Depicting Realism in a Christmas Film 380 Ahhh the Christmas season. Its that time of the year when you can spend time with your family and enjoy the festivities that come with the season. Its also the best time of the year to bingewatch everything that you can and have missed. For me I always try to find an anime to watch that fits my current mood or setting and so when Christmas comes along I often turn to live action movies because there is no anime that truly fits the themes of the holiday season...except for this. Story: Three homeless people rummage through the garbage in the hopes of finding Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. You have Hana a transvestite and former drag queen Gin an alcoholic and former cyclist and Miyuki a teenage runaway girl. The three of them form a family of sorts and as they rummage through the garbage they find an abandoned baby that becomes an addition to their family. Hana names the baby Kiyoko meaning pure child. This baby is a symbol of purity and is the catalyst for the events that will unfold as the three protagonists set out on a journey to not only find the babys parents but also to seek redemption. 460 Tokyo Godfathers was inspired by 3 Godfathers a 1948 western film that is steeped in Christian symbolism. While the two films do share similarities with one another Tokyo Godfathers substitutes the desperadoes for three homeless people with individual problems. Neither film is actually actionpacked despite 3 Godfathers having a premise of three bank robbers going on the run. However it goes without saying that on a general level both films are still fun to watch. In Tokyo Godfathers as the three protagonists go along on their journey they experience several coincidences that puts them in some of the craziest situations. One moment they are walking around the streets of Tokyo the next moment they find themselves coincidentally involved in an action scene that seems like its straight out of a Hollywood film. Not only are there coincidences that happen in this film but there are also miracles because what Christmas film isnt complete without miracles Seemingly enough these miracles may actually end up being the result of divine intervention as what happens in many other Christmas films to be honest. Now the film starts off with a recital of Silent NIght an obviously popular Christmas carol. However this scene is important because it generalizes what this film is going for. We have seen a star in the east. It told us the Son of God is born. This quote symbolizes that there will be a baby in this film and what follows is a shot of Hana and then Gin. But there is also the fact that this film is a reference to 3 Godfathers meaning that the recital at the beginning of the film is also meant to reveal that there will be Christian symbolism in this film similar to what happens in 3 Godfathers. The two motifs of coincidences and miracles become the driving force of the narrative and they end up actually making the story absurd. However for all its optimism and absurdity there are melancholic undertones to this film which adds realism to it. Beyond the absurdity miracles coincidences and Christian symbolism is a real world focus on issues that the three protagonists are dealing with. These three protagonists deal with issues that many people deal with in real life. While they do form a family of sorts the three protagonists each deal with a problem relating to their biological families and it is because of this that they seek redemption. Their journey to find the babys parents is what gives them hopes in the face of bleakness a chance for redemption. 360 This film is also not afraid to be explicit with its depiction of social ostracism but is held back by the fact that it also tries to be optimistic and uplifting. For what its worth though I believe that people should definitely check this film out because it is a good movie with themes of family love and forgiveness. Characters: It is important to note that the most important aspect ofTokyo Godfathers is its characters. The films three protagonists are a joy to watch because they are all misfits. At the same time their journey to redemption is as equally enjoyable to watch albeit heartwarming as well. As I stated earlier these characters all face problems related to their biological families. Its not so much that people have done them wrong but more of the fact that there is a lack of forgiveness. A feeling of selfguilt which they all have. Their journey of redemption sees them face the wrongdoings of their past as they try to learn to forgive themselves. 520 Then we come to the issue of social ostracism. Beyond the characters individual problems is a look at destitution homelessness homosexuals etc. Although the film does not delve deeper into this issue it depicts the said groups in a realistic manner. The protagonists and the characters that they encounter throughout the story are not meant to be pitied because thats not what this film is going for. After all it is meant to be an uplifting story and not a feels ride. These characters are meant to be empathized with and I think that they accomplished that with this film. Sound and Music: The soundtrack serves as a nice compliment to the film blending well with several moments in the story. Besides original pieces there is music that you often hear during Christmas such as Ode to Joy and Silent Night. In regards to the voice acting I think its cool that they chose voice actors who prior to this film had no involvement in anime voice acting. It adds freshness to the table as opposed to hearing those generic anime voices and it also makes the characters stand out as being real. 360 Art and Animation: When it comes to visuals Tokyo Godfathers holds up pretty well despite the fact that it was released in 2003. You wont get a heavy amount of symbols like in other Satoshi Kon works such as Perfect Blue and Paprika but the symbols are definitely present. This is showcased by the fact that there are things in the film that are shown in pairs. This is done in order to show a connection or tie that people and objects share with one another. The film is also a love letter to Tokyo. As the three protagonists traverse the city we get to not only view the landmarks buildings and streets of Tokyo but also the underside of the city. We get to see places that are far less prominent like alleyways nightclubs and places that only gangsters would really think of going to. This detailed presentation of Tokyo adds realism to the film because it brings the city to life.
70 /100
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