and Hana, a transvestite whose dream of being a mother may of came true on the discovery of the baby who they name Kiyoko. As the film progresses the characters are forced to part ways and the reason for their living circumstance is revealed.

The characters are forced to reveal themselves to the audience through either conversation to minor characters or dream sequences familiar in both style and setting to sequences in Perfect Blue.  It becomes apparent that the characters didn’t just decide one morning to become homeless, but were forced by circumstance and their own emotional state of mind following events that realistically could happen to anyone.
Tokyo Godfathers pulls no punches with its display of human life. Sexual comments and actions violently used against each of the characters one shot shows Gin violently grab Miyuki’s breasts while decreeing she had no tits. Other sequences show ageist attacks, yakuza hits suicide and idleness.   When thinking of the films politics one question comes to mind, why does Hana send Miyuki out to buy water, which was to be used to boil the babies milk, when tap water was available?

Tokyo Godfathers looks amazing. Madhouse has surpassed themselves this time. The Tokyo streets are almost photo realistic in colour, while interiors have a more familiar animie pallet. Many of the characters (not just the main ones) have been given vast amounts of animation and detail with backgrounds and lights that really bring Tokyo to life. Once again Kon has came up with a fresh approach to adding titles, as the protagonists make their way to there “home” buildings and vehicles are passed a number of which display the titles in Japanese.

Satoshi Kon’ previous films had wonderful soundtracks this is no different. Full of humour and action, and ending with a somewhat bizarre rendition of “Ode to Joy” listening is as much as watching.
Tokyo Godfathers feels is poignant and hard-hitting from beginning to end. Yet feels effortless to watch.  The audience is never nagged, never forced in to taking sides.

If Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the greatest Christmas story ever told. Tokyo Godfathers would be the greatest Christmas story ever drawn and brought to life on screen. Like Dickens, Kon has allowed for a happy ending, and like A Christmas Carol Tokyo Godfathers has the ability to reach people of all religions throughout the whole of the year.


Tokyo Godfathers single edition DVD contains Japanese 5.1 and DTS audio plus Spanish 5.1 While the subtitles cover many languages, there has never been an English language dub released. The disc feature trailers for Sony/Animax 2005/2006 releases.

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