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4.4 out of 5 stars50
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2007
The phrase in the title came from one of the three homeless characters when they found a baby in the trash, but it also applies to anime fans and this film. There are not many cases in this genre in which you can watch a story that has the effect this one has on the feelings of the viewer. I do not pretend to be an expert on anime, far from it, but the only anime production that had a similar effect on me was "Grave of the Fireflies". Just the mere fact that "Tokyo Godfathers" can be put in the same echelon as that masterpiece should be telling.

When an unlikely trio of homeless people finds a very special Christmas present, their world is shook in ways in they do not think possible. Thus, a bitter old man, an ex-drag queen and a teenager with a grudge towards her family embark in a quest to find the parents of the beautiful baby girl they found in the trash. The story starts out slow, but it gradually draws you into it, until you are hopelessly hooked. Little by little we come to understand the facts that led the three characters to their current situation and we are mesmerized by their search, which leads them to interact with an array of characters that range from desperate to happy to be alive.

I particularly enjoyed the graphics of this movie, but you need to understand that these differ from the common benchmark for the genre. In the film we get drawings with a good amount of detail in the main characters and in the background when it is close-up. But the general background and people that are not as relevant to the story are drawn with a lot less details. I interpreted this as a way to highlight what is important, but different people will have different interpretations for its purpose. Another aspect that surprised me is how good the tone of the voice of the different characters blended with the mood. I have seen many anime films in which the voices of the characters are a monotonous high-strung dialogue, and this one is not like that at all.

This is a movie that portrays the worst and best in human nature, and many layers in between. Therefore, there are portions that are heart-wrenching and others that are uplifting. It definitely has all the components of a great dramatic story. There is even humor sprinkled throughout the story, helping alleviate the mood at times, but not detracting from the seriousness of the plot. Simply put, this is a masterpiece that you cannot miss.
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on 17 April 2006
This absolutely outstanding piece of animation follows three homeless people in Tokyo who find an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. The twists and turns of the story rely far too much on unlikely coincidences to be plausible, and although this is kind of part of the point of the story, you really have to just sit back and accept it for the film to work. Its great strengths are in the sheer visual beauty of the film, the quality of the animation and the wonderful characterisation. The three main characters are so full of personality and vitality, demonstrating the advantages that really first -rate animated characters combined with good voice acting can have over live-action actors in terms of the breadth and range of emotions and moods that can be conveyed. This is a wonderful, heart-warming piece of anime.
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on 10 July 2004
Before I saw it, I read in one of the customers' reviews that while watching this animation people tend to believe the characters being under impression that this is a live movie with real actors. I watched it today - it is totally true!
I could see realistic emotions of drawn characters, which I never experienced watching animation. And I loved the story. Don't believe to trailer; what you saw there is not what you will find in the movie... the story develops in a very dynamic way with absolutely unexpected result! That was really entertaining, and thanks to other customers for not disclosing the plot in their reviews! Intrigued? Watch it!
By the way, please keep your children out of this DVD, as there is some violence, a few explicit talks, and lots of serious social problems, which you would never be able to explain to them....
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on 5 January 2011
Tokyo Godfathers tells the story of an aging bum, a middle-aged transvestite and a runaway schoolgirl who live on the streets of Tokyo. During Christmas Eve, they find a baby abandoned in a dumpster, and start the task of finding the baby's parents.

Whilst the late Satoshi Kon will probably be better known for his follow-up film 'Paprika,' "Tokyo Godfathers" sees Kon at the height of his story-telling abilities, with character's motives evolving as the details of each of the character's pasts come out. But despite the seemingly downtrodden subject matter, this is ultimately a heartwarming feel good film, even if you don't realise it until the very end.

I doubt it'll be shown alonside 'It's a Wonderful Life' in Chrismasses yet to come, but "Tokyo Godfathers" is a wonderful tale about how miracles can happen even to the less fortunate around Christmas time.
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on 31 July 2008
I purchased this title when I was looking for something different from the normal robot/creature anime that is so abbundant. This film is superb.It is so "real" in its themes of true to life story telling that you soon forget that its animation.The feature is funny,sad,thought provoking,and a delight to watch.If you like your manga high adreniline none stop action then go elsewhere,but you would be missing a gem of a movie.This version of the film has no english/usa dubbing,but the emotions
brought out by the original japanese voice actors are superb...
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
`Tokyo Godfathers' is another great anime film from Satoshi Kon.

When three homeless people in Tokyo find an abandoned baby their lives are turned upside down as they struggle to look after her and find her parents. A variety of seemingly unrelated events come together until the film reaches it's heart warming and satisfying ending. Traipsing all over Tokyo they follow various clues in their hunt for the babies parents, whilst their own life stories unfold before us.

The dysfunctional homeless family make for humorous viewing, with an old geezer for the dad, a flamboyant gay man as the mother and a bitter, yet sensitive, girl as the `daughter'. There's makes for a complex but touching family relationship.

