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6 Film Anime Satoshi Kon

Satoshi Kon is an outstanding Japanese visual illusionist who is known for his distinct anime style, and consistently touches on themes related to the blurring between fiction and fantasy through surreal imagery and tone.

Although Satoshi Kon has made very few anime projects, each one is striking and memorable. Moreover, this prowess is handled well by Madhouse studio which is famous for its madness of style.

He was a truly hardworking director who sadly passed away but did not fail to leave an outstanding mark in the world of cinema. Many of his themes and imagery are still referenced today and inspire both future and established filmmakers.

This little list is made up of great images that are highly praised for being a unique animation experience.

1. Perfect Blue (1997)

It is a film that sparks a collectively conscious agreement that Satoshi Kon is the mastermind of the astounding mastermind. Perfect Blue has it all, representing the uniqueness and fantastic elements of Kon’s style.

The film follows a popular idol musician who retires to pursue a career in acting. However, this path quickly becomes an unpleasant experience as he loses his sense of reality while falling victim to some heinous act.

It’s a deeply sad and excruciating experience as we follow an actor dealing with the harsh realities of fame and exploitation that coincide with modern pop culture. This is a film that still feels very important today.

Perfect Blue inspired many of the themes and imagery we still see attracted to contemporary filmmaking, such as Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010) by Darren Aronofsky.

2. Millenium Actress (2001)

Before Synecdoche, New York (2008) by Charlie Kaufman, came first Millennium Actress as the anime version.

This anime film follows the story of two documentary filmmakers who interview a retired acting legend to investigate more about his life. As the crew discovers more details about the actress, the lines between fantasy and reality converge.

Millenium Actress is a great character study, featuring a fictional retrospective of an actor’s life over several years, but still doing it in Satoshi Kon’s twisted style.

The film is loosely based on the lives of two real-life actors named Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine, both highly acclaimed film stars who worked in their fields for decades.

3. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers follows three charismatic homeless people on Christmas Eve in Tokyo. However, when this group of freaks find an unattended baby, they frantically search to find its parents, without knowing its identity.

So far, Tokyo Godfathers is the simplest and most docile anime film by Satoshi Kon, which does not contain any supernatural elements or blur the line between fiction and reality. However, the film still thrives on its style, even with a more down-to-earth approach to storytelling.

4. Paranoia Agent (2004)

Paranoia Agent is a 13-episode miniseries about a strange social phenomenon occurring in Tokyo, caused by an aggressive assailant, a boy known as “Lil’ Slugger.”

This anime series follows a large number of characters and how they are affected by strange phenomena, most of which are connected to Lil Slugger, whether it is his victim or the detective assigned to detain him.

Sadly, Paranoia Agent is Satoshi Kon’s least popular project. It’s really disappointing because it’s one of the best things he’s made.

Paranoia Agent not for the faint of heart, as this is one of his most gruesome projects from Kon. This is a surreal psychological horror anime that comments on grim themes of abuse and perceptions of death.

5. Paprika (2006)

Unfortunately, Paprika was the last anime film Satoshi Kon could make before his death in 2010, but he still managed to let go of his career with actual viewing.

Paprika tells the story of a detective who operates in a dream world to solve the case of a group of dream terrorists who stole a device capable of manipulating people’s dreams. Film Inception (2010) by Christopher Nolan took a lot of inspiration from this anime film, both in terms of story and visuals.

This anime film is literally an exploration of the styles and themes that Kon has in mind. Paprika is a fantastic visionary tale that crosses the line between reality and imagination by featuring some truly mesmerizing interpretations of dreams and imagination.

6. Ani*Kuri15: Ohayo (2007)

Ani*Kuri15 is an animated anthology series consisting of 15 one-minute short films, each made by a different Japanese director.

Satoshi Kon’s section is titled Ohio. As the title suggests, it follows a woman who is fully awake from her slumber.

The fact that a simple one-minute short film can please audiences shows how great Kon is at his craft.

Ohio it may be concise but it still manages to convey so much. We basically get an overview of this woman’s life, following her morning routine and learning specific things about her based on her living conditions, and the things we can see in her apartment.


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