Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. In the future I’m going to review a lot of anime, and plenty of Kon’s works. However, it simply didn’t feel right to do that without first talking about his many accomplishments, so I’m going to do that first.
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There is a lot to talk about, but I’m only going to give a brief overview here. If you want to know more beyond this blog post, you should begin by watching the anime mentioned here, and then branching off from there.
I doubt I have to say this, but Satoshi Kon was a huge influence in the anime industry. If you’ve been an anime fan for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of him. At the very least, you’ve probably heard of at least one of the animated titles he directed.
His aspiration in life was to become an animator, but thankfully he blossomed well beyond that. In his career he was credited for being an animator, screenwriter, manga artist, and a director.
His ability as a director is what I truly want to highlight here. Though keep in mind, he had other talents too. Each of them just as prolific and noteworthy in their own way.
In the 90’s animation was striving to do new things, and reach a larger audience. Kon fit the needs of the industry well in regards to that. He was able to utilize the anime medium to its fullest potential as an art form.
In 1997, Satoshi Kon had built quite a name for himself. his reputation almost preceded him in the anime industry. His visionary skill would land him a directing role. In collaboration with studio Madhouse, Satoshi Kon was able to direct his first feature length film; Perfect Blue.
Now, let’s make no mistake about this. Kon was an absolute master in directorial design. Love or hate his works, it doesn’t much matter. The man was an influence either way. He took to his craft with a keen eye for detail. Each of the films he directed are unique. None are without depth. In my personal opinion, his productions are incredible.
I’ve done a review of Perfect Blue, and you should check that out if you want more information on that film in particular. To summarize my thoughts though, Perfect Blue is by far one of the most compelling anime movies that I have ever had the pleasure to watch.
The film relies heavily on its psychological drama to carry the story forward. Many scenes are purposefully unsettling, and Mima is an enigma by nature. Several questions are left unanswered and up to interpretation.
It is both hauntingly beautiful and unsettling at the same time. The themes are wrapped up nicely between reality and surrealism. Paranoia and mental unease are cornerstones to be explored here. Although the series is a bit dated by today’s standards, this is a true masterpiece in storytelling. It shouldn’t be overlooked, dispute the dated feel. There is so much to unpack about the world, Mima, and the concept of idol culture in Japan.
Even if his works aren’t exactly mainstream media, his influence impacted the anime industry unquestionably. Satoshi Kon’s films are way ahead of their time thematically. They challenge viewers, and often they require more than a single viewing.
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In order to completely catch every minor detail Kon skillfully embeds into films like Millennium Actress, it’s best to watch them at least twice.
They’re darker by their nature, and tend to require a more mature viewer. One that is able to critically think about the themes that are so prevalent in his media. His works are often saturated with several layers of metaphor to drive the stories forward.
Kon was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. 2010, leaving behind a legacy in anime that shouldn’t be forgotten. With the flood of new anime every season, there is no shortage of things to watch. In fact there’s not enough time in a day to watch them all, but to cast aside those older gems would be a disservice to anime as an art form.
I have memories of watching his works with my friends. I spent way too many nights huddled under blankets and starting popcorn fights over his anime, and I’d never be able to thank him, or the medium of anime enough for that.
So, that’s it then. I’ll leave it here for now.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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