I saw the news of anime director Satoshi Kon’s passing yesterday and thought of one of his better films, Tokyo Godfathers.
“Tokyo Godfathers” follows the adventures of three dysfunctional homeless people who find an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. Hana is a transvestite who wants to be a mother. Miyuki is a runaway girl. Finally, there’s Gin, a former “I coulda been a contender” Keirin racer who says he threw a race to save his little girl’s life before we learn he once owned a bike shop that he lost to gambling debts.
“Tokyo Godfathers” is a retelling of Peter Kyne’s short novel Three Godfathers. In the original story, the three are a trio of bank robbers who become godfathers to an infant they find in the desert while they’re on the run from the law. The story was made into a film starring John Wayne in 1948. Unlike Satoshi Kon’s retelling, no bicycles were involved in the Western.