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alabaster

Sad News: RIP Satoshi Kon

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I'm very sorry to report that Satoshi Kon passed away suddenly yesterday at the age of 47.

We don't have many details yet, but have confirmed (via Mr Maruyama at Madhouse) that it isn't just a rumor. Our friends at Madhouse are understandably upset; Kon was a phenomenal director and a huge asset for the studio, but also a good friend of Mr Maruyama, Rintaro, and many of our former Madhouse guests. To say he'll be missed is an understatement. This is the second well-liked director Madhouse has lost in the 13 months, the first being the director Takuji Endo (who did our 2009 opening animation).

I had the pleasure of meeting Kon-san several times, and have stood in his office at Madhouse's old office space (which strongly resembles the artist bullpen in Paranoia Agent). My sense of him is someone who was passionate about his work and the themes he addressed, and largely immune to the accolades heaped on him.

Obviously Otakon will arrange for some flowers and a card to be sent, but perhaps we can put something interesting together from the fans, who have long had him as a dream guest. I'll let you know what we work out.

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I thought it was a Twitter hoax until I just saw your post. I am in total and utter shock. He was one of the greats of my generation. I would probably throw an in memorium panel at Dragon*Con, but their schedule is set. He was an amazing director. It is a true shame. Could Otakon do a member event where three or four of his films are shown at a Baltimore/DC area theatre in the next few weeks?

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I thought it was a joke myself until I saw it on ANN.

Now... I dunno. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, I think. ;_;

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Kon is one of my favorite directors. I'll certainly miss seeing his creative filmmaking expressed in new and interesting ways.

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I wasn't present for it, but following the release of Paprika Satoshi Kon came to New York City, where a retrospective of his work was held. He closed by noting that he was too young to have a retrospective, and that perhaps they should invite him back after he's made a few more films.

Sadly, it appears that was to be his final retrospective after all. At 47 years old, Kon's death--"too young" is right--came at the same age as that of Studio Ghibli's Yoshifumi Kondo, the director of Whispers of the Heart who was on track to succeed Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Like Kondo, the death of Satoshi Kon further emphasizes the fact that there are so few up-and-coming anime directors under the age of 50 to take the reins from the generations preceding them. Indeed, many of the most notable such talents are directors such as Mamoru Hosoda, Masaaki Yuasa, and Takeshi Koike, all of whom also work at Madhouse. Death is always a tragedy, but with the global anime industry in its current condition, the loss of such a critical talent is particularly damaging. In illustration of this, I observe that several of Satoshi Kon's major works are currently out of print in the US.

On a tangential note: on Sunday, for the first time in my life, I went and bought a poster frame since my years worth of collecting posters had all been for naught by virtue of the fact that I'd never put any of them up. The question dawned on me: which poster do I choose to put up out of all the ones I owned? I looked over what I had, and in the end I decided one deserved to be up on my otherwise-empty walls more than the rest:

It was the poster for Millennium Actress.

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Words can hardly express the grief and surprise all this came to me!

I won't namedrop other greats of now and yesteryear, but I just hope that somehow Kon understood the impact of his works among not only his fans but everyone that has touched the lives of those who has been influenced and inspired by his works. Despite his relative youth he was one of the best animators and directors among us. Kon has a lasting legacy that I hope fans and lovers of great cinema alike will carry on with us. After all he had accomplished few has done and many dreamed of!

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Kon was one of my favorite directors in general, anime or otherwise. Hearing about his death (I do feel like it's way too soon) is surprising and very depressing, as I had been expecting many more works from him in the future. As others have said, I think it's a huge blow to Madhouse and to the anime industry general as a whole. I can only hope that his works can be introduced to many people who did not know about them beforehand, since they are some of the best that anime can offer, in my opinion.

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Too young. I am indeed grief-stricken. I can only imagine what friends and family must feel. RIP Satoshi Kon

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I'll echo what Jim said, but Kon-san was truly a kind man. He was filled with smiles and jokes and just a pleasant person. He will be missed.

