This holiday season, you should probably watch Tokyo Godfathers


Everyone has their preferred movie to watch (and make others watch with them) during the prime of the holiday season, usually movies such as A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or of course John McTiernan’s cherished holiday story, Die Hard.

Mine is Tokyo Godfathers by Satoshi Kon which is extremely good and you should try to include it in your holiday watch list.

I should probably preface your first watch with a disclaimer: this is a weird movie. It involves three homeless people in Japan finding an abandoned baby, and venturing out to find its parents through a city that’s harsh and unforgiving for people of their stature. This film includes crime family assassinations, car chases, the challenges of a life in poverty, magical angel babies, and some…rough depictions of the queer and drag culture of Japan (note: the subtitled localization drops some hard f-slurs).

It’s also one of the best works of the late Satoshi Kon, and that includes other great productions such as Millennium Actress, Paprika, and the Paranoia Agent short series. For as strange a movie as this is, heavy with the creative and cinematographic hallmarks of the director (Every Frame a Painting did a video about him!), it’s also a perfect Christmas/holiday movie because not only does it take place during the season, but it’s the sort of uplifting story through severe strife that often defines the holiday movie genre.

Tokyo Godfathers can be watched for free (with ads) from Crackle, via the Amazon Anime Strike service (no ads but monthly subscription), and is also available on DVD/Blu-Ray. It’s so good y’all, check it out.


Cool! I was pretty much going to, because I just watched Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress for the first time this month. Had no idea it was a holiday movie too, so that’s a pleasant surprise.


I second this recommendation. It almost never comes up in holiday film recommendations but it’s probably in my top 3 Christmas films.


I don’t watch anime much, but I echo this recommendation. Tokyo Godfathers is a great movie.


Anime Feminist did a podcast recently about this film - definitely worth considering. The film is great, but there are some really awful translation decisions in the subtitling to consider before watching, as miscu pointed out.


I’m really curious if that was a mistranslation or if what’s being said is a Japanese equivalent of the f-slur. I don’t (yet) know enough about the language to say, but it might be one of those hang-ups of early localization where casual cussing gets misinterpreted as equivalent to our most extreme curse words.


It’s the slang one that also sometimes gets rendered as the t-slur (like in Ouran HSHC, iirc). Beyond that, I don’t know anything about the cultural context either.


Ah nevermind, they get into it in the podcast listed above. It’s “okama” which is a context-sensitive term, but one that isn’t really used as a straight-up slur on the level of the f-slur in America. So that, among other things, is just a result of poor localization.