Anime Director Satoshi Kon Addresses Hollywood's Plagiarism in Resurfaced Interview

It has been said mimicry is the best form of flattery, but there are lines that need to be drawn. In the world of entertainment, an homage can easily turn into theft, and creators have seen this happen time after time. Of course, anime is not exempt from this, and some of these tributes have been too big to ignore.

There is no better example of this than with director Satoshi Kon whose credits include Perfect Blue and Paprika. Following the director's death, it did not take long for fans to note similarities between Kon's most famous films and several done by director Darren Aronofsky. It turns out Kon noticed this as well, and in a resurfaced interview, he even comments on the comparison between Perfect Blue and Requiem for a Dream.

During an interview about Perfect Blue, Kon was asked about one of the film's most famous scenes which shows its heroine in a bathtub. Some may think Requiem for a Dream created the visual as it shows Jennifer Connelly having a moment in a tub, but the shot originated in Kon's movie. The director makes this clear during his interview, and he goes on to comment on Aronofsky's version.

"He's supposedly a big fan of the movie, and I actually got to talk to him when he came here for Requiem for a Dream," Koh said about Aronofsky. "I watched Requiem for a Dream, and this scene here where she's submerged her face in the bath and is basically suffocating? And here, she can't hold it back anymore and scream, 'You idiot!' He used these two cuts scenes, the same angle and pose and everything. They're in Requiem for a Dream. I asked him about this, and he said it was an homage to me."

Continuing, the interviewer says there are definite overlaps between the direction of Perfect Blue and Requiem for a Dream. Kon agrees, asking, "Overlaps or a ripoff? But when I asked him, he said it's all an homage."

It isn't hard to see that Kon is conflicted about his work's use in Requiem for a Dream, and this is not the only time Aronofsky paid homage to the director in his films. Black Swan pulls cinematic from Perfect Blue in much the same way, and even his latest film The Whale has drawn comparisons to Kon's Paprika. Of course, Requiem for a Dream marks his first nod to Kon, and his blatant recreation of Perfect Blue's tub scene made many believe Aronofsky got the rights to Kon's work. However, that is not the case. Despite persistent internet theories, Kon refuted the rumor in 2001 in his digital newsletter. The anime director did not hand over permission for Perfect Blue's use, but well – it seems like it happened anyways.

Following the death of Kon, the conversation regarding his prized films has only grown, and his legacy with Hollywood remains a contentious point. Many fans find the director was shafted by the industry thanks to a number of uncredited tributes. As for others, they believe art and film have no choice but to imitate others as they grow. But at the very least, netizens can rest easy knowing Kon was aware of his influence over both animators and filmmakers alike.

What do you think about Kon's filmography? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.