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Satoshi Kon, the Japanese director of animated films such as Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress and the Inception-influencing Paprika, has died at the young age of 47. The director reportedly lost a battle with cancer.

News of the director’s passing originally came via a tweet from Takeda Yasuhiro, then seems to have been confirmed by other sources, such as the UK Anime Network.

I’m by no means an authority on anime as a form. But the artistry of Kon’s films is impossible to ignore, and his best work had the ability to bring anime to new audiences. In many ways, he was second only to Hayao Miyazaki as an anime director who could command a global audience. News of his passing comes as a great shock.

A writer and animator working since the early ’90s, Kon’s directorial career began with the 1998 release of Perfect Blue, and he really began to come into his own with films like Tokyo Godfathers, in 2003. The mind-bending Paprika is likely his most-seen film, and appears to have had a significant influence on Christopher Nolan’s film Inception.

Satoshi Kon had spent the past couple years working on a new film, The Dream Machine, which was slated for release in 2011. I do not know the current status of that film, nor of plans for any eventual completion and release. We’ll dig for updates on that project. In the meantime, take a look at the trailers for Kon’s films, and check out the ones you haven’t seen. [via iO9]

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