Posted by: Leek | December 22, 2013

7 Anime related features to get you ready for Christmas Eve: Number 3

Only a few more days left and Christmas Eve on basically on the horizon. We’ve had war, romance, drama, and children. What could be next? Today’s Christmas feature gives us some very unlikely Christmas heroes.

Christmas in the Concrete Jungle

Background and Reasoning
All the Christmas stories we’ve seen so far have covered the fairly fortunate. Even if all of them didn’t have the best of Christmas seasons, they no less had somewhere to enjoy their Christmas. So today we dive into the depths of the concrete jungle to hang out with the less fortunate. Sure, Christmas miracles are great. But the impact only escalates when the underdogs get rewarded. And the movie Tokyo Godfathers gives you the most downtrodden underdogs you could imagine, the homeless.

Tokyo Godfathers is a story that starts off on Christmas Eve. The cast is simple to break down: Gin, your standard pessimistic drunk, Hana, an ever optimistic drag queen, and Miyuki, a young girl who’s runaway from home. The “happy” family is seen bickering constantly as Hana is fantasizing about receiving a miracle child akin to the virgin Mary. And just as the three break out into yet another fight, Hana’s distant wish is granted as they find an abandoned child hidden among the dump. As the three argue over what to do the child, it eventually turns into a long pilgrimage as the three try to track down the missing parents. And it’s no ordinary pilgrimage. The three land themselves far from home and experience “miracle after miracle” as they continue onward.

Tokyo Godfathers is a story that just gives the most unlikely heroes and puts them in even more unlikely situations. The three work in perfect harmony and their individual personality traits and past all work together to create a very cute story about family, past experiences, and especially karma. And while Tokyo Godfathers doesn’t take place entirely during Christmas, it manages to incorporate the strong ideas of holiday miracles throughout the movie. If you happened to watch and enjoy the Love Hina Christmas Special and all it’s silly coincidences, then chances are you’ll love Tokyo Godfathers. It really does just move from strange coincidence to strange coincidence but still manages to have some great character development and lessons to teach along the way.

So go ahead and check it out if you haven’t. If you’ve been one of the great people who’s seen Tokyo Godfathers already or just got through watching it, then feel free to read more about my thoughts on it below.

Not your standard happy family

All the Rest (aka spoilers)
Why do I really love Tokyo Godfathers?

I think, in general, I’ve always been attracted to how well each character’s back story pieces together throughout the movie. Gin’s character is slowly developed as you learn that he’s been lying to the other two the entire time. Upon supposedly spilling his heart to Hana in the beginning of the movie, you learn slowly but surely it was all a lie. But as he encounters various people he slowly learns about his own mistakes and has to eventually face his own demons when confronting his daughter. Hana, despite being the most optimistic, you learn suffers the most of all three. She is the only of the three who truly has no real family to return to yet manages to make the greatest sacrifices to ensure the happiness of her companions (all while suffering from some unnamed illness). Miyuki continually develops as they continue to seek out the parents of Kiyoko. As she continues to search from the child’s parents, she begins to reflect on the reasons why she had run away. It eventually comes down to the truth that her parents had no intention of throwing her out and were doing their best to get her to return home.

And then there are the supposed “miracles” that continually occur throughout the movie. And they’re not the ordinary miracles. It’s not often that you manage to find that someone has offered some baby formula and diapers to the deceased. And then, there’s the magic of managing to find the same taxi driver over and over and over again. Then there’s all the automobile accidents that manage to happen. And let’s not forget…well…everything. I’m pretty sure every main event that moves Tokyo Godfathers is some strange disaster, accident, or miracle. I think the biggest miracle of all is that Kiyoko never got sick. I’m pretty sure a kid that was exposed to the winter cold THAT often would have to get sick at least once. But I guess we can let that one slide. Or Kiyoko was just truly a gift from God as Hana claims throughout the entire movie.

A true Christmas Miracle…I think

I think I always liked the running idea of karma in the movie. My terrible luck has always just forced me to go out of my way for people in hopes it would prove some good eventually (not so much luck as of yet). But if there’s anyone who would be wanting good karma, it would probably be a few homeless wanderers. The three are treated to a good meal, some money, and useful information thanks to helping the yakuza member. While it was never intentional, Miyuki receives hospitality from the wife of the hitman for “aiding” in her husband’s escape. Gin, even if we never know if he cashes it, receives a winning lottery ticket for assisting the dying old man. And all three are eventually awarded in the end as they are soon to be godparents for returning the stolen child.

My only ever real complaint about Tokyo Godfathers will be the ending. It’s just one of those plots that is written without a real conclusion. Or you could call it one of those “decide for yourself” kind of stories. In the closing scene all we see is the parents, who now want to pronounce the three godparents, Miyuki finally seeing her father again, and that Gin has a winning lottery ticket. But it’s generally up to you where it goes from there. What happens to the three after becoming godparents? Does Miyuki actually apologize? Does Gin discover and cash in the lottery ticket? Does Gin return to his family? Does Hana return to being a berserk drag queen? Did that taxi driver ever get any reward for all the shit he was put through? Well. We’ll never actually know.

Despite the inconclusive ending, Tokyo Godfathers is still an easy holiday classic. It’s a cute and incredibly touching story when you boil it down to the bare bones. And the coincidence driven plot is really fun to see unfold and seeing how each situation moves to the next is really great. That and the characters are just so damn lovable. There’s no real reason to hate anyone in the cast and they all just compliment each other perfectly. You need Hana’s rose colored glasses to be offset by Gin’s harsh reality. And Miyuki tends to be the perfect cynical middleman to keep the other two from wearing each other down. Sounds like the perfect family to me.


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