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The Dreams of Satoshi Kon: Chapter VI - The Endless Dream


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E-Master



Joined: 21 Aug 2005
Posts: 471
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:25 pm Reply with quote
An excellent article, I like this one the most because I liked Paprika the most out of the 4 released movies of Satoshi Kon. When I first saw one of his eariler films, I've always consider him to be different from other anime directors. And like anyone would say, if he never had cancer, he could of lived for another 40 years with other anime films that would've made him the next Hayao Miyazaki.

Except I don't want to put him in the same level as Miyazaki because their both different directors with different visions. But they're both excellent directors in their own way.

I did look up some old articles on that movie that Satoshi Kon was working on. No much info at the moment, but I do hope it'll be good when it is ready to be release.

By then I'll already be done with watching the other anime Satoshi Kon was involved with. Including that Paranoia Agent that I really need to see right away. Can't say I'm a true fan unless I've seen his Paranoia Agent.
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DRWii



Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 611
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:24 pm Reply with quote
Mike Toole wrote:
DRWii wrote:
That's a very good description, but the problem is that Spec-fic is an all-encompassing term for various genres (that most would consider fit that description), one of which is Sci-fi (along with fantasy, horror, etc.). It just annoyed me a bit, is all.


Robert Heinlein coined the term out of dissatisfaction with what the "science fiction" label evoked amongst the public - technically PAPRIKA is sci-fi, but it's a breed apart from what most people think of as science fiction, hence my use of the term. I picked the term up from Harlan Ellison, who has utilized it similarly - I've never seen it used as a "catch all" to describe genre fiction in general. It seems too broad to me - how would fantasy possibly be speculative fiction, considering that most fantasy begins with unreal concepts and settings?


Here are some links that talk about spec-fic as a broad term (although the Wiki page supports both our views, really).

I didn't know about Heinlein's involvement with the term, but I have heard Harlan Ellison say how he doesn't like to be called a science fiction author because of how he thinks people perceive it. I can understand why he thinks that way, but I still don't like it. I guess I'm just in a minority of people who see science fiction as science fiction; it doesn't matter if it's a space opera like "Star Wars" or "Macross," or a more down to earth "thinking" work like "1984" or "Ghost in the Shell," to me it's all sci-fi.

(Now, to play devil's advocate, I'll admit I realized as I was writing this that I do something very similar with "The End of Evangelion." Is it a "mecha" movie? Yes, but it's different enough from traditional mecha anime that if I were to list off my favorite entries in the genre, I'd probably exclude it automatically since I don't think it's necessarily "fair" to compare it to more recognizably "mecha" anime [it's also probably my favorite movie ever, so that also makes it kind of unfair]).

I guess it's ultimately just that we both have different ideas about what the term "speculative fiction" actually means, so it's probably best to agree to disagree.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14575
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:26 pm Reply with quote
Mike Toole:
Quote:
We never really see Chiba without the glasses and office attire, though, except in that fantastical scene where Osanai bodily rips her out of Paprika, so we'll never know for sure. My observation was made based on this - it struck me that Chiba's conservative choice of dress was conscious - she didn't *want* to be pretty. But Paprika did.


You should ask Chris Beveridge to hook you up with "reference material" which makes you understand why we're ok with the glasses. Wink
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gartholamundi



Joined: 18 Mar 2010
Posts: 316
Location: Gainesville, FL
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:45 pm Reply with quote
Mike, I LOVE the way you think, as well as the way you write. Keep feeding that brain, man.

Paprika ... trying to say how I'd rank it puts me in that bizarre position of being presented with six of my favorite types of food and then being forced to pick one to eat. I might go for a different dish first, but it doesn't at all reduce the quality of Paprika or my love for it. Thanks, Mike, for all you said and brought out here -- I know I'll enjoy Paprika even more the next chance I get to see it.

I just bought two copies of this on Blu-Ray to send to friends in different parts of the country. I really wish more of Kon's work was available in that format (and that I had a Blu-Ray player, but I keep putting that off in favor of buying new anime, haha).

@Vash, first ... I'm SO jealous you saw this on the big screen. Second, you asked how far along Kon's new film was. I think Justin Sevakis ferreted out this information from Kon's final blog post. Justin said that since Kon was being shown "rushes" of that film on his deathbed, the studio must have been 80-90 percent finished with the film. In the case of anime, he went on, that must mean they were down to "tweaks and audio."

