Some sad news from the world theatrical anime. Details are still sketchy at this point and I suppose its possible it could turn out to be incorrect, but it appears that the director of “Millennium Actress,” “Paprika,” “Perfect Blue,” and “Tokyo Godfathers” has died at the age of 47.
Probably the most critically acclaimed director in his field next to Hiyao Miyazaki, Kon was unusual among anime directors in that his films, while not completely devoid of fantastical genre elements, had a sensibility that seemed closer to live-action art film and traditional cinema than to the heavy-on-narrative pop-art tropes of Japanese animation. The comedic “Tokyo Godfathers” borrowed a sentimental plotline previously employed by William Wyler in “Hell’s Heroes” and John Ford in “Three Godfathers.” Kon’s “Millennium Actress” was a strongly stylized and somewhat arty take on traditional biographical romantic melodrama with a nod to “Citizen Kane.” Below is the opening.
UPDATE: Details remain sketchy though most seem to agree that this is not just a sick rumor. MUBI/David Hudson has more on Kon’s work and legacy.