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.
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.
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.