The Art of Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress

Posted By yonghow on May 29th, 2009

What is your favorite Satoshi Kon film ? His directorial debut, the tense psychological thriller Perfect Blue;  the hilarious and heartwarming Tokyo Godfathers; or the whimsical and colorful Paprika ? I like all of them, but Millenium Actress, with its rich, interwoven narrative and touching story, complete with a moving soundtrack is still the one dearest to my heart.

The story of Chiyoko (the film’s main protagonist, a movie actress ) and her lifelong search for a lost love is told through a series of flashbacks and excerpts from her past films, an illuminating and fascinating journey into the world of old Japanese cinema and its various genres. (above and below) : Movie posters of the films starring Chiyoko.

Somewhat of a rarity for a Japanese publication, this book, besides the gorgeous artwork from the film, also contains lengthy, elaborate interviews with Kon Satoshi and the cast  of the film, all translated in english. In fact, most, if not all of the Japanese content found in the book comes with english translation.

(above) Select panels from the storyboard. The entire storyboard collection is available in the sumptuous Millenium Actress dvd boxset.

(above) Character design sheets, always a pleasure to look at/study. (below) A gorgeous “Kumade” (Japanese good luck charm of sorts) illustrated by Satoshi Kon graces the cover. An inspiration coming from Otomo-san, maybe ?

Now I’ll love to hear what your favorite Satoshi Kon’s film is. :]

“The Art of Millenium Actress″ Art book details :

– Dimensions – 10.2 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
– Softcover, 141 pages
– Full color / b & w, English and Japanese language

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19 Responses to “The Art of Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress”


I only watched paprika and tokio godfathers, millenium actress and perfect blue must see it soon!!

i love the reality in the situations of Satoshi Kon films, tokio godfathers is a very human film, not to mention the history behind each character is very touchy.

Paprika was a intense trip i enjoyed every minute, the psychology of the characters is just amazing and the narrative is very addictive, the visuals incredible!

My favorite one i don´t really know, must watched PB and MA to decide, but sure thing is al this films are visually astounding, personally love character design, background art, sountrack and script situations.

good luck! 🙂
greetings from mexico!!!


Off topic: i like so much your “slam dunk 10 days after” article.
I just put a comment there.


This post made me realize that I still haven’t seen Perfect Blue yet. It’s been on my to watch list but it totally slipped my mind.

Out of Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, and Paprika, I would have to say that Millennium Actress is my favorite Satoshi Kon film with Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika tied for a close second.


Saw Tokyo Godfathers at a friends place. Went and bought it the day after. I think that says how much I liked it. I haven’t seen Perfect Blue, Paprika or Millennium Actress yet.

tragic comedy

i liked paprika.

Harry D.

I really like all his work, and especially the anime series ‘Paranoia Agent’


I just haven’t seen Perfect Blue, just like the paranoia agent series, which are on waiting list!
I must say my favorite on the other 3 is definetely Tokyo Godfathers, it was recommended by a friend, and what a touching story it was! THe others i enjoy as well but not much like this one, the artwork in all three is stunning


some parts I never understood about the movie was:

why was she picked to be an actress in the first place?

how did she get to go? I thought her mother refused to let her become one because she wanted her daughter to inherent the flower shop or something


Satoshi Kon, like many other great directors, haven’t allowed me to pick my favorite one out of their list of films.


When will he start a new project already?


rulascalaca/TDD – You have to catch all of them soon ! :]

otto – I think my tastes are pretty close to yours, Tokyo Godfathers is pretty close behind for me.

Tragic Comedy – Definitely a great anime by any standards. Gotta watch it again soon myself. :]

Harry D/Guilherme/weigy – I think the fact that its so hard to choose a favourite is sheer testament to the quality of his films.

helen – Can’t remember why she was picked, but I think its just the filmmakers’ decision that she gets to go, or there won’t have been any story to tell I guess. :]

rich8606 – I don’t have the details yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s working on a new feature at the moment.

kids wall art

Wow…looks like an awesome book…with some amazing artwork. I am not sure I have a favorite, love them all for diff reasons. Excited about the new feature coming though!


its looks like comic but not comic. hmm.. great artwork

David K.

1. Millennium Actress
2. Perfect Blue
3. Paprika

These movies all moved me very much, with Millennium Actress the most. I wept buckets.

Surjorimba Suroto

Hi! Can you share the ISBN number of this Millenium Actress artbook? I’d like to hunt. It’d be easier if I know the ISBN. Thx in advance.

BTW I just got Perfect Blue DVD with storyboard book. Normal price. ABsolutely amazing. I should have bought this years ago.


I would to have this book but the price on Amazon JP…. :\

Do you know any other place where they sell it?


Where is this book sold, right now?


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