Tokyo Godfathers Is An Anime Christmas Miracle About Animated Cinema’s Merriest Motley Crew

There’s a devastating honesty coursing throughout “Tokyo Godfathers,” especially when looking at how the three main characters respond to finding the baby. The trio has just attended a youth performance of a nativity play when they come across the child, so there are some definite “Three Wise Men + Baby Jesus” metaphors at play. Gin and Miyuki want to take the child to the police even though both have a tumultuous relationship with the criminal justice system. Hana, however, sees the baby as a miracle, viewing the child as an answer to her prayers to have a baby of her own — something she believes could never be possible as a trans woman. She calls the child “Kiyoko,” which derives from the Japanese word for “pure.” This innocent child was abandoned, and despite their immediate impulses, the three make it their goal to find the child’s parents, hopefully preventing the baby from growing up on the streets.

Satoshi Kon presents Gin, Miyuki, and Hana exactly as they are, and appropriately reflects the way society treats them — even if it hurts. The gravity of their life on the streets is never glossed over, but “Tokyo Godfathers” doesn’t approach houselessness like a scared-straight-style cautionary tale. The family this trio has created may look odd from the outside looking in, but they are a family through and through. There’s beauty to be found in this presentation of neorealism, even without sugarcoating the uncomfortable truths surrounding their systemic oppression.

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