August 25, 2010

RIP: Satoshi Kon, You Will Live on Through Your Films

Yesterday I learned of the passing of Satoshi Kon. It is a sad day for the animation world to lose such a visionary creator. Kon has passed away at the much too young age of 47 following a fight with cancer. My thoughts go out to his family and friends who have lost a loved one. If there is anything to be thankful for is that his legacy will live on and his films are destined to be talked about for years to come.

I am far from being an otaku and cannot speak definitively on anything regarding the anime world, but I do feel rather confident in saying that Satoshi Kon was a unique voice working in a fascinating genre. His films are gorgeously animated, layered experiences that will give you plenty to think about and to look at in each of his features.

Satoshi Kon had four films released, each one a piece of art worth spending time with and each something I want to revisit. He made his debut in 1998 with Perfect Blue,a film about a pop star turned actress who is haunted by her past. He followed that up with 2001's Millennium Actress, which centers on a an actress who left the business to become a recluse and the reporter who tracks her down for an interview leading to a journey through Japanese cinema history. 2003 brought us Tokyo Godfathers, a tale of three homeless friends who find an abandoned newborn and their adventures tracking down the child's mother.

In 2004 Kon took a step away from the big screen creating the bizarre series Paranoia Agent, I have only seen a little bit of this series, but it is an odd one that centers on a woman who has created a popular talking dog character and violent attacks by a character called Lil Slugger. 2006 saw his return to the big screen with the excellent Paprika which centers on the theft of a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' minds and the chaos that ensues in the attempt to get it back. This is one of the few anime films I have been able to see on the big screen and it was a visual joy. Definitely a high point for Kon.

At the time of his death Satoshi Kon had been working on his latest film. The translated title is The Dream Machine. I do not know the status of the film, but hopefully it can be completed and we will be able to see his final work. Stills can be seen at Slash Film.

Satoshi Kon, your creative voice will be missed.

Article first published as RIP: Satoshi Kon, You Will Live on Through Your Films on Blogcritics.

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