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The Dreams of Satoshi Kon: Chapter IV - Warmth


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Evelas



Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 107
Location: AL (inactive, now using Aeriven)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:39 pm Reply with quote
I actually just watched Tokyo Godfathers for the first time tonight, since it is the only Satoshi Kon film I had yet to see. It has easily become one of my favorite films ever.

Reading this article so soon after seeing the movie for the first time has me wanting to watch it again very soon. I feel I have such a deeper appreciation for Kon's message now. Thank you Tim for such a well-written tribute to this film (and to ANN this entire series of tribute articles, by the way).

I also watched the "Making Of" featurette on the DVD; it made me sad to see him talking about this film, knowing that, after Dream Machine, we won't ever know what other marvels he could have shown us. Sad
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:36 am Reply with quote
I normally hate Christian-themed movies, but Tokyo Godfathers is an exception. It is my favourite Kon movie without a doubt, and I have been looking forward to this article. The movie didn't push the boundaries in terms of style or conceptual views, or whatever, but to me that's a good thing. It wasn't confusing, and yet it didn't hold the audience's hand. It delivered a clear message surrounded by nice themes, and the characters were memorable, sympathetic and well-defined. The humour was also weaved well into the story, and it was balanced out with enough drama and seriousness that the movie never felt cheesy. Definitely something that you can show to non-Anime fans without worrying.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:38 am Reply with quote
Just bought it today, and should receive it in two months as long as the next Wheel of Time book isn't delayed again. Hey I love free shipping.
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trunkschan90



Joined: 08 Aug 2002
Posts: 367
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:41 am Reply with quote
I remember watching this movie as part of an assignment for my Japan Pop Culture class Smile
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Wrathful



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 316

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:47 am Reply with quote
This seems like a good movie that I should watch. Somehow, this DVD always seems to slip on my mind as I have my mind set on tracking other animes, I suppose. By reading this introspective, it gave me a little more interest in his work definitely. It could be maybe I avoided watching his work because all his work seems different, not how he tells the story but in terms of aesthetic as well. The movie Perfect Blue would be one of the insane movie I've seen, it left me a long lasting impression. By the end, I was rather disturbed by the imagery and the story didn't help either. For a better lack of word a mindf*ck. There's no other media that topped Perfect Blue as the most disturbing except one that's not an anime.

The next work I checked was Paranoia Agent. For some reason I had a better time watching it. I guess I thoroughly enjoyed it because of the mystery and there were lot more characters and interaction. If I liked this series, I think I would like Tokyo Godfathers.
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Pippin4242



Joined: 01 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:59 am Reply with quote
A fine, fine film. It doesn't have to be packed with meaning to make you feel something, and especially not at Christmas. It's always been enough for me that it's beautiful, and moving. My favourite of all his works, even over MA.

- Pips
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:04 am Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
I normally hate Christian-themed movies,

Um, I think you mean Christmas-themed movies? I mean, I won't deny that Kon actually gets a surprising lot right about Christian celebrations of Christmas in his opening (though Japanese misconceptions about Christianity, while real, tend to be grossly exaggerated).

Of course, when you look at one of the original promotional posters, which features Kiyoko with wings surrounding by a glowing aura sitting with head propped up in hand in a chair within a garbage dump, and then consider that there are three people heling her, and not wonder if this is a (very strange) riff on the central Christmas story itself.
Quote:
you could just film it in live action, re-locate it to Brooklyn and watch the Oscars come rolling in.

And yet Shark Tale got nominated that year instead... Evil or Very Mad

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I've never seen so many coincidences and events falling into place so neatly in real life, I could barely believe it.

As I mentioned in a post in the last article, I've been rewatching all Kon's works, along with the interviews, and in both the ones I've watched so far he mentions "meaningful coincidences," which is a phrase I think I first heard from Jung. He says that any project with a hope of success has to have at least one of these coincidences, a kind of omen. Getting to know the man behind the movies has been really neat.

Oh, and I suggest you pick up Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist by Andrew Osmund. It's more slickly packaged for a pop audience, but it reminds me a lot of Stray Dog of Anime.
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PingSoni
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Joined: 05 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:23 am Reply with quote
I love Tokyo Godfathers because of the depth of the characters and the detail in their surroundings. Despite the Christmas setting, I think the real message is that people are people, even if they smell bad sometimes.

I also have been making my way through all of Kon's works these past weeks, including the interviews, and reading The Illusionist. I too wish we could look forward to watching more work from Kon.

He seems like a fairly shy person. I hope his spirit is not uncomfortable with all the attention he is receiving now from strangers.

Thank you for doing this series of articles!
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Spastic Minnow
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Joined: 02 May 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:21 am Reply with quote
I have to agree with the live action appropriateness of Tokyo Godfathers, I have cast a Hollywood adaptation of it in my head a number of times. Billy Bob Thorton as the Gin character, a black actor playing against type for the Hana role- Terrence Howard maybe. Miyuki's character's actress always changes because of her age, Ellen Page and Keisha Castle-Hughes were both candidates before getting too old, so Dakota Fanning becomes the de facto role-filler.

It's just that accessible and universal. Any country's film industry could remake this movie and have their own little heart-warming film that anyone would want to watch. ut the best will always be Kon's original.
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neocloud9



Joined: 06 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:51 am Reply with quote
Alright, I really need to see this one.
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gartholamundi



Joined: 18 Mar 2010
Posts: 316
Location: Gainesville, FL

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:17 pm Reply with quote
@ GATSU: The Fisher King is an interesting and apt (with the Kon/Gilliam connection) comparison -- though for myself I find both films hold together pretty tightly. (And FK is in my top 10 personal favorites, watched many, many times without losing any of its edge. Though perhaps I'm fueled somewhat by all the Grail Legend stuff I've heard on audio by Joseph Campbell. Plus, I'm a total nerd fanboy for Gilliam.)

@ Tim ... man -- brilliant. I love the way you take in, mull over, and relate your experience of anime. You're an awesome reviewer. True quality. I only wish your analysis was longer. And that you reviewed more often. ha!

Tokyo Godfathers has got what I feel is the best character development in all of anime, with the possible exception of Grave of the Fireflies, which I find to be equally convincing (and even more emotive). So, along with Fireflies, I can easily state I care more about these TG characters, and find them to be more realistic, than anything else I've seen -- even without this being one of my all-time favorite films.

I just can't deny the effort Kon and his crew went to in order to achieve the depth of believability here. And it must be an effort because so few other anime get it right. While I normally just take it as a given that cartoons aren't going to have the human depth more easily available elsewhere, the films above show without room for doubt that with enough energy and attention cartoon characters can seem like perfectly natural, completely fleshed-out characters. The shame of the gambling addict, the guilt and fear of the runaway, every aspect of Hana -- it's just perfection. I'll have to watch again now and check out more intentionally the "advertising vs. reality" angle and Tokyo-as-a-character.

If I understand rightly, both of the principal themes of homelessness and child abandonment are taboo subjects in Japan? Partly because of that, I don't think of this film as any less challenging than his other work. While Perfect Blue and Paprika in their own ways focus on the fuzzy borders between the subjective and objective identity/reality, here the vital underlying questions are about the blurry edges between personal character and societal exclusion.

That constant exploration of identity and reality place this firmly in the Kon universe, and refute that it is some fluke "normal" or pure slice-of-life affair.

Music, visuals, story, character. Another Kon constellation that has it all.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:35 pm Reply with quote
garth:
Quote:
The Fisher King is an interesting and apt (with the Kon/Gilliam connection


Well, Kon was a fan of his work, and ironically wondered why he wasn't more popular, though people forget that Time Bandits and 12 Monkeys were hits. And Kon's stuff appeared in a "best of animated films" article from Gilliam, so I thought it'd be appropriate.

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Plus, I'm a total nerd fanboy for Gilliam.


Haven't gotten around to Tideland, myself, but it's my belief that Parnassus will be remembered a lot better than Avatar. Hell, after seeing it, I was hoping Petersen would let him remake Paprika.

Quote:
If I understand rightly, both of the principal themes of homelessness and child abandonment are taboo subjects in Japan?


It's not that they're taboo. It's that they were swept under the rug.
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Alien1375



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 44
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Personally I really wanted to like this movie. Christmas in Tokyo. Possibly a moving story about a lost baby and three bums who are looking for the parents. What's not to like?

However, I found it really difficult to care about two of the three main characters:
1. an insultingly stereotypical homosexual;
2. the psychopathic teenager spoiler[stabbing your dad in the chest because the cat ran away?!?! Am I supposed to feel sympathy towards her?]

Another flaw are the highly improbable 'coincidental' meetings in a city with a population of 13 million people that are just too convenient to be believable.

Great animations though. And I really liked the Haiku's through out the movie. A mixed bag in my opinion.
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Greboruri



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 199
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:38 pm Reply with quote
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Kon pitched the idea of this film to Madhouse; a remake of John Ford's "Three Godfathers" set in Tokyo with three homeless people, one of them a drag queen. Pretty ballsy I think. How many other Japanese films let alone anime films depict the struggle of the homeless? I can't think of any. I'm unsure how this film actualy got the green light. Still, it's a fantasic film.
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Spastic Minnow
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 02 May 2006
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Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:46 pm Reply with quote
Alien1375 wrote:


Another flaw are the highly improbable 'coincidental' meetings in a city with a population of 13 million people that are just too convenient to be believable.


but... that's the point.

The movie is about serendipity. Kon doesn't use the term, but that might have something to do with the factoid given in the word's WIkipedia entry:

Serendipity is a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated. The word has been voted as one of the ten English words that were hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company.

If you look further into that wiki entry you read the word's origin and stumble upon one of the probable sources for the movie, the Persian fairy tale: . The Three Princes of Serendip in which "three princes by 'accidents and sagacity' discern the nature of a lost camel".
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