Christmas has always been a time for family, where you meet with family and friends, and you celebrate by eating and drinking and give each other presents. Christmas is a time for reflection, cheers, and marry laughter. I have always enjoyed Christmas TV episodes and movies: Elves, Christmas Carol, Dr. Who Christmas specials or Home Alone. My brother and I would watch these movies and more with our parents; we would feel the magic of Christmas even if we didn’t celebrate it.
Last year, I decided to watch a Christmas movie since I hadn’t seen one in a long time, so I picked Tokyo Godfathers. It’s about three homeless people, an alcoholic, a drag queen and a girl run-away, who found an abandoned baby in the trash on a cold Christmas Eve, and they try for a few days to give it a home.
The movie starts with the three homeless drifters in a snowy and icy night in Tokyo, where they made a shelter out of cardboard and plywood, and decorated it with all the comforts of a real home, like a portable stove. While forming a family and living together, they each have their own past that will be revealed later in the movie.
The “leader” of the group, the alcoholic Gin, claimed to be a motor-cyclist that left his family after racking up a debt through gambling, the transvestite, Hana felt alone in the world because of his/her orientation since the day of his/her birth, and the youngest Miyuki, had run away from home after a fight with her father. The two adults persuaded her to return home, but Miyuki, was too afraid to face her father. Suddenly, a baby’s cry jolted the three, forcing them to become surrogate parents, and this was the start of a journey for the three to discover their strengths and resilience.
Unlike its contemporary Christmas movies filled with bright colors, humor or magic, Tokyo Godfathers seems melodramatic with a poignant atmosphere; sometimes there were action scenes mixed in, and a lot of fate or random chances involved; maybe that’s the magic. The streets of Tokyo were gray, cold, and grim and lacking life as the three unlikely godparents sheltered the baby from it. They finally decided to search for the baby’s real parents. What was surprising was creator Satoshi Kon’s decision to complicate the backgrounds of the baby’s parents. There were scenes in an abandoned house, in an alley of homeless dwellings, in a drugstore, that seemed forlorn and hopeless, but there were scenes of warmth and heart that led to the rescuing of two lives.
Tokyo Godfathers is not for a young audience because they are too young to understand its messages, but older viewers might shy away from the Japanese art-style, which is a shame because there is a horrowing theme about us humans that could only be made through Japanese animation.
There was no input from sensei because I wrote this as a English assignment.