Two days ago, anime director Satoshi Kon passed away from pancreatic cancer. He was only 46 years old.
Kon’s work has always always meant a lot to me on a personal level. I can trace every single one of his films back to a major time in my life. That I’ll no longer experience that is a strange feeling. I’m sure this is an affect he has on most people. His films are just that powerful. To be honest, it’s difficult (as you’ll see three paragraphs down) to put how I feel into words. I don’t think I’ve been moved this much by some one’s death since maybe Mike Wieringo or George Carlin. The world feels wrong without Satoshi Kon in it.
Kon was always a director and storyteller first and foremost. The fact that he was directing anime features never changed his subject matter, or the tone he approached them with. His films were as surreal as anything you’d see from Aronofsky or the Wachowski siblings, and as terrifying and suspenseful as you’d see from Hitchcock himself.
While perhaps not as influential as the likes Miyazaki or Watanabe, Kon’s work was a true bridge between the outside world, and the world of anime. You could show one of his films to someone who wasn’t a fan of anime, and they’d almost be guaranteed to enjoy it.
His works appealed to a far wider audience than those of any of his contemporaries. I have a feeling that this will be the case for some time to come.
I’ve tried writing something more than this, something fitting, three times over now. Nothing I wrote does the man justice. Instead, I urge you to check out Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika. The work will speak for itself. What follows are the closing lines of Kon’s final letter to the world. It’s a heart-breaking read, but one I found both hopeful and informative. You can see for yourself here: http://www.makikoitoh.com/journal/satoshi-kons-last-words I hope you’ll give it a read.
“With my heart full of gratitude for everything good in the world, I’ll put down my pen. Now excuse me, I have to go.”