Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 91
    This is a first-class film that will appeal to anyone who wants to see a plausible, witty, absorbing human story told well -- indeed, told gorgeously.
  2. As with the greatest animated films, the triumph of Kon's work lies not just in its beauty and singularly sophisticated storytelling but in how that beauty and storytelling combine to give the films a sting so human you can forget you're watching a cartoon.
  3. Part of the spell cast by this magical film is its ability to make an unvarnished political statement about economic reality and social alienation while, at the same time, seducing its audience into believing in the transformative power of love and the almost supernatural beauty of the everyday.
  4. A spellbinding piece of Japanese anime from one of the form's new masters, director-writer Satoshi Kon.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard James Havis
    It's a touching movie that, like the best animes, transcends the limitations of the genre.
  6. Tokyo Godfathers just might be the equivalent of "It's a Wonderful Life" or, to be hip and new-millennium about it, "Elf."
  7. For all its echoes of Frank Capra and Charlie Chaplin (as well as Ford), the movie is also a love letter to modern Tokyo, whose alleyways and skyscrapers are drafted with flawless precision and tinted with tenderness and warmth.
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Eisner
    With its masterful grasp of comedy, pathos, social commentary and mystical weirdness, Tokyo Godfathers takes anime to a whole new level.
  9. A singularly strange and affecting comedy.
  10. 75
    An animated film both harrowing and heartwarming, about a story that will never, ever, be remade by Disney.
  11. The story is sweet by animé standards, although it has harsh elements as well.
  12. Though he's working with an unavoidably sentimental story, Kon embraces the dark underside of his characters' lives, giving this animated film a satisfyingly three-dimensional feel.
  13. 75
    Ends in magnificent fashion, with skyscrapers bowing to Beethoven's Ninth. It's a stirring ending to a sweet movie.
  14. 75
    Demonstrates an idiosyncratic human touch. Kon is unafraid of the unseemly and unsightly. People are captured as they really might be.
  15. Like the comic strips of Ben Katchor, Tokyo Godfathers artfully appreciates the beauty and humanity in junked lives and landscapes.
  16. Unusual even for Japanese animation.
  17. Reviewed by: D. W. Smith
    The story takes some kooky turns and, at times, delves into the supernatural.
  18. 70
    The film is as lively as a cricket and often very funny, but it's not for the cyberpunk crowd.
  19. 70
    A welcome exercise in anime weirdness.
  20. 70
    Japanese animator Satoshi Kon has a striking sense of composition, but I'm more impressed by his storytelling skills.
  21. The combination of high animé style and old-school heart gives the film a broad enough appeal to merit a wide release. Not that it isn't quirky.
  22. 60
    Will probably appeal most to hard-core fans of Japanese animation and its wide-eyed style, both visual and philosophical.
  23. 50
    Features phenomenally beautiful background animation and complex characterizations, and offers glimpses of a poverty-stricken Tokyo underclass that's rarely featured -- let alone portrayed sympathetically -- in mainstream Japanese films.
  24. 50
    No amount of shoehorned-in razzle-dazzle can keep this forced fable from feeling like a shadow of Kon's early work.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. JeffT.
    Jun 3, 2006
    Half these critics don't know squat. One of the best movies in recent years that's not just extremely entertaining... it also stays Half these critics don't know squat. One of the best movies in recent years that's not just extremely entertaining... it also stays with you. You owe it to yourself to watch it. Full Review »