Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers is one of those rare films that combine serious social commentary with laugh-‘til-you-pee dialogue. And did I mention that it’s japanamation? Yeah. The story centers around Gin, an alcoholic/compulsive gambler, Hana, a transvestite with visions of motherhood, and Miyuki, a teenage runaway, who have formed an uneasy alliance on the streets of Tokyo. This homeless trio of unlikely Samaritans find a baby abandoned in the trash on Christmas Eve and set about to return the infant to its parents. One of the biggest hardships they encounter along the way is themselves, and director Satoshi Kon (Millenium Actress, Perfect Blue) manages to make this film, above all else, driven by the characters themselves. Loaded with intriguing plot twists and paced beautifully (you learn things when you need to learn them, and not a moment sooner), you’ll forgive the sometimes mid-grade animation work and the tendency to ratchet it up one notch too far.

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