Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Satoshi Kon|
|Story by||Satoshi Kon|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan
Tokyo Godfathers was the third animated movie directed by Kon and the second which he both wrote and directed. Keiko Nobumoto, noted for being the creator of the Wolf's Rain series and a head scriptwriter for Cowboy Bebop, co-wrote the script with Kon.
Gin: A gruff but loving, out-of-work alcoholic that once made money by racing bicycles. He once threw a race to get the money for his daughter's medicine when she became ill. The scandal came to light and he was banned from the sport. After he got an alcoholic addiction, he ran from his family and became homeless.
Hana: Hana self-identifies as Okama (see Representations of Gender and Sexuality). She was raised by "Mother", a drag queen who took her in after her parents abandoned her. Hana began to work in "Mother's" drag bar as a singer, but she left after attacking a rude customer who called her "old fart". Hana has a very caring and motherly personality, having always wanted to be a mother, she sees the baby, Kiyoko, as a gift from god.
Miyuki: A runaway girl who hated her father's over-controlling ways and during a family dispute she ended up stabbing him. Miyuki ran away from home after the attack and refused to go back. She considers herself a very independent young woman and is rebellious, stubborn, and at times short tempered, though is very protective and sisterly to Kiyoko.
One Christmas Eve three people, a middle-aged alcoholic named Gin, a trans woman and former drag queen Hana, and a dependent runaway girl Miyuki, discover an abandoned newborn while looking through the garbage. Deposited with the unnamed baby is a note asking the finder to take good care of her and a bag containing clues to the parent's identity. The trio sets out to find the baby's parents. The baby is named Kiyoko (清子?), literally meaning "pure child" as she is found on Christmas Eve.
Outside a cemetery, the group encounters a high-ranking yakuza trapped under his car. The man happens to know the owner of the club Kiyoko's mother used to work in; he is getting married to the man's daughter that day. At the wedding, the groom tells them that the baby's mother is a former bar girl named Sachiko. He gives them Sachiko's address, but the party is interrupted when a maid, revealed to be a Latin American hit man in disguise, attempts to shoot the bride's father with a Tokarev TT-33. The hit man kidnaps Miyuki and the baby and takes them back to his home. There, Miyuki befriends the hit man's wife and shows her some pictures of her family.
Hana searches for Miyuki and Kiyoko while Gin takes care of an old homeless man whom he finds dying in the street. After giving Gin a little red bag, the old man peacefully passes away. Some teenagers show up and beat Gin and the deceased old man. Meanwhile, Hana finds the girls and they go off to find a place to stay.
Hana takes them to a club she used to work at. Gin, who was found by another member of the club, is also there. The trio sets out to find Sachiko's house. They're informed of the unhappy relationship between Sachiko and her husband. The group rests at a store until they are told to leave by the clerk. Hana collapses, and Gin and Miyuki bring her to the hospital. At the hospital, Gin finds his daughter, working as a nurse. Hana berates Gin in front of his daughter and storms out of the hospital. Miyuki follows with Kiyoko.
Hana and Miyuki find Sachiko about to jump off a bridge. Sachiko insists that her husband got rid of the baby without her knowledge, and they return it to her. Meanwhile, Gin finds Sachiko's husband, who reveals that Kiyoko is actually a baby that Sachiko stole from the hospital. They chase after Sachiko and the baby. After an intense car chase through the city, Miyuki follows Sachiko to the top of a building, where Sachiko reveals she became pregnant, thinking it would bring her closer to her husband. When the baby was stillborn, she decided to kidnap Kiyoko from the hospital, thinking, in her grief, the baby was hers. Sachiko tries to jump off the building, but her husband comes out of his apartment (just across the street) and begs her to start over with him. Sachiko jumps off nevertheless and Miyuki catches her but Sachiko accidentally drops the baby off of the building. Hana jumps after Kiyoko. She catches the baby and lands safely due to a miraculous gust of wind.
Hana, Miyuki, and Gin are taken to the hospital. Miyuki hands Gin his cigarettes and drops the old man's small red bag on the floor, revealing a winning lottery ticket. Kiyoko's real parents want to ask the trio to become her godparents. When a police inspector introduces them to the trio, the inspector is revealed to be Miyuki's father.
- Tōru Emori as Gin
- Yoshiaki Umegaki as Hana
- Aya Okamoto as Miyuki
- Satomi Kōrogi as Kiyoko
- Shōzō Iizuka as Ōta
- Seizō Katō as Mother
- Hiroya Ishimaru as Yasuo
- Ryūji Saikachi as The Old Man
- Yūsaku Yara as Miyuki's father
- Kyōko Terase as Sachiko
- Mamiko Noto as Kiyoko
- Akio Ōtsuka as The Doctor
- Rikiya Koyama as The Groom
- Inuko Inuyama as Kurumizawa
- Kanako Yahara as Yamanōchi
- Rie Shibata as Nekobaba
- Kōichi Yamadera as The Taxi Driver
Additional voices by Hidenari Umezu, Mitsuru Ogata, Eriko Kawasaki, Chiyako Shibahara, Akiko Takeguchi, Kazuaki Itō, Nobuyuki Furuta, Atsuko Yuya, Toshitaka Shimizu, Bin Horikawa, Yūto Kazama, Masao Harada, Tsuguo Mogami, Yoshinori Sonobe, and Akiko Kawase
The movie puts an emphasis on the theme of "coincidences". Movie critic George Peluranee notes that "Tokyo Godfathers is a film that shows the small yet significant ties that each of us have with supposed strangers, and tells well the story of miracles, family, love, and forgiveness."
Susan Napier points out that Tokyo Godfathers is part of a trend in anime and manga as depicting families in an increasingly dark fashion, showcasing the problems with traditional families, and attempts by people to construct a "pseudo-family" out of an increasingly fragmented and isolating modern Japanese society. It's put forth that despite the seemingly criticisms of traditional families throughout the movie, it ends with a more conservative feeling as everyone returns to their traditional/original families. Despite its seemingly traditional ending, the movie offers a more radical version of family. Throughout the story these three homeless vagabonds unknowingly form a "pseudo-family" to protect themselves from the outside world and to overcome their personal demons.
- "Interview Satoshi Kon" (in French). Catsuka. October 18, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
- "Tokyo Godfathers (2004) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- Hunt, Leon (2010). Tauris World Cinema : East Asian Cinemas : Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. I.B Tauris. p. 122. ISBN 9781845116149.
- Napier, Susan (2008). "From Spiritual Fathers to Godfathers". In Akiko Hashimoto; John W. Traphagan. Imagined Families, Lived Families. New York: SUNY Press. pp. 33–49. ISBN 978-0-7914-7578-2.
- Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived October 19, 2011)
- Tokyo Godfathers (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Tokyo Godfathers at the Internet Movie Database
- Tokyo Godfathers at AllMovie
- "東京ゴッドファーザーズ (Tōkyō Goddofāzāzu)" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-07-21.