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POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, August 21, 2011 Share
If I was speaking to a newbie who was curious about anime and wanted to see something of Hollywood quality, then I would suggest Tokyo Godfathers. Director Satoshi Kon knows how to pull the heart strings and reel you into a moving cinematic experience.
It is interesting that Satoshi Kon decided to base his story around the lives of three homeless people. Most discard the homeless for a variety of reasons or seek pity or just hand over a few coins. Tokyo Godfathers allow you to experience life on the streets even if you had a sheltered upbringing like I did. There is Hana the drag queen with a heart of gold, Gin a thirty something alcoholic, and Miyuki who was forced to run away from home. All three lives are instantly connected when a newborn baby is heard crying in a dumpster. Banding together, Hana, Gin, and Miyuki set out on a quest to find the baby's parents. Along the way they learn a lot about integrity and child rising. However the deeper issue that Satoshi Kon keeps getting at is how do you treat your family? Most everyone has some type of family and opinions vary on what is good and what is bad within. We all make certain choices that guide as along through life. Some may develop a drinking problem and go out gambling that depletes family incomes and compounds the problems of everyday life. The person involved may not feel he or she is doing anything wrong. Years go by and that person may realize that their house is made of cardboard and they haven't spoken to a living relative in quite some time. They made a choice that felt good and now they must agonizes over the consequences. This is especially hard on people around the holidays when families get together to celebrate with a Thanksgiving feast or Christmas. Tokyo Godfathers begins on Christmas Eve, a time when most people get together. Even the homeless spend time together because for Hana, Gin, and Miyuki, a baby is around and the proper care is needed. It may not consists of a typical family with a mother and father but that doesn't matter because a strong love is directed towards the baby. Even when the three disagree and go their separate ways, the baby and this inner need to find the true parents drives each to overcome their differences and work towards a common goal.
Satoshi Kon creates a visually stunning urban sprawl that is the perfect background. Regardless of position in the great scheme of life, likeable characters exist that just happen to be homeless. The scenes move quickly with moments of sadness, joy, excitement in the action sequences, conflict, and love. All combined will move the viewer to a better understanding of not just themselves but more importantly, each other.
If you haven't given anime a shot, then start with a movie. You are not investing a large amount of time in it. Pick up a copy of Tokyo Godfathers and experience good storytelling that is a timeless art.
5 out of 5 Stars
"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.