Satoshi Kon's death in August 2010 was a sad blow to fans of 2D animation. The anime director died at the age of 47, leaving behind a short body of work: Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika, as well as a 13-episode TV series called Paranoia Agent. His final film with studio Madhouse was to be The Dream Machine, a "road movie for robots," but Kon discovered that he would not live to see it completed. He left "acting director" Yoshimi Itazu and joint-animation director Toshiyuki Inoue in charge, working from pages of detailed notes.
Production supposedly resumed in November 2010, but since then, the film has ran into further troubles. Back at Otakon in August 2011, Madhouse founder Masao Maruyama admitted that production had been halted due to a lack of finances. Only 600 out of 1500 shots had been animated. Just a few days ago, the film's website, yume-robo.com, was taken down. (The URL was a shortening of Yume Miru Kikai, the Japanese title.)
I'm holding out hope that these are all minor problems, but part of me feels like The Dream Machine may never be completed. Here's hoping I'm wrong, as it would be a shame to fully discard the last idea of a great director, even if the final product doesn't turn out to be exactly what he envisioned.
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