So, it seems likely we'll get the majority of his vision in the way he intended it. The Paprika director's interview etrra makes it clear that he was hands-on all the way through his films, and would sometimes make script changes as he watched his actors perform and got new ideas, but I have full faith in MADHOUSE and their love for Kon that we'll get the best film possible considering the circumstances.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ANN for all you've done bringing this retrospective celebratory memorial. I hope there's a "Part VII" when the next film is released. You guys and gals totally rock the planet. Peace.
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:01 pm Reply with quote
This nails it:
Quote:
What really impresses about the works of Satoshi Kon is that his films are never about just one thing.


Like an excellent wine or a fine novel, Paprika is not just one flavor, but is several, layered and balanced in surprising ways, and giving the work a depth that is a prize to find in film in general, independent of country and production technique.
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ittoujuu



Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 159
Location: SoCal
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:36 pm Reply with quote
I just want to throw out a quick thanks to ANN for assembling this series of articles. Before Satoshi Kon's death, the only one of his works I'd seen was Perfect Blue, and that was maybe 8-9 years ago. My reaction to it was that "it was a good movie, but a bad anime" - it feels like it could work really well as a live-action movie, but was difficult to extract enjoyment from in the ways that I usually do from anime. Somewhere along the way, I chalked it up to "I guess I just don't like anime feature films, since every time I see one, I always think 'This story would've been better/these characters would've been more well-developed as a TV series or an OAV." I think Ghibli's films are the only notable exception to that general impression, for me.

With Kon's passing, though, many people I respect were shaken by it, and in reading Kon's last letter, I felt touched by his humanity, and I thought, "You know, I want to see this guy's films now - I want to understand the man through his works." And so, in the last week, I watched Paprika and Millenium Actress for the first time, grabbed a disc of Paranoia agent (the first disc was all the library had; not sure where to see the rest of it), as well as the "Memories" set of three shorts. I'm starting to see that, where before I thought Kon wasn't making good use of the animation medium because he leaned heavily toward realism, the fact that everything for an animation is drawn helps to blur that line between the real and the imagined, as happened in Paprika and, to my surprise, in the way Millenium Actress's story was told.

I've still got some more of the back-catalog to go through, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to check out these films. I don't know that I can say they resonate with me, but they're worth seeing, and they have a lot of technical merit to them.
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gartholamundi



Joined: 18 Mar 2010
Posts: 316
Location: Gainesville, FL
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:01 pm Reply with quote
ittoujuu wrote:
... in reading Kon's last letter, I felt touched by his humanity, and I thought, "You know, I want to see this guy's films now - I want to understand the man through his works."


That's a really beautiful thing to say. I don't know that any creator could wish for more -- that there comes a time when your very humanity shines through in a way that resonates deeply with other people, which then goes beyond mere appreciation but further into a desire to understand and explore the creations one has left behind.

I hope one day there is something translated into English about Kon's life, something more biographical than A. Osmond's excellent look at Kon's work in anime film. The more I watch the anime, the more I want to know more about the man and how he grew in this world.
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rabrek



Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 188
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:05 pm Reply with quote
Mike Toole wrote:
pachy_boy wrote:
I don't buy that at all. It's like saying the girl from 'She's All That' (anyone remember this flick at all?) wasn't totally pretty due to her glasses and ponytail.

We never really see Chiba without the glasses and office attire, though, except in that fantastical scene where Osanai bodily rips her out of Paprika, so we'll never know for sure. My observation was made based on this - it struck me that Chiba's conservative choice of dress was conscious - she didn't *want* to be pretty. But Paprika did.

Apparently Kon considered Chiba "very beautiful", per a quote in this 2007 interview, which also notes that Kon and Yasutaka Tsutsui (who wrote the novel) voiced the bartenders. How did I miss that? That's what I get for breaking my rule about scanning the full credits when I see a film on the big screen... but I digress.

I thought your use of the word "severe" to describe her was particularly apt. Chiba gives off a chilly vibe, maintaining a carefully constructed professional demeanor that lends her credibility as a clinician deserving of respect. You're right - she didn't want to be pretty, because surface attractiveness has the potential to distract others and undercut recognition of her competence. However, the viewer knows that Paprika is her alter-ego, which strongly hints that she would blossom if only she'd let her hair down and switch to contacts. I've always thought of her as a handsome woman who masks her beauty to heighten appreciation of her intellect and skills.

