Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Satoshi Kon died yesterday in Japan at age 46 from pancreatic cancer. This is some bullshit is what's up.

I was late to getting into his work-- somehow missed it during the first half of college when everyone else was first freaking out over Millennium Actress -- but was an admirer of his films and the wide-ranging inspiration to 2D animators and illustrators he wrought. In retrospect, I first saw his "Magnetic Rose" as part of Otomo's Memories, and have fond memories of the cerebral impact of watching Paprika's insane imagery unfold in front of my eyes. There's been no word yet on the status of his ongoing most recent project, THE DREAM MACHINE [Yume miru kikai].

+ Details via ANN
+ A nice tribute from LA Weekly
+ We're posting up Satoshi Kon art and works on the Same Hat Tumblr

"It's not that anime will never be the same with Satoshi Kon gone. It's now much more likely that anime will always be the same." - Jeff Betteridge on his twitter.

UPDATE: ANN has reported that Satoshi Kon's final message (written in May 18 after his terminal diagnosis) has been posted to his site today. The site is crashing from traffic, but you can read a copy here (in Japanese).

今 敏

With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen. Goodbye now. Satoshi Kon


Sophia Foster-Dimino said...

Very upsetting. I'm a big fan of all of his work, though I also discovered him late. He had a brilliant imagination and made the sorts of stories I loved - dealing with paranoia, memory, dreams, obsession, delusion, etc.

I often cite him as an example of how a talented director can make a masterpiece out of poor material. Perfect Blue was originally a novel slated to be a straight-to-video softcore porn film. The studio lost funding due to an earthquake, and they decided to animate it instead. Kon got permission to change the script extensively, the result is one of my favorite movies about personal identity and neurotic fixations.

He was far too young and it's incredibly depressing to imagine what he could have done with more time.

fort90 said...

Whenever anyone I know goes "all that anime is just the same", Kon's work was always my go-to material to prove such an assumption is completely wrong.

At least I now know how he passed away. Been looking high and low since yesterday for the cause and couldn't find anything. Was afraid the circumstances was especially horrific (not to say that cancer isn't horrible all by itself already).

RSS said...

Awesome quote. "Magnetic Rose" was the best of Memories, no doubt.

Ryan S said...

@Sophia: Thanks for the lovely comments--- I agree with everything you said! Alice and I were talking about how it's especially upsetting as he was right in his prime (and his next film sounds so promising and interesting)... It is a shame to not have Kon's vision guiding this transitional period for long-form animation & anime. Very sad.

@fort90: I have MIND GAMES and Paprika as my go-to recommendations as well. I updated the post with further details from ANN about his illness. I agree, glad it wasn't something gnarly like murder/suicide/accident but it DOES sound like a horrible way to go :(

@RSS: Thanks buddy!

PuroMos said...

man this was so sudden since I didn't know he was sick. I'm loving the pictures on the tumblr.

W.T. Snacks said...

It's such a great loss. :(

Here's a rough English translation of his final words, which is amazingly beautiful and sad.

He will be missed.

Elena said...

I have no words for this...


alexmercado said...

this is an absolute tragedy, and now reading that final message makes me sink deeper. what a loss