Tokyo Godfathers


Director: Satoshi Kon

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

In Tokyo Godfathers, three stereotyped homeless people (a scruffy bum, a drag queen, & a runaway girl) find a baby in the garbage on Christmas Eve. They set out with the infant in arms on a sappy, barely harrowing, phony-heartbreaking holiday adventure through the cold-cold streets of Tokyo.

Because this is a straightforward comedy drama, it could as easily have been acted by actual performers rather than animated, & would have benefited from the body language & facial expressions of real actors.

It is inspired by & possibly an improvement upon the cruddy John Wayne western comedy 3 Godfathers (1948). The animation design was sometimes quite brilliant except for the human figures, who were totally goofy-tunes. Any hope of effective mood & emotion was spoiled by the sort of standardized junk-animation with character faces having mouths that open large as heads & tears that fountain exaggeratively from goggling buggy eyeballs, with the vocal performances devoid of subtlety or credibility in order to match the unevocative cartoons.

It's vaguely possible that skilled actors in a live-action version on real sets could've made these stereotyped figures convincing, but standardized commercial animation assuredly did not. Plus the excessively heartwarming story is too cloying for real emotion, but the outcaste nature of the main characters partially made up for the syrupy sentimentality. I enjoyed it, but it wouldn't make an anime fan out of anyone not already foolish for such stuff.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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