Satoshi Kon
Reports swept Twitter early yesterday morning that acclaimed anime director Satoshi Kon passed away on August 24th, 2010 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Jim Vowles of Otakon confirmed his death after speaking with a representative of Madhouse, the animation studio where Kon directed several fan-favorite films. Kon was in the process of producing "Yume-Miru Kikai," (English: "The Dreaming Machine"), a feature-length animated film that he intended to be "a future folklore story."

Kon always made sure to add meaningful content to his films, elevating them to much more than simple and mindless entertainment. This had a tremendous effect on his fans and even people casually acquainted with his films, and the outpouring of grief and condolences following his passing has ranged from simple sadness to worries about how his death will affect the future of the anime industry. Many productions these days are carefully crafted to appeal to a die-hard audience of fans, and the loss of Kon's relentless and sometimes divisive creativity is going to be keenly felt in the years to come. Kon was never one to follow trends, and in fact often worked against the fads of the day.

Kon made a splash with American fans with 1997's "Perfect Blue," an eighty minute tale of the price of fame, the danger of stalkers, and the intersection between reality and fantasy. His more recent works, such as his thirteen-episode television series "Paranoia Agent" and feature films "Paprika" and "Tokyo Godfathers" have shown him to be a master at blending subjective reality, dark themes, horror, and comedy.

It's fair to say that Kon's creativity and approach to films helped show a lot of American anime fans that the medium had more depth than "Pokémon" and "Fist of the North Star." While he occasionally indulged in the sex and violence that populated a lot of '90s-era anime, it was always done with a purpose beyond simple titillation. He was an auteur in the truest sense of the word, and consistently delivered entertainment that also served to make the viewer examine both Kon's point of view and their own.

The love for Kon amongst fans online is palpable. The Otakon web boards were the first to confirm the news, and the fans there have spoken fondly of his place in the anime industry, his talent, and his creativity. The proprietor of popular anime/manga blog Ogiue Maniax discussed how he influenced and inspired everyone who ever came into contact with his films. The community of anime fans on Tumblr have been reminiscing about his works in great detail and numbers. Finally, journalist Fernando Ramos translated a significant portion of Kon's last statement, which was posted to his official website. Up until his death, Kon was incredibly humble and kind, and grateful for his fans.

Well then, to all those who read these long, sprawling sentences to the end, thank you very much.

With gratitude to all the good that exists all over the world, I lay down my brush.

Now then, if you'll excuse me.

~Satoshi Kon