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I saw this on a friend's LiveJournal a little while ago and hoped it was just a rumor or misinformation. Every one of his works was just so amazing. I suppose in one sense it's a fantastic thing that he made so many wonderful films (and Paranoia Agent), but on the other, it's so depressing that he'll never do any more.

I'm really kind of in shock right now.

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Damn...Millenium Actress is my favorite anime film. I don't think any film has made me cry so much :D

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I am terribly shocked by the news. I never had the honor of meeting Satoshi Kon in person, but I loved his works. He was such a talented director. Rest in peace, Satoshi Kon.

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Having this as the first news that I read this morning is not something that anyone can really digest. Satoshi Kon sensei's work have been simply genius and a great influence in many people. He will be greatly missed but will never be forgotten. =(

Rest In Peace.

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...I don't even know what to say. I'm devastated.

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Since ANN has more up to date information, I'm providing a link to their page on the matter. Included are translations of notices and thanks posted by both Madhouse and Kon's wife, as well as a note from Kon himself. I warn you, it's kind of tough to read.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-...out-his-passing

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Wow. Those links are tough. Wow.

So sad. Such a talented person. Goddamn.

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Damn... What very saddening news. I first heard about this yesterday while on the Light Rail on my way home from my doctor from a friend on AIM. He told me if I heard that Satoshi Kon died and I was like "What? Seriously, when?" and he told me. When I got home, I saw the ANN news story and I was like "Damn... We have lost a very good director..." and today when I saw on ANN that he died due to pancreatic cancer, I was like "Holy f**k... This is totally awful." and I was actually crying when I read that.

R.I.P Satoshi Kon.

Thank you Jim for telling us about the passing of a very good and promising director and it would be awesome if Otakon could do something involving the fans to show MADHOUSE and his wife their condolences and their appreciation of his works.

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Reading that it sounds like we really should do something for Maruyama-san...

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Reading that it sounds like we really should do something for Maruyama-san...

Trust me, we will. He's busy helping sort out memorial and funeral stuff, as well as how to proceed with DREAM MACHINES now that Kon is not available to fulfill his own vision. It's clear that this hit Maruyama pretty hard, and you can see a bit of the closeness he and Satoshi Kon shared in Kon's farewell message. I've been talking with our Madhouse contacts about this and they're all keeping an eye on him. Madhouse is, for better or worse, rather like Otakon in that the staff are sort of a crazy family, and everyone loves the patriarch of the clan.

If everyone who appreciated Kon's works went out and bought the DVD for your favorite Kon film, that might be a useful and appreciated gesture. But at the moment, rest assured that the honest outpouring of grief from fandom -- both here and on ANN's forums, as well as on dozens of personal blogs and other news and community members -- has not gone unnoticed. The shockwaves are rippling throughout the anime world, and I'm not exaggerating in the slightest.

We're looking at precisely what is appropriate for us to do to express our official condolences. Obviously we will send a card to Madhouse (as we did for Endo-san who worked on our animation last year, and who passed just a few weeks prior to the con), and possibly to the family.

Because our president and con chair (Alice & Sean) are in Japan now, we will almost certainly have someone officially representing Otakon, and by extension US fandom, at whatever public memorial materializes. Other friends will be there and And we'll send either flowers or some other culturally appropriate token of condolence.

I'm still mulling over something nice that would allow fans to share their memories, but I want to clear that with our Madhouse friends first, and they're a little busy. Perhaps a retrospective, perhaps a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research, I'm not sure yet but we'll let you know.

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I had been without internet for the last week so I didn't find out until last night. I was lucky enough to see him in person back in 2003 at the premier of Tokyo Godfathers at Big Apple Anime Fest and I remember how at the Q and A after the movie what a funny insightful guy he was. This has truly come as a shock to me as he was one of my favorite directors, anime or otherwise. I'm really sad now ;_;

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