One of the most acclaimed animation directors in the world has passed away: Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Kon. Kon made his name in the U.S. as the director of Perfect Blue, a dark psychological thriller about a pop star-turned-actress who's stalked by a fan, as well as what could be her own ghost (Roger Corman described the film as what would have happened if "Alfred Hitchcock partnered with Walt Disney"). Kon was also responsible for the TV series Paranoia Agent, focusing on a mysterious little boy assailant with a golden baseball bat; and Paprika, a Philip K. Dick-style sci-fi thriller about a device that allows people to enter each other's dreams (the film was crafted years before Christopher Nolan's similar -- and in my opinion far less imaginative -- Inception).
The news comes from Anime News Network. The site reports that Jim Vowles, a member of the Otakorp Board of Directors for the Otakon anime convention, announced today that Kon had died at the age of 47.
"The staff of Otakon confirmed his passing with MADHOUSE studio founder Masao Maruyama. Maruyama had wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday night in Japan that an important director of the studio had suddenly passed away."
On a personal note, Kon was second only to Hayao Miyazaki as my favorite anime director. He brought the medium to a new level, demonstrating it could be used to tell sophisticated stories for adults while still retaining the fun, energy and spectacle of the finest cartoons. Paprika, in particular, was a flat-out masterpiece, and certainly one of the five best science-fiction films of the last decade. Kon died far too young, and he'll be missed. But his films will live forever.