Aug 25 2010 6:11pm

R.I.P. Satoshi Kon

Acclaimed anime director, Satoshi Kon, died of terminal pancreatic cancer on August 24, 2010 at the age of 46. I am indescribably sad at his death, since I think he was one of the most brilliant anime directors to come about in the last fifteen years. He was twisted, dark, and an ardent creator of science fiction and fantasy. His work often inhabited the twisted boundaries between reality and fantasy, embodying an incredibly accurate cinematic definition of slipstream.

The following trailers of his films are the best way I know of paying tribute to him and introducing others to his stunning work.

Perfect Blue was his first film. (Ignore the terrible English dubbing; the movie is available with proper subtitles—yes, I’m a subtitle-only fan.)


Millennium Actress is my personal favorite of all of his films.


Tokyo Godfathers was his only truly mainstream work.


Paranoia Agent was an all-too-brief series about the secret lives that are interrupted by a mysterious boy with a golden bat.


Paranoia Agent also has one of the all-time best opening songs ever.


Paprika plays on the boundary between dreams and reality, similarly to how it was done in this summer’s blockbuster, Inception.


At the time of his death, Satoshi Kon was working on a new movie, Yume-Miru Kikai. Madhouse Studios has reported that they will finish the movie.

1. euphrosyne
Definitely lamentable; untimely.

Paranoia Agent was one of the best anime series of the past few years. (But not "all too brief". I wish more series would stick with a 13-episode run--it helps avoid the filler episodes inevitable in a 26-episode season.)

All his movies were great as well: challenging, rewarding, and ultimately satisfying--which is higher praise that merely "entertaining" in my book.

RIP, Satoshi. Your absence will be felt.
Jenny Rae Rappaport
2. JennyRaeRappaport
I think the 13 episode run worked well for Paranoia Agent, but I think other shows would have benefited from more than 13 episodes. Off the top of my head: Hanamaru Youchien, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and Taishou Yakyuu Musume.
Brit Mandelo
3. BritMandelo
I am unspeakably sad about this--Kon's "Perfect Blue" was one of my first anime film experiences. I loved all of his work.
Noneo Yourbusiness
4. Longtimefan
Just an amazing collection of work. It is quite a loss that he has passed away.

I cannot even form sentences that express how great each of these pieces are.

Akward, terrible and mysterious as they may be, (and those qualities are intentional and part of the charm)by the end each one the story reveals a fully realized aspect of human behavior and social interaction.

(terrible in the sense that they can have terrifying moments in them. Each one is very well done)
5. LMWanak
So bummed to hear this! I saw everything except Paprika, which I am now bumping up to the top of my Netflix queue. His work was so brilliant and disturbing. He truly defined the slipstream genre.
Ashe Armstrong
6. AsheSaoirse
Definitely way up there in the top great directors of animation (though I'd say period). He will be sorely missed. I definitely gotta get a hold of his movies for my collection now.
Heloise Larou
7. Heloise
Personally, I consider Millenium Actress to be one of the greatest movies ever, not just in the anime sector.
Satoshi Kon's films were adult anime in a sense that didn't mean pornography or excessive violence, but intelligent, artistically brilliant and emotionally involving cinema.
This is sad news indeed, and he will be very much missed.
8. mechazoidal
Kon's family has posted his last message, and a translated version is available here, if you'd like to spend the rest of the day tearing up.

And for fans of Millenium Actress, I'll leave this here as well.

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