Thanks to tumblr, I stumbled upon a gem in the form of a Japanese animation film, Tokyo Godfathers, created by Satoshi Kon and released in 2003. The poster (and the post’s timing) was enough to tell me it took place during Christmas, and I was fascinated by the set of characters.
The movie introduces three homeless people: Gin, a middle-aged alcoholic, Hana (or Uncle Bag, as Miyuki calls Hana), a trans woman, and Miyuki, a runaway teenager. On Christmas Eve, they find an abandoned baby girl after rummaging through trash. Hana immediately grabs the chance to take care of her while the other two insist that they report about this to a police station. They allow themselves to keep the baby, whom Hana named Kiyoko (Kiyo for pure as they “found her in the purest of nights,” according to Hana), for one night, but they eventually plan to return Kiyoko to her real mother instead of head to the police station.
What made me enjoy this movie was the way the three interacted with each other and with other people. Gin has the tendency to be grumpy, hungry, and sometimes pessimistic, especially when drunk, but he is a kind man who obviously cares for Hana and Miyuki, seeing as they are his family after he lost his first one. Hana is hilarious! She is very expressive and dramatic, a brilliant flair to her character despite her hard past. She is loving to a fault as well, seeing as how she tries to keep Gin and Miyuki at bay, but fails in her attempts to mother hen them (and a spoiler: Hana makes the best faces in the entire movie). Miyuki doesn’t put into words about her feelings about her dysfunctional family, but her actions tell her story. They are an unlikely trio, and all their back stories were clearly elaborated in the movie, which allows viewers to sympathize with them more.
The movie revolves around the concept of miracles (as well as love and family), which brings about intertwined situations that ultimately lead to their goal (and safety, thank goodness). It is quite a great way to set up a Christmas-y vibe apart from the snow and decorations. Tokyo Godfathers also stresses how parents care or should care for their children, and how throwing babies away is throwing blessings away. The animation is fantastic, and the details of the the characters’ facial expressions and movements emphasize the development of the story being told. It has topnotch comedy, but some moments may catch you off guard. It is, however, labeled as a PG-13 movie for situations that include violence and brief but minor nudity.
My favorite lines were mostly from Hana during her melodramatic moments that involve love. One that had me cracking is from Gin to Hana, though.
“Okay, so I’m trash. But you’re ugly.”
It kind of gives away what kind of banters the two have.
Another is from Hana to Miyuki after the latter spouts a rude statement.
“‘Shit,’ I’ll take, but ‘fart,’ I won’t!”
I’m glad to have found this movie, especially since I haven’t finished downloading Home Alone and Home Alone II for Christmas viewing with my family. It made me laugh (always a good factor) and it moved me. It shows how strong familial bonds are, even with people who aren’t biologically related. A part of the movie where Miyuki sees Gin and Hana as her family made me remember the friends I have that I practically consider as family. And Christmas always reminds me of how real miracles are, but that doesn’t mean I get tired of being reminded.
And now, some gifs from the movie!