Flatness depth and Kon Satoshi's ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper offers an exploratory reading of two works by Kon Satoshi: his debut Perfect Blue (Pafokuto Buril, 1998) the television series Paranoia Agent (Moso Dairinin, 2004). The goal of this paper is to work through the relationship between social ontology and ethics embedded in these two examples. To do this the paper develops a concept of ontological flatness, both as a description of the specific late modern phenomenon of the leveling of value distinctions between previously differentiated and privileged sources of social identity, and a method of representation Kon uses in order to both portray and critique this condition by pushing it to its logical conclusions. It is argued that rather than a gleeful celebration of this postmodern flat condition, there is a distinct modernist humanism in Kon's work: whereas the effect is ontological flatness, the goal is always to regain a sense of rooted perspective, or depth. This Archimedean point is anchored to a concept of the responsible human actor, who works through existential suffering as a matter of ethical obligations outside of historical and technological determination. Thus, while representing the postrnodern experience of the self, in this aspect we can situate Kon's critique within a modernist tradition in Japanese political thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Japanese and Korean Cinema
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Kon Satoshi, Anime, Ethics, Representation, Social Ontology

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