Eminent Anime Filmmaker Satoshi Kon’s Final Words, 10 Years Later, “Now excuse me, I have to go”

There was never a filmmaker in the anime medium truly comparable to Satoshi Kon, and none since. This formative auteur and master of surreal and sensitively drawn animated films like Perfect Blue and Paprika left this world a decade ago, following a tragically sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He was a humble yet gargantuan presence in anime as well as an impressively creative mangaka – his collaboration with Mamoru Oshii, Seraphim 266613336 Wings, and the incomplete fourth-wall-destroying Opus are standouts – and that humility is expressed most powerfully in his final blog post, which has by now been translated into nine languages after an English translation on blogger Makiko Itoh’s website. The message presents the final words of someone who struggled with this ultimate passage, mid-way through developing his newest film, yet still finding peace and gratitude as he departed this world.

Satoshi-san passed on August 24th, 2010, at the age of 46. The cancer diagnosis was sudden and expectations to defeat it were slim. The filmmaker admits to combatting some aspects of treatment, though he deeply thanks the attending medical staff for helping him in his return to his home, where he would ultimately pass since he was resolute to not die in their hospital. His wife learned and strived to care for him in this state, some friends and family were able to visit him during his fight with the complications from the disease, and much of his final words express thankfulness for their presence.

With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen. Well, I'll be leaving now. - Satoshi Kon

Part of why Satoshi Kon’s final words are so powerful – the original translator describes it as a “rambling but extraordinary document” – is that they define a soul meandering towards departure, fulfilled and grateful, even though they had yet more work left to do. It’s honest, insightful, sensibly tragic but ultimately peaceful. The words of a creative who wasn’t done but left behind magnificent work, and was thankful for that work, just as all of his fans were and are. Ten years later, take a brief moment to sit with Satoshi Kon as he leaves this world with a careful exit, “Now excuse me, I have to go.”

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