I’m shocked , crushed and saddened by this awful, sudden news. SATOSHI KON, one of animations last & brightest stars, director of PERFECT BLUE, MILLENIUM ACTRESS, TOKYO GODFATHERS, PARANOIA AGENT & PAPRIKA has left us at the young age of 47. He lost a battle to Cancer. Truly crushed and shocked. We’ve lost a true visionary. Don’t know what to say…..

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Early this morning, rumors spread quickly on Twitter that Satoshi Kon, director of the acclaimed anime films Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue, had died. Soon, these reports were confirmed by Studio Madhouse’s Masao Maruyama, through Jim Vowels of Baltimore anime convention Otakon, and reported by UK Anime Network. Kon died on August 23 at the age of 47.

Kon was a writer and director revered both within and outside of the anime fandom for creating beautiful pieces of animation that were as suspenseful as they were emotionally moving. Tokyo Godfathers was well-regarded for its exploration of homelessness. Paprika was a stunning adaptation of a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui dealing with therapists who enter people’s dreams (it’s a good companion piece for Inception). IMDB lists a fifth feature film, The Dreaming Machine, as in “pre-production.”

When I heard of Kon’s passing, I immediately began rewatching my Paranoia Agent DVDs. Though best known for his film work, Kon’s foray into television, a thirteen-episode series that debuted in 2004, is essential viewing.

Like much of Kon’s work, Paranoia Agent delves into parts of the human experience that we might rather ignore. On one level, the series is about mass hysteria. On another level, though, it’s about being confronted by situations that appear overwhelming. He wasn’t just a talented writer and director, he was thought-provoking as well.

Kon had only four completed films and one television series amongst his directing credits (he had several more credits as a writer and animator), but each work was inventive and visually compelling. With his death, the film and television world has lost a true visionary.