Tokyo Godfathers (Tôkyô goddofâzâzu)

[3.5 stars]

This is an earlier anime by Satoshi Kon, who brought us the mind-bending  Paprika a few years later. Godfathers is less fantastical and more a delightfully bizarre tale of Christmas from the gutters. It isn’t all Kon, so it has some modifying influences. He had some help from Keiko Nobumoto (Cowboy Bebop) on the script and Shôgo Furuya behind the lens. But Kon’s sensibilities predominate.

What you get is a down-to-earth story of three homeless people who find an infant and spend the holiday trying to find its home. Each are doing it for different reasons, which are revealed over time. Their time on the streets isn’t pleasant, though their bonds as a found-family pull them through. Add to all of that some holiday magic, and, despite all the strife, the story manages to be heart-warming and uplifting.

And, let’s be clear, the animation is wonderful. So there are plenty of reasons to spend 90 minutes with these damaged folk and learn about their lives, and perhaps, become a bit more mindful of those around us at any time of year.

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