chapter  13
National History as Otaku Fantasy: Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress
ByMelek Ortabasi
Pages 21

Film reviewers introducing a foreign film director have a habit of comparing the artist in question to someone their readership will recognize. But this is a rather difficult task in the case of Satoshi Kon (1963-). As one U.S. critic succinctly put it, “If Mr. [Hayao] Miyazaki is Japan’s Walt Disney . . . Mr. Kon has no obvious peers in American animation” (Kehr 2004, 8). Kon’s adult-oriented anime is still anomalous in the United States, even despite increased availability of subtitled and dubbed Japanese anime and their growing popularity with children and young adults.1 But even in the comparatively large and diverse Japanese animation industry, Kon, a relative newcomer to anime, is somewhat unusual. Because he has introduced new ideas to the medium, the blurb on the front cover of his 2002 memoir Kon’s Tone describes him as “the spirited director who has pioneered a new generation of animation” (Kon 2002).