Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, Millineum Actress) Dies At 46

***Satoshi Kon, a Japanese filmmaker and comic-book artist whose dazzling visual compositions and humane, emotionally resonant stories won him a devoted following in animation circles and beyond, died in Tokyo on Tuesday. He was 46.

The filmmaker and comic-book artist Satoshi Kon in 2006 following a screening at the Venice Film Festival.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, according to the Tokyo Shimbun news service and statements issued by Mr. Kon?s wife, Kyoko, and by Madhouse Studios, where Mr. Kon directed films.

While Mr. Kon?s film work incorporated many familiar anime elements ? pixielike female characters, sensitive robots, futuristic cityscapes and an anxious fascination with the creative and destructive power of technology ? it was also informed by literary, artistic and cinematic traditions far beyond contemporary Japanese popular culture.

Mr. Kon?s second feature, ?Millennium Actress,? paid homage to masters of Japanese live-action film like Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa, blending naturalism and fantasy to tell the story of a fictitious movie star in the years before and after the Second World War. His next film, ?Tokyo Godfathers,? was loosely based on a 1948 John Ford western, Three Godfathers, and took viewers on a vivid tour of modern Tokyo?s back alleys and poor neighborhoods.

?He was part of a line of great Japanese humanist directors and writers,? said Susan J. Napier, a professor of Japanese studies at Tufts University and the author of several books on anime. In a telephone interview Wednesday, she linked Mr. Kon with Kurosawa, the great animator Hayao Miyazaki (?Spirited Away,? ?Princess Mononoke?) and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe.

Mr. Kon, she said, combined their characteristic social and ethical concerns ? including sympathy for outsiders and a belief in the redemptive power of love ? with a mischievous and wildly inventive visual style.

?He loved to play with the audience, to fool the audience,? Ms. Napier said. ?He would show one thing and then he?ll make you realize that you aren?t seeing what you think you?re seeing. He loved to play with dreams, to play with the borders between the real and the fantastic.?

This sensibility is apparent in the opening sequence of ?Paprika,? the last feature he completed. In a deceptively realistic scene of Tokyo traffic, billboards and video screens spring to life, and an enigmatic female figure ? whose identity will turn out to be the key to the film?s many existential puzzles ? flows from one dimension of reality to another.

Satoshi Kon was born in Hokkaido, Japan, on Oct. 12, 1963. Intending to study painting, he enrolled at the Musashino Art University, but, as he told the Web site Anime News Network ( in 2008, his interests soon shifted to illustration, and he began to draw the Japanese comics known as manga for Young magazine. There he met Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of the groundbreaking manga Akira, the 1988 film version of which remains a touchstone in the modern history of anime.

Mr. Kon worked as an animator on Hiroyuki Kitakubo?s 1991 feature, ?Rojin Z? (written by Mr. Otomo), and contributed a script to Mr. Otomo?s 1995 science-fiction anthology film, ?Memories.? In 1998 he directed his first feature, ?Perfect Blue.?

?Millennium Actress,? ?Tokyo Godfathers? and ?Paprika? followed, in addition to ?Paranoia Agent,? a series Mr. Kon made for Japanese television.

At his death he was finishing ?The Dream Machine,? which he described in the 2008 interview as ?a road movie for robots.?

?On the surface,? he said, ?it?s going to be a fantasy-adventure targeted at younger audiences. However, it will also be a film that people who have seen our films up to this point will be able to enjoy.? ***

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Surprising to hear, so young. RIP. :crybaby:

He will be missed. I love Paprika and Paranoia Agent even moreso. I still have to give PA a second watch. Show was a real mindf*ck and I loved it.

I posted it in the General Anime and Manga thread, but it would seem the sad news was lost in a sea of trolling and counter trolling (which seems to be the norm there)…

I won’t repeat myself for the umpteenth time, but I will reiterate how much this is a loss to both the anime and film communities. I would recommend Perfect Blue to anyone, anime fan or not, and I am in the process of acquiring his other works (good ol’ ^_^)…


Never seen Millennium Actress of Perfect Blue, but Paranoia Agent was/is one of the best series I’ve seen. At 46, damn, he could have done so much more given his talent, he will be missed.

His work, particularly Memories, are some of my all time favorites. RIP.

My apologies. I did a search before creating the thread and I assumed the Anime and Manga thread would come up anyway since he is one of the greats.

I’ve seen / own Perfect Blue and Actress and I just never got around to watching Tokyo Godfathers. Paranoia Agent is one of my favorite shows.

I always liked how he would screw with the viewers, in such a way like “You know this isn’t real and I know this isn’t real so I am going to mess with you during your entire viewing experience!” That’s the best way I can describe his works, and I do mean this in a good way. Hard to explain really.

Again he will be missed.

oh wow this is unexpected. His films are really high on my list, wow, this actually makes me really fucking sad.

fuck pancreatic cancer. its painful watching someone go through it.


Doesn’t Perfect Blue draw elements from Japanese myth, like Orochi? I’v been wanting to give that a series a watch/read years ago but forgot about it.

This really breaks my heart. He’s responsible for most of the anime I enjoy watching. I hope his last movie is finished right. First Nujabes and now him. Japan’s best exports are dying on me.

RIP. Paprika sucked though was that his last completed film?

That’s fucking horrible… PA, PB, and Paprika were amazing. RIP.

Perfect Blue was the shit. RIP

Oh man that is terrible!

Millenium Actress was beautiful, and I strongly recommend it.

Mother fuck.

Fuck cancer.


R.I.P. Too many good ones leaving too early. Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent will own your mind and make you cry for mommy. He will be missed.


Aw. Time to watch Paprika and be sad. Badadada badadada dada da da da dadada daaa.

I didn’t read this thread til today, just happened to watch Paprika yesterday by chance. RIP

new beverly is commemorating with a millenium actress/paprika double feature next month

Satoshi Kon’s last words | Makiko Itoh : Not a nameless cat.