From the Shunned to Heroes
From the pen and direction of Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress, Paranoia Agent) comes a Christmas tale like no other. This is a little gem of a story, about the most dysfunctional family on the Planet. This is no fluffy children’s story that some other animators may make. As these characters have a darker back story to their animated lives, a testament to Satoshi Kon‘s writing.
It is Christmas Eve in Tokyo and the city has put on a Christmas service of Silent Night and a soup kitchen for the homeless. Among the audience are three individuals that have chosen to be a family unit, Gin (Tôru Emori, Woman in Witness Protection) a man aptly named as he likes his drink, Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki, Gakko II) an ex drag queen and a transsexual who has always wanted to be a real woman and Miyuki (Aya Okamoto, Moonlight Jellyfish) a runaway with a bad attitude.
After the soup kitchen life returns to normal and finding food is the staple occupation in the vast piles of refuse dotted around the city, their bickering continues as they search through the books and bags and finally reaches a crescendo which causes them to hear the wails of a newly born baby.
“What are you doing to Dostoevsky!?”
Much to their surprise Hana takes to the baby instantly (feeling her maternal side) and names her Kiyoko (“pure child”) much to the shock of Gin and Miyuki who want to take the baby straight to the police but Hana doesn’t want that and they head back to their tent in a park along with other homeless people.
“Tomorrow we take her to the police” Gin.
A snowy Christmas morning and Gin and Miyuki wake to find that Hana and the baby are gone. After a frantic search through the snow they finally find the pair in the snow. Hana doesn’t want to take Kiyoko to the police in case she ends up in foster homes (back-story) so they decide to use the clues they have been given to find the parents of baby Kiyoko.
Three people with personal hygiene problems and a baby, no nappies. What do you do?
A brilliant tale with the great backdrop of Tokyo, there are goodies and baddies in every tale, but not normally in a Christmas film. This is Tokyo, so those baddies are very bad.