The last time our Patreon pal Nathaniel joined us on the show, he introduced us to Survive Style 5+, a quirky Japanese comedy that definitely deserves a wider audience. He joins us again this week with another cult classic, Satoshi Kon’s 2003 animation Tokyo Godfathers.
The story of Tokyo Godfathers centres around three homeless misfits – alcoholic Gin, former drag queen Hana and a troubled 13 year old runaway named Miyuki. One Christmas Eve, after attending a production of the nativity story, they discover an abandoned baby in a dumpster, and set out on a mission to return it to its mother.
Despite the festive setting, like much of Kon’s oeuvre, Tokyo Godfathers is decidedly not a children’s movie. As they adventure through Tokyo, the trio encounter gangland assassinations, violent street thugs and suicide attempts, among other things. It’s a testament to how well Japanese cinema has been able to utilise animation to tackle a wide range of themes and styles – and the late Kon’s influence on Western filmmakers from Christopher Nolan to Darren Aronofsky has been well documented.
On this week’s podcast, Nathaniel joins us as we break down the charming series of improbable coincidences that drive the plot, how the movie parallels other classic Christmas fables, and what it tells us about a side of Japan that’s rarely shown in mainstream Western cinema.
Along the way we also brainstorm some drinking game ideas, check in with our listeners and pitch some sequel ideas to bring the movie back to the big screen. If you enjoy this week’s podcast, hit subscribe to receive a new episode every Monday morning.
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Next week, we’re kicking off 2021 with another animated classic from a little closer to home. Until then, happy listening and good riddance to 2020!