Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist is a book written by Andrew Osmond, which was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2009. The book includes an introduction, as well as a chapter about Satoshi Kon as a person that includes quotes by Satoshi Kon from interviews that Andrew Osmond had conducted with him. There are also chapters for each work that Satoshi Kon directed, a postscript, a filmography that lists the personnel for each work, endnotes, and a bibliography.
The introduction gives brief background information on Satoshi Kon and his works, and also includes acknowledgments from the author. The chapter "Kon on Kon" gives a biography of Satoshi Kon, which covers his childhood through his work and professional career prior to Perfect Blue.
This is followed by chapters devoted to specific works that Satoshi Kon directed: Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent, and Paprika. Each of these chapters includes a brief overview of the work, the origins of the work, a description of the opening scene, and a synopsis of the work.
There are also sidebars labeled as "Points to Note," which include additional information on the work that couldn't be included in the main body of the chapter; this would normally include trivia about the work. A "Key Scene" is included, which is Andrew Osmond's description of the respective scene; it is written in a way that tries to resemble a script. These chapters also include still images from each work with accompanying captions. It should be noted that in the chapter for Perfect Blue, one of stills includes quite a bit of blood in it.
The postscript opens with a quote Satoshi Kon made at a retrospective of his work in New York in 2008, and reading this book after Kon's passing, it becomes a rather chilling quote. The postscript works at wrapping everything together, and Osmond tries to look ahead to what Satoshi Kon's next planned anime was; this would be The Dream Machine, which Osmond talks a little bit about in this section.
The filmography provides information for each work, including the personnel who worked on it, theatrical release dates, and the various home video releases for each work. The endnotes and bibliography provide information on the sources Andrew Osmond used for writing this book.
Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist is a good read, especially for anime viewers who have an interest in learning more about the director and his body of work. It was very informative, and it helped me better understand the works of Satoshi Kon I have seen. For me personally, reading this book has reminded me of what the anime world lost when Satoshi Kon passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 23, 2010. This book would be a perfect addition to an anime fan's library.
I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this book through the King County Library System.