Satoshi Kon, who passed away from pancreatic cancer at 46 on 24th August, 2010, was, to me, the boldest and most distinctive creator of Japanese animation. I was only introduced to his work a few years ago but the more I revisit them, the more his unique storytelling and animation stands out in my collection. During his decade long filmmaking career, the late anime director made some of the most viscerally animated films in the horror, romance, comedy and science fiction genres. His films blend dream and reality while providing a harsh social commentary on Japanese society, our imagination and creativity. With that in mind, here is a tribute to his legacy.
Kon began his career as a young manga artist competing in a Shonen weekly magazine competition. Shortly afterwards, he was taken under the wing of Mamoru Oshii as an animation artist for Roujin Z, collaborating with the Ghost in the Shell director on their co-created manga Seraphim 266, 613, 336 Wings. In 1995, he made his directorial debut when Akira director and idol of Kon’s, Katsuhiro Otomo, requested him to direct one of three short films featured in Otomo’s Memories anthology, Magnetic Rose.