As I recall, Chiba does soften briefly, late in the film, when she leans against Tokita in the dreamworld variation on the early elevator scene. The icy persona does not melt, but she permits herself a moment of thaw, where no one can see - not even Tokita, who's facing away from her at the time.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:47 pm Reply with quote
ittou:
Quote:
it feels like it could work really well as a live-action movie,


It was made into a live-action version in Japan, but I hear it sucks. Also, you might wanna check out Black Swan.

garth: Hopefully, Roland Kelts will one day mine through his blog, and with the family's permission, write a real in-depth biography on the guy.
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
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Location: Back stateside
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:34 pm Reply with quote
gartholamundi wrote:
@Vash, first ... I'm SO jealous you saw this on the big screen.

Well, it wasn't a huge screen; this was a little campus theater, so it was smaller than a typical movie theater screen. Still way more impressive than watching it on my computer or TV, though.

ittoujuu wrote:
I'm starting to see that, where before I thought Kon wasn't making good use of the animation medium because he leaned heavily toward realism, the fact that everything for an animation is drawn helps to blur that line between the real and the imagined, as happened in Paprika and, to my surprise, in the way Millenium Actress's story was told.

Kon frequently talks about having to fight the boundaries of being told what he could and could not do in terms of stories. If his movies have made you expand your understanding of what anime can accomplish, then I think he'd be very pleased. Smile

Edit: fixed a html error


Last edited by vashfanatic on Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Penguin_Factory



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 732
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:37 pm Reply with quote
Just finished watching this for the first time. Absolutely loved it. This is one of the most inventive and gorgeous movies I've ever seen.

Did anyone else choke up a bit at the end when the detective walks past the posters for all of Kon's films? It was as if the movie was paying it's respects to him or something.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 5344
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:09 pm Reply with quote
quote from tokyo godfather's "death is just a hair's width away"

or something like that

i only first watched it a few days after he died but i found that line very depressing especially when you note how short it's been since he found out he was sick.

I'm pretty mad at him as a person though, as he didn't even TRY to get better according to his blog. he simply let himself die instread of using the money he no doubt had to get treatment. I've had many friends survive cancers...it's possible. I really wish he fought back but may he rest in piece anyway.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14575
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:59 am Reply with quote
Kougeru: I'm sure everyone would have preferred he take his meds. But his disease was terminal, so he'd, at best only get a couple months of his life extended.
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gartholamundi



Joined: 18 Mar 2010
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Location: Gainesville, FL
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:02 am Reply with quote
GATSU wrote:
Kougeru: I'm sure everyone would have preferred he take his meds. But his disease was terminal, so he'd, at best only get a couple months of his life extended.


Right. From the ways things read, when they discovered the cancer it had already progressed to the point where the medication would most likely have made him feel much sicker, even if they did extend his life by a very short margin. Maybe a couple months, or a few weeks, or even not at all. How much extra time he might have had with the medication is pure speculation outside of it being an extremely short time. What's not speculation is that the medication would have certainly made him feel utterly devastated all the way to the end.

If I understood right he did take the pain medication, which would have helped him stay lucid for longer, and probably got more done than otherwise. More time spent with his wife, the closest friends he contacted, got his affairs in order, worried about his film. It's an incredibly hard decision to be presented with, but it isn't surprising when people chose to do what Kon did.

To my heart, where the medication was concerned, he made the harder, braver choice.
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Spastic Minnow
Exempt from Grammar Rules


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 4263
Location: Gainesville, FL
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest survival rates of any cancer, the only ones that can be cured are those that catch it before it spreads from the pancreas to the surrounding organs and blood, by the time it spreads to the bones it is basically untreatable (as was the case with Kon when he was diagnosed). When he said he declined treatment you have to understand any treatment offered had to be given with the expressed knowledge by doctors that there was almost no hope of it working- I'm surprised any treatment was offered..

If you want a story of another recognizable figure touched by Pancreatic Cancer, consider President JImmy Carter. He's the only member of his immediate family not to have died from it, His father, mother, both sisters and his brother all died from pancreatic cancer. Apparently the biggest difference is that he was never a smoker, while the rest of his family were.
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