The animation is very good and whilst not as lush or beautiful as Ghibli films, this is more gritty and realistic. This film has a 12 certificate, but this is an animated film aimed more at adults. The themes, language and some scenes are more adult orientated that other anime films out there.

This feels quite bleak at times due to the winter landscapes and muted colours, as well as the storyline in general. But, it is very well made and everything comes together perfectly at the end. If you are a fan of anime films in general then this should please you and if you a fan of Satoshi Kon in particular, then this should leave you delighted. A worthy addition to your anime film collection.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 2 December 2009
After watching this terrific and wonderful film, one question came to my mind: Why can't all Christmas movies be as brilliant as TOKYO GODFATHERS (2003)? Because for every Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), there are one-hundred JINGLE ALL THE WAYs (1996) or DECK THE HALLS (2006).

This must have been a very strange choice, doing an anime film set during Christmas and focusing on the homeless living on the streets of Tokyo. Happily, Satoshi Kon (my favourite anime filmmaker after Hayao Miyazaki) pulls it off superbly, by giving us a funny and often touching film as we follow three homeless characters - Gin, Hana and Miyuki - as they try to search the parents of an abandoned baby girl.

Even though TOKYO GODFATHERS may not have Kon's trademark theme of blending fantasy with reality (like in his other classics PERFECT BLUE [1998] and PAPRIKA [2006]), it's still filled with memorable sequences and characters who we can care for. And of course, who cannot feel overjoyed by hearing Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy'?

Want to watch an Christmas film that's very good? Then see TOKYO GODFATHERS. It's another anime masterpiece.

Reviewer: Ben David W
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on 9 May 2011
From the late and great director Satoshi Kon (director of Perfect Blue, another stunning and must see anime film.) comes this absolutely brilliant and heart-warming anime film of three homeless people (Hana who is an optimistic drag queen, Gin who is a pessimistic alcoholic and Miyuki who is a teenage runaway still quite new to the streets.) who find an abandoned infant on a junk pile on Christmas Eve and go on an epic quest across Tokyo to find her real mother.

The plot follows these three citizens of the streets on their christmas journey with this infant and along the way discover what actually caused them to be where they now and how they must learn to stay together through the cold or be alone in the dark. It is a very well written story that has a very heart-warming aura to it which is helped by some good and well-timed humour along the way. That's not to say it doesn't show the darker side of the streets, because it dose at times deal with the darker and sometimes more violent subjects that the homeless face every day living on the streets, even if the film is mostly an optimistic romp at its soul. The unique cast of characters themselves are instantly very likable and also very well written and the Japanese voice actors do a fantastic job in breathing emotion in to them and bring them to life. It also boosts a great soundtrack which helps set the emotional tones at every step of the way very well.

The animation is also a big highlight as it is simply beautiful. This is a film that uses colour beautifully to show the cold streets of Tokyo that these people walk along but the true highlight is within the character animations which really must be praised. The animators have done a very impressive job in not only designing the characters but showing there expressions and emotions in a realistically manner, which is something you rarely find in other anime films and series and it ends up giving the film a unique and fresh feel about it which I for one really liked.

The film is around an hour and a half long but despite this running time I did feel like it could have been paced out a little more, and there are several big events that feel far too coincidental at times but these are only a few minor complaints in an otherwise brilliant film.

For those who are wondering, this DVD does not have an English dub of the film like many other animes come with and comes only with the original Japanese track along with a Spanish one, both with subtitles. There will be some who may not like this fact, but I personally don't mind the lack of dub as in my opinion the Japanese cast is normally always superior to the English dubs in quality. The DVD also lacks any real extras bar some trailers, which is a shame as some interviews really would not have gone a miss.

All in all, Tokyo Godfathers is a brilliant and beautifully directed film witch may start with a dark and near depressing premise but soon turns in to something quite heart-warming and near magical. This is a must watch for anime fans, those who enjoy Christmas films and for fans of feel good story's in general.
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on 15 September 2009
I have enjoyed all of Satoshi Kons films, this one is one of my favourites because it is much lighter and funnier.. but also with a deeper meaning and emotion to it. Unlike the other Kon films this hasn't been dubbed into English but i cannot stress enough how that should NOT put you off in the slightest because this film is brilliant. It's worth the extra work of speed reading through the subtitles because it is so enjoyable. To put the icing on the cake the artwork and animation are fantastic, a lot of Animé is low budget so the animation can be jumpy and awkward but that is not the case here, its smooth edgy and funny.

I recommend this to anyone...
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on 11 June 2009
One of my favorite anime movies of all time. I had hard time finding this movie on Sweden's movie sites but then I discovered amazon and found it right away. Completely new for a great price. Highly recommended, the best movie from Satoshi Kon.
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