(2003)4Andrea LeVasseurStrangely, Tokyo Godfathers leans heavily toward melodrama despite its macho title and John Ford Western influences. The constant plot overlaps and unlikely coincidences are more reminiscent of a Pedro Almodóvar comedy, especially since one of the main characters is a maternally obsessed drag queen who frequently bursts into tears. The rapid sequence of events keeps the story engaging, if implausible, with a constant stream of chase scenes and daring rescues. So the film scores well as a family-oriented adventure. The snowy Tokyo landscapes are meticulously rendered to show all the dirty alleyways and garbage dumps that the protagonists call home. However much trash there is, the city doesn't feel that threatening with all of the bawling and exposition going on. The film functions best as a lighthearted romp through an urban playground, something perfectly visualized with the dancing skyline images during the closing credits. It suffers during the weepy, overly emotional bits, but those may be unavoidable due to genre conventions. Detached science fiction this isn't. In contrast to the sad and visceral beauty of the misfit family on Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Godfathers presents a similar family of misfits who go on a much more warm and sentimental journey.