We Remember Love Editorial Folio vol. 4: We Remember Satoshi Kon and Find My Love for Animation Itself

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I had to come to terms how I ended up not writing my own commemorative for the recently deceased film maker. Sometimes being overwhelmed isn’t just a visceral cascade of emotions. I don’t have a personal relationship with the man (though I may have some something through is work), is the simplest enough explanation.

However, being overwhelmed is also a reticence to read all the commemoratives, and being unable to comment or share the collective experience. I am an anime blog reader. It is a very big part of my hobby. I am an anime blog writer. It is also a very big part of my hobby. Being unable to do both, is being overwhelmed too.

But this too, did pass.

Steelbound from The Null Set has a few regrets I sympathize with. I haven’t written about Kon at all, but similarly I write so little about Miyazaki despite my love for his works. I think sometimes the material is so good that we are challenged to come up with material that adds value to those who’ve experienced the work. It can get silly, but I know this to be true.

The least one can do is still pretty good, Bateszi provides short impressions on his 5 films that make for a good introduction for people who have yet to discover his work. I fully agree when he says this,

Kon was not merely a talented artist, but also a symbol of anime’s bright new future. A future that, I’m sure, survives in the hearts of those inspired by the man. It’s down to them now to pick up his mantle.

I appreciate it when people don’t use the passing of this man as fodder for the death of anime rhetoric.

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I invite you to a triumverate of posts on ani-gamers, each providing a different personal experience of the director’s work:

Ink, describes his legacy in terms of what’s possible in anime when not bowing to the least common denominator.

Elliot Page, relates a touching story of how Tokyo Godfathers left a significant impact on his life all for the better.

Vampt Vo, creates a parallel with Kon’s artistic journey with that of Fujiwara Chiyoko – the protagonist of his film Millennium Actress. The deathbed analogy is both touching and eerie.

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Perhaps the most beautiful remembrance I find is gaguri’s, who carefully introduces Kon’s work viewed from the frame of the duality of dreams and reality. I can’t help myself but quote liberally from the essay:

There exists a physical world as we know it. You could be having lunch with your friends and that would be one reality. Then there are virtual worlds imagined by our mind, conscious and subconscious. You may be figuring out in your head how your friend made that delicious looking bento, or if you happened to see her eating a banana, you might just instinctively imagine her performing fellatio for a split second. Just different layers of reality but always existing in separate zones, insoluble like oil and water. Or are they?

He then goes straight into what I personally love about animation itself:

Animation is a wonderful medium, erasing boundaries between what is real and imaginary like no live-action can. Animation is magic, we viewers the bewildered audience, and Satoshi Kon the illusionist. His spells are truly one of a kind. We are often left wondering whether the vision we’re seeing is real or simply a projection of character’s emotional and psychological states.

I sometimes wonder at why anime? Why devote myself so thoroughly in this hobby, while having strong relationships not only with film, but also with print – the medium in which I am trained in as a scholar and critic? It is because I love illustrations, and I love illustrations in motion. It’s the animation itself that attracts me, and when it is capable of delivering the narrative power of other media I find myself very, very happy.

Instead of my last words, here I leave you with his.

[Vol 3.]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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10 Responses to We Remember Love Editorial Folio vol. 4: We Remember Satoshi Kon and Find My Love for Animation Itself

  1. gaguri says:

    Ah thanks for such awesome words on my lousy post!

    I too love animation for that reason, and it’s actually my preferred medium over film. More than great movies Kon’s works are great animations, because they fully exploit the best parts of the medium to show us the world like no other medium can.

    • Tch! It’s not that lousy.

      I don’t prefer it over film… yet (in terms of anime films vs 3D film), but for TV shows, definitely. I rarely find serial TV programs that satisfy me, despite the acting and production values. Yet, I can easily enjoy middle-of the road anime, and I find it telling how my favorite anime are mostly shown in the TV format.

  2. lolikitsune says:

    bleeeh…

    Nice roundup. I’m still ‘overwhelmed’ I guess, either by this or by other things; I don’t have words for my feelings regarding or reactions to any of the Kon stuff.

    Cheers!

  3. coburn says:

    The point in the last paragraph is the big one methinks, and would probably account for Kon’s popularity within the anime ghetto even if he hadn’t been quite so very good. Of course, many of the people from Madhouse who spent years of their lives realising the guy’s visions are still around. Have to trust in them to carry some more of the weight now.

    • When I started watching anime regularly around age 4 I remember trying to draw Voltes V immediately. I learned to draw before I learned to write, which sounds more unusual than it probably is. But yeah, I’ve had a life long love for illustrations thanks to Japanese cartoons.

      I never really did much with what talent I had though, but what it gave me is this love and appreciation for illustration. I don’t talk much about creators and illustrators and other people behind the production of the media I love, but I do have a profound respect for them… these people at Madhouse that will succeed Kon. If they’re anything like me (and I suspect that they’re many times beyond me), they’d want nothing else but do Kon proud with their own work, if not exceed his outright.

  4. Likewise says:

    I just finished watching Perfect Blue for the first time literally minutes ago. I find it hard to place my words on how I think or what I feel about the movie. That alone is evidence of the raw power, emotion, of the movie.

    But I would like to thank Satoshi Kon for making the assumption that the viewer is not a numb consumer but an active viewer.

  5. picchar says:

    Paprika was the only work of Satoshi Kon that I’ve seen. I still remember going to the local video store and browsing around. I just stumbled upon the DVD and quickly rented it because I liked the cover (pretty art/animation attracts meee~).

    Once the opening sequence started, I was glued.

    I’m really not the type to analyze things so I won’t be commenting on that. I’m the type who just sits, watches and enjoys (or quickly presses the stop botton) what I watch… and I really enjoyed Paprika. So much that I think I watched it at least five times.

    Honestly, I know next to nothing about Satoshi Kon. Though I did know of his other work, Perfect Blue, I haven’t seen it.

    But it really is too bad that he had to go so soon.

  6. Pingback: We Remember Love Editorial Folio Vol. 5: The Appreciation of Character | We Remember